Computer and Network Usage Policy

    This policy outlines the underlying principles and rules of the use of Columbia College Chicago Technology Resources. It establishes acceptable and unacceptable use of electronic devices, applications, and college network and server technology resources. 

    Columbia College Chicago provides the technology infrastructure for educational, research and business use and to meet the college’s missions and goals.  The Columbia College Chicago Community must use these systems responsibly, confidentially, in a legal manner.  This policy applies to the technology assets owned or leased by Columbia College Chicago or to devices that connect to the Columbia College Chicago network.   

    This policy applies to all users of Columbia College Chicago technology, including but not limited to the students, faculty, staff and consultants.  It applies to the users of the network and computer technology and peripherals owned by the university.  This includes applications owned by 3rd party providers as well as those administered at the department level.

    General use Requirements


    • Use of Technology Resources for academic learning, teaching or business purposes on behalf of the College
    • Limited use of Technology Resources for personal use is permitted provided that such use does not:
      • adversely impact the daily work/learning outcomes of College staff, faculty and students
      • cause IT service issues of any magnitude
      • violate any other provisions of this Policy


    Violation of College policy:

    • access College equipment, facilities, networks, information or accounts without authorization
    • use another individual’s technology account with or without the individual’s permission unless it is carried out by the College for legitimate purposes
    • grant another individual access to one’s own technology account by sharing a password or by any other means unless it is carried out by the College for legitimate purposes or use technology resources to intentionally interfere with the work of other students, faculty members or college officials
    • access, create, publish or communicate information that is obscene, pornographic, abusive, defamatory, derogatory, threatening, violent or harassing, including material that may interfere with other individuals’ rights under the Unacceptable Internet/Intranet Usage Standards
    • display, transmit, distribute or make available information that expresses or implies discrimination or an intention to discriminate
    • use technology resources to intentionally interfere with the normal operation of network resources including, but not limited to, flooding the network with messages, sending chain letters or spreading viruses or malware, etc.
    • use, disclose, copy, modify or delete information stored on technology resources without authorization
    • use technology resources for personal or political causes or for personal commercial gain without filing a disclosure of conflict statement and receiving authorization under the Conflict of Interest Policy
    • obtain other individuals’ personal information under false pretenses or for unlawful gain
    • use IT Resources for any purpose that could be seen as a violation of federal, state and local laws
    • use IT Resources for any purpose (e.g. upload material) that is not in accordance with the College’s Copyright Policy
    • send bulk electronic messages without authorization from the College

    Network Use
    Individuals are responsible for the security and appropriate use of Columbia College Chicago network resources under your control. Using Columbia College Chicago resources for the following is strictly prohibited:

    • Causing a security breach to either Columbia College Chicago or other network resources, including, but not limited to, accessing data, servers, or accounts to which you are not authorized; circumventing user authentication on any device; or sniffing network traffic.
    • Causing a disruption of service to either Columbia College Chicago or other network resources, including, but not limited to, ICMP floods, packet spoofing, denial of service, and forged routing information for malicious purposes.
    • Violating copyright law, including, but not limited to, illegally duplicating or transmitting copyrighted pictures, music, video, and software.
    • Exporting or importing software, technical information, encryption software, or technology in violation of international or regional export control laws.
    • Use of the Internet or Columbia College Chicago network that violates the Internet Usage Policy 4.3, Columbia College Chicago policies, or local laws. 
    • Intentionally introducing malicious code, including, but not limited to, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, e-mail bombs, spyware, adware, and keyloggers.
    • Port scanning or security scanning on a production network unless authorized in advance by Information Security.

      Commuting Assets
    • Individuals are responsible for ensuring the protection of assigned Columbia College Chicago assets. Technology assets left at Columbia College Chicago overnight must be properly secured or placed in a locked drawer or cabinet. Promptly report any theft of Columbia College Chicago assets to the Safety & Security
    • Individuals must ensure through legal or technical means that proprietary information remains within the control of Columbia College Chicago at all times.
    • The storage of proprietary information on a personal device is prohibited. This specifically prohibits the use of an e-mail account that is not provided by Columbia College Chicago.
    • All PCs, PDAs, laptops, and workstations must be secured with a password-protected screensaver with the automatic activation feature set to 10 minutes or less. You must lock the screen or log off when the device is unattended.
    • Devices that connect to the Columbia College Chicago network must comply with the Minimum Access Policy.
    • Do not interfere with device management or security system software, including, but not limited to, Columbia’s Standard antivirus, encryption or software management systems.


    Electronic Communications

    The following are strictly prohibited:

    • Inappropriate use of communication vehicles and equipment, including, but not limited to, supporting illegal activities, and procuring or transmitting material that violates Columbia College Chicago policies against harassment or the safeguarding of confidential or proprietary information.
    • Sending Spam via e-mail, text messages, instant messages, voice mail, or other forms of electronic communication
    • Sending or requesting delivery of pornography or racially derogatory, discriminating, threatening or abusive communications
    • Send or receive copyrighted materials, proprietary information, or similar materials without prior authorization. 
    • Forging, misrepresenting, obscuring, suppressing, or replacing a user identity on any electronic communication to mislead the recipient about the sender.
    • Posting the same or similar non-business-related messages to large numbers of Usenet newsgroups (newsgroup spam).


    Use of Columbia College Chicago e-mail or IP addresses to engage in conduct that violates Columbia College Chicago policies or guidelines. Posting to a public newsgroup, bulletin board, or listserv with Columbia College Chicago e-mail or IP address represents Columbia College Chicago to the public; therefore, you must exercise good judgment to avoid misrepresenting or exceeding your authority in representing the opinion of the college under the Social Media Guidelines for Employees

    User Privacy
    Each user of Columbia College Chicago technology resources and network resources is entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy except when the Columbia College Chicago Administration has probable cause to believe a particular use violates local, state or federal law or when the college has reason to believe that the technology is being used in a threatening, abusive, libelous and inflammatory manner, the Associate VP/CIO will screen reported problems and direct them to appropriate existing administrative bodies for resolution.

    Enforcement and Procedures
    The college reserves the right to review, audit , intercept, access and disclose all information created, received or sent via Columbia College Chicago systems for any purpose.

    If a Columbia College Chicago community member is found to have violated this policy they may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from the institution. A violation of this policy by a temporary worker, contractor or vendor may result in the termination of their contract or assignment with Columbia College Chicago

    Where definition of violation is unclear or where patterns of use appear to be out of compliance with this policy, the Associate VP/CIO will provide interpretation to the President’s Cabinet for final sanctions.

    Revision History

    Revised 4/2/2014 JD

    Revised 6/30/2014 BBM


    Federal Laws and College Policies Governing Use of IT resources

    Legislation and Columbia College Chicago policy which affects the use of IT resources include, but are not limited to: