Location: Bowdoin / IT / Policies / Computer Use Policy

Information Technology Computer Use Policy

The computing facilities at Bowdoin are provided for the students, faculty, and staff of the College. Users of the Bowdoin College computing facilities do so as guests of the College and are expected to conduct themselves accordingly. A user's right to continued use of the facilities is dependent upon compliance with this Policy. Bowdoin College is likewise a guest on the Internet, and use of the Internet through Bowdoin College facilities reflects upon the College. Responsible use requires that users not interfere with the normal and proper operation of the computing facilities or the Internet; not adversely affect the ability of others to use the college's equipment or services; and not conduct themselves in ways which might be harmful or offensive to others.

This Computer Use Policy governs the use of all computing equipment or facilities owned or operated by the College, including the use of the College's services or facilities via the Internet, dial-in modem, or other means. This document is posted in all public-computing spaces, sent to all students, staff and faculty members, and is available on the Computing and Information Services web site. All users of the College's computing facilities are required to comply with this policy, and by using the College owned facilities, agree to comply with it.

The College maintains facilities for archiving and retrieving data stored in user accounts. The College reserves the right to monitor any computer action or system record of any action that a user performs while utilizing the campus network. Users may expect privacy for all data stored in their accounts. Out of respect for personal privacy, the College does not examine the contents of files in user accounts except in response to user requests for assistance, or in extraordinary circumstances when system security or when trouble-shooting anticipated violations of this policy require it. Whenever the College determines that the contents of a user's file should be examined, an effort will first be made to notify the user and invite him or her to be present. However, if the system is under immediate threat, appropriate actions can be taken without prior notice to the user.

Although the College provides reasonable security against unauthorized intrusion and damage to data, the College does not warrant privacy or the integrity of stored data and reserves the right to examine data as described above. Communications over the Internet and even across the college's local campus network are not encrypted, and it would not be technically difficult for an eavesdropper to listen in. Also, e-mail messages in transit are stored as system files, and problems with the mail delivery system sometimes require that Computing and Information Services staff examine the contents of those files. The use of any hardware or software to access data that the user is not authorized to access, or to eavesdrop on the network is strictly forbidden.

To safeguard system security and enforce this policy, authorized IT staff may limit or restrict any usage of the computing facilities, and may remove or otherwise alter any data, file, or system resources that may undermine the proper use of the system or violate the policy. Persons who abuse the computing facilities may also be subject to further disciplinary action by the College, in the same manner as violators of other College policies. In some cases, violators may also be liable for civil damages or criminal prosecution. The Director of Computing and Information Services administers this Policy. Appeals of the Director's decisions can be pursued through the Vice President for Finance and Administration. At the Director's discretion, any suspected violation of this Policy may be referred to the appropriate Senior Staff officer to initiate further disciplinary procedures.

Students, faculty and staff may create personal web pages on the College's web server, but a storage limit may be imposed. Contents of the web page can be of the user's own creation consistent with this Computer Use Policy. The College reserves the right to remove any portion of a web site which does not comply with the Policy.


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Responsible Computer Use Includes the Following:

The specific restrictions listed below are not meant to be exhaustive; general College rules governing responsible behavior also apply. For example, obscene, false or harassing messages sent by computer or posted on a web site are just as unacceptable as obscene, false or harassing messages sent in any other medium, and normal College standards and procedures would apply in such cases.

  1. Respect for Other Users

    A user's computer directories deserve the same consideration as his/her desk drawers. No user may access another user's files without permission, nor does the lack of file protection in itself constitute permission. The same respect should also be shown for other users' printer output. Persons with access to administrative data are obligated to keep it confidential.

    The system of accounts and passwords plays an important role in protecting the work and privacy of all users. You may log in only to your own account (except for extraordinary situations where faculty or staff receive a user's permission to access his or her account temporarily or where use of a group account has been approved by Computing and Information Services or an academic department).

    You may not use or attempt to discover another user's password, either locally or at a remote location.

    You are responsible for all use made of your account, and may not authorize anyone else to use your account (except as mentioned above). You must take all reasonable precautions, including password maintenance and file protection measures, to prevent its unauthorized use.

    Unsolicited mailings to large groups are generally considered a nuisance and are not permitted. Policies are in place for the legitimate use of campus-wide mailing lists. These policies may be found on the IT web site. Other examples of the inappropriate use of email include forging and chain letters.
  2. Respect for System Availability and Integrity

    Many users depend heavily on Bowdoin's computers to complete essential work. You may not damage any central or desktop system or misuse system resources to prevent yourself or others from doing work, nor may you write or run programs (often called "viruses") designed to do so, whether locally or remotely.

    Due to restrictive software licensing agreements, the use of College owned computing equipment and resources is limited to educational purposes and college related professional activities. Bowdoin computing resources and facilities are not to be used for any non-college related commercial purpose, either non-profit or for profit. You may not maintain or use an account after withdrawing or terminating your status at the College, without approval from Computing and Information Services.

    You must observe the specific rules governing the use of public computing facilities that are posted in each lab.

  3. Respect for the Rights of Copyright Holders

    Users must comply with all copyright and other applicable laws. Users should assume that all software, images and documents are protected by copyright unless they know otherwise.

    Software is valuable property and is generally protected under copyright law. You may not copy protected software, including college-owned software, without a license or permission from the copyright holder, whether for your own use or for others. It is the user's responsibility to obtain the necessary license or permission or to determine that it has been obtained. Copying protected software and the use of illegally copied software are offenses subject to civil damages and criminal prosecution. Details about copyright may be found on the Library web site

    Images and documents are valuable property and are generally protected under copyright law. Many images are frequently used in the creation of a web site. You may not copy any photograph, drawing, painting or any other image or document which is protected by copyright without permission of the copyright holder. Photographs used in Bowdoin College publications are protected under the photographer's copyrights. Please check with the Office of Communications or the College Archives prior to the use of any Bowdoin photographs.