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Acceptable Use Guidelines for Computing and Technology Resources

Tarrant County College reserves the right to amend or otherwise revise this document as may be necessary to reflect future changes made to the I.T. environment. You are responsible for reviewing this policy periodically to ensure your continued compliance with all TCCD policies and guidelines.

Revision: 1.4.1
Effective Date: November 19, 2008

0.0 Definitions and Terms

  1. Guidelines: This document.
  2. P&R: The TCCD Policy and Regulation Manual.
  3. Users: Students, faculty, staff, partners, contractors, consultants, temporaries, library patrons, visitors, guests and other workers at TCCD, including all personnel affiliated with third parties using Resources.
  4. Resources: All computing and technology systems that are owned, leased or operated by TCCD.
  5. Spam: (n) Unsolicited (usually commercial) e-mail sent to a large number of addresses; (v) To send unsolicited e-mail to numerous addresses.
  6. Peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P): Method of file sharing in which individual computers using the same networking program are linked via the Internet to directly access shared programs/files. Examples are, but are not limited to, BitTorrent and Gnutella.
  7. Pirated Software: Unauthorized copied computer software.
  8. Viruses, Worms, Trojan Horses: A variety of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code usually causing harm.
  9. E-mail Bombs: Sending large volumes of e-mail to an address in an attempt to overflow the mailbox or overwhelm the server where the email address is serviced.

1.0 Overview

Tarrant County College District's (TCCD) intentions for publishing Acceptable Use Guidelines are not to impose restrictions that are contrary to TCCD's established culture of openness, trust and integrity. The purpose of these Guidelines is to ensure the TCCD networked Resources will be used to support the mission of the District. TCCD is committed to protecting authorized Users and itself from illegal or damaging actions by individuals, either knowingly or unknowingly.

All systems and people using TCCD Resources, whether on campus or remotely, are using the property of TCCD. TCCD Resources are to be used for business purposes in serving the interests of the college, and our students in the course of normal operations. Review the TCCD Board Policy Manual for further information.

Prior to purchase, all technologies (hardware or software) and/or any contract with a third party vendor, regardless of the funding source, must be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Information and Technical Services for review. Technologies/contracts are reviewed by the Vice Chancellor and forwarded to the appropriate committee for technical commentary on the ramifications of the technologies/contracts on the TCCD infrastructure, support systems, and technical staff. Note: All technologies (hardware or software) and/or any contract with a third party vendor that require changes to firewalls or other security resources to allow outside access to TCCD must be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for approval prior to purchase.

Access to Tarrant County College District's network and its computer resources is a privilege, not a right. Effective security is a team effort involving the participation and support of every TCCD employee and student who deals with information and/or information systems. It is the responsibility of all computer Users to know these Guidelines, and to conduct their activities accordingly.

Campus and District departments are encouraged to add, with the approval of the Appropriate Authority, individual guidelines that supplement, but do not lessen the intent of the Acceptable Use Guidelines.

2.0 Purpose

The purpose of this Guideline is to outline the acceptable use of computing and technology resources at TCCD. These Guidelines protect the students, employees and TCCD. Inappropriate use exposes TCCD to risks including virus attacks, compromise of network systems and services, and legal issues. Anything that degrades or compromises the ability of staff, faculty or students to perform or meet the mission of TCCD constitutes unacceptable use.

3.0 Scope

These Guidelines apply to students, faculty, staff, partners, contractors, consultants, temporaries, library patrons, visitors, guests and other workers at TCCD, including all personnel affiliated with third parties. These Guidelines apply to all systems, equipment and resources that are owned, leased or operated by TCCD.

People utilizing these Resources agree to follow all applicable policies of the college, as well as federal, state and local laws. TCCD reserves the right to limit, restrict or deny access to its computer resources, as well as to take disciplinary and/or legal action against anyone in violation of these policies and/or laws. Users should have no expectation of privacy while using District–owned or leased equipment. Information passing through or stored on the District's equipment can and will be monitored.

All Users of TCCD computing systems must read and comply with the Guidelines outlined in this document, as well as any additional guidelines established by the administrators of each department and/or campus or District unit. By using any of these systems, users agree that they will comply with these guidelines.

