Acceptable Use of Technology

The computer network is the property of VIU and is to be used for legitimate purposes only. University resources, including technology resources available to staff, faculty, and students, are not to be used for anything other than their intended purpose. Resources should always be used in ways consistent with furthering the university’s mission of promoting education and research. All users have a responsibility to use VIU’s technology resources and the Internet in a professional, lawful, and ethical manner. Abuse of the computer network or the Internet may result in internal disciplinary action within the university or civil and/or criminal liability.

Computer Use

  • Today’s information technology is a shared resource. Users should respect the needs of others when using computer and network resources. Users should not tamper with facilities and should avoid any actions that interfere with the normal operations of computers, networks, and facilities.
  • Users should avoid excessive use of computer resources. They are finite and others deserve their share.
  • Making university computing resources available to individuals not affiliated with VIU without approval of an authorized university official is strictly prohibited.
  • Intentional waste of human or electronic resources is strictly prohibited.
  • Intentionally disturbing use of electronic networks or information systems is strictly prohibited.
  • No food, drink, gum, or tobacco is permitted in the VIU computer labs. Any food or drink must be left outside the lab in designated areas or concealed in a backpack or other bag while in the lab. Food or drink that is concealed may not be consumed while inside the lab facilities. Any individual found consuming food or drink in the lab may be asked by a faculty, VIU staff, or IT Department staff or student staff to discard the item(s) immediately. Refusing to comply or arguing with university staff will result in suspension of the individual’s lab privileges. Lab users in violation of this policy for the first time will be given verbal and electronic (campus email) warnings. If the same person continues to violate the policy, s/he will receive a second warning and will be charged $25. For the third and future violations, the person will be charged $30.
  • It is strictly prohibited to deface IT facilities and/or to misuse the computing equipment. All individuals are prohibited from taking any action that may cause damage to such property including, but not limited to, moving equipment, unplugging equipment, or breakage by any means. The IT hardware and computer labs are private property of VIU and any damage to IT property as a result of violation of this policy will carry financial penalty equal to the cost of repair or replacement of such property as a consequence for all offenders.

Internet Use

  • The university does not monitor the content of outside web pages and is not responsible for the views expressed by individual users.
  • Web pages that are accessed to an excessive degree can be a drain on computer resources.

Email Use

  • The university does not monitor the content of electronic mail or other online communications and is not responsible for the views expressed by individual users.
  • “Spamming” and similar inappropriate uses of university resources are not acceptable.
  • Sending of electronic chain mail and the inappropriate sending of “broadcast” messages to large numbers of individuals or hosts is also strictly prohibited.
  • The interception or attempted interception of communications by parties not explicitly intended to retrieve them without approval of an authorized university official is strictly prohibited.

Personal Electronic Device Use

  • Employees are not permitted to bring personal computers or data storage devices (such as external hard drives, flash drives*, or other data storage media) to the workplace or to connect them with the university’s electronic property or network unless expressly given written permission to do so by the university.
    * Faculty members are permitted to use this device for instructional purposes in the classroom.
  • Personal cellular devices are permitted in the workplace, but must be kept stored away from the working area/desk during office hours and should only be used in emergency situations.

Software Use

Software piracy is the installation, use, or distribution of unauthorized copies of software, which is protected property under intellectual property laws. Purchased commercial software packages include license agreements that indicate how the software should be used. Pirating software or failure to comply with restrictions in license agreements is illegal and may result in substantial fines for the university. The university has adopted the following computer software policies on the use of computer software.

  • VIU, in purchasing computer software, commits to specific licensing agreements. Misuse or unauthorized uses, including duplication of licensed software for backup or archival purposes or duplication of related documentation may be a violation of United States copyright laws.
  • VIU employees shall use computer software only in accordance with the terms of the licensing agreement. VIU does not condone or support the use of any unauthorized copies of software. All software used by VIU employees to perform their university responsibilities shall be purchased through appropriate procedures.
  • Any employee who makes, acquires, or illegally reproduces software may be subject to civil and criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment. Further, employees who violate this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary actions.

Consequences of Misuse

  • An individual’s computer use privileges may be suspended immediately upon the discovery of a possible violation of any of the above policies. Such suspected violations will be confidentially reported to the appropriate member of management at the university. The appropriate member of management will judge an offense as either major or minor. A first minor offense will normally be dealt with by the IT Department or management after consultation with the user. Additional offenses will be regarded as major offenses and dealt with accordingly. Violations of the policies will be dealt with in the same manner as violations of other university policies and may result in disciplinary review. In such a review, the full range of disciplinary sanctions is available, including the loss of computer use privileges, dismissal from the university, and/or legal action.
  • Systems managers or other individuals within an academic or administrative unit may be empowered to suspend some or all privileges associated with computer use in cases of misuse or threat to the integrity of all or part of the university’s information management resources.
  • Before any permanent action is taken against a user, the user will be advised of the basis for the proposed action and will be given an opportunity to respond. Concerns about such actions may be raised through the usual administrative or academic channels associated with the dean, school, facility, or resource in question.
  • Where a violation of university policies or applicable law appear to warrant action beyond a suspension or elimination of computer privileges, the matter may be referred to a supervisor, administrator, or university disciplinary body with appropriate authority or to law enforcement authorities.
  • Complaints or concerns about another’s use of computer resources should be directed to the administrator responsible for the facility or resource in question.