Policies and Procedures
Bridgewater College
Policies regarding...

Policy #61
Computer Use and File Sharing Policy

Date of Current Revision: Jan 3rd, 2012


General Principles

Access to computer systems and networks owned by Bridgewater College, including information placed on or distributed through these systems and networks, imposes certain responsibilities and obligations on the user and is granted subject to College policies and local, state, and federal laws.  Appropriate use is always ethical, reflects academic honesty, and shows restraint in the consumption of shared resources.  It demonstrates respect for intellectual property, ownership of data, system security mechanisms, and individuals’ rights to privacy and to freedom from intimidation, harassment, and unwarranted annoyance.



In making appropriate use of resources you MUST:

  • revise or remove material found to be in violation of these guidelines
  • assume responsibility for materials on your personal web pages
  • comply with local, state, and federal laws for materials made available on the Internet
  • use copyrighted materials only with the prior approval by the copyright holder
  • use resources only for appropriate purposes, such as, but not limited to, assignments given by instructors, college related work, communication (Inappropriate use is described in the section below)
  • discontinue your use of a College computer for personal or recreational activities if no other resources are available for students to use for class assignments
    • For example, if you are on Facebook and the computer lab is full, you should discontinue your use of a computer so one will be free for students who need to work on class assignments
  • protect your username (user account) from unauthorized use;  you are responsible for all activities under your username
  • use only files and data that are you own, that are publicly available, or to which you have been given authorized access
  • use only legal versions of copyrighted software in compliance with vendor license requirements
  • be considerate in your use of shared resources and refrain from monopolizing systems, overloading networks with excessive data, or wasting computer time, connect time, disk space, printer paper, manuals, or other resources

In making appropriate use of resources you MUST NOT:

  • use another person’s username and password at any time
  • allow another person to use your user account
  • access another person’s files or data without permission
  • use computer programs to decode passwords or access control information
  • attempt to circumvent or subvert system security measures
  • engage in any activity that might be harmful to computers or to any information stored on them, such as creating or propagating viruses, disrupting services, or damaging files
  • use College systems for partisan political purposes, such as using electronic mail to circulate advertising for political candidates
  • make or use illegal copies of copyrighted software or information, store such items on College systems, or transmit them over College networks
  • use College resources to harass, intimidate, or otherwise annoy another person, for example by broadcasting unsolicited messages or sending unwanted mail
  • use College resources to create personal web pages containing 1) pornography or 2) abusive and/or profane language
  • use the College network to access or view pornographic material
  • modify or abuse computing resources, for example, by intentionally placing a program in an endless loop or by printing excessive amounts of paper
  • use the College’s systems for personal gain, for example, by selling access to your user account or by performing work for profit in a manner not authorized by the College
  • engage in any other  activity that does not comply with the General Principles presented above


The College considers any violation of appropriate use principles or guidelines to be a serious offense and reserves the right to copy, examine, and remove any files or information resident on College systems allegedly related to inappropriate use.  Students found in violation of these principles or guidelines may have some or all of their computer usage privileges suspended temporarily or permanently by the Director of Information Technology.  The privilege of presenting material on the College web site can be revoked, with or without cause, at the College’s discretion.  Web pages found in non-compliance may be removed immediately by the Web Manager upon failure to revise web pages and conform to these guidelines.


Violators are also subject to disciplinary action or other sanctions as prescribed in the Eagle, the Employee Handbook and the Faculty Handbook.  Offenders may also be prosecuted under laws including (but not limited to) the Privacy Protection Act of 1974, The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, The Computer Virus Eradication Act of 1989, the Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property, The Virginia Computer Crimes Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and the Telecommunications Act of 1996.


Resources include, but are not limited to, terminals, laptop computers, workstations, printers and other computer systems.


Access to Files on College Information Systems by System Administrators

College policy allow system administrators to view any files, including e-mail messages, in the course of an investigation under the following circumstances:  When necessary to identify or diagnose systems or security vulnerabilities and problems, or otherwise preserve the integrity of the IT systems; when required by federal, state, or local law or administrative rules; when there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of law or a breach of College policy may have taken place and access and inspection or monitoring may produce evidence related to the misconduct; when such access to IT Systems is required to carry out essential business functions of the College; or when required to preserve public health and safety.  System administrators have as part of their jobs the authorization to do this and to treat any information on the system as confidential.  A student is responsible for maintaining integrity of his or her computer files, computer printouts, and computer accounts.  Computer files and passwords to computer accounts must remain confidential.  Printouts from the computer must be collected promptly and kept private.  They must not be left in computer labs or anywhere else where they might be seen or picked up by other students.