Appropriate Use Policy
I. Introduction
This policy governs the use of computers, computer-based networks, and related equipment
administered by Alcorn State University (ASU). Under the federal statutes and the section of the
Mississippi Code that regulate the use of these resources, The Alcorn State University Center for
Information Technology Services (CITS) is required to ensure that this equipment is used properly
and for the purpose for which state funds were expended. The intent of this policy is to allow
maximum freedom of use consistent with state and federal law, IHL/University policy, and a
productive work environment.

II. General Principles
Appropriate use reflects academic honesty and ethical behavior, and demonstrates consideration in
the consumption of shared resources. It shows respect for intellectual property, ownership of data,
system security mechanisms, and the rights of others to privacy and to freedom from intimidation,
harassment, and unwarranted annoyance.

III. Authorized Use
Individuals may use ASU computing and networking facilities only with the express authority of
ASU. Using an account that belongs to another individual or giving an individual other than the
owner access to an ASU account is prohibited. Each user is responsible for all activity originating
from his or her account. CITS management authorizes system accounts and the use of lab facilities. In
certain cases, such as with remote Nursing School facilities, CITS management may designate an
acceptable use agent to authorize accounts.
ASU computing and networking facilities may not to be used for commercial purposes, personal financial
gain, or partisan political purposes. Because ASU computing and networking facilities serve diverse
purposes and diverse constituencies, rules for use may vary somewhat across systems and labs. Activities
having valid educational benefits, but which are not specifically tied to class work or research, are
generally allowed; however, they may be limited or banned on certain systems at the discretion of CITS
management, according to system load and system function. For example, due to the limited number of
stations, game playing in ASU labs is strictly prohibited, unless the activity is required as part of a
university course. System and lab dependent policies are communicated to users through on-line messages,
news items, and lab postings. Compliance with the ASU Acceptable Use Policy requires compliance with
all system and lab dependent policies. Misuse or abuse of ASU computing and networking facilities is a
violation of the ASU Acceptable Use Policy; violators are subject to the suspension or revoking of
computing privileges, disciplinary action, and criminal prosecution in cases of violations of state or federal

V. Computer Software Usage
ASU computing and networking facilities utilize many software applications with a wide range of
license and copyright provisions. Users are responsible for availing themselves of appropriate
information and complying with the license and copyright provisions of the software that they use.
Moreover, ASU computing and networking facilities are subject to the Alcorn State University Policy
Statement on Software Usage:

  • Alcorn State University prohibits the unauthorized copying or electronic transmission of copyrighted computer software, computer data, and software manuals at Alcorn State University unless appropriate written consent is obtained from the software vendor or licensor.
  • Such unauthorized duplication is grounds for disciplinary action by the University and is subject to criminal prosecution under Mississippi Computer Statutes (Sections 97-45-1 through 13), as well as under the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986.
  • According to the U.S. Copyright Statutes, illegal reproduction of software can be subject to civil damages of $50,000 or more, and criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment.Under the Mississippi Computer Crimes Law, the maximum fine is $10,000 and the maximum imprisonment sentence is five (5) years.

VI. User Responsibilities
Respect the integrity of the Alcorn State University Center for Information Technology Services
(CITS) computing environments and computing environments reachable by ASU network
connections. No individual shall, without authorization, access, use, destroy, alter, dismantle or
disfigure ASU technologies, properties or facilities. Refrain from any attempt to circumvent or
subvert system securities and/or protections. Do not use ASU computing and networking facilities to
gain illegal access or entry into other computers. ASU users must follow any policies (which may be
more restrictive than this policy) governing the use of any remote hosts accessed. Respect the privacy
of other individuals.

Respect the finite capacity of systems. No individual shall monopolize or hoard resources, including
lab stations (PC, workstation, terminal), printing facilities, dial-in connections, limited-use software
licenses, and system resources such as CPU, disk, and memory. Use computing and networking
facilities in a manner that promotes a productive and professional working environment-locally,
nationally, and internationally. Computer communications systems and networks promote the free
exchange of ideas and information, thus enhancing teaching and research. Individuals should not use
electronic communications systems such as E-mail to harass others or to interfere with their work.
Other examples of misuse include: (1) sending unsolicited messages, mail or communications of any
kind to persons who have not requested it or who cannot be reasonably expected to welcome such
communications; (2) printing or displaying materials (images, sounds, messages) that are unsuitable
for public display or that could create an atmosphere of discomfort or harassment for others. ASU
computing facilities are not to be used in a wasteful or frivolous manner (e.g., typing up system or
network resources with computer-based game playing, sending trivial or excessive messages,
printing excess copies of documents, files, data, or programs, running grossly inefficient programs
when efficient alternatives are available, etc). Protect your account. Even the best computer systems
cannot protect the individual who fails to conceal his or her password. To prevent abuse of your
account, (1) physically protect your session, (2) never record a password where it could be found, and
(3) never reveal your password. Follow CITS guidelines for password selection and change your
password often. Inform CITS when you leave the institution so that your account may be properly
closed. Failure to act responsibly in the use of ASU computing facilities is a violation of the CITS
Appropriate Use Policy; violators are subject to the suspension or revoking of computing privileges,
disciplinary action, and criminal prosecution in cases of violations of state or federal law.

VII. CITS Rights and Responsibilities
Acknowledgment of this policy statement authorizes appropriate CITS system or network personnel,
under the direction of CITS management to examine user files and activities, if necessary. No
guarantee of complete privacy is made. CITS management reserves the right to stop any process,
restrict any individual’s use, inspect, copy, remove or otherwise alter any data, file, or system resource
that may undermine or adversely affect the overall performance or integrity of the computing and
networking facilities. CITS system and network administrators have taken reasonable precautions to
ensure that potentially offensive materials do not reside on local facilities; however, CITS cannot be
held responsible for materials on remote sites. Individuals are cautioned to exercise judgment in
accessing such materials.

VIII. Consequences
Violation of CITS Appropriate Use Policy may result in the following penalties:
*Suspension for varying amounts of time or the permanent revoking of computing privileges.
CITS management reserves the right to revoke the computing privileges of individuals who
have violated this policy until suitable, comprehensive disciplinary action is determined.
*Reporting of the violation to the appropriate Disciplinary Advisory Committee for the
user’s institution.
*Referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency in cases of violations of state and
federal law.