UW Oshkosh - Acceptable Use Policy

This document will provide the policy for proper computing on campus.

GEN 1.3.(1). Acceptable Use of Computing Resources Policy 

PDF version of the guide for proper computing on campusAcceptable Use Policy

The University values openness and promotes access to a wide range of information. Campus information systems have been designed to be as open as possible, and as such the University insists on responsible use of these systems.

The use of computers, electronic information and computer networks is essential for research, instruction and administration within the academic community. Because the electronic environment is easily disrupted and electronic information is readily reproduced, respect for the work and rights of others is especially important.

Users of the University's facilities are expected to adhere to this policy and, by accessing the system, the user agrees to comply with and be subject to this policy. These policy statements are intended to augment, not supersede, any additional contractual agreements of conduct or confidentiality to which a user may be subject. The University reserves the right to amend this policy at any time with or without notice. Questions or comments regarding this document should be addressed to the Director of Information Systems and Technologies.

User Responsibilities

Access to University computing and networking resources is a privilege which is available to all members of the academic community. Certain responsibilities accompany that privilege. Understanding them is important for all computer users. The framework of responsible, considerate, and ethical behavior expected by the University extends to coverage of the use of all campus computers, campus network resources, and networks throughout the world to which the University provides computer access. The user is responsible for the correct use of the tools each computer system provides for maintaining the security of stored information. A summary of the security procedures relevant to this end is given below:
  • Computer accounts, passwords, lab access cards, and other types of authorization are assigned to individual users and should not be shared with others unless specifically authorized by proper University officials. The person to whom an authorization is assigned will be held accountable for any activity originating from that account.
  • The user should select an obscure password and change it frequently.
  • The user should seek to understand the level of protection each computer system automatically applies to files and supplement that protection, if necessary, for sensitive information.
  • It is incumbent upon every user to adhere to security policies and procedures and to call to the attention of Information Systems and Technologies those whom they feel are violating these procedures. Every effort will be made to ensure total anonymity.
  • If a user should encounter or observe a flaw in system or network security, this discrepancy must be reported to Information Systems and Technologies. Individuals must refrain from exploiting any such lapse in security.
  • The computer user should be aware of computer viruses and other destructive computer programs, and take steps to avoid being either their victim or propagator.


In general, information stored on computers is considered confidential, whether protected by the computer system or not, unless the owner intentionally makes that information available to other groups or individuals. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh takes the position that computer users wish the information they store on central and campus shared computing resources to remain confidential.

Users should be aware that data (including e-mail) may, due to software or hardware failure, become accessible to those who are not explicitly authorized for that access. Systems management personnel may also on occasion have access to such data while performing routine operations or pursuing apparent systems or user problems. Systems personnel are required to report apparent improper or illegal activities so discovered. No guarantee of complete privacy is made or implied by this policy.

Requests for the disclosure of confidential information will be governed by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and the Wisconsin Open Records Statutes (Chapter 19, ss. 19.31 ‑ 19.39, Laws of 1992). All such requests will be honored only when approved by University officials who are the legal custodians of the information requested, or when required by state or federal law, or court order. Users found to be copying, modifying, or otherwise accessing information for which they have not been granted permission will be liable to disciplinary action.

The University also reserves the right to access, monitor, and/or appropriate an individual’s workstation or user account(s) for content when there are urgent and compelling circumstances such as the following:
  • a court order
  • a request for discovery in the course of litigation
  • a public record request for files which are deemed public records under public records laws
  • investigating University policy violations or illegal activities
  • sudden death or incapacity of the employee
Supervisors must report urgent/compelling circumstances that warrant exceptional actions through their Director, Assistant/Associate Vice Chancellor, or Dean to their Division Vice Chancellor. The Division Vice Chancellor will consult with the Director of Human Resources and the Chief Information Officer to determine an appropriate and feasible course of action. If the course of action involves accessing, monitoring, or appropriating an individual’s workstation or use account(s), a good faith effort will be made to inform the individual unless the University is bound by legal authority not to inform the individual.

