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UNC Computer, Internet & Electronic Communication Procedures


  • What does this procedure govern?

    This procedure explains the acceptable use of University of Northern Colorado’s computing and communication resources, including computers, networks, electronic mail, electronic information sources, voice mail, telephone services and other communication resources.  Acceptable use is based on common sense, common decency and civility applied to the electronic communications environment.

  • How can resources be used?

    UNC's computing & communications and communications resources are university owned. These resources are to be used to further the university's mission of teaching, learning, the advancement of knowledge and community services and shall be used in a manner consistent with the instructional, research, and administrative objectives of the University community in general and with the purpose for which such use was intended.

  • Who can use the computing and communication resources?

    Computing and communication resources are provided for the use of faculty, staff, currently admitted or enrolled UNC students and other properly authorized users. Access to the computing and communication resource environment is a privilege and must be treated as such by all users of these systems. Access to the University systems may require approval of the appropriate UNC supervisory or management authority (e.g. department heads, system administrators, etc.)

  • What are the penalties for abuse or violation?

    Abuse of computing and electronic communication privileges can be a matter of legal action or official campus disciplinary procedures. Depending upon the seriousness of an offense, violation of the procedure can result in penalties ranging from reprimand (e.g. don't do this any more), to loss of access, to referral to university authorities for disciplinary action. In order to sustain reasonable performance and secure services for the rest of the user community, the computing facility may immediately suspend an individual's access privileges. Access to UNC computing and communication resources may be wholly or partially restricted by the University without prior notice and without consent of the user:

    • If required by applicable law, policy or procedure
    • If there is a reasonable suspicion that there has been or may be a violation of law, regulation, procedure, or policy
    • If required to protect the integrity or operation of the computing and communication resources or when the resources are required for more critical tasks as determined by appropriate management authority.
  • What if I suspect my resources have been compromised?

     What other applicable administrative policies and procedures and student code of conduct are applicable to University system users?

  • What other applicable administrative policies and procedures and student code of conduct are applicable to University system users?

     All applicable laws and University policies, regulations and procedures bind UNC students and employees. For ease of reference, some applicable laws and procedures are listed below. This list is an illustration only. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the applicability of any other law or policy.

    6. HIPAA

Required Procedures & Prohibited Usage

  • Required Procedures

    By acquiring an account or utilizing University electronic resources you assume the responsibility to:

    1. Comply with these procedures, state, federal laws and UNC regulations and policies
    2. Respect the rights and privacy of others, including intellectual property and personal property rights
    3. Refrain from activities that may damage or obstruct the network and electronic resources and information
    4. Avoid restricted areas and not compromise the integrity of electronic resources
    5. Secure your passwords and make them difficult to obtain or guess
    6. Be honest and accurate in personal and computer identification
    7. Agree to cooperate and comply with UNC's requests for access to and copies of email messages or data when access or disclosure is authorized by this procedure or required or allowed by law or other applicable procedures, regulations and policies.
  • Prohibited Usage

    Unacceptable uses that are prohibited include, but are not limited to the following:

