A Guide to Responsible Use of Electronic Communication at BCCC

Access to the electronic information and communication sources of Bucks County Community College is a privilege granted to students, faculty, staff and retirees of the College. The College aims to provide the best possible information services with the fewest restrictions to members of the campus community. Electronic means of information access and exchange such as personal computers, cellular or desktop telephones, fax machines, photocopiers, printers, cameras, server user accounts and all other network access are to be used only for the purposes for which they are assigned. Appropriate uses fall within the College priorities on instruction, research, and other educationally related communication. This policy applies to all electronic systems and services owned by Bucks County Community College, all company electronic records including emails, and all users with system access both temporary and permanent.

Equipment

Equipment utilized in electronic communication is costly and funds available for acquisition are limited. Users of such equipment are expected to take excellent care of equipment assigned for their use. Any malfunction must be reported immediately and a notice of malfunction placed on the appropriate equipment. No one other than authorized personnel is permitted to repair or modify the equipment. Theft or vandalism of equipment, software or documentation will be subjectto disciplinary action.

Software

The College does not condone the illegal duplication of software, including related documentation. Any duplication of licensed software, except for backup purposes authorized by the College or as expressly authorized by the software developer, is a violation of the Federal Copyright Law. According to the U.S. Copyright Law, illegal reproduction of software can be subject to civil damages of as much as $150,000 and criminal penalties including fines and/or imprisonment.

Personal computers are issued to faculty and staff with College licensed software installed. Other software can be installed only by authorized staff after proper licensure information has been supplied to Information Technology Services. The College will not tolerate any unauthorized copying of software. Any person working for Bucks County Community College found copying software for other than authorized backup purposes is subject to termination and/or prosecution.

Account Activation/Termination

Faculty and staff system access is controlled through individual accounts and passwords. Each user of the College computing system is required to read and acknowledge the content of this policy prior to receiving a system account with password access. Account termination will occur at the time of severance of the employment relationship (with the exception of retirees) or may occur as a result of user misuse as outlined in College procedures. The College is under no obligation to store or forward the electronic document files after their term of employment has ended.

Student account activation is based on credit course enrollment at the College as well as enrollment in approved non-credit courses and programs. Account termination will occur during periods of non-enrollment or may occur as a result of user misuse as outlined in College procedures.

Password Security

Password security is every user’s responsibility. Users may not give their password to any other individual, allow their password to become known, or attempt to obtain the password of another user. Users are encouraged to change passwords frequently. Incorporating symbols and numbers along with letters minimizes the opportunities for misuse of a password. Before leaving a workstation, users must log off to prevent unauthorized access to files.

College staff who are given passwords to access administrative systems, servers and functions are expected to follow College policies to protect the security of these passwords and the integrity of all systems and services.

Technicians who share these passwords with unauthorized users, use such passwords for inappropriate access or who alter system functions or services without authorization, are subject to termination and/ or prosecution.

Monitoring and Confidentiality

All electronic systems and services used at Bucks County Community College are owned by the College and its products are therefore property of the College. This gives the College the right to monitor any and all activity on its systems, including all email traffic, network traffic and Internet access obtained through use of College resources. While the College does not actively seek to read user email or monitor documents and communications, IT staff may inadvertently scan such items during the course of managing College systems.

In addition, backup copies of messages and documents may exist, despite end-user deletion, in compliance with the records retention policy of Bucks County Community College. The goal of these backup and archiving procedures are to ensure system reliability and prevent business data loss.

If Bucks County Community College discovers or has good reason to suspect activities are ongoing which do not comply with applicable laws or this policy, electronic records may be retrieved and used to document the activity in accordance with the due process. All reasonable efforts will be made to notify an employee if his or her electronic communication records are to be reviewed. Notification may not be possible, however, if the employee cannot be contacted, as in the case of employee absence due to vacation.

In legal matters which involve electronic records, the College will follow appropriate federal and state guidelines.

Reporting Misuse

Any allegations of misuse by faculty or staff of any form of electronic communication should be promptly reported to a supervisor. Student users should report such abuse to Information Technology Services at 215-968-8191.

Disclaimer

Bucks County Community College assumes no liability for direct and/or indirect damages arising from the use of its electronic communication systems by authorized users. Users are solely responsible for the content they disseminate. Bucks County Community College is not responsible for any third-party claim, demand, or damages arising out of use of the Bucks County Community College’s electronic communication systems or services.

Email User Responsibilities

Email is a critical mechanism for business communication at Bucks County Community College. Use of the College email system is a privilege, not a right, and therefore must be used with respect and in accordance with the goals of the College. Email users are expected to comply with normal standards of professional and personal courtesy and conduct. Additionally, all users of College email services are required to comply with the procedures detailing user responsibilities and appropriate use.

Allegations of misconduct related to email use will be adjudicated according to established procedures. Sanctions for inappropriate use of Bucks County Community College e-mail systems and services may include, but are not limited to, the following: loss of email access, disciplinary action, termination of employment or legal action according to applicable laws and contractual agreements.