4.0 Guidelines

4.1 General Use, Privacy and Data Ownership

  1. TCCD's network administration desires to provide a reasonable level of privacy, however data created on TCCD systems remains the property of the District. Because of the need to protect TCCD's network, management cannot guarantee the confidentiality of information stored on any network resource belonging to TCCD beyond that required by law or TCCD policy.
  2. Employees are responsible for exercising good judgment regarding the reasonableness of personal use. All departmental guidelines regarding personal use must supplement and support the District P&R manual and the Acceptable Use Guidelines. For security and network maintenance purposes, authorized individuals within TCCD monitor equipment, systems and and network traffic. Networks and systems will be audited on a periodic basis to ensure Guideline compliance.
  3. Computer use is subject to:
    1. review or disclosure in accordance with the Texas Public Information Act and other laws;
    2. administrative review of computer use for security purposes or in regard to a policy or legal compliance concern;
    3. computer system maintenance;
    4. audits and as otherwise required to protect the reasonable interests of TCCD and other users of the computer system.

Anyone using TCCD's computer systems expressly consents to monitoring on the part of TCCD for these purposes and is advised that if such monitoring reveals possible evidence of criminal activity, TCCD administration may provide that evidence to law enforcement officials. TCCD is unable to guarantee the privacy of electronic files, data or e-mails except as mandated by Law.

4.2 Security and Proprietary Information

  1. Intellectual property laws apply to the electronic environment. Data communicated through the TCCD network or on TCCD Resources are subject to copyright laws, unless specifically stated otherwise.
  2. Users are responsible for the security of their passwords and accounts. Passwords are not to be shared.
  3. Antivirus software will be installed on all devices if such software exists. All devices operated by the user that are connected to the TCCD Internet/Intranet/Extranet, whether owned by the user or TCCD, shall be continually executing approved virus scanning software with a current virus database.
  4. All servers must be approved before being attached to the network by the Vice Chancellor for Information and Technical Services or designated representatives.
  5. All network access at Tarrant County College must be engineered, registered, operated or authorized by Network Communication Services, as detailed in the TCCD Network Guidelines.
  6. Any modification to the TCCD network must be approved by Network Communication Services.
  7. Removable data storage devices or media (e.g. data disks, USB devices, external hard drives, etc.) can only be used to connect to TCCD Resources where expressly allowed.

4.3 Unacceptable Use

Under no circumstances is an employee of TCCD authorized to engage in any activity that is illegal under local, state, federal or international law while utilizing TCCD-owned or leased resources. See TCCD Board Policy Manual.

The lists below are by no means exhaustive, but attempt to provide a framework for activities which fall into the category of unacceptable use.

4.3.1 Unacceptable System and Network Activities

The following activities are strictly prohibited, with no exceptions. Users shall not:

  1. Connect any device to the network (outside designated wireless access areas) without prior authorization, this includes but is not limited to personal computers, hubs, and wireless equipment.
  2. Load or allowed to be loaded onto any TCCD device or any device attached to the TCCD network, Peer-to-Peer file sharing applications. Peer-to-Peer file sharing is not supported or allowed on the TCCD network. Devices transferring Peer-to-Peer traffic will be removed and cleaned. Based on content of files being shared, disciplinary actions may be taken.
  3. Violate the rights of any person or company protected by copyright, trade secret, patent or other intellectual property, or similar laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the installation or distribution of Pirated Software or other software products that are not appropriately licensed for use by TCCD.
  4. Copy or distribute without authorization copyrighted material including, but not limited to, digitization and distribution of photographs from magazines, books or other copyrighted sources, copyrighted music, and the installation of any copyrighted software for which TCCD or the end user does not have an active license.
  5. Export software, technical information, encryption software or technology, in violation of international or regional export control laws. The Appropriate Authority shall be consulted prior to export of any material that is in question.
  6. Introduce malicious programs (e.g., Viruses, Worms, Trojan Horses, E-mail Bombs, etc.) into the TCCD network or on TCCD Resources.
  7. Reveal your account password to others or allow use of your account by others. This includes family and other household members when work is being done at home.
  8. Engage in procuring or transmitting material that is in violation of sexual harassment or hostile workplace laws.
  9. Make fraudulent offers of products, items, or services originating from any TCCD account.
  10. Effect security breaches or disruptions of network communication. Security breaches include, but are not limited to, accessing data of which the employee is not an intended recipient or logging into a server or account that the employee is not expressly authorized to access. For purposes of this section, "disruption" includes, but is not limited to, network monitoring or sniffing, “Ping Floods”, packet spoofing, denial of service, and forged routing information for malicious purposes.
  11. Perform port scanning or security scanning. This activity is expressly prohibited.
  12. Execute any form of network monitoring which will intercept data not intended for the user’s host, except as performed by authorized network personnel.
  13. Circumvent user authentication, security, or administrative access control of any host, network or account.
  14. Interfere with or deny service to any User (for example, “Denial of Service Attack”).
  15. Use any program/script/command, or sending messages of any kind, with the intent to interfere with, or disable, an individual’s use of TCCD Resources, via any means, locally or via the Internet/Intranet/Extranet.
  16. Provide information about, or lists of, TCCD employees to parties outside TCCD. This information will only be provided in accordance with TCCD policy by the Appropriate Authority.
  17. Use TCCD Resources for personal financial gain or personal commercial purpose.
  18. Access or read without authorization any electronic file, program, network or system.
  19. Duplicate and distribute without authorization commercial software and other copyrighted digital materials. All commercial software and many other digital materials are covered by a copyright of some form. The unauthorized duplication and distribution of software and other copyrighted materials (including copyrighted music, graphics etc.) is a violation of copyright law and these Guidelines.
  20. Use TCCD's Resources for the transmission of commercial or personal advertisements, solicitations, promotions, or transmission of political material that is prohibited by the TCCD Board Policy Manual except as may be approved by the Appropriate Authority.

