Skip to main content

Policy 5.1: Responsible Use of Information Technology Resources

This article applies to: Policy


Responsible Use of Information Technology Resources applies to the entire Cornell community. It attempts to deal with problems resulting from widespread use of the Internet. As stated in the policy, the university cherishes the diversity of values and perspectives endemic in an academic institution and so is respectful of freedom of expression. The university does not condone censorship, nor does it endorse the inspection of electronic files other than on an exceptional basis. As a result, the university cannot protect individuals against the existence or receipt of material that may be offensive to them. The university encourages individuals to use electronic communications in a responsible manner. Finally, the policy includes information about behavior that would constitute a violation and contains a set of procedures for reporting incidents.

Policy violations fall into four categories that involve the use of electronic communications to:

  • Harass, threaten, or otherwise cause harm to a specific individual(s). For example, sending an individual repeated and unwanted (harassing) email or using email to threaten or stalk someone. Violations of this type can be reported directly to the Office of the Judicial Administrator or to the Cornell Police if the situation is potentially serious and requires immediate attention. If the person responsible is not affiliated with the university or if it is not possible to identify the individual, the incident can still be reported to the Judicial Administrator or to the police. These offices can assist by referring to appropriate sources of help outside the university. Save electronic copies of all correspondence for evidence.
     
  • Impede, interfere with, impair, or otherwise cause harm to the activities of others. 
    For example, propagating electronic chain mail, or sending forged or falsified email. Violations of this type can be reported to abuse@cornell.edu. If the person responsible is not affiliated with the university, the incident should be reported to the site that provides the individual with Internet access. If it is not possible to identify the origin, contact the IT Service Desk for assistance. Save electronic copies of anything that can be used as evidence.
     
  • Download or post to university computers, or transport across university networks, material that is illegal, proprietary, in violation of university contractual agreements, or otherwise is damaging to the institution.
    For example, launching a computer virus, distributing child pornography via the web, distributing copyrighted musical recordings, or posting a university site-licensed program to a public bulletin board. Violations of this type can be reported to abuse@cornell.edu.
     
  • Harass or threaten classes of individuals.
    Violations of this type can be reported to Human Resources. If the person responsible is not affiliated with the university, the incident should be reported to the site that provides the individual with Internet access. If it is not possible to identify the origin, contact the IT Service Desk for assistance. Save electronic copies of anything that can be used as evidence.

About this Article

Last updated: 

Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 11:48am

Was this page helpful?

Your feedback helps improve the site.

Comments?