Policy for Responsible use of Information Resources

In support of its mission, Westminster College, within the parameters of institutional priorities and financial capabilities, intends to provide access for students, faculty and staff to local, national and international sources of information. It is also the intent of the College to maintain a campus environment that facilitates access to knowledge and the sharing of information with colleagues at Westminster and at other locations without fear that their work will be violated by misrepresentation, tampering, destruction and/or theft.
The Policy for Responsible Use of Information Resources contains the governing philosophy for regulating faculty, student and staff use of the COLLEGE’S INFORMATION RESOURCES INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LIBRARY, AUDIO-VISUAL, ACADEMIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE COMPUTING, AND TELEPHONE SYSTEM RESOURCES. It also explicates the general principles regarding the appropriate use of these resources. In adopting this policy, the College recognizes that all members of the College community are also bound by local, state and federal laws governing the use of these resources.
Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to privacy and the right to determine the form, manner and terms of publication and distribution. Access to the information resource infrastructure both within the College and beyond the campus, sharing of information and security of the intellectual products of the community all require that every user accept responsibility for protecting the rights of the community and its members and abiding by the principle of respect for intellectual/academic work.
Access to the College’s information resources and facilities is a privilege granted to Westminster faculty, staff and students. The College reserves the right to limit or extend privileges and access to these resources. Any member of the College community who, without authorization, accesses, uses, destroys, alters, dismantles, or disfigures College information technologies, properties or facilities, including those owned by third parties, thereby threatens the environment of increased access and sharing of information. He/she also threatens the security within which members of the community may operate and, in the view of the College, has engaged in unethical and unacceptable conduct.
Westminster College’s information resources including the campus network and access paths it provides to off-campus resources such as the Internet are private facilities of the College. These facilities are made available to users as the College sees fit in accordance with its mission. The College strives to operate the network reliably, efficiently, securely, legally, and in accordance with College policies. To accomplish this, the College may exercise its right to log access to and use of all resources on the network as well as the traffic that flows through the network. Management software on the network can log dates and times users log in and log out of the network. It can also identify resources used on or accessed from the network, messages and files stored on and passed through the network, servers and other sites accessed from the network, and applications executed by users of the network. In addition to logging user activity, management software can determine the identity and log the behavior of machines attached to the network. The College reserves the right and may exercise the right to examine any messages, files or other traffic residing on or flowing through the campus network that pose immediate or potential threats to the network or user resources on the network. This includes, but is not limited to, the right to examine messages, files and traffic for viruses, worms and other threats, even if the messages, files and traffic are being sent from and/or destined for systems or networks outside the College.
Although information can be monitored and logged by the network, the College does not routinely monitor individual users’ activities or the content of their work while using campus resources. However, if circumstances indicate a user or a user’s computer is causing problems with operation of the network or other information resources, or is violating laws or College policies, the College will take all appropriate steps to identify the cause of the problem. This may include using information logged by the system or collected about users and their computers. If policies are violated, offending users will be dealt with according to established procedures. If there are indications of local, state or federal law violations, College personnel will cooperate with appropriate officials to identify and prosecute offenders. This will include providing information about machines and user activities that might be involved in the violations.
If demand for specific information exceeds the capacity of available information resources, use of the resources for instructional/administrative activities directly related to the mission of the College shall have priority over individual use of resources. Also, any information network traffic exiting the College is subject to the acceptable use policies of the network through which it flows as well as to other College policies pertaining to the use of information resources.
In the final analysis, the health and well being of the College’s information resources are the responsibility of all users who must guard against abuses that disrupt and/or threaten the long term viability of the systems and resources at Westminster and beyond the campus. The College requires that members of its community act in accordance with these responsibilities, its policies pertaining to the use of such resources, relevant laws and contractual obligations and the highest standard of ethics.
In accordance with the College Policy for the Responsible Use of Information Resources, the behaviors by students or student organizations listed below are addenda to the Student Code of Conduct and are subject to College disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the procedures for its administration appear in the Handbook for Students under the section entitled “Rights and Responsibilities.” Moreover, the College reserves the right to restrict a student’s access to information resources, pending the outcome of College judicial action, if, in the opinion of the Director of Information Technology Services, the student’s continuing access to such resources endangers the resources, is a threat to other individuals or may result in additional violations of the Code of Conduct. In addition to College disciplinary action, students may be subject to prosecution by legal authorities if they violate local, state or federal laws governing the use of information resources. Finally, the College reserves the right to take disciplinary action against students who allow the use of their College information resource accounts by others when such use entails violations of the Code of Conduct.
  1. Use or attempted use, not authorized by the College, of an information resource account;
  2. Disguising or attempted disguising of the identity of an information resource account or information resource in use;
  3. Allowing other persons to use your information resource account or the accounts of others in the absence of the owner of the account;
  4. Use of College telecommunications network to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to local or remote information resources. No equipment configured as a network server, router, switch, or other network access or control device may be connected to the campus network by any method (data jack, hub, wireless, or other type of connection) without written approval from the Director of Information Technology Services;
  5. Acts performed knowingly or deliberately which are intended to or have the effect of impacting adversely the operation of information resources and/or denying service to other users of the resources. This includes, but is not limited to, the unauthorized use of student accounts for the purpose of sending e-mail mass mailings or chain letters, or executing programs that impede the operation of the network;
  6. Modification of computer data, files, disks, programs, or other information resources belonging to the College or other persons without the owner’s permission;
  7. Use or installation of a program which is intended to damage an information resource file, system or network;
  8. Circumvention or attempts to circumvent information resource protection measures;
  9. Violation of licensing agreements for information resources;
  10. Reading, copying, deleting or altering in any way information resource communications, files, or software belonging to others without their permission, unless authorized by the Director of Information Technology Services;
  11. Use of any College information resource for purposes other than personal communications or educational/ administrative work directly related to the mission of the College, unless approved by the Director of Information Technology Services.
  12. Use of information resources for commercial enterprises and/or financial gain, unless approved by the Director of Information Technology Services.


Revised: February 3, 2020

Equipment Loan Policies

Circulating equipment is available on request.

Please see our Equipment Loan Policies.

You may also find our Frequently Asked Questions page helpful.

Copyright Policy

Westminster College fully respects all rights that exist in any material protected by the copyright laws of the United States while also encouraging usage of the material that furthers the educational mission. We believe that a balance must exist between the rights of the producers and distributors of works and the privileges of users who benefit from their use. To accomplish this, the College expects compliance with copyright laws from all members of the Westminster community while concurrently intending that faculty, staff, administration, and students take full advantage of all relevant licenses, exemptions, and exclusions that are provided for under copyright law. If there is no applicable license, exemption, or exclusion to permit use of the material, faculty, staff, administration, and students must obtain permission for the anticipated use from the copyright holder. No copies of any type will be made by either Information Technology Services or McGill Library that are prohibited by the Copyright Law, Fair-use guidelines, Licensing Agreements, or Proprietor’s Permission. See our Copyright resource page for more information.