Computers have become an essential tool in higher education for instruction, research, and public service. Aurora University is committed to providing a wide range of high-quality computing services to students, faculty, and staff and to support the mission of the University as set out by the governing board. The following policies have been established to ensure the security and integrity of the University's computing resources and the fair and equitable access to those resources by all the members of the University community. These policies apply to all University computers, laboratory, and networked computing systems, as well as personal machines attached to the campus network, and to all hardware, software, data, and telecommunications devices associated with these systems. Failure to abide by these policies may result in the loss of computing privileges, reimbursement of damages, and possible disciplinary action.
- Authorized Use. Access to Aurora University computing resources is available to faculty, staff, and all currently enrolled full-time and part-time students. Access may also be extended to others in support of educational and community service activities in the Aurora University service area. All computer accounts for staff leaving the university and students who do not register in the current term will be removed within 30 days. Students who have completed at least six hours of credit in the last year at Aurora University but are not currently enrolled may continue using their accounts until the end of one additional term. Accounts that have not been accessed for 120 calendar days will be deemed inactive and removed from the system.
- Distribution of Resources. The utility of the University's computing services depends on the balanced distribution of limited resources. All users are expected to assist in the conservation of these resources and to avoid excessive system usage, connect time, and disk storage. Specifically prohibited is the use of the network for recreational activities that place heavy load on scarce resources, the creation or distribution of mass mailings or exceptionally large email messages and other types of use that would cause congestion of the network or otherwise interfere with the work of others.
- Disruptive Activities. Any deliberate attempt to tamper with, disrupt, delay, or endanger the regular operation of the University's computing resources is prohibited. Attempted access of AU servers using unauthorized methods, the creation or propagation of computer worms or viruses, or the distribution of electronic mail or use of software intended to replicate or do damage to another user's account or to University hardware, software or data is considered vandalism and will be treated as such.
- Commercial Activity. The University's computing resources are reserved for instructional purposes and the professional activities of its faculty and staff. The use of these systems for personal business or commercial use, such as the posting of commercial web pages and the distribution of unsolicited advertising, is prohibited.
- Property Rights. All computer programs and files, unless they have been explicitly placed in the public domain by their owners, are private property and may not be copied or distributed without authorization. The users of Aurora University computer resources are subject to applicable laws governing intellectual property and should be aware that the copying, distribution, or use of protected material without proper permission or license is prohibited.
- Privacy. Rights to privacy on the part of members of the Aurora University community extend into the computing environment. Prohibited activities include the following: accessing or attempting to access another user's computer account or files without specific authorization; the deliberate, unauthorized attempt, through misrepresentation or any other mechanism, to access University computers, computer facilities, networks, systems, programs, or data; and the use of University computer resources to gain access to restricted databases. Electronic mail poses unique challenges to the right of privacy: although all users have the right to expect that their electronic mail messages will not be viewed by others, for a variety of reasons this is difficult to ensure, and users are urged to post email messages with the understanding that occasionally their messages may reach readers other than the intended recipients. Users should also be aware that authorized computer administrators may on rare occasions need to access users' accounts for purposes of system maintenance and resource management.
- Harassment and Fraudulent Behavior. The sending of harassing messages or files to or about another person, interfering with the legitimate work of another user, the transmission and display of abusive or obscene messages, and the sending of messages under an assumed name or modified address or with the intent to obscure the origin of the message is a violation of this policy and such activity may also be subject to applicable state and federal laws.
- Freedom of Expression. The free exchange of ideas is central to the educational process. The Aurora University computer use policy supports this principle, with the exception of uses that violate the law, endanger computer resources, violate the policies articulated in this document, or are otherwise determined by University authorities to be inappropriate, unethical, or inconsistent with the educational goals of the university.