• University Computer Policy

Responsible Use of Computing and Information Resources

1. General Policy

In support of the University's mission of teaching, research and service, Suffolk provides access to computing and information resources within institutional priorities and financial capabilities. The University encourages faculty, employees, and students to make full use of these resources. Use of the computing and information resources is a privilege extended in good faith to faculty and employees and carries with it the responsibility to abide by certain policies and guidelines to ensure that all users enjoy the benefits of these resources.

2. Purchasing Policy

For each purchase, University ITS or the appropriate Academic Technology department must obtain a quote from the appropriate vendor.  Orders of 10 or more computers must be purchased directly from HP via their partner, CampusHP.  Quotes should be requested a minimum of five weeks prior to the preferred delivery date.  Orders of fewer than 10 PCs may be purchased from CDW-G to take advantage of their quicker order fullfillment and delivery process.

Each Faculty and staff member will be provided with a single computer for their office or workspace.  ITS in collaboration with the Academic Technology departments has selected standard models suitable for most users.  Users with different computing needs, ie: research needs or teaching needs, may request a non-standard model.  A decision to provide a non-standard system will be based upon a demonstrated need, school/department approval and available funding.

Approval process: Faculty and/or staff apply via email to their respective Academic Technology area or department head stating the reasons why they are requesting a non-standard model and what software and hardware needs they have.   All requests for non-standard models must first be approved by the department head or appropriate Dean’s office and then the Provost’s office. 

All orders must be processed through the Business Office with the appropriate budget line. The use of personal credit cards for computer purchases is not permitted and will not be reimbursed.

3. Guidelines for Use

  1. The computer facilities and information resources are for the use of authorized persons only. Faculty, employees, and students are responsible for maintaining password security and the security of the computer system they use. Faculty and employees must not allow anyone to use their passwords to gain access to the computer facilities including e-mail.
  2. Computer and information resources are meant solely for legitimate purposes relating to education, course work, teaching, research and administration of the University. Among the uses that are inappropriate are:
    • Causing intentional damage to any component of the computing and information resource facilities
    • Unauthorized access, alteration, copying or deletion of system accounts, passwords, directories, files or programs belonging to any other user
    • Unauthorized dissemination of confidential records obtained through computer and information resources
    • Sending foul, inappropriate or threatening messages such as those including offensive racial or sexual content
    • Using the facilities to harass or intimidate individuals or interfere with their normal use of the system
    • Playing practical jokes, sending chain letters or "fake" e-mail, "spamming" (sending hundreds of copies of the same message), introducing computer viruses or otherwise deliberately breaching system security
    • Soliciting for unauthorized outside business ventures or political or religious causes
    • Creating personal copies of licensed, proprietary software or running illegally copied software. (See University Policy on Copyright)

  3. Any faculty member, employee, or student worker who has access to confidential information must access only that information that they have a legitimate administrative or academic need to use, modify or otherwise view. The confidentiality of all such information must be maintained.
  4. Each school of the University has an Academic Computing Department or a Computer Resource Center with more specific guidelines for use of specialized resources provided by the schools. Faculty, employees, and students must familiarize themselves with those guidelines and abide by them. In addition, both the Sawyer and Mugar Library have specialized resources, as does University Media Services (UMS). Again, users must abide by any specialized guidelines issued by those departments.

4. Faculty and Employee Consent to Abide by the Computing Policy

Copies of the University policy will be placed in Faculty and Employee Handbooks and will be distributed to employees at the new employee orientation. Faculty members and employees will be asked to affirmatively accept this policy on their first "log-in" when a summary of the policy will come up on the screen before the log-in is completed.

5. Confidentiality of Computer Files

The University cannot guarantee the privacy or security of users' computer files, including e-mail messages, nor the anonymity of any user. To help safeguard security, administrative users and academic users on the IBM RS 6000 are required to change e-mail passwords every 30 days. While the University does not monitor e-mail, staff of the Management Information Systems, the Academic Computing Departments or the Computer Resource Center may be required to enter users' files, if necessary, to correct system problems or to address other improper system use.

6. Supervisory Responsibilities

Supervisors are responsible for assuring that all faculty, staff and student employees in their area of authority have the appropriate training for, and orientation toward, responsible computer use.

7. Web Pages

A web page is a global representation of the University's image. All written policies of the University must be observed in authoring any University-affiliated web page. Individuals, groups or organizations may not use the Suffolk web page for commercial or personal business, advertising, or to support or endorse any individual, organization, business enterprise, product or service. Fundraising on web pages must be approved by the Development Office. The use of copyrighted material is not allowed without written permission from the copyright holder.

A web page which causes technical difficulty, has a copyright violation, a violation of University policy or an inappropriate content or which has inappropriate links will have its link removed from the University homepage. While it is assumed that this will be an unlikely occurrence, University Media Services/Creative Services will notify the page authors that the link is being removed until the page is fixed.

Faculty and employees should check with their department, ITS or academic computing unit for more complete individual guidelines. More information on web page development is available on the UMS web site.

8. Sanctions for Violations of this Policy

IS, or the applicable Academic Computing Department or Computer Resource Center, will notify the faculty member, employee, or student, or if deemed necessary, the appropriate Dean or the Director of Human Resources, of any inappropriate activity. It is expected that the inappropriate activity will cease at this warning. If inappropriate use persists, ITS or the applicable Academic Computing Department or Computer Resource Center will suspend the user's computing privileges. Privileges will remain suspended until a thorough review of the incident has been completed and a decision has been made about the imposition of sanctions, if any.


If ITS or the academic computing area determines that the inappropriate activity is a serious harm to the system, user computing privileges will be suspended immediately without warning.

Depending upon the severity of the incident sanctions might include warning, temporary or permanent suspension of computer privileges, suspension or termination. Persons who engage in activities that violate state and federal law will be referred to the proper law enforcement authorities.