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Acceptable Use Policies

I. Introduction  

In support of its mission of educational excellence and service to others, Wheeling University provides computing resources for faculty, staff, students, administrators, and other authorized individuals. These resources contribute to the work of all members of the University community and therefore must be used with great care.

These Acceptable Use Policies are based on a commitment to support the proper and ethical use of computing resources at Wheeling University. This commitment is the responsibility of every user. The use of these resources is a privilege normally extended to all individuals on campus, not a right, and inappropriate use may result in a cancellation of those privileges. As a user of these resources, you agree to be subject to the Acceptable Use Policies for Computing Resources at Wheeling University. These policies apply to all computer resources provided by the University, including all hardware, software, network components, physical infrastructure, and privately owned computers connected in any way to the campus network to include VPN.

The University is not responsible for loss of information from computing misuse, malfunction of computing hardware, malfunction of computing software, or external contamination of data or programs. Users are responsible for backing up copies of their data, files and programs.

The policies in this document are not an exhaustive list. Users are expected to understand the principles underlying these policies and act in accordance with them. Users are also expected to adhere to additional policies based on individual network, system, or department policies.

II. Basic Rights  

This document is intended to help set the tone for computing and for the use of computing resources at Wheeling University: respect for the rights of all users and fair use by all so as to guarantee equal access to all users. The privacy of all users and of all of their files is a fundamental right that should be respected by all. One must never use the computing resources in any way that violates the privacy of others. Clearly defined procedures established to protect user rights will always be followed as the University maintains the computing systems. Exceptions to these rights can be made on the basis of Section VI.

III. User Responsibilities  

The University provides computing resources to give user’s powerful tools to further their academic or administrative endeavors, and/or professional development.

  1. Report unauthorized use of your account to the appropriate system administrator.
  2. Cooperate with system administrator requests for information about computing activities.
  3. Under certain unusual circumstances, a system administrator may access a user’s files. See Section VI.
  4. Users should take reasonable and appropriate steps to see that all hardware and software license agreements are faithfully executed on any system, network, or server that they operate.
  5. Users are responsible for backing up copies of their data, files and programs.
  6. Student or class accounts may be deleted after a designated period of time. If a user desires to use information stored in an account after its deletion, it is the user’s responsibility to make backups of the information. Contact a system administrator for assistance.
  7. Extension of computer privileges beyond the period of direct association with Wheeling University must be arranged with Human Resources.
  8. Users are expected to invest time and effort in familiarizing themselves with the equipment and software they will be using through attendance at training workshops and reading of manuals.
  9. Users cannot connect servers to the network without prior approval.

In general, approved personal servers will be restricted to on-campus use only and will not be accessible from off-campus.

IV. System Administrator Responsibilities  

This document uses the phrase system administrator to refer to any individual authorized by the University to administer a particular network or computing hardware system and/or its system software. A system administrator’s use of the University’s computing resources is governed by the same policies as any other users computing activity. However, a system administrator has additional responsibilities to the users of the network, site, system, or systems he or she administers:

  1. A system administrator manages systems, networks, and servers to provide available software and hardware to users for their University computing.
  2. A system administrator is responsible for the security of a system, network, or server.
  3. A system administrator must take reasonable and appropriate steps to see that all hardware and software license agreements are faithfully executed on all systems, networks, and servers for which he or she has responsibility.
  4. A system administrator must take reasonable precautions to guard against corruption of data or software, or damage to hardware or facilities.
  5. A system administrator must treat as confidential, information about, and information stored by, the systems users.
  6. A system administrator may find it necessary to suspend or restrict a user’s computing privileges during the investigation of a problem.

V. Misuse of Computing Resources

The University characterizes misuse of computing resources and privileges as unethical and unacceptable and as just cause for taking disciplinary action. Additionally, computing resources must be shared among users in an equitable manner. The user may not participate in any behavior that unreasonably interferes with the fair use of computing resources by another.

Misuse or unreasonable interference includes, but is not limited to the following:

Equitable Use

  1. Using computer resources for any commercial purpose or personal profit.
  2. Printing large jobs during periods of heavy computer use.
  3. Printing multiple copies of a document.
  4. Printing paper copies when “print preview” on a monitor would suffice.
  5. Playing games for recreation or other frivolous activities.
  6. Exceeding established disk space, time, or other allocations.
  7. Intentionally running programs that attempt to execute endless loops.


