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Policy No: 2084
Responsible Office: Information Security
Last Review Date: 02/21/2022
Next Required Review: 02/21/2023

Computer Use


1. Purpose

This policy is designed to educate users of University of South Alabama (USA) computer resources about their responsibilities regarding usage, and to describe prohibited/unacceptable use.

2. Applicability

This policy applies to all users of USA computer workstations, servers, network devices, software, databases, and related equipment accessed directly or indirectly through the Internet.  This includes not only USA faculty, staff and students, but also vendors, contractors, partners, collaborators, and any others doing business or research at USA.

3. Definitions

Hacking: An unauthorized attempt to exploit a computer system or a private network.

Spamming: The act of sending multiple unsolicited messages or the same message multiple times for any prohibited purpose.

Cracking: A technique used to breach computer software or an entire computer security system with malicious intent.

4. Policy Guidelines

USA requires that all users of its computer resources make acceptable use of these resources that are consistent with the University’s educational, research and service-related mission.  Users must comply with all applicable federal and state laws and all University regulations regarding intellectual property, including federal copyright law, and with all applicable licenses or contracts regarding the use of software.

4.1  General Policy for Faculty/Staff

USA, through the Computer Services Center, provides an academic network and multi-user systems to be used by faculty, staff and students for instructional and research activities.  The CSC also delivers University administrative networks, network services for the USA Health Systems, fiber optic networks, and telecommunications services.  Anyone using the campus network, campus systems or computer equipment owned by USA must be authorized to do so.  All employees are required to adhere to the policies listed throughout this document, but this does not preclude individual USA departments from creating more specific and stringent guidelines for their employees based on the nature of their work.

4.2  General Policy for Students

USA provides student access to computer resources through the wireless and wired networks, email systems, web servers, and departmental labs located throughout campus.  Students using these resources must adhere to all USA policies regarding the use of computers and computer networks.  Access privileges can be denied to anyone using USA computer resources for illegal or unethical purposes.  Any illegal behavior observed will be reported to appropriate campus officials, and based on the nature of the illegal activity may be reported to an appropriate law enforcement agency.  All students are required to adhere to the policies pertaining to them throughout this document.  However, these policies do not preclude individual departments from making more specific and stringent guidelines for their students or facilities. 

5. Procedures

Certain uses of USA computer resources are never permitted.  These include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Sharing individual account passwords to include Active Directory, Banner, email, or other university systems with any other person, or obtaining another person’s account password by unauthorized means;
  • Unauthorized sharing of Personal Identifiable Information (PII), to include account numbers, phone numbers, social security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other information that would permit the identity of the person to whom the information applies to be identified;
  • Interfering with the operation of the USA computer and/or telecommunications systems through hacking, cracking, or any other means;
  • Damaging computer hardware or software, or altering computer hardware or software without authorization;
  • Transmitting obscene or threatening communications;
  • Using unauthorized accounts or circumventing system security;
  • Broadcasting unsolicited messages (Spamming);
  • Invading the privacy of another person;
  • Using USA resources for personal financial or commercial purposes, including the mining of virtual currency, sales of lecture notes/study guides or the intellectual property of others;
  • Intentionally viewing, downloading, printing, or sending any unlawful material, to include pornography, threats, or harassing communications;
  • Engaging in any other activity that violates state or federal law.  Any illegal activity discovered on USA resources will be reported to the appropriate campus officials, and based on the nature of the activity may be reported to an appropriate law enforcement agency.

6. Enforcement

Failure to follow this policy will result in unacceptable risks to USA and its computer resources.  Violations of this policy may result in the suspension of computer use privileges or other University discipline based on the severity of the violation(s).

7. Related Documents