Acceptable Use of Technology Policy

Purpose and Scope

For purposes of this policy, the “digital environment” includes, but is not limited to the use of products, services, and resources such as:

  • Computers & tablets
  • Computer networks
  • Internet
  • Third-party products and services made available by the university to the Lesley community
  • Online services of the university
  • Databases
  • Software
  • Electronic communication (e.g., electronic mail, telephones, smart phones, cell phones, social media, voice mail, scanned images, and faxes).

This policy applies to personal and university-owned devices, equipment, networks, and the like that are used in the Lesley community.

This Acceptable Use Policy applies to any user of the university's digital environment, whether initiated from a computer located on or off-campus. This Policy applies equally to current and former faculty, students, staff, alumni/ae, contractors, and invited guests who utilize the Lesley digital environment.

Lesley University is committed to active learning, scholarly research, critical inquiry, and diverse forms of artistic practice, and values freedom of expression and an open exchange of ideas and information. To preserve that freedom, the community relies on the integrity and responsible, ethical, and legal use of university resources by each of its members and guests.

The availability and use of the digital environment at Lesley are essential for studying, research, instruction, and administration; they also come with the obligation to use the digital environment in accordance with university policies and applicable laws.

Use of the digital environment is a privilege and this privilege can be revoked by the university at any time. Violations of this policy may result in sanctions including revocation of access to university email and dismissal from the University.

University Business Only

The digital environment must be used by members of the Lesley community solely for the purpose of their role at Lesley University. While the university permits limited personal use of the digital environment, that limited use may not consume significant resources or interfere with the user’s job or responsibilities.

Lesley University reserves the right to prioritize and limit digital resources (i.e. wireless, network, and Internet bandwidth) for personal use if that usage supersedes or impedes the university’s ability to provide these resources for legitimate university business purposes.

Those using the Lesley digital environment do not have a right of privacy in communications, data use, or equipment use of university resources. Lesley University reserves the right to investigate, limit, stop, retain, and copy any use of technology and the Lesley digital environment in the Lesley community, with or without the prior consent of the user, as reasonably necessary or desirable for enforcing university policies and applicable laws, and for health and safety reasons.

Users are prohibited from deleting emails or data, or tampering with Lesley’s digital environment, with the intent to hinder university operations or to hide important information.

Use of the university's technology resources is strictly prohibited for commercial activities, personal gain, and non-university private business or fundraising. This includes soliciting, promoting, selling, marketing, or advertising products, services, or organizations, or selling university resources.

When creating and sending messages through the Lesley digital and network environment, users shall not give the impression that they are representing, giving opinions, or otherwise making statements on behalf of the university unless appropriately authorized to do so.

Applicable Policies and Laws

Despite the unique attributes of the digital environment, all Lesley policies which apply elsewhere in the Lesley community, including but not limited to the terms of all handbooks and catalogues, apply in full force to use of the digital environment.

A few of the Massachusetts and federal laws that are applicable to the use of the digital environment at Lesley University and that present particular concerns in the digital environment are identified here.  The laws of other jurisdictions may apply in certain cases as well:

  • Political Advocacy

    It is illegal for individual employees to use university resources to engage in political advocacy in election campaigns. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of Lesley email accounts. For questions about the appropriate use of university resources, contact Lesley's General Counsel at legal@lesley.edu.

    This provision does not apply to political activities related to on-campus student government, including the conduct of student elections, or student club activities and sponsored events conducted with prior approval of the university.

    It does not apply to individual student activities which constitute free speech. Such activities must comply with all other provisions of this Policy, including the section on digital and network communications, when using university resources.

  • Harassment and Stalking

    Harassment and stalking of others using the digital environment is prohibited under Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 265, Sections 43 and 43A, other applicable laws, and university policies.

  • Defamation

    The use of the university digital environment to defame another person is prohibited. Under Massachusetts state law, defamation of a person is illegal. Defamation is the "publication" of a false statement of fact that harms another person's reputation. A defamatory statement is "published" whenever it is communicated to a third person; this includes email message and social media.

