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The Code of Student Conduct sets forth principles for living and acting responsibly in a community setting, with respect for the rights of all members of that community, and for their property, common resources, and values. The Code of Student Conduct is adopted by the Board of Trustees and is reviewed regularly.
Regarding computer usage, the Code of Student Conduct specifically prohibits “tampering with or falsifying any university records, official documents, computer files, storage units, terminals or programs which contain electronic records, or student discipline records. (Knowingly submitting false information for inclusion into these records is interpreted as tampering with the official record system. Health Service records are herein included.)”
Violations also include “unauthorized accessing of the records of any individual, whether such access is obtained through paper records, computer files or systems, where such information is protected by the University regulations concerning privacy and confidentiality.”
All violations listed of university policies, including information technology policy, are also violations of the Code of Student Conduct. To direct reports to the most appropriate place, see the specific examples under the policies below. In most cases, reports regarding alleged computer or network related violations involving members of the UMass Amherst community can be made directly to the to IT Help Center.
The Ombuds Office enforces the Academic Honesty Policy, which applies to all members of the university community, but particularly concerns students and faculty. It prescribes adherence to a set of values, expected not only in coursework, but also in the use of university resources. The code includes computer and network related concepts and examples of violations, such as: using electronic devices or any other type of external assistance during an examination or other academic exercise without the permission of the instructor; failure to acknowledge and properly cite information obtained from the Internet or other electronic media; illegally accessing a computer hard drive; stealing or destroying the academic work of another, such as computer disk, term paper, or notebook.
The Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources policy applies to all faculty, students, and staff. As stated in the policy, the university cherishes the diversity of values and perspectives endemic in an academic institution and so is respectful of freedom of expression. The university does not condone censorship, nor does it endorse the inspection of electronic files other than on an exceptional basis. As a result, the university cannot protect individuals against the existence or receipt of material that may be offensive to them. The university encourages individuals to use electronic communications in a responsible manner. Finally, the policy includes information about behavior that would constitute a violation and contains a set of procedures for reporting incidents.
Policy violations fall into four categories that involve the use of electronic communications to:
- Harass, threaten, or otherwise cause harm to a specific individual(s); for example, sending an individual repeated and unwanted (harassing) e-mail or using e-mail to threaten or stalk someone. Alleged violations of this type can be reported directly to the UMass Police Department if the situation is potentially serious and requires immediate attention. If the person responsible is not affiliated with the university or if it is not possible to identify the individual, the incident can still be reported to the police. The police can assist by referring to appropriate sources of help outside the university. Save electronic copies of all correspondence for evidence.
- Impede, interfere with, impair, or otherwise cause harm to the activities of others; for example, propagating electronic chain mail, or sending forged or falsified e-mail. Alleged violations of this type can be reported to email@example.com. If the person responsible is not affiliated with the university, the incident should be reported to the site that provides the individual with Internet access. If it is not possible to identify the origin, contact the IT Help Center for assistance. Save electronic copies of anything that can be used as evidence.
- Download or post to university computers, or transport across university networks, material that is illegal, proprietary, in violation of university contractual agreements, or otherwise is damaging to the institution; for example, launching a computer virus, distributing child pornography via the web, distributing copyrighted musical recordings via a file-sharing application, or posting a university site-licensed program to a public bulletin board. Alleged violations of this type can be reported directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Harass or threaten classes of individuals. Alleged violations of this type can be reported directly to the Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity. If the person responsible is not affiliated with the university, the incident should be reported to the site that provides the individual with Internet access. If it is not possible to identify the origin, contact the IT Help Center for assistance. Save electronic copies of anything that can be used as evidence.
The Acceptable Use of Information Technology Interpretation Guidelines are meant to assist the university community in the interpretation and administration of the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources Policy. They outline the responsibilities each member of the community (client) accepts when using computing and information technology resources. This is put forth as a minimum set of standards for all areas of the university and may be supplemented with unit specific guidelines.