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CSULB Computer Use Policy, Sect 2

Last Modified: 02 Jul 96

Paper copies of this document are available from the Academic Senate office.



The right of access to University computing resources is analogous to, and in many ways an extension of, the right of access to the University library and other instructional facilities. Access to these resources is granted to an individual by California State University, Long Beach solely for the grantee's own use. Every user of CSULB computing resources has three basic rights regarding computing:

  • Privacy
  • Freedom of speech
  • A fair share of resources

It is unethical and a violation of this policy for any person to violate these rights.

All users, in turn, are expected to exercise common sense and decency (due regard for the rights of others) with respect to the public computing resources, thereby reflecting the spirit of community and intellectual inquiry at the University. Access is a right that may be limited or revoked if an individual misuses the right or violates applicable University policies or state or federal laws.

  • 2.1.1. Privacy

    Although not legally required to do so, CSULB computer and information services departments respect the privacy of all users. System administrators and their staff may not log onto a user's account or view a user's files without explicit permission from the user (for example by setting file access privileges). Exceptions arise when the user's account is suspected either of disrupting or endangering the security or integrity of any network systems or services or of violations of applicable University policies or federal or state law. Even then, the system administrator must normally obtain prior approval of the appropriate departmental administrator unless grave danger to the continued operation of the systems requires or reasonably appears to require emergency action.

    This does not preclude system administrators from maintaining and monitoring system logs of user activity. Moreover, automated searches for files that endanger system security or integrity are performed regularly to protect all our users. System administrators may take appropriate actions in response to detection of such files (typically removal of those files, and possibly suspension of the user's account until the matter can be resolved).

    Nonetheless, with hackers constantly probing for weaknesses in network security tools, it is unrealistic to consider anything placed on a computer that provides any services over the Internet to be truly private. Any message that you send over the network may, if you accidentally use an erroneous address, be routed to an unintended recipient. Moreover, the intended recipient may choose to forward your message to anyone without prior notice.

  • 2.1.2. Freedom of Speech

    CSULB respects the principle of academic freedom and does not attempt to censor authorized user's electronic messages or publications. If there is any doubt, users must include caveats to make it clear that they speak only for themselves, and not the University. Threats to or harassment of other users or groups whether on or off campus does not fall within the bounds of this protection and will not be tolerated. Also banned are flagrant actions which invite responses that could undermine CSULB's ability to operate on the Internet. Freedom of speech does not include the right to speak freely in an inappropriate forum nor does it provide the right to disrupt the activities of others.

  • 2.1.3. A Fair Share of Resources

    All users are entitled to their fair and appropriate share of the limited available resources such as disk space, computer time and remote access connect time. The University will provide access to digital information resources as appropriate, e.g. office computers, classroom and individual access to computer laboratories as well as access to Internet, email, World Wide Web, usenet, data sets, appropriate software and training in the use of these resources.

    Members of the University Community may be expected to provide for themselves off-site computing resources, e.g. personal computer, modem, dial-up services, etc.


2.2.1. User access is granted to an individual and may not be transferred to or shared with another without explicit written authorization by the appropriate system administrator or designee.

This principle is intended to protect the integrity, security, and privacy of your account. Sharing access with another individual undermines the security of your account, leaving it vulnerable to abuse by others. By not sharing your account, you protect against unauthorized activities on your account, for which you would be responsible. You may be charged with a violation if someone uses your account with your permission and violates policy. Just as important, sharing or transferring access jeopardizes the security of the entire computing system.

2.2.2. User access to computing resources is contingent upon prudent and responsible use.

Imprudent use of computing resources can lead to consequences affecting many other users, not just yourself. For example, account sharing or spreading computer viruses could undermine the systems potentially destroying the work of many other users. Prudent and responsible use begins with common sense and includes respect for the rights and privacy of other users. For example, prudent and responsible users will protect their passwords by choosing them wisely, keeping them secure, and changing them regularly; will always remember to log off when leaving a terminal; will download backups of their most important files; and will always use virus protection software.

2.2.3. You may not use computing resources for any illegal or proscribed act.

In particular, the user may not use computing resources to violate any state or federal laws or any of the regulations specified in the Governing Regulations, the Administrative Regulations, the CSULB Regulations for Campus Activities, Organizations, and the University Community, the Rules of the University Senate, the Faculty Code, the University System Faculty Handbook, or the Staff Handbook, as applicable.

2.2.4. You may not use computing resources for any commercial purpose without prior written authorization from the appropriate Vice President.

Work under approved University contracts and grants is covered under the usual internal approval processes, which serve as the requisite "prior written authorization."

2.2.5. Computing resources must be shared among users in an equitable manner. The user may not participate in any behavior that unreasonably interferes with the fair use of computing resources by another.

Computing resources are finite and must be shared. During periods of peak demand, administrators may enforce guidelines to require sharing resources for the benefit of everyone. Some facilities may adopt stricter guidelines such as no game playing, no "chat rooms," and so on, if their systems cannot support these activities in addition to academic use.

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CSULB Academic Senate, Educational Resources Committee
Subcommittee on Computer Policy, policy@csulb.edu