Wilfrid Laurier University Undergraduate Academic Calendar - 2005/2006
Canadian Excellence

Policy Governing the Use of Information Technology

I. General

This policy is presented to provide guidance and assistance to all members of the Wilfrid Laurier University community who provide and use information technology in the conduct of study, research, teaching and administration. It is based on the premise that all members of the WLU community act in a responsible and professional way.

University information technology facilities include computing devices and associated peripherals, portable computers, communications infrastructure and related equipment, facsimile machines, scanners, copiers, telephones, video and other multimedia devices and all forms of software. Such resources and tools are made available to faculty and staff in support of their teaching, research and administrative activities and to students in support of their respective academic objectives and requirements. Their use is circumscribed by this policy, the Code of Student Conduct and Discipline, the Harassment/Discrimination Policy, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Copyright Act of Canada, the Criminal Code of Canada, and other applicable legislation.

II. Principles

  1. The hardware and licensed software available at WLU are intended for use by the Laurier community. Use of these resources by anyone outside WLU requires approval from the Office of the Director of Information Technology. Users shall not disclose confidential passwords, access codes, account numbers or other authorization assigned to them.
  2. Users of information technology are expected to use the systems in a manner that preserves the privacy of others. Users shall not attempt to gain access to the files or directories of another user without clear authorization from the other user. Users shall not attempt to intercept any network communications, such as electronic mail or user-to-user dialogue.
    Users must not attempt unauthorized access or otherwise interfere with computing and communication installations external to Wilfrid Laurier University using Wilfrid Laurier University computing or communication facilities.
  3. Activities engaged in by users with the intention of interfering with or altering the integrity of computing or communication systems at WLU are unacceptable. Such activities include unauthorized use of accounts, impersonating other individuals in communications, attempts to capture or decode passwords or encryption, and destruction or alteration of data or programs belonging to other users. The wilful introduction of computer viruses into the WLU computing environment or other environments via the WLU network is unacceptable. The intention to restrict or deny access by legitimate users to the system is unacceptable.
  4. Damage, destruction or theft of hardware, software, data or related equipment is unacceptable.
  5. Users must not attempt to access or copy the programs and information belonging to or licensed to Wilfrid Laurier University or to other users unless they have proper authorization to do so. Programs and data may not be moved from one computing system to another without permission. Users are reminded that this applies equally to both microcomputer and mainframe software. The terms and conditions in software licenses vary considerably. The onus is on users/owners to familiarize themselves with their responsibilities and abide by limitations under each agreement.
  6. Users must use computing and communication facilities and services only for the purposes for which they were authorized. Specifically, instructional, research and administrative accounts must not be used for private consulting or sold to other individuals; use of any part of the computing facility for direct personal financial gain (except for appropriate contract and external accounts) or to provide free resources for unauthorized purposes is not allowed. When outside professional activities of users would involve the use of the university's computing and communication facilities, approval shall be obtained from the Office of the Director of Information Technology and charges shall be at the prevailing rate (unless the Office of the Director of Information Technology agrees to waive all or part of the charges).
  7. Users must be sensitive to the public nature of shared facilities and must not print or display on screens in such locations images, sounds or messages that are likely to create an atmosphere of discomfort or harassment for others.
  8. Users must not use computing and communication facilities to send, print or display obscene or harassing messages. Every user bears the primary responsibility for the material he or she chooses to access, send or display. The facilities may not be used in any manner to create, send or display material, which contravenes relevant policies or statutes. Users are directed to the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Criminal Code of Canada for assistance in determining whether any images, sounds or messages may be considered harassing or obscene. Further assistance in this regard may be obtained from Laurier's harassment/discrimination co-ordinator or the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
  9. Users of email and other electronic communications tools are required to use these resources in a responsible manner consistent with other business communications such as written correspondence and the telephone. Responsible use of email includes:
    1. not 'rebroadcasting', i.e., forwarding email that is deemed confidential by the sender to third parties
    2. not posting materials that contain virus hoaxes or spam
    3. not sending email in such a way that disrupts normal email service
    4. not sending materials that are fraudulent, defamatory, harassing or of a threatening nature
    5. not unlawfully soliciting or exchanging copies of copy-righted material by email.
    Users should clearly identify themselves through an email signature that specifies their name, position and contact information; this can also include an affiliation with another institution or agency connected with their official work, if any. Any actions that defraud another or misrepresent or fail to accurately identify the sender is considered to be an inappropriate use of email.
  10. Users who violate these principles will be subject to disciplinary action as outlined in the Disciplinary Procedures. Users unsure of whether their intended use of the university's information technology violates these principles should consult with the Office of the Director of Information Technology.

III. Procedures for Dealing with Infractions to the Policy Governing the Use of Information Technology

  1. Introduction
    1. It is the responsibility of managers to make sure their employees are aware of the Policy Governing the Use of Information Technology.
    2. Managers are responsible for implementing this policy in their areas. Information Technology Services will provide expertise and advice as required.
    3. Information Technology Services are responsible for initiating disciplinary procedures for policy violations with respect to the university's network and central systems.
  2. Procedures
    1. When it appears that a user is not fully aware of the policy, it is recommended that the appropriate section of the policy should be brought to their attention by either their manager or Information Technology Services.
    2. In the process of investigating possible violations, Information Technology Services may temporarily suspend access to facilities.
    3. In extreme cases of abuse or if major damage has occurred, the disciplinary process will be accelerated.
    4. Offenses, which are alleged violations of criminal and/or civil law or the Student Code of Conduct and Discipline, may result in immediate loss of all privileges and will be reported to the appropriate university and law enforcement agencies with the potential of legal or disciplinary procedures to initiate under said processes.
  3. Potential Discipline Violations can result in any or all of the following disciplinary consequences:
    1. A warning to cease the behaviour
    2. restriction in access to the facilities or a complete suspension of access to the computing facilities, particularly in continued violation cases
    3. any or all discipline delineated under the WLU Student Code of Conduct and Discipline
    4. liability under civil law
    5. conviction under criminal law.