Inappropriate Usage

Users must be sensitive to the public nature of shared facilities. Behavior reflects both upon the individual and the University. Computing and networking resources should be used only in accordance with this policy. Any intentional behavior with respect to the electronic environment that interferes with the missions or activities of the University or members of the University community will be regarded as unethical and may lead to disciplinary action under standard University rules for misconduct and existing judicial, disciplinary or personnel processes. The University complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998). The University may terminate network access or take other disciplinary measures deemed appropriate against those who repeatedly infringe the copyright of others. Examples of inappropriate and unacceptable use of computing and networking resources include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Destruction of, unauthorized removal of, or damage to equipment, software, or data belonging to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh or other users.
  • Disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications. Tampering, modification, or additions to network software, hardware, or wiring.
  • Generation of excessive network traffic exceeding levels which create errors or performance problems for all users. Applications or computer hardware found to cause such problems may be moved to a different location or removed from the network, at the discretion of the network management staff.
  • Willful violations of computer system security.
  • Use of e-mail or messaging services to harass, intimidate, or otherwise annoy another person, for example, by broadcasting unsolicited messages or sending unwanted mail. Some mass mailings may be authorized by appropriate University authority. This would also apply to material originating from this campus but sent to other sites or persons on the Internet.
  • Use of computer accounts, access codes, or network identification numbers other than those assigned to you. Disguising or falsifying sources of electronic mail and other electronic communications with the intent of misleading, defrauding, or harassing others.
  • Use of computer and/or network facilities in ways that impede the computing activities of others (for example, randomly initiating interactive electronic communications or e‑mail exchanges, overuse of interactive network utilities, playing games on shared resources, or the overuse of network‑accessible discussion lists or file-transfer sites).
  • Setting up network servers or network services (such as naming and/or address servers, Web servers, dial-in access, file servers, etc.) without the prior authorization of the network management staff. Unauthorized activity of this type may be detrimental to the overall operation of the network and is not allowed.
  • Intentionally creating, displaying, printing or transmitting information which violates the University's sexual harassment policy.
  • Use of computing facilities for financial gain or commercial purposes unrelated to the mission of the University.
  • Violation of software copyrights and usage licensing agreements. Violation of other copyrighted items such as icons, images, music, programs, text, etc.
  • Failure to properly attribute legitimately copied material.
  • Violation of the usage policies and regulations of the networks of which the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is a member or has authority to use.
  • Academic dishonesty (for example, plagiarism or cheating).(4)

Sanction and Appeal Process

Violation of the policies described herein for use of computing resources will be dealt with seriously. Violators are subject to disciplinary procedures of the University, may lose computing privileges or account and network access, and may also be subject to prosecution by state and federal authorities under laws including, but not limited to: The Privacy and Protection Act of 1974; Wisconsin Statutes 1992-93, (41st Edition) (Chapter 19, Public Records and Property, ss. 19.31 -19.39; Chapter 939, Crimes - General Provisions, ss. 939.32(2), 939.50(3), 939.51(3), 939.66(4), 939.72(3); Chapter 943,Crimes Against Property, ss. 943.70); The Wisconsin Computer Crimes Act; The 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act; The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1989. The sanction and appeal process will vary, depending upon the classification of the offender within the University community. Suggested courses of action are described by, but are not limited to:
  • Student - Wisconsin Administrative Code, Section UWS 14 and UWS 17. These regulations are also maintained in a separate document entitled Student Discipline Code, which is available in the Dean of Student's Office.
  • Classified Staff - Administered by the Human Resources Office, pursuant to the current University of Wisconsin System Classified Employees Work Rules; Chapter 230.34(1) of Wisconsin Statutes; Section Pers 24 of Wisconsin Administrative Code; and existing collective bargaining agreements.
  • Academic Staff / Faculty - The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook and specific departmental procedures, as warranted.
  • Other - Subject to the procedures of the organization or group with which they are affiliated, revocation of computing privileges, and possible state and federal prosecution.

Policies and Procedures for Publicly Accessible Web Presence

Purpose of the University Website
A university’s web presence plays a critical role in the success of the institution. Its primary purpose is to support the multifaceted educational mission of the University. It is also a recruiting tool for students, faculty and staff, often serving as their first impression of UW Oshkosh. The website is a vehicle to build and maintain relationships with the community, alumni, businesses, and other educational institutions. It also plays a critical role in the daily lives of all students, faculty and staff on campus.