    1. Use of computer resources or electronic information for any purpose that may violate federal or state laws
    2. Any person who knowingly uses any computer, computer system, computer network or any part thereof for the purpose of devising or executing any scheme or artifice to defraud; obtain money, property, or service by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises; using the property or services of another without authorization; or committing theft
    3. Any person who knowingly and without authorization uses, alters, damages or destroys any computer, computer system, computer network or any computer software, program documentation, or date contained in such computer, computer system, or computer network
    4. Use of resources for personal or private business or commercial activities, fund raising or advertising on behalf of non-UNC organizations
    5. Misrepresentation or forging your identity or the source of any electronic communication
    6. Unlawful communications, including threats of violence, obscenity, child pornography and harassing communications
    7. Unauthorized acquisition, attempts to acquire, and use of passwords of others. Unauthorized use and attempts to use the computer accounts of others.
    8. Assuming someone else's identity or altering the content of a message originating from another person or computer with intent to deceive
    9. Interference with or disruption of the computer, telephone or network accounts, services or equipment of others is prohibited. The intentional propagation of computer "worms", "viruses", activities that place undue stress on resources such as ending chain letters, "spam" or widespread dissemination of unsolicited email and letter bombs or the resending of the same email repeatedly to one or more recipients
    10. Reselling of UNC resources
    11. Unauthorized use of University logos and other protected trademarks and logos
    12. Any alteration of source or destination addresses including uniform resource locators (URLs) or other actions that mask the University identity
    13. Unauthorized anonymous and pseudonymous communications
    14. Unauthorized modification of or deletion of another person's files, account or posting; altering or attempting to alter files or systems without authorization
    15. Use of computer resources or electronic information without authorization or beyond one's level of authorization
    16. Interception or attempted interception of communications by parties not authorized or intended to receive them
    17. Making resources available to individuals not affiliated with UNC without prior administrative approval
    18. Revealing passwords or otherwise permitting the use by other (by intent or negligence) of personal accounts for computer and network access without authorization
    19. Intentionally or recklessly compromising the privacy or security of University electronic information
    20. Infringing upon the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of others in computer programs or electronic information (including plagiarism and unauthorized use of reproduction) is prohibited. The unauthorized storing, copying or use of audio files, images, graphics, computer software, data sets, bibliographic records and other protected property is prohibited except as permitted by law
    21. Failure to comply with requests from appropriate UNC officials to discontinue activities that threaten the operation or integrity of computers, systems or networks, or otherwise violate this procedure
    22. Unauthorized scanning of networks or computers for security vulnerabilities.
    23. Altering or attempting to alter any computing or network components (such as routers, switches, and hubs) without approval or beyond one's level of authorization
    24. Negligent or intentional conduct leading to disruption and or damage of electronic networks or information systems
  • Privacy & Security
    • Users should not have an expectation of privacy for communications on the University network. Confidentiality of email, voicemail and other network transmissions cannot be assured. Therefore all users should exercise extreme caution when committing confidential information to electronic media.
    • Under the Colorado Open Records Act, electronic files are treated in much the same way as paper files. Any official university documents (as defined by law) in the files of employees of the State of Colorado are considered to be public documents, and may be subject to inspection through the Open Records Act. In such cases, the Legal Counsel to the Board of Trustees should inspect the contents of the applicable files to determine which portions may be exempt from disclosure. Any inspection of electronic files, and any action based upon such inspection will be governed by all applicable U.S. and Colorado laws and by university policy.
    • Certain central service and network activities from workstations connected to the network are routinely logged and monitored. These activities include:
        • Use of passwords and accounts accessed
        • Time and duration of network activity
        • Access to web pages
        • Access to network software
        • Volume of data storage and transfers
        • Server space used for data and email
    • In case of suspected violations of UNC procedures, especially unauthorized access to computing systems, the system administrator may authorize detailed session logging. This may involve a complete keystroke log of an entire session. In addition the system administrator may authorize limited searching of user files to gather evidence on a suspected violation.
    • Users must protect and backup critical data. UNC Information Technology is not obligated to maintain backups of any file for any particular length of time. Individual users and departments should develop policies and practices to ensure regular backups of data and implement steps to ensure that all critical data is compatible with all current generations of computing equipment and storage media and media readers.
    • All UNC department should implement policies to ensure that access to sensitive data is restricted to those employees who have a need to access the information. Passwords restricting access to information should be changed on a regular basis and systems should be developed and implemented to assure password records are regularly updated by appropriate supervisors
    • University owned computer and equipment might be examined to detect unauthorized software use and to evaluate the security of the network
    • Default or issued passwords, such as those from a manufacturer, should be immediately changed

Web Procedures

  • Purpose

    The University of Northern Colorado recognizes the importance of the World Wide Web ("Web") in meeting the needs of many audiences, including prospective students. The Web is a valuable tool for areas of instruction, research and information sharing and is a critical component of the university’s image. The university encourages faculty, staff and students to publish information in support of the mission of the university, recognizing that all users at the university are accountable to the taxpayers of the State of Colorado and the Web resources must be used in an ethical, courteous, legal and efficient manner.

