Student Computer Systems Guidelines

These guidelines are designed to guide students in the acceptable use of computer and information systems and networks provided by Madison Area Technical College.

Guiding Principles
Madison College students are encouraged to make innovative and creative use of information technologies in support of achieving their educational goals. Access to information representing a multitude of views on current and historical topics is allowed for the interest, information and enlightenment of the Madison College community. These guidelines are intended to respect the rights and obligations of academic freedom. Madison College recognizes that the purpose of copyright is to protect the rights of the creators of intellectual property and to prevent the unauthorized use or sale of works available in the private sector. An individual's right of access to computer materials should not be denied or abridged because of race, creed, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

  • Madison College cannot protect individuals against the existence or receipt of material that may be offensive to them. As such, those who make use of electronic communications are warned that they may come across or be recipients of material they find offensive. Those who use email and/or make information about themselves available on the Internet should be forewarned that Madison College cannot protect them from invasions of privacy and other possible dangers that could result from the individual's distribution of personal information.
  • Madison College's computing and network resources are to be used only by authorized persons for research, learning, enrichment, and the dissemination of scholarly information. The computing and network facilities at Madison College are limited and should be used wisely and carefully with consideration for the needs of others.
  • Computers and network systems offer powerful tools for communications among members of the Madison College community and of communities outside of Madison College. When used appropriately, these tools can enhance dialog and communications. When used unlawfully or inappropriately, however, these tools can infringe on the beliefs or rights of others. Students are responsible for not taking any action that could be defined as harassment.
  • All users of computing facilities must act responsibly and maintain the integrity of these resources. Madison College reserves the right to limit, restrict or extend computing privileges and access to its resources.
  • Technology Services is responsible for maintaining computer resources in the district, and should be notified about violations of computer laws and policies, as well as about potential vulnerabilities in the security of its computer systems and networks. Technology Services and the user community are expected to cooperate in the appropriate operation of District computer systems and networks, as well as in the investigation of misuse or abuse.
  • Although all members of the community have an expectation of privacy, if a user is suspected of violating the College's Acceptable Use Guidelines, his or her right to privacy may be superseded by the College's requirement to protect the integrity of information technology resources, the rights of all users and the property of the College. The College, thus, reserves the right to examine material stored on or transmitted through its facilities if there is cause to believe that the standards for acceptable and ethical use are being violated.

Guidelines and Responsibilities
The following examples, though not covering every situation, specify some of the guidelines and responsibilities that accompany computer use at Madison College and/or on networks to which Madison College is connected.

  1. Users may use only their own computer accounts. Users must not use a USER ID that was not assigned to them, unless multiple accesses have been authorized for the ID. Users may not supply false or misleading data nor improperly obtain another's password in order to gain access to