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Responsible and Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Responsible and Acceptable Use Policy?

Generally speaking, a Responsible and Acceptable Use Policy is a documented set of rules and guidelines that an institution expects its employees and constituents to follow in using the electronic resources it makes available. These electronic resources include items like, but not limited to, computer and multimedia equipment, software systems, networks, printers, scanners, voicemail, and telecommunications equipment.

Why do we need an Acceptable Use Policy?

The purpose of the Policy is to establish and promote the legal, secure, and ethical use of electronic resources by all members of the HWS community, while also preserving the information sharing requirements of an academic institution.

Who does the Acceptable Use Policy apply to?

Anyone who uses electronic resources or institutional data owned or managed by HWS must do so within the parameters of the Policy. This includes students, faculty, staff, and guest users.

Does this mean that HWS monitors our email or web sites we browse?

Although HWS does not monitor email or access to online content without cause, users should be aware that electronic mail, messages, files, and other electronic information sent through computer networks, including the Internet, may not be confidential.

When would someone violate the Acceptable Use Policy?

A user can violate the Policy if they violate a law, HWS policy, or HWS community standard.

What happens when someone violates the Acceptable Use Policy?

The Colleges consider any violation of the Policy to be a significant matter and reserve the right to limit, refuse or revoke access to electronic resources (i.e. email, computers, software systems, etc.) and institutional data.

What is the appeals process if I have violated the Acceptable Use Policy?

Any user found in violation of the Policy may appeal a decision by the Colleges through existing grievance and appeal policies/procedures with the Office of Human Resources (for faculty and staff), the Faculty Grievance Policy (for faculty, when appropriate), or Student Affairs (for students). Appeals by all other users will be handled by the HWS office deemed appropriate by the Colleges.

What should I do if I know that someone has violated the Acceptable Use Policy?

Anyone who believes they have witnessed or been a victim of a violation of this Policy should notify or file a complaint with the appropriate HWS office as follows: students should report suspected violations to the Vice President for Student Affairs; faculty should report suspected violations to the Provost and Dean of the Faculty; staff should report violations to the Director of Human Resources and guests should report violations to Information Technology Services.