University Web Pages

  • Responsibilities
    1. Users must comply with all federal and state laws, contracts, software licenses and university policies, regulations and procedures, including but not limited to those related to personal conduct. The regulations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act apply to all student information published on the web.
    2. All users must comply with UNC Web Publication Guidelines.
    3. Individual departments are responsible for quality of their own Web pages. Each office or group should designate a faculty or staff person responsible for accuracy, quality and currency of its Web pages.
    4. The Office of Web Communications is responsible for design, content creation and maintenance of all university top level pages, such as the home and user pages,, as well as the development of Web procedures and publication guidelines. Web Communications is also responsible for coordination of university Web efforts and serves as a resource to the campus for information and assistance.
    5. The university does not monitor official Web pages but will respond to issues or concerns of which it is made aware as they arise. Web Communications may review and request changes to any official university page(s) as appropriate.
  • Use of Resources
    1. University Web resources are to be used only for university-related purposes and cannot be used to create or host personal pages or organizational sites unrelated to the mission of the unit. Mission related sites may be hosted upon approval of the sponsoring department and Office of Web Communications.
    2. Web resources, including bandwidth, may not be used for private or personal commercial gain or profit.
    3. Use of available Web resources is encouraged, however, users may be required to refrain from or modify uses if they interfere with the effective or secure operation of the university’s Web resources. Files on the Web server must be limited to those directly applicable to the function of the Web site.
    4. The university reserves the right to set limits on Web resource use as necessary. An explanation of any limitations will be maintained as information in the Web Publication Guidelines.
    5. The university Web server should not be used to host video files. A university streaming video server is available through the office of Web Communications.
    6. External assistance for Web site creation may be retained on consultation with the Director of Web Communications and appropriate Information Management and Technology staff members. All contracts or signed documents relating to external Web projects must be reviewed and cosigned by University Counsel.
    7. Official pages should be hosted on a university server. External Web server hosting is allowed only through prior written approval of the office of Web Communications.
  • Advertising
    1. For the purpose of this procedure, advertising is defined as offering space in a university Web page to another party to promote a product, service or facility in exchange for money, services or goods. In general, advertising is not allowed on university Web pages but may be authorized in certain circumstances. Any authorized advertising must be approved through the university contracting and purchasing process and reviewed by the Executive Director of Purchasing & Contracts and the University Counsel.
    2. Links to commercial, for-profit entities that do not generate advertising revenue may violate the competition rules governing state institutions if they confer a commercial advantage on one private entity over another. Unauthorized links that might imply an endorsement by the university create an unacceptable risk. Questions regarding this category of links should be directed to the Director of Web Communications or University Counsel.
    3. Guidance for specific categories of commercial links is as follows:
    • Links in kinds, such as in exchange for graphics, are not allowed.
    • Links indicating software products used should not be placed on Web pages except as part of an approved contractual agreement.
    • Recognition of an event sponsor may be listed on a Web page but links to web sites of the donor or event sponsor are not allowed unless authorized through the office of Web Communications.
    • Links to for-profit businesses can be included as part of an approved contractual agreement.
    • Links to plug-in download sites required for Web page function are discouraged.
    • Links to not-for-profit services or mission related organizations are allowed if the arrangement is not exclusive and links to related organizations or services would be accepted on the page.
    • Endorsements of private, for-profit services or goods are not allowed.
  • Enforcement
    1. Individuals aware of content in violation of these procedures may contact the person responsible for the page or the Director of Web Communications. Minor or accidental infractions may be resolved through informal communications.
    2. The university reserves the right to remove any account, information or link to information that is in violation of these policies.
    3. Users who violate these regulations may be subject to university disciplinary action or referred to appropriate university officials or, when appropriate, law enforcement authorities.