  1. Attempting to modify or remove computer equipment, software, wiring, or peripherals without proper authorization.
  2. Using computing facilities, computer accounts, or computer data for purposes other than those for which they were intended or authorized.
  3. Unauthorized accessing, using, copying, modifying, or deleting of files, data, user ids, access rights, usage records, or disk space allocations.
  4. Accessing resources for purposes other than those for which the access was originally intended, including inappropriate use of authority or special privileges.
  5. Causing computer failure through an intentional attempt to “crash the system” or through the intentional introduction of a program that is intended to subvert a system, such as a worm, virus, Trojan horse, or one that creates a trap door.
  6. Use of systems and/or networks in attempts to gain unauthorized access to remote systems.
  7. Copying of system files.
  8. Any attempts to secure a higher level of privilege on network systems.


  1. Sharing passwords or acquiring another’s password without prior written authorization. If a user does share his/her password with another person, he or she is solely responsible for all actions taken by the other person.
  2. Failure to protect one’s account from unauthorized use (e.g., leaving one’s personal or university system/terminal logged on but unattended).
  3. Applying for a login id under false pretenses

VI. User Confidentiality and System Integrity  

A system administrator must protect the integrity of the system entrusted to his or her care and also respect the confidentiality of the information users have stored on the system. However, if a system administrator is a witness to a computing abuse; notices an unusual degradation of service or other aberrant behavior on the system, network, or server for which the system administrator is responsible; or receives a complaint of computing abuse or degradation of service, the administrator should investigate and take steps to maintain the integrity of the system(s). If a system administrator has evidence that leads to a user’s computing activity as the probable source of a problem or abuse under investigation, the administrator must weigh the potential danger to the system and its users against the confidentiality of that user’s information for investigative purposes.

A user may not intercept transmitted information on the network without prior written authorization from an appropriate system administrator: This violation is a serious invasion of another user’s privacy. The University respects the right to privacy of all users and endeavors to do all in its power to maintain that right. Users should be aware that sometimes, in the course of system maintenance, transmissions are tracked, but the contents are not read. Users should also be aware that unauthorized users of the system, or authorized users suspected of violating system integrity, are not afforded this same protection from invasion of their privacy. This means the University can and will read transmissions under these circumstances to maintain the integrity and security of the computer resources for all authorized users.

VII. Off-Campus Network Use

  1. Services provided to off-campus users are much more limited than those on campus.
  2. Off-campus access is provided for academic or administrative endeavors, and/or professional development only (VPN).
  3. Authorized users are totally responsible for all off-campus use of their accounts.
  4. It is the user’s responsibility to determine the accessibility of systems on campus and the procedures for accessing those systems. In other words, it is the users responsibility to request off-campus access.

VIII. Internet Access

Internet Use

  1. Users may not use the Internet for illegal purposes or for unauthorized access to systems, software, or data.
  2. Users may not use the Internet for commercial or personal profit, or for distribution of unsolicited marketing, advertising, or personnel recruiting materials.
  3. Users are prohibited from using WU technology resources for any unethical purposes, including but not limited to plagiarism, pornography, violence, gambling, racism, harassment, or any illegal activity.
  4. No University user may provide another individual or organization with access to the University network or the Internet without the express permission of a Wheeling University system administrator.
  5. Traffic exiting the campus network to the NSFnet backbone or SURAnet is governed by the policies of those networks in addition to the University policies, i.e. users connecting to external networks must abide by the policies of those networks.
  6. IP addresses are licensed to the University, a user may not change a computer’s IP address or use a different IP address without the permission of a system administrator.
  7. Personal servers cannot be attached to the network without prior approval.

WEB pages

  1. The University will not support personal WEB pages. Individual departments can allow professional personal home pages.
  2. These professional pages will be governed by University and departmental policies.
  3. All home pages are treated as University publications and must be approved by the appropriate publications department.

IX. Guidelines for using e-mail at Wheeling University  

Wheeling University is pleased to offer fast, reliable, efficient e-mail systems to all members of the University community for the purpose of carrying out instruction, research, and administrative communications. All electronic communication systems and all communications and information transmitted by, received from, or stored in these systems are the property of Wheeling University. These resources contribute to the work of all individuals on campus and must, therefore, be used with great care.

The campus e-mail systems are primarily for University business and academic use. In that spirit, any inappropriate, or illegal use of the system may be considered an offense that could lead to disciplinary action or termination.