4.3.2 Unacceptable Email and Communications Activities

The following activities are strictly prohibited, with no exceptions. Users shall not:

  1. Send unsolicited email messages, including the sending of Spam, "junk mail" or other advertising material to individuals who did not specifically request such material.
  2. Transmit any form of harassment via electronic communications, whether through language, frequency, or size of messages. Violations of electronic communications use include, but are not limited to, accessing, downloading, uploading, saving, receiving, or sending material that includes sexually explicit content or other material using vulgar, sexist, racist, threatening, violent, or defamatory language. See the TCCD Board Policy Manual.
  3. Create or forward "chain letters", "Ponzi" or other "pyramid" schemes of any type.
  4. Use unsolicited email originating from within TCCD's networks of other Internet/Intranet/Extranet service providers on behalf of, or to advertise, any service hosted by TCCD or connected via TCCD's network.
  5. Post the same or similar non-business-related messages to large numbers of email addresses or newsgroups (email and newsgroup Spam).

5.0 Responsibilities

5.1 Responsibilities of Users

Users shall:

  1. Use TCCD’s computer resources responsibly, respecting the needs of other computer Users.
  2. Be responsible for any usage of his or her computer account. Users should maintain the secrecy of their passwords.
  3. Report any misuse of computer resources or violations of these Guidelines to their department head or to the Appropriate Authority.
  4. Comply with requests and instructions from TCCD computer systems support personnel.
  5. Ensure that communications reflect high ethical standards, mutual respect and civility. See the TCCD Board Policy Manual.

5.1.2 Responsibilities of Deans, Department Heads and Supervisors

Deans, Department Heads, Supervisors shall:

  1. Ensure that employees within a department receive opportunities to attend training courses that enable them to comply with these Guidelines and other applicable guidelines.
  2. Promptly inform appropriate network and system administrators when employees have been terminated so that the terminated employee's access to TCCD’s networked resources may be disabled.
  3. Promptly report ongoing or serious problems regarding computer use to the appropriate authorities.

6.0 Enforcement

  1. Violators of these Guidelines are subject to a full range of sanctions, including but not limited to the loss of computer or network access privileges.
  2. Violators may be subject to disciplinary action as outlined in TCCD’s P&R. See the TCCD Board Policy Manual.
  3. Some violations may constitute criminal offenses, as outlined in the Texas Statutes relating to computer crimes and other local, state, and federal laws; TCCD will carry out its responsibility to report such violations to the appropriate authorities. See the TCCD Board Policy Manual.

Revision History

1.0 Original document
1.1 Formatting change
1.2 Layout and format change
1.3 Added more Definitions and Terms
1.4 Added links for Policies and Regulations web pages
1.4.1 Changed "Policies and Regulations manual" references to "Board Policy Manual" and updated the associated links

Updated August 11, 2016