Information Technology Policies

1. Introduction

Bowdoin places a strong emphasis on integrating technology into your academic and social experience. Upon arrival, students have access to the latest tools, informed consultants, and focused training to take full advantage of Bowdoin’s technical resources.

Remember that many of your classmates may already know the answer to your questions. Ask them first, it is a great way to get to know someone. If you still have questions, Bowdoin’s Service Desk is available with extended hours throughout the week.

The Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer (SVP/CIO) leads an Information Technology (IT) Division that engages faculty and students to incorporate technology into their teaching, learning, research, and life. From classrooms to dorm rooms, access to technology is everywhere. Resources available to students include e-mail accounts; wireless Internet access everywhere on campus; network storage; video conferencing capability; streaming cable television; network based (VoIP) telephone systems; and voice mail.  IT also provides a full-time Staff and Student Service Desk that supports Macintosh, Windows, and Linux computers.  Additionally, IT is able to offer a number of site-licensed software such as the Adobe Suite, Microsoft Office Professional, ESRI’s ArcGIS, and other specialized academic and administrative applications.

Other services that IT provides include technical, design, editorial, and project management consulting. IT is constantly exploring technology trends while also adopting the best solutions in business and higher education to deliver easily accessible, cost effective, secure, stable technology services over one of the fastest campus-wide gigabit networks in the nation.

In addition to academic department computer labs, there are public labs and more than two hundred publicly available computers and twenty public print stations scattered around the campus.

The purpose of this policy is to define acceptable use of the College’s technology resources. This document also details College policy regarding privacy, personal use, security, and data storage, and outlines associated compliance requirements and enforcement procedures.

This policy establishes a common understanding between Bowdoin College and users of College technology resources. As a condition of using Bowdoin’s technology solutions, all clients, including guests, must agree to abide by the terms of this policy.

2. Scope

This policy governs the use of all technology resources owned, operated, or contracted by Bowdoin College. These include, but are not limited to, network infrastructure, servers, desktop workstations, peripherals, remote access resources, public and departmental computer labs, databases and software applications, and telecommunications systems.

The College’s technology resources are provided for the use of authorized College community members. College community members encompass College staff, faculty, students with official standing, alumni, and others associated with Bowdoin who have credentials to access the College’s technology resources. Guests using Bowdoin’s technology resources are also subject to this policy.

Visitors to the College’s websites should refer to the College’s website Terms and Conditions of Use Policy and Website Privacy Policy.

3. Policies

NOTE: Specific policies and examples listed below are not exhaustive; general College rules governing deportment and responsible behavior also apply. For example, obscene, false, or harassing messages are just as unacceptable when sent by e-mail as they are when expressed by other means.

3.1. Responsible Use

While using Bowdoin College’s technology resources, CLIENTS MUST:

Abide by all local, state, and federal laws and regulations, including those related to the Internet, electronic communications or commerce, copyright, trademark, and intellectual property.

  • Adhere to all College policies.
  • Keep confidential data restricted by not disclosing such data to any unauthorized person. 
  • Use campus electronic mailing lists appropriately. 
  • Observe the specific rules governing the use of public or departmental computing labs. 

While using Bowdoin College’s information systems, CLIENTS SHALL NOT:

  • Intentionally interfere with or cause disruptions to the normal, proper, and expected operation of Bowdoin’s technology systems.
  • Tamper with or disable security systems implemented by the College.
  • Use College technology resources for any commercial purpose unrelated to official College business.
  • Send unsolicited bulk e-mail, such as “spam.”
  • Use shared network resources assigned to another user or group of users, without their authorization. For example, sending print jobs to another user’s printer—without that user’s approval—is prohibited.
  • Access data that the user is not authorized to access or access another user’s files or data without permission (except for administrative purposes as specified below in Section 3.2).
  • Damage or disable any College-owned hardware components, software, or computing facilities.
  • Knowingly run applications that contain computer viruses, worms, or other potentially destructive applications or hardware.
  • Use “backdoor” or other programs or devices to penetrate the College’s firewall, servers, or any other network perimeter security measures or devices.
  • Maintain or use an account after withdrawing from the College as a student or terminating employment with the College except as permitted by the Chief Information Officer.
  • Engage in any illegal or criminal activity, such as downloading child pornography, involving the College’s technology systems.

