Computer Access and Usage Policy

The Computer Information Systems Department at Florida A & M University operates and maintains a group of servers, workstations, microcomputers, and associated peripherals in order to promote its instructional, research, and administrative efforts. These machines are joined together into several local area networks which are connected to the FAMU Computing Center and the Internet.
In this policy statement the term "user" refers to any person consuming computer resources in the Department's facilities; the term "Administration" refers to the Department Chair and the administrative and technical staff who are responsible for the management of those computer resources; the term "Department" refers to the Florida A & M University Department of Computer Information Systems.

  1. The Administration accepts no responsibility for any damage or loss of data arising directly or indirectly from any use of these facilities or for any consequential loss or damage.
  2. Although backups are performed to protect data in the event of a hardware or software failure, the Administration makes no warranty that all data can or will be restored, and accepts no responsibility for any damage or loss of data arising directly or indirectly from the absence or failure of system security protection mechanisms.
  3. Because the goals of the Department are primarily educational in nature, computer systems are generally open to perusal and investigation by users, and security controls may be less restrictive than they would be in other environments. The Administration accepts no responsibility for any less of privacy, theft of information, damage, or loss of data arising directly or indirectly from the absence or failure of system security protection mechanisms.
  4. The Administration makes no warranty, express or implied, regarding the computer service offered, or their fitness for any particular purpose.
Access to Department Facilities
  1. The computing facilities of the Department are made available to the faculty, staff, and students of the Department, generally without charge.
  2. Only properly authorized persons may access Department facilities; authorization is provided in the form of a user account. A student must be ready to show a valid FAMU ID card upon request.
  3. A user may not permit any other person, including other authorized users, to access Department computing facilities through his or her account.
User Responsibilities
  1. Each user is required to provide true information concerning University status, major, rank (if staff), and expected graduation or termination date.
  2. Each user is responsible for any and all activity initiated in or on Deportment facilities by his or her account.
  3. Users are responsible for maintaining the security of their password. Passwords should not be kept on-line or placed into any electronic mail message.
  4. Users are responsible for setting proper protection permissions or their own user space. Most printers are placed in public areas; users are responsible for picking up sensitive output in a timely fashion.
  5. Users are responsible for reporting any system security violations, or suspected security violations to the administration immediately.
  6. It is the responsibility of every user to act in such a manner as to not cause physical damage to any of the Department equipment. No food or drink is allowed in the Departmentís computer labs.
  7. Users may not be abusive to others while using the Department facilities, whether it be physical, verbal, electronic, or any other form of abuse.
  8. Users may not intentionally develop or use programs which harass other users of the system. Harassing, obscene or defamatory material may not be sent via electronic mail, posted to electronic bulletin boards, display on Department terminals or be output to printer listings.
  9. Users are responsible for using the Department facilities in a manner that is ethical, legal, and not to the detriment of the others.
  10. Many resources such as disk space, CPU cycles, floating software licenses, login sessions, and printer queues are resources that are shared by all users. No user may monopolize these resources.
  11. Any user who intends to consume an abnormal amount of resources should present a plan to the Administration before embarking on his or her research project.
  12. Department facilities may not be used for any activity that is commercial in nature without first obtaining written permission to do so.
  13. Users may not develop or use programs which:
    1. attempt to bypass the security mechanisms of the system,
    2. steal passwords of data,
    3. are designed to replicate themselves or attach themselves to other programs (commonly called worms and viruses),
    4. are designed to bypass software licensing or copyright restrictions, or
    5. alter the "From" line or other attribution of origin in electronic mail.
Files owned by individual users are not to be read or altered by users without permission of the owner even if the file permissions make it accessible.

System files are generally readable to all users in an educational environment. This read-only access is not to be abused by attempting to harm the systems. Deliberate alteration of system files is vandalism or malicious destruction of University property.

Administration Rights and Responsibilities

In general, the responsibility of the Administration is to keep the computing resources operating and available.
  1. In the normal course of system administration, the Administration may have to examine files, electronic mail, and printer listings to gather sufficient information to diagnose and correct problems with system software, or , with reasonable cause for suspicion, to determine if a user is acting in violation of the policies set forth in this document.
  2. With reasonable cause for suspicion, the Administration has the right to monitor any and all aspects of system activity, including individual login sessions, to determine if a user is acting in violation of policies set forth in this document.
  3. The Administration has the right to implement software that monitors user activity and logs any and all system events.
  4. The Administration has the right to alter the priority or terminate the execution of any process that is consuming excessive system resources or objectionably degrading system response, with or without prior notification.
  5. The Administration has the right to remove or compress disk files that are not related to the Department mission and which are consuming large amounts of disk space, with or without prior notification.
  6. The Administration has the right to terminate login sessions that have been idle for long periods of time, in order to free resources.
  7. The Administration has the responsibility to provide advance notice of system shutdown for maintenance or upgrades so that users may plan around times of system unavailability. However, in the event of emergency, the system administrator reserves the right to shut down a system with little or no advance notification.
Software Copyrights and Licenses

The software use on Department facilities is operated under license agreements with AT&T, Sun Microsystems, and others.
  1. United States copyright and patent laws protect the interests of authors, inventors, and software developers in their products. Software license agreements serve to increase compliance with copyright and patent laws. It is against federal and law and Department policy to violate the copyrights or patents on computer software. It is against Department policy and may be a violation of state or federal law to violate software license agreements.
  2. Software in use on Department facilities, unless it is stored in areas specifically marked as containing copyable software, may not be copied to magnetic tape, hard or floppy disks, or otherwise removed from Department facilities.
Violations, Enforcement, and Penalties

The disposition of situations involving a violation of the policies set forth in this document and penalties that may be imposed for these violations are as described below.
  1. Minor infractions of this policy, when likely accidental in nature, such as poorly chosen passwords, overloading systems, excessive disk space consumption, and so on are typically handled internally by the Administration in an informal manner by electronic mail or in-person discussions. Infractions that are adversely affecting system performance may result in the immediate but temporary loss of Department privileges.
  2. Infractions such as sharing accounts or passwords, harassment, conveying obscene or pornographic materials or repeated minor infractions as described above may result in the temporary or permanent loss or modification of Department access privileges.
  3. More serious infractions, such as unauthorized use, attempts to steal passwords or data, attempts to steal licensed software, violations of University policies, conveying obscene or pornographic materials, or repeated minor violations may result in temporary or permanent loss of Department access privileges. In serious cases, the Department Chair may refer the case to the Dean of Students, the Dean of Faculties, or the vice-president for Administration for appropriate action.
  4. Offenses which are in violation of local, state or federal laws will be reported to the University law enforcement authorities.
Information Provided by the Department of Computer and Information Sciences
Last Updated: October 18, 2003