Scope of Policy
This policy applies to all information on UW Oshkosh servers, regardless of the server on which it resides, to all individuals, committees or institutional units publishing information on University web servers, and to social media and mobile platforms. Activity and information posted on the web needs to conform to policies, guidelines and regulations of the University regardless of funding sources.

This document refers to multiple types of information the University routinely houses on its web servers and presents policies and procedures to best distribute each of these types of information to users.
  • Publicly accessible websites: All websites on the uwosh.edu domain that are accessible to the general public and not protected by a password.
  • Unofficial: Information posted on University web servers by faculty, staff or students that is not in support of teaching, academic research or administration.
  • Social media platforms: Information posted on externally-hosted websites on behalf of officially recognized academic or administrative units, programs and departments describing and supporting UW Oshkosh policies, programs, units and services.
  • Mobile platforms: Information posted on University servers designed for mobile device access by officially recognized academic or administrative units, programs and departments describing and supporting UW Oshkosh policies, programs, units and services.
  • Web Advisory Group: An advisory group charged by the Office of the Chancellor, and co-chaired by the Office of the Provost and the University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Office. The advisory group is comprised of members from Information Technology (2), Student Affairs (1), Admissions (1), Career Services (1), Division of Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement (1), Administrative Services (1), Library (1), Residence Life (1), Faculty (4), Instructional Academic Staff (1), Students (1), and an external member of the local community. This cross-divisional group is responsible for advising on the strategy and implementation of the campus website vision and providing support and guidance to the groups responsible for the continued delivery of outcomes and associated benefits of the University web presence. As such, the Web Advisory group is available for resolving issues that may arise and making recommendations regarding exceptions and special circumstances to the campus branding standards.
  • Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate: A decision-making body that reviews matters related to academic freedom and academic content.
Guiding Documents and Policies
As a general principle, the web offers the same freedoms and restrictions that apply in the offline environment. Academic freedom exists on the web just as in faculty research and the classroom. Academic freedom must be respected in all cases that do not conflict with legal and/or system guidelines. Established University policies regarding defamation, hate speech and other restrictions apply equally to the web.

All web accounts must comply with the UW System policies, Wisconsin laws and federal laws as cited below. The full text of these documents is available in the Forrest R. Polk Library.
  1. Ethical standards of conduct for the appropriate use of one's University position and University resources are established for faculty and academic staff in Chapter US 8, Wisconsin Administrative Code, and for classified staff in Chapter Per 24, Wisconsin Administrative Code.

  2. Chapters US 14 and 17, Wisconsin Administrative Code, establish standards and disciplinary processes relating to academic and nonacademic misconduct by students, including prohibitions on disruption of University activities, damage to University facilities, harassment and similar matters.

  3. Chapter US 18, Wisconsin Administrative Code, governs conduct on University lands and applies to all members of the University community. Chapter US 21, Wisconsin Administrative Code regulates the use of University facilities.

  4. Section 943.70, Wisconsin Statutes, defines and prohibits certain computer crimes.

  5. Chapter 11, Wisconsin Statutes, restricts the use of state facilities for political activities by state employees.

  6. Title 17, U.S. Code, contains the federal copyright law that applies to materials published or circulated through the use of computing resources. Web authors must take care not to incorporate copyrighted designs or materials without permission from the copyright owner, or outside the confines of fair use as defined in Title 17. For clarification, review the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

  7. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act restrict access to personally identifiable information from students’ education records.
Efforts should be made to keep the content on University websites current and accurate. All official and publicly accessible sites need to conform to UW Oshkosh design standards as outlined in the University brand guidelines available at http://www.uwosh.edu/go/brand. The University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Office, when deemed appropriate, can grant deviation from University web design standards.

Official information posted on the web requires the same scrupulous attention as information published in print. If the online document is not considered to be the official version, there should be an explicit disclaimer to inform users and a referring link to the official version of the text so that users may follow up with the appropriate source if so desired.

