Electronic Communications Policy

The Policy Manual of Bucks County Community College contains language that applies to student use of electronic resources. References to “policy” refer to Information Technology Policy 6.0.

Access to the electronic resources of Bucks County Community College is a privilege granted to students, faculty, and staff of the College. The College strives to provide the best possible information systems, services and equipment to members of the campus community. The aim of this policy is to define the responsibilities of all authorized users and providers of electronic information systems and services. All users with system access, either temporary or permanent, are bound by this policy.

This policy applies to all electronic information systems and services provided by Bucks County Community College. Included are all forms of electronically stored information: documents, files, emails, text messages, instant messages, blogs and all other forms of internet based communication. The policy also applies to all equipment including, but not limited to, college owned personal computers, cellular or desktop telephones, fax machines, photocopiers, printers, cameras, system user accounts, and other network access devices and services.

Appropriate Use

Electronic means of information creation, access, storage, and exchange 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 and business related communication. The

College recognizes that there may be occasions for incidental personal use; however, these instances should be limited and infrequent. Frequent personal use of College computer equipment may have tax implications for the user.

Following are the expectations for appropriate use and examples of inappropriate use.

Appropriate Use

  •  Use resources for College instructional, research, and business purposes only.
  •  Safeguard password and physical system access to prevent unauthorized use.
  •  Change password frequently incorporating unique character combinations.
  •  Share password with ITS staff for trouble-shooting or support purposes.
  •  Communicate using professional and personal courtesy.
  •  Protect the integrity and confidentiality of College information and data.
  •  Practice good stewardship of College equipment.
  •  Adhere to copyright and file sharing laws.

Examples of Inappropriate Use

  •  Use resources for personal activities on a regular or frequent basis.
  •  Unauthorized use of the password of another user.
  •  Gain unauthorized access to resources or data or attempt to do so.
  •  Circumvent or disable system/network security measures or attempt to do so.
  •  Engage in any activity potentially damaging to the College network.
  •  Use, download, share, transfer or store any unauthorized software, copyrighted or entertainment material.
  •  Download or store media resulting in excessive consumption of network resources.
  •  Install unauthorized software on a College computer.
  •  Use computer programs to decode passwords or access control information.
  •  Use the network for unlawful, commercial or for-profit purposes, product advertisement or political lobbying.
  •  Use or display pornographic images in violation of existing law or College policy.
  •  Duplicate software or related documentation.

Monitoring and Confidentiality

Pursuant to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, notice is given to users that no guarantee of privacy or confidentiality is provided when utilizing the electronic systems and services provided by Bucks County Community College. The College complies with state and federal law regarding certain legally protected confidential information, but makes no representation that any other uses of this system will be private or confidential.

The College has the right and responsibility to monitor activity on its systems, including but not limited to all email and network traffic, as well as Internet access obtained through use of College resources. System administrators have access to all user history and will conduct routine audits and monitoring of system activity. User desk top audits will be conducted with the participation of Internal Audit staff. Users should also be aware that backup copies of messages and documents may exist, despite end-user deletion. The goal of backup and archiving procedures is to ensure system reliability and prevent business data loss.

If Bucks County Community College determines that activities are ongoing which do not comply with applicable laws or this policy, electronic records may be retrieved and used to document the activity. Triggers for record review may include, but are not limited to, investigation of a confidential complaint, investigation of unusual network or server activity, or legal subpoena.

In legal matters which involve electronically stored information, the College will follow appropriate federal and state guidelines.

Account Activation/Termination

Student account activation is based on credit course enrollment at the College, as well as enrollment in certain non-credit courses and programs, and through the online application and registration process. Access to student email service and campus computer facilities will terminate during periods of non-enrollment, or may occur as a result of inappropriate use as outlined in College procedures. During periods of non-enrollment students have continued access to online registration systems.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism and other forms of academic cheating are unacceptable and are considered as major infractions of the Student Code of Conduct and College Policy.The College policy regarding cheating and plagiarism applies to electronic forms of information and communication as well as to more traditional formats. Penalties for cheating and plagiarism, along with the College policy, are published in the College Catalog.

Reporting Misuse

Student users should report misuse or abuse to the Director, Information Technology Security at 215-968-8418.

Consequences of Failure to Comply with Guidelines for Responsible Use

Abuse of access privileges to electronic information and communication by students is subject to disciplinary action as specified in the Student Code of Conduct, published in the College Catalog, and according to College Policy.

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. Bucks County Community College will not be responsible for any damages suffered by users, including loss of data resulting from delays, non-deliveries, or service interruptions caused by College negligence or user errors or omissions. Use of any information obtained is at the risk of the user.

The College reserves the right to discard incoming mass mailings without notifying the sender or intended recipient and to block all internet communications from sites that are involved in extensive spamming or other disruptive practices, even though this may leave users of the College network unable to communicate with those sites. The College makes no warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to the content of any advice or information received by a user or cost/charges associated with such information and any cost, liability or damages caused by the way the user chooses to utilize network access.

Email User Responsibilities

Your BucksMail account is the official communication channel for the College.  This means that we will use this account to communicate essential enrollment and academic information. The following procedures apply to your student email account provided by Bucks County Community College. These procedures support the College’s policies related to Electronic Communication. Failure to adhere to the following procedures may put your systems at risk

Procedures for Appropriate College Email Account Management

  1. Check BucksMail  frequently
  2. Your email account is for your use only. 
  3. Use a secure password and do not share it.
  4. If you use a mobile device, keep your communications private by using a password lock.
  5. Use email for lawful purposes only.

For tutorials and assistance in completing the above procedures, view the TLC website:  http://bucks.libguides.com/TLCStudents

Best Practices for Using Your College Email

  1. Be courteous.
  2. Do not include any sensitive or personally identifiable information (PII). Examples of PII include social security number, and combinations of two or more of the following: username, password, ID number and date of birth.
  3. Open email attachments or click links only within emails from known, trusted sources. 
  4. Even though you might not realize it, email, even BucksMail, is insecure. Do not include any information in an email that you would not want published.

Report email misuse to Help Desk at 215-968-8191.