Code of Computing Practices

Computer resources at Tennessee Technological University are available to students, faculty, and staff for authorized use in a responsible, ethical, and equitable manner. It’s important that all users of the computing facilities conduct their computing activities in this manner since they have access to many valuable and sensitive resources and their computing practices can adversely affect the work of other users. Ethical standards that apply to the use of computer resources are not unique to the computer field, rather they derive directly from the standards of common sense, decency, and courtesy that apply to the use of any public resource. The following constitutes a code of computing practice to be adhered to by all computer system users. This includes all computing facilities owned, leased, or controlled by the University.

  1. Users are authorized to use the computer facilities for purposes that conform to the institutional goals and objectives.
  2. Users of computing resources are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not constitute a danger to any person’s health or safety, or interfere with, or harass individuals or institutional activities.
  3. Users must not misuse, damage, or misappropriate in any manner computing equipment, property, and other facilities and resources.
  4. Users are responsible for the use of their computer resources: and as such, they should take precaution against others obtaining access to their computer resources. This includes managing and controlling the use of individual passwords, operational activities, and resource utilization.
  5. Users must utilize only those resources which have been authorized for their use and only for the purpose for which the authorization was granted. The fact that a resource is unprotected does not imply permission for an unauthorized person to use it.
  6. Users must not attempt to modify system facilities or subvert the restrictions associated with their computer resource. Users must follow the established procedures for assessing the computing systems.
  7. Users shall utilize software only in accordance with the applicable license agreement. Tennessee Technological University licenses the use of most of its computer software from a variety of outside companies. The University does not own this software or its related documentation and, unless authorized by the license, does not have the right to reproduce it.
  8. Users may not access, modify, or copy programs, files or data of any sort belonging to other users or to Tennessee Technological University without obtaining prior authorization from the appropriate authority. Similarly, programs, subroutines, data, equipment, and other computing related resources may not be taken from Tennessee Technological University to other computer installations without the proper authorization and a clearly defined understanding of the responsibilities associated with such action (e.g., security of access to the data at the other computer installation).
  9. Users should minimize the impact of their work on the work of other users. Attempts should not be made to encroach on others’ use of the facilities or deprive them of resources.
  10. Users and non-users must not encourage, collaborate or tolerate the misuse of computer resources or the violations of this Code by any other person. It is University policy that anyone with knowledge of violations or suspected violations of computer security measures or controls report this information to the appropriate University authority. The above code is intended to work to the benefit of all computer users by encouraging responsible conduct and use of computer resources. Disciplinary action for violating this code shall be governed by the applicable provisions of the student, faculty and staff handbooks, other policies and procedures of Tennessee Technological University and its governing body, and the Tennessee Board of Regents. The following disciplinary sanctions outline some, but are not limited to, actions that may be taken either singularly or in combination, by the institution against violators of this code:
    1. Restitution to reimburse the institution for damage to or misuse of computing facilities.
    2. Warning to notify the individual that continuation or repetition of a specified conduct may be cause for other disciplinary action.
    3. Reprimand in writing indicating further violation may result in more serious penalties.
    4. Restriction of computing privileges for a specified period of time.
    5. Probation status, with the associated implications, imposed on the individual.
    6. Suspension or expulsion of the individual from the institution.
    7. Termination of employment of the individual by the institution.
    8. Interim or summary suspension until a final determination has been made in regard to the charges made against the individual. In the event that other institution regulations are violated, additional penalties may be imposed. According to the U.S. Copyright Law, illegal reproduction of software can be subject to civil damages and criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment. Unauthorized use and/or misuse of computing resources may be in violation of federal and state laws, and the violator(s) may be subject to prosecution under these laws.