Production and Support of University Websites
The University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Office is responsible for design and oversight of UW Oshkosh’s publically accessible websites, social media platforms and mobile platforms, based upon the advice of the University Web Advisory Group. The IMC office is available for collaboration and assistance with content production and web publishing. The office can also serve as a campus consultant in the use of new technologies and innovations in the area of web and new media. This department works with Information Technology, academic departments and administrative offices to ensure the availability and professional presentation of information on the web in accordance with the University Web Policy. Members of Information Technology are available for consultation on the usage of web and new media for business processes, infrastructure and instruction in accordance with our University Web Policy.

All individuals, departments and organizations interested in contracting with a web developer not affiliated with UW Oshkosh need to first offer their work to the University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Office for consideration. An outside arrangement might be appropriate if the work cannot be done in a timely manner on campus or if it involves technologies beyond those available to the University. Any work offered to outside web developers should be in accordance with state procurement rules. If the work is to be bid off-campus, the University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Office will play an active role in the communications with the off-campus developer. This will ensure that the off-campus developer abides by all campus web policies, that quality is maintained, and that the work is done in such a manner that ongoing support can be provided on campus.

Levels of Review
  • Federal / State / UW System Regulations
  • The University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Office does not actively pre-screen or review content posted to existing websites or social media and mobile platforms, but when concerns are brought to its attention, it will, after consultation with University administration and/or UW System legal staff, enforce the policies and procedures stated in this document. Pages or content that do not meet the legal requirements of federal and/or state regulations will be removed from the web server until they comply with government regulations. In all cases, the site owner will be notified, and whenever possible, the site owner will be contacted prior to content removal. Campus Guidelines
In cases where pages do not meet campus policy or guidelines, the University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Office will contact site owners and will assist in resolution, negotiation of exceptions or compliance.
  • The Web Advisory Group is available to discuss any concerns with policy and guidelines and can advise the Integrated Marketing and Communications Office to consider requests for exceptions. To request an exception, a detailed email should be sent to webrequest@uwosh.edu and the request will be added to the next Web Advisory Group meeting agenda. These are scheduled 4-6 times per calendar year. In cases where timing is critical, a special meeting of the Web Advisory Group can be scheduled. In all cases, the requester is invited to discuss the request with the Web Advisory Group. Academic Content
If cases involve questions regarding academic freedom and/or academic content, the Web Advisory Group will refer the matter to the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate for a final decision.
  • Summary
Those who need assistance in complying should contact the University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Office.

If further resolution is needed related to any web page, an official appeal can be submitted to the Vice Chancellors through the Office of the Provost.

Web Accessibility
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is committed to providing equal access to its websites and web-based information for all users. This includes persons with disabilities who are accessing the web through specific software/hardware.

Each University unit is responsible for coordinating and achieving compliance with this policy for both the unit-wide pages and those pages created by or for individuals in the unit. This also includes ensuring that any web-based product from a vendor also meets minimum accessibility. The University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Office or Office of Information Technology may grant exceptions to this policy when compliance is not possible or requires extraordinary measures.

UW Oshkosh endorses Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (PL 93-112 Sec. 504, 29 USC 794) and the World Wide Web Consortium (www.w3c.org) guidelines as the standard for web accessibility in compliance with the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (PL 105-394, 29 USC 3001), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (PL 101-336, 42 USC 1201). All University should be in compliance with Section 508 (http://www.section508.gov ).

Web authors are responsible for understanding and observing these and all other applicable policies, regulations and laws in connection with their use of the University's web technology.

Commercial Use and Advertising on a Campus Website
For the complete policy, please see the University of Wisconsin System Policy on Advertising, Sponsorship and Links at http://www.uwsa.edu/fadmin/gapp/gapp43.htm.

  • Advertising is defined as any advertisement, signage, label, packaging, imprint, logo, sales promotion activity or device, public relations material or events, merchandising or other activity, or communication that has the obvious intent of promoting or marketing a non-University product, service, event or organization.