  • Invasion of Privacy

    The use of the university digital environment to invade another's privacy is prohibited. Under Massachusetts state law, invasion of privacy occurs when highly personal information about an individual is disclosed when the person had chosen not to make it public and the public had no legitimate need or reason to know about it. Unlike defamation, invasion of privacy includes true statements. See Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 214, Section 1B.

  • Obscenity, Pornography, and Sexually Explicit Material

    The use of the university digital environment to send, receive, store, stream, or print any pornography, sexually explicit, or obscene material is prohibited. Pornography is the depiction of sexual behavior that is intended to arouse sexual excitement in its audience. All child pornography is explicitly not protected by—and is illegal under—state and federal law.

    Obscenity is not protected by free speech. Obscenity means material that has no literary, artistic, political, or other socially redeeming value.

  • Copyright, Fair Use of Copyright Works, and Music/Video Downloads

    Copyright law generally gives authors, artists, composers, and other such creators the exclusive right to copy, distribute, modify, and display their works or to authorize other people to do so.

    These works are protected the moment they are created regardless of whether they are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office or whether they are marked by the symbol ©.

    File-sharing, duplication and distribution of text, software, or sound recordings, and other actions may violate federal copyright law. This law applies to all forms of information, including digital and network communications, music, and entertainment videos.

    Review Lesley’s Use of Copyrighted Works Policy & Fair Use Guidelines before reproducing or distributing copyrighted works.

    Unauthorized sharing of peer to peer file copyrighted works, including music, pictures, and movies, is a violation of this Acceptable Use Policy. It is also illegal.

    Violating copyright law is a serious offense. Use of a University computer or personal computer utilizing the University server to illegally download or upload audio, video, or other questionable copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer to peer file-sharing, will constitute a violation of this Policy and will be referred to the Dean of Student Life and Academic Development, the Director of Human Resources, or the Provost.

    Possible university sanctions include probation, removal from accessing the university network, and disciplinary action. Court and government sanctions may include criminal prosecution and criminal or civil penalties, including but not limited to injunctions and actual and statutory damages.

  • Trademarks

    Unauthorized use of trade secrets and trademarked names or symbols is prohibited. Use of Lesley University's names and symbols must comply with university policy.

Authorized Access

The following persons are granted access to the Lesley digital environment, subject to this Policy:

  • Core Faculty: Eligible upon acceptance of a contract
  • Adjunct Faculty and National Faculty: Eligible upon acceptance   of a contract
  • Students: Eligible upon admittance to a degree program
  • Administrators & Staff: Eligible on date of hire
  • Alumni
  • Emeriti/ae Faculty
  • Retired Administrators & Staff who meet eligibility criteria
  • All others and any requests for exceptions to this Policy are subject to the prior written approval of the university’s Chief Information Officer.

All employee (faculty and staff) accounts will expire and access will end with the termination of the user's relationship with the University, except that certain retired faculty and staff who meet the eligibility criteria will maintain access to their current Lesley email account.

 There are certain situations with approval from the appropriate Dean/Administrator that would allow retired faculty continuation of relevant accounts. Systems administrators may, without additional prior notice, delete computer accounts and files after the termination of a person's qualifying Lesley affiliation.

Data Security, Confidentiality, Access, and Retention

Lesley University users are responsible for protecting the confidentiality and appropriate use of institutional data to which they are given access, ensuring the security of the equipment where such information is held or displayed, ensuring the security of any accounts issued in their name, and abiding by related rights of students, faculty, staff, and others concerning the use and release of personal information, as required by state and federal law or existing university policies.

Lesley University users must follow the Data Security Policy

In the ordinary course, digital files and information must be retained in accordance with the university’s Record Retention Policy. Review the Record Retention Policy to understand the university’s protocols for keeping certain types of records.

Digital files and information, whether or not created and stored on University resources, may constitute a University record subject to disclosure under federal, state, or local laws, or as a result of an investigation or litigation.

In such cases, the university and certain relevant users will be required to store and may not delete certain files, messages, or other records. In some cases, as with paper records of the university, digital files and information must be searched and disclosed to third parties in response to legally issued subpoenas or court orders.

In addition, in the event of a university investigation for alleged misconduct, digital files and information such as email messages may be viewed, locked, or copied as needed for the investigation or to prevent destruction and loss of information. On occasion, the actions described in this paragraph may be taken by the University without prior specific notice to the person whose account, files, or equipment are being searched. The university may report evidence of misconduct to the appropriate authorities.

