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 and 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, 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


The following actions violate the college policy:

  • Accessing college equipment, facilities, networks, information or accounts without authorization
  • Use of another individual’s technology account with or without the individual’s permission unless it is carried out by the college for legitimate purposes
  • Granting 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
  • Accessing, creating, publishing or communicating 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
  • Displaying, transmitting, distributing or making available information that expresses or implies discrimination or an intention to discriminate
  • Use of 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
  • Using, disclosing, copying, modifying or deleting information stored on technology resources without authorization
  • Use of 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
  • Obtaining other individuals’ personal information under false pretenses or for unlawful gain
  • Use of IT resources for any purpose that could be seen as a violation of federal, state and local laws
  • Use of IT resources for any purpose (e.g. upload material) that is not in accordance with the college’s Copyright Policy
  • Sending 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 their 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, email 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 office of 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 email 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 email, text messages, instant messages, voicemail or other forms of electronic communication
  • Sending or requesting delivery of pornography or racially derogatory, discriminating, threatening or abusive communications
  • Sending or receiving 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 email or IP addresses to engage in conduct that violates Columbia College Chicago policies or guidelines
  • Posting to a public newsgroup or bulletin board with Columbia College Chicago email or IP addresses

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 6/30/2014


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: 

Email Support Policy

E-mail Account

Information Technology provides email service for faculty and staff. An email account and mailbox are automatically created for you upon your affiliation with Columbia College Chicago. Email is considered an official form of college communication and should be checked regularly.

Email usernames are created using the following format:

First Letter of First Name + Last Name (faculty and staff as listed in HR system)

Example: John M. Doe

Username: jdoe

Email address: jdoe@colum.edu

 If this username has already been used, additional numbers may be appended to the end to create a unique username.

Email can be accessed from on or off campus using the Exchange Web-Mail interface at:


All mailboxes have maximum size restriction of 2GB.  If you exceed your mailbox quota, you will be prohibited from sending messages until you have reduced your mailbox size to be within the limit of your quota.

Email Clients Supported by IT

 There are numerous clients that connect to Microsoft Exchange and not all of them are capable of utilizing the entire functionality of Exchange.  To enjoy the full features of Exchange we recommend and support only the following email clients:

  • Exchange Web-Mail Client: https://mail.colum.edu
  • Microsoft Outlook for Mac (2011 and 2016)
  • Microsoft Outlook for Windows 7, 8, 10 (2010, 2013, 2016)

 Due to the high percentage of Macintosh computers on campus we also support Apple Mail.

Email Auto-Forwarding

Email is considered an official form of college communication and is maintained on the College’s email system.  Columbia College Chicago does not support or provide auto-forwarding of email to personal email accounts or other email systems.

International Travel Laptop Loaner Policy

International Travel Laptop Loaner Program-Columbia College Chicago


Laptops are available for faculty and staff use for international travel for Columbia College Chicago college business.

Benefits and Features: 

Columbia College Chicago offers loaner laptops for faculty and staff traveling overseas for college business and to reduce travel challenges both in addressing the availability of having a laptop and in protecting data while traveling.

Technology Guidelines:

  • Extra care is required when using technology internationally

Be advised that international travel can pose additional challenges for using technology. Access to social media, email, and other websites may be blocked or limited, and some countries ban encrypted devices. Contact Client Services for assistance with your international travel needs at clientservices@colum.edu or 312-369-7001.

  • Assume everything you do on your devices is being intercepted

The information that you send over a network may be monitored, even when using a hotel or business connection. It is always best to assume you are being monitored so that you can adjust your actions accordingly.

  • Never use public Wi-Fi, computers, or devices

Shared computers in cyber cafes, public areas, hotel business centers, and foreign institutions-as well as devices that belong to other travelers-should never be used to access College or personal systems that are protected by a username and password. Public, free Wi-Fi connections cannot be trusted and may compromise your device if you attempt to connect to them.

  • Keep your device with you at all times

Do not let your devices leave your sight. Should customs or other airport officials take your devices out of your view, those devices should be considered compromised and should not be used. Even if you will not be using your device, it should not be left in a hotel room, conference center, or foreign office unattended.

  • Do not use unknown storage devices

USB keys can be used to install malicious software on your devices and allow unauthorized individuals to compromise your data and accounts. Only plug items into your devices that you have brought with you. Public charging stations at airports or hotels should also be avoided, as they can transmit harmful software to your devices.

  • Be aware of your surroundings

When entering your username and password into your devices, be aware of those around you. Someone may be closely watching your screen and keyboard in an attempt to steal your credentials.

International Laptop Loaner Benefits and Features Columbia College Chicago:

Columbia College Chicago offers loaner laptops for faculty and staff traveling for Columbia College Chicago for college business and to reduce travel challenges to the college community both in addressing the availability of having a laptop and in protecting data while traveling.

