Rights and Responsibilities of Users

This policy governs the use of computer systems, networks and other equipment provided by Rider University for electronic communication and for data and record retention.  All University related persons who are provided with access to any of these resources, including employees and students, through the use of any of these facilities, agrees he or she will comply with this policy and understands and agrees with the conditions and limitations described below.  The University reserves the right to change or supplement this policy in accordance with applicable University procedures.

Computers and networks can provide access to resources on and off campus, including the ability to communicate with other users worldwide.  Such open access is much like access to books in the library, and requires that individual users act responsibly.

Rider University is committed to protecting the rights of students, faculty, and staff to freedom of expression and to free academic inquiry and experimentation.  Concomitantly, users must respect the rights of other users, respect the integrity of the systems and related physical resources, and observe all relevant laws, regulations, and contractual obligations.  Because electronic information is both volatile and easily reproduced, users must exercise special care in acknowledging and respecting the work of others through strict adherence to software licensing agreements and copyright laws.

The facilities are owned by the University, which has made them available to the University students, faculty and staff for use in University matters (including academic and business matters). The University permits personal use (i.e., for matters not involving the University), of electronic communications tools  provided that the personal use does not interfere  with the rights of others, does not threaten the integrity of the systems or related physical resources and complies with all other applicable laws, regulations and contractual obligations.  Information received, transmitted or stored by a University employee is considered in the first instance to be private information belonging to that individual. The University does not routinely audit or inspect individual accounts. However, the University reserves the right to monitor an individual’s use of the system or enter and retrieve user’s files (a) to the extent necessary to correct system problems in order to address issues that it has reason to believe may adversely impact the integrity, security, or effective operation of university computer systems;, (b) to respond to a court order, subpoena or valid discovery request as part of an ongoing litigation, (c) when access is required as part of an investigation by federal, state or administrative authorities, (d) when access is otherwise necessary in order for the University to comply with the law, or (e) whenever the University reasonably anticipates being subject to litigation and access to files is necessary to evaluate and assess the risks of litigation. In the event of an order by a court, or a governmental agency with subpoena authority, the user of that file will be notified of that order prior to the University providing access to those files to the extent permitted by applicable law and subject to Article XXV of the collective bargaining agreement between the University and the AAUP.  Copies of all user files stored on the network may be routinely backed up for disaster recovery purposes.  Such copying shall not be considered to be in violation of this policy as long as such operations are purely mechanical and do not involve the viewing of those files.  However, ultimate responsibility for the back-up of files in personal accounts, local disks, and personal computers, lies with the account holder.

Examination of user files, email, network transmission content or other University provided electronic / telephonic communications, for reasons other than protecting network integrity, must be authorized by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources (in the case of employees) or the Dean of Students (in the case of students), in conjunction with the appropriate Division head or the University President, and in the case of members of the Rider University Chapter of the AAUP, an individual designated by the AAUP Chapter Executive Committee.

Nothing contained in this policy shall be construed either to (1) limit the legitimate exercise of free speech, including but not limited to written, graphic, or verbal expression that can reasonably be demonstrated to serve legitimate  educational , artistic or political purposes, or (2) infringe upon the academic freedom of any member of the University community.

Computer users are free to utilize University computers to communicate to and read from public computer facilities (e.g. usenet, BBS's, etc.) with no greater restrictions than would apply if they were communicating in any other public forum (e.g. newspapers, talk radio, public meetings).  When communicating in such facilities users must avoid any implication that they speak for Rider University when they do not.  Use of the University’s computer resources to transmit unofficial communications does not constitute University approval or endorsement of such communications.

While Rider University is committed to intellectual and academic freedom and to the application of those freedoms to computer media and facilities, the University is also committed to protecting the privacy and integrity of computer data belonging to the University and to individual users.

Computer facilities and infrastructure are provided for meeting academic goals and to provide access to local, national, and international facilities to aid in the achieving of those goals.  Those using these facilities and services must respect the intellectual and access rights of others locally, nationally, and internationally.

Students should be aware that any use of the facilities or infrastructure that is in violation of the guidelines listed below may be considered a violation of the Code of Social Regulations.

The general standards of conduct expected of members of the University community also apply to the use of University computing resources.  These resources include:

  • Hardware:  All the physical equipment used for or related to information processing or data communications.
  • Software:  Programs, programming languages, instructions or routines which are used to perform work on a computer.
  • Data:  Information such as records or textual material stored on or accessible through a computer.

Individuals will be held no less accountable for their actions in situations involving computers and information resources than they would be in dealing with other media.  Though some of these resources are intangible they are the property of the University and the same rules applying to vandalism and theft apply to them as well as other forms of University property.  Conduct which violates the University's property rights with respect to computing resources or the use of computing resources to violate University regulations is subject to the same University discipline as would be applied if that conduct did not involve computer resources. Such conduct includes but is not limited to:

  1. The giving or gaining of unauthorized access to computing resources.
  2. The unauthorized use of computer space.
  3. The unauthorized duplication or distribution of copyrighted software and/or related materials such as documentation, manuals, reference cards, etc., beyond those allowed by "fair use."
  4. The unauthorized removal of any computing resources from computing facilities.
  5. The deliberate, unauthorized alteration or destruction of any computing resource or the deliberate unauthorized attempt to destroy any computing resource.
  6. Knowingly using or installing on any University computer system or network a program intended to damage or to place excessive load on the computer system or network.  This includes, but is not limited to, programs known as computer viruses, Trojan horses and worms.
  7. Using the University network to gain unauthorized access to any computing resource.
  8. Unauthorized attempts to circumvent the security measures of any computing resource, any data protection schemes and/or decrypt secure data.
  9. Knowingly violating terms of applicable software licensing agreements or copyright laws.
  10. Monitoring or tampering with or attempting to monitor or tamper with another user's electronic communications, or reading, copying, changing or deleting   another user’s files or software without the express agreement of the owner.
  11. Forging electronic communications to make them appear to originate from another person.
  12. Using electronic mail to harass or threaten individuals.
  13. The use of computer resources for commercial solicitation and/or personal economic benefit unconnected to the user’s University role.

Violation of these policies will be handled through the University's existing disciplinary procedures.  Uses of computer resources that are also violations of law may be referred to the appropriate civil authorities.

Other organizations operating computing and network facilities that are reachable via the Rider network may have their own policies governing the use of those resources.  When accessing remote resources, users are responsible for obeying both the policies set forth in this document and the policies of the other organizations.  Use of the computer service of the University is solely at your own risk and is subject to all applicable laws.