Network and System Integrity

All use covered under the scope of this Acceptable Use Policy must comply with state and federal laws, including, but not limited to, the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. 1030, and other federal law, state law, and university policies.

The university reserves the right to limit access to its resources when policies or laws are violated and to use appropriate means to safeguard its resources, preserve network and system integrity, and ensure continued service delivery at all times. This includes, but is not limited to, monitoring routing information of communications across its network services and transaction records residing on university resources, scanning systems attached to the Lesley network for security problems, disconnecting systems that have become a security hazard, and restricting the material transport across the network or posted on university systems.

Activities and behaviors that threaten the integrity of the computer networks or systems are prohibited on both university-owned and privately-owned equipment operated on or through the university resources. These activities and behaviors include but are not limited to:

  • Interference with or disruption of computer systems and networks and related services, including but not limited to the propagation of computer worms, viruses, Trojan Horses, malware, and other harmful content.
  • Intentionally or carelessly performing an act that places an excessive load on a computer or network to the extent that other users may be denied service or the use of digital and network networks or information systems may be disrupted.
  • Any action that might be harmful to the university digital and network environment, the network, or the data stored on or transported by them or other computers connected to them.
  • Failure to comply with authorized requests from designated university officials to discontinue activities that threaten the operation or integrity of computers, system or networks
  • Negligently or intentionally revealing passwords or otherwise permitting the use by others of university-assigned accounts for computer and network access. Individual password security is the responsibility of each user. The user is responsible for all uses of their accounts, independent of authorization.
  • Altering or attempting to alter files or systems without authorization
  • Unauthorized scanning of ports, computers and networks.
  • Unauthorized attempts to circumvent data protection schemes or uncover security vulnerabilities.
  • Attempting to connect to or alter any university computing or network components without authorization or beyond one's level of authorization, including but not limited to bridges, routers, hubs, wiring and connections.
  • Using campus resources to gain unauthorized access to any computer system and/or using someone else's computer without permission.
  • Registering a Lesley IP address with any other domain name or registering a Lesley domain name without written authorization from Information Technology.

No Liability/ No Warranty

Lesley University is unable to warrant that its digital and network environment is virus-free; that users with Lesley email accounts will not receive unsolicited email; or that all hardware and/or software used to access the digital and network environment will be compatible with the Lesley systems.

Use and access to Lesley's digital and network environment does not entitle the user to seek indirect, consequential, special, punitive, peremptory, or similar damages from Lesley University in connection with use and access.

H. Social Media

Blogs, digital media, and social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn and iTunes U, offer new and exciting opportunities for Lesley University faculty, staff, students, and alumni to share knowledge, express creativity, and connect with people who have common interests.

Social media are being used more and more in teaching and online learning. When participating in social media, it is important to always be upfront and honest about who you are and what you represent, use common sense before you post or comment, and respect the values and etiquette of communities you join. And just as in the use of other Lesley-provided technology, users of Lesley's digital and network environments must be aware of the policies and laws that apply to social media, including university policies and federal and state law.

Users should be aware that information posted online or otherwise made available through social and digital media, including pictures and text, may become very difficult to completely remove from the internet or elsewhere even after deleting the material. Also, any pictures and text placed online can become the property of these sites once they are posted or otherwise made available.

To help gauge information appropriate to post, users need to consider what information they want available to the world not just now but in the future. Potential employers, scholarship committees, graduate school admissions committees, or even potential roommates often perform "background checks" by searching the web. So, although the material may be legal, it still may ruin potential career or personal prospects.

Sending Email Messages

Lesley University reserves the right to send email to its own users, on an individual and mass basis.

Either the President, a member of the President's Cabinet, or the Director of the Office of Communications must approve in advance any mass email announcement.

This Acceptable Use Policy is not intended to create a contract between Lesley University and its students, employees, or other persons. Lesley reserves the right to amend or revoke this and other policies at any time without notice.

Revised February 2, 2016

Questions?
Contact Amy Donovan, Chief Information Officer, with any questions regarding information technology.