Features include:

  • HP 14” PC Laptop
  • Laptop will be available for trips up to 90 days
  • Delivered to the requestor and picked up by Columbia College IT staff upon completion of trip
  • There is no fee for this service, but if a laptop is lost or stolen, its cost will be charged to the requestor's department cost center ID 
  • Preloaded with standard Columbia College laptop configuration and key Columbia Colleges website links, including:
    • Windows 10
    • Remote access VPN
    • MS Office suite and Outlook Email Web client
    • Universal video player
    • Full hard disk encryption and antivirus (Bitlocker)

Get Started:

To request a loaner laptop for travel:

  • Complete a 360 IT Request or contact Client Services, 7001 or clientservices@colum.edu at least 5 business days in advance of the travel date.
  • Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. Every attempt will be made to stock sufficient laptops to meet demand.
  • The maximum loan period is 90 days
  • A confirmation email will be sent.
  • Information Technology staff will arrange a date and time to deliver the equipment to the requestor in person. At that time, they will review the equipment provided and schedule a pick-up appointment.
  • Information Technology staff will meet the requestor at the scheduled pick-up appointment time to retrieve all equipment.

The fine print

  • Any plans to travel on behalf of Columbia College Chicago to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria must be reviewed and approved by a Dean or VP and reviewed by the CIO.  All loaned equipment, including associated peripherals and initially installed software, is the property of the Colleges IT Department. You or your department are responsible for any damage or loss while the equipment is in your possession.
  • For security reasons, the laptop will be erased when it is returned to Columbia College’s IT Department.
  • Upon return, the IT Department will provide security triage, which includes data retrieval of files and other data
  • Upon return, do not connect the laptop to the Columbia College Chicago network or your home network. Please contact Client Services,

Policy:  August 2016

Social Media Policy
Although Columbia does not officially monitor student’s online activity, violations of the Student Code of Conduct or official college policy that are brought to the administration’s attention will be acted on accordingly.
Copyright Policy
Family Educational Rights & Privacy Annual Notice to Students


Columbia complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, by publishing an annual notice to students explaining their rights under the act in Columbia’s catalog and Student Handbook.

I. Upon written request, students may inspect and review their educational records by submitting their request to the registrar. Columbia will endeavor to provide the student an opportunity to inspect and review his or her educational records within a reasonable time after receiving the request, not exceeding 45 days from the receipt of the request. Students’ educational records are maintained under the supervision of the registrar in the Records Office, Room 611, 600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60605.

II. It is Columbia's policy that no personally identifiable information from educational records will be released without prior written consent of the student, except for that information designed in this policy as directory information and such personally identifiable information that may be disclosed under the circumstances allowed under the Act and regulations passed pursuant to the Act. The following personnel are granted access to educational records without prior written consent of the student as a matter of routine and for legitimate educational purposes: the registrar, the General Counsel's Office, the student services directors, the deans, the chairpersons of the academic departments, and any of their agents. Student educational records are made available to the above designated persons in furtherance of the legitimate educational purposes of record maintenance, evaluation and advising, financial aid evaluation, review for disciplinary and academic action, and billing. 

III. As required by the act and regulations, Columbia maintains a record of written requests for personally identifiable information whether or not such requests are granted. Each student has the right to inspect and review the record of written requests for disclosures of personally identifiable information which is maintained in his or her permanent record.

IV. Columbia designates the following information as directory information: the student’s name; information on whether or not a student is registered at Columbia during the term in which the information is requested; dates of attendance; information concerning the student’s graduation status, including whether or not he or she has graduated from Columbia, the date of any degree awarded and the type of degree awarded; major field of study; awards received; and participation in officially recognized activities, sports and organizations. Students have the right to withhold disclosure of the above information by notifying the registrar in writing. The proper form for refusal of disclosure is available in the Records Office.

V. A student has the right to request an amendment to his or her educational records to ensure the educational record information is not inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s rights. The procedure to seek amendment of a student’s educational records is as follows:

  1. A written request must be submitted to the registrar stating the reason a student seeks to amend his or her educational record and attaching any supporting documentation to the request.
  2. Within a reasonable time after receiving the request, but in no event longer than 45 days, the registrar will issue a decision in response to the student’s request. If the decision is unfavorable, the student has the right to a hearing before a panel of associate deans on the request to amend. The student has the right to be represented by counsel at the hearing. The decision of the Academic Standards Review Committee is final.
  3. In the event of an unfavorable decision by the Academic Standards Review Committee, the student has the right to include a written statement setting forth his or her reasons for disagreeing with the committee on the matters presented in the request to amend the records.
  4. Each student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Columbia to comply with the requirements of the act and the regulations passed pursuant thereto.