Users of campus e-mail are required to abide by the following guidelines:

  1. Global mailings to multiple recipients should refer to WU related activities only. Originating or forwarding unsolicited junk e-mail, Afor-profit@ messages, chain letters, jokes, virus hoaxes, or non-WU sponsored advertisements are not permitted. All virus warnings received should be forwarded to the appropriate computer support department.
  2. WU e-mail systems may be used for brief personal messages. Users should have no expectation of privacy in connection with the use of WU e-mail systems and do so at their own risk.
  3. E-mail accounts are given for the specific use of the individual to whom they are assigned. Users have the responsibility to safeguard their accounts with a confidential password known only to themselves.
  4. Misuse of e-mail may also include, but is not limited to the following:
    • Sending fraudulent, harassing, annoying, disparaging, vulgar, or obscene messages.
    • Breaking into another user’s e-mail account or reading someone else’s e-mail without permission.
    • Forwarding potentially offensive messages that originated outside the campus to employees/students inside the campus.
    • Intentionally obscuring or forging of the date, time, physical source, logical source, or other header information of an e-mail message.
    • Harassing or threatening other users or interfering with their access to the University’s computing facilities.
    • Use of an e-mail account to participate in a non-academic or non-work related mailing list.

Policy on Sending an E-mail to all WU students

Global or mass e-mails to all WU students are permitted from the following university offices only:

President’s Office
University Registrar
Dean of Student Development
Chief Academic Officer

In the event that an e-mail is sent to all students, the all-student address must be used in the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field.

X. Penalties/Response to Violations  

Users of computing resources at Wheeling University are responsible for respecting and adhering to University policies and to local, state, and federal laws. All policies of this University as stated in the Student, Faculty, and Administrative handbooks apply to the electronic medium.

Failure to adhere to these policies, or a violation of an external network’s policy, can result in the suspension of computing privileges, disciplinary actions and prosecution under state and federal laws where applicable.

Any employee found to have violated any technology policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Any student found to have violated any technology policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or expulsion from the University.

University sanctions are imposed by the appropriate University authority and may include reimbursement to the University for the computing and personnel charges incurred in detecting and proving the violation as well as from the violation itself. Reimbursement may include compensation for staff work time related to the violation and for archiving information related to the incident. The usual rights and privileges of appeal apply.

XI. Glossary

ACCESS – permission to use a WU computing resource in accordance with the Acceptable Use Policies for Computing Resources at Wheeling University

COMMERCIAL PURPOSE – a goal or end involving the buying and/or selling of goods or services for the purpose of making a profit

COMPUTER ACCOUNT – the combination of a user name, user id, or login id and a password that allows an individual access to a shared computer or the university network

COMPUTER RESOURCE – any computing/network equipment, facility, or service made available to users by Wheeling University

DISK SPACE ALLOCATION – the amount of disk storage space assigned to a particular user by the appropriate system administrator

HOST – a computer system on a network

INTERNET – the network of networks that run the TCP/IP protocol (formerly the Department of Defense transport protocol)

IP ADDRESS – a 32-bit address assigned to hosts (computers) on a network, this address is written a four octets separated with periods – dotted decimal format

LOGIN-ID – same as USER ID, a character string that uniquely identifies a particular user to a WU computing resource

NETWORK – a group of computers and peripherals that share information electronically, typically connected to each other by cable

NSFnet – National Science Foundation network

PASSWORD – a string of characters that a user must supply to meet security requirements before gaining access to a particular computing resource

PERIPHERAL – special purpose devices attached to a computer or computer network – for example, printers, scanners, plotters, etc.

REMOTE SYSTEMS – any computing/network equipment, facility, or service not part of, but connected with, WU computing resources via a communications network

SERVER – a computer that provides some service to other computers on a network. A server is intended to handle MULTIPLE USERS on the network, through multiple login accounts, Web server sofware, or through telnet and ftp.

SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT – a legal agreement with a software manufactured which stipulates the manner in which software can be installed and the number of copies that may be used SURAnet – Southeastern Universities Research Association network, a network connecting hosts in 12 southeastern states

SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR – any individual authorized by the University to administer a particular network or computing hardware system and/or its system software

TCP/IP – Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol

USER – any individual who uses a WU computing resource

USER ID – same as LOGIN ID, a character string that uniquely identifies a particular user to a WU computing resource

Revision History