3.2. Privacy

While the College values and respects the privacy of its staff, faculty, students, and other users, the intrinsic nature of electronic records places limits on the extent to which the College can guarantee a user’s privacy. Despite security protocols, communications over the Internet—and across the College’s local campus network—can be vulnerable to interception and alteration. Consequently, the College cannot assure that absolute privacy can be maintained for data that reside on the College network or on storage media.

Out of respect for personal privacy, the College does not routinely examine the contents of data or files in user accounts. However, the College does not exist in isolation from other communities and jurisdictions and their laws. Under some circumstances, as a result of investigations, subpoena, or a legal matter, the College may be required by law to provide electronic or other records or other information related to those records or relating to use of information resources (“information records”). The College may, in its reasonable discretion, review information records (i.e. for the proper functioning of the College or for internal investigations). In such cases, authorized personnel may examine a user’s data without notice. Authorized personnel are those specifically entrusted and approved to conduct such examinations by Human Resources and/or the SVP/CIO.

Some data are subject to strict access restrictions, such as library patron records and data protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The Library, the Office of the Registrar, and other departments that administer confidential data may enforce more stringent access policies.

3.3. Personal Use

Personal use is defined as the non-academic, non-administrative use of Bowdoin’s technology systems. Such use is solely discretionary; it neither serves an essential employment function nor is it related to academic discourse. Data that result from personal use are “personal data.”

Personal use of Bowdoin’s technology resources is secondary to performing essential College functions using such resources. If personal use of College technology resources interferes with or causes disruptions to the essential functions of the College performed by IT, then authorized personnel (as defined in Section 3.2 above) may curtail such use.

3.4. Passwords and User IDs

The system of accounts, passwords, and user IDs plays an important role in protecting the files and privacy of all users. Because users are responsible for all use made of their account, users must take exceptional care to prevent unauthorized use of their account. This includes changing passwords regularly and disabling “automatic” log-ins.

In most cases, it is inappropriate—and perhaps dangerous—to allow another person to use another user’s network credentials or e-mail account. In some cases, a user’s data are vulnerable to alteration or deletion. In others, the veracity of a user’s credentials could be compromised. Alternatively, if criminal activity can be traced to a user’s account, the person to whom the account is assigned will likely be held accountable. The College, therefore, reserves the right to restrict or prohibit password sharing.

In addition, the College reserves the right to implement and enforce password maintenance procedures, including detecting and disabling “weak” passwords and implementing password “aging” mechanisms. Weak passwords are those that may be easily “cracked,” guessed, or discovered, such as a user’s birth date or name. Password aging refers to a process that requires users to change passwords at predetermined intervals.

3.5. Data Storage and Back-ups

The College maintains a centralized repository of data stored in user accounts on the College network. This includes all the data that a client creates and saves on the College’s network storage devices. It also includes saved e-mail messages, attachments, files, and folders. Some departments, also maintain data back-ups.

The College reserves the right to restrict the amount of network storage available for clients. This includes the prerogative to impose quotas on the number and/or size of stored files. The SVP/CIO regulates the availability of central network storage to which each user is entitled. Departments that maintain independent back-ups, may also regulate storage capacities for data under their purview.

Data files are routinely backed up on a daily, weekly, monthly, and/or yearly basis. These back-ups facilitate the restoration of College data that have been lost, altered, or damaged. The College will not routinely retrieve backed-up personal data (as defined in Section 3.3 above). Users, therefore, are encouraged to maintain independent back-ups of their important personal data, including e-mail messages. Bowdoin College disclaims any responsibility for maintaining or providing access to backups of a user’s personal data.

For data backed up by the IT department, retrieval or restoration is at the discretion of the CIO. For data backed up by other departments, retrieval or restoration is at the discretion of the administrator responsible for that department.

3.6. Security

The College implements appropriate “industry-standard” practices concerning the security of the College’s technology resources. These methods are designed to protect against unauthorized access, intrusion, or damage to the availability, access, or integrity of the College’s technology systems. However, due primarily to the nature of security threats and the remote possibility of a breach of security, the College warrants neither a user’s privacy nor the integrity of data stored on the College network.