  • Sponsorship is non-University underwriting of a specific University event, publication or special activity (such as a scholarship fund drive) that represents the equivalent of a gift-in-kind or a gift of money insofar as the non-University sponsor provides or pays for promotion, materials, awards, and/or other items or services of value related to the specific event, publication or special activity. Sponsorship or acknowledgments of sponsorship are not advertising as defined in this policy.
University faculty, staff and students may not use a campus website for personal gain. Personal gain, as defined by UW System in Chapter US18, Wisconsin Administrative Code, includes using his or her public position or state property for money, gifts in kind, equity or anything of value to the recipient.

Advertising is a clear call to action. Advertising is a transaction in which a commercial enterprise purchases the opportunity to reach a target audience with their message using University media. Advertising on a university web page is not permitted. It is permissible to offer a simple text link to commercial websites. Acknowledgment of sponsorship also is permitted within the limits set forth by UW System policy. Non-University advertising is prohibited except where the chancellor or his or her designee has determined that special circumstances exist that warrant granting an exception to the general prohibition on advertising.

Sponsorship will be limited to: the name of the sponsor, the purpose to which the sponsorship was directed, the sponsor’s location geographically and on the Web, non-comparative or value-neutral descriptions of the products or services, a sponsor’s institutional goals or a public service message, a sponsor’s brand or trade names including depiction of the same, a sponsor’s bona fide text or visual logo, the length of time the sponsor has been in business or the date its business commenced, and the sponsor’s telephone number. For additional information, please refer to the UW System Policy on Advertising, Sponsorship and Links on the Web.

Appendix A

Obtaining a Website (site, account)
Access to University computing and networking resources is available to all members of the University community. Certain responsibilities accompany that privilege.

A department or organization must request a website by completing the online request form available at http://www.uwosh.edu/web. By completing the request form, you are agreeing that the department/organization accepts responsibility for the content and upkeep of the web page(s) within the context of the campus web policies and procedures as well as University brand guidelines available at http://www.uwosh.edu/go/brand. Those requesting a website must identify a contact person in the unit who is authorized to maintain the site.

All departmental, unit and recognized student organizational websites must be housed on the University web server(s) and must use the uwosh.edu domain.

The Integrated Marketing and Communications Office works collaboratively with campus units and departments on websites, and in some cases, content development. During site development, the Integrated Marketing and Communications Office can negotiate deviations from guidelines when appropriate. In the case where a unit or department does not work with the Integrated Marketing and Communications Office, all new University of Wisconsin Oshkosh websites must be reviewed and approved by the department responsible for that website prior to submission to the Integrated Marketing and Communications Office for final review and publishing.

Steps for Submitting:
  1. Submitter should have the website completed and ready for final review.

  2. Once the page adheres to this policy, submitter should send an e-mail message to brandreview@uwosh.edu requesting that the site be reviewed. At this time, a department representative may request policy or guideline exceptions or to be added to the agenda of the Web Advisory Group.

  3. The University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Office will review the site for compliance with this policy and University brand guidelines. The brand review process is explained at http://www.uwosh.edu/imc/go/brandreview. At this point, the Integrated Marketing and Communications Office will collaborate with the department on any requests for policy deviation or will assist with changes needed for compliance. Upon approval from both the department and the Integrated Marketing and Communications Office, the submitter will then receive notification that the website is live or what needs to occur before the site is approved.

  4. For questions related to matters of academic freedom, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate will make a final decision.
Other Servers
Approval from the Information Technology Division is required for units and departments to set up their own web servers. Those units and departments interested in setting up web servers should contact the Director of Academic Computing. The UW Oshkosh home page will maintain links to official pages only.

Disk Space
Standard amounts of disk space will be allocated to official pages. Units and departments requiring large amounts of disk space may be required to purchase their own web server.

Hosted Web Services
Faculty and staff may serve as host web service providers for affiliated professional organizations. However, hosting academic support information and unofficial information on websites is subject to maintenance and server capacity parameters.

If you need further assistance please contact the Information Technology Help Desk at 920-424-3020 or helpdesk@uwosh.edu

Keywords:"proper computing" , "computer rules" , "computer law" , "what are the rules for campus computers"   Doc ID:55330
Owner:Tou X.Group:UW Oshkosh
Created:2015-08-18 10:15 CDTUpdated:2015-08-20 08:00 CDT
Sites:UW Oshkosh
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