3.7. Copyright, Trademark, and Domain Names

Users must comply with all copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property laws. In general, permission is necessary for a user to reproduce materials, such as video, music, images, or text. To “reproduce” in this context includes downloading and saving a digital copy to a hard drive, floppy, or other storage media. Photocopying copyrighted materials without authorization is also prohibited. Certain exceptions apply, such as “Fair Use.”

In addition, users must generally obtain permission from the copyright owner to prepare derivative works, including modifying existing works. Copyright law also prohibits the distribution, display, or performance of works created by another without a proper release.

The College possesses trademark rights in certain symbols and phrases such as images of the Bowdoin Polar Bear and the Bowdoin Sun. The words “Bowdoin” and “Bowdoin College” are also College trademarks. Unauthorized use of these trademarks is not permitted.

Additionally, the College owns certain Internet domain names. These include “,” “,” “,” and others. Registration of domain names incorporating or referencing College trademarks is prohibited without the approval of the senior vice president for finance and treasurer. The College, at the discretion of the senior vice president for finance and treasurer, may acquire other domain names.

3.8. Web Pages

College departments, organizations, or other individuals associated with the College, such as grant recipients, may create Web pages and store these files on College network servers. Additionally, faculty, staff, and students may create and post personal Web pages on the College Web site. To help ensure the security and the functionality of College Web servers, the College may impose a quota on file size, prescribe file types, or determine other limiting factors.

In general, the College does not control the content of personal Web pages created by faculty, staff, or student authors. Web content, however, must adhere to College policy and applicable laws, especially regarding harassment, sexual misconduct, and copyright. The College reserves the right to remove or disable noncompliant Web sites, Web pages, or any portion of a Web site posted on College Web servers.

3.9. Compliance and Enforcement

All users of the College’s technology resources must abide by this policy. Users not wishing to agree to and comply with this policy will be denied use of or access to Bowdoin’s technology resources.

The SVP/CIO is responsible for the interpretation and enforcement of this policy. He may also grant written exceptions to specific clauses of this policy. Appeals of the SVP/CIO’s determinations may be addressed to the senior vice president for administration and treasurer.

College community users who intentionally violate this policy are subject to disciplinary action by the College consistent with established College due process. At the discretion of the SVP/CIO, alleged violations of this policy may be referred to the appropriate senior staff manager or College disciplinary body, such as the Judicial Board, the Sexual Misconduct Board, the Bias Incident Group, or others. In addition, the director of human resources may conduct an investigation regarding the alleged infraction. Violators may also be liable for civil damages and/or criminal prosecution, if applicable.

Guest users of publicly available College technology resources are also subject to the terms of this policy. While explicit acceptance of this policy is not required for guests to access these limited technology resources, guests are accountable for their actions while using College technology resources. Guests who violate this policy will be asked to cease use and may be barred from further access. If a guest user violates federal, state, or local law while using College technology resources, the SVP/CIO may report this activity to the appropriate governmental enforcement agency.

3.10. Dissemination and Revisions
This policy is posted on the College website. Notice of changes to this policy will be sent by e-mail to all affected College community members.

The SVP/CIO is responsible for maintaining and administering this policy, including revising it when necessary. Bowdoin College reserves the right to amend or revise this policy at any time without prior notice to users.

The most recent version of the policy will be the version in effect. Changes to this policy are effective upon posting to the IT Web site.

4. Limitation of Liability and Indemnification

Bowdoin College is not responsible for the actions of individual users of the College’s technology resources. In no event will the College be liable to any user for damages suffered by a user as a result of his/her use of the College’s technology resources, or as a result of the unavailability, malfunction, or misuse of the College’s technology resources.

Each user hereby agrees to indemnify and hold Bowdoin College harmless from and against any and all claims, demands, liabilities, costs, and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, arising out of or resulting from any violation by the user of the terms of this Technology Use Policy.

5. Related Policies

Information Technology Policies

As members of the Bowdoin College community, students are subject to the Computer and Network Use Policy located on Information Technology’s website. 

6. Contact Information

For additional information regarding this policy, please contact:

Michael Cato
Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer
16 Station Avenue, Suite 201 – 226
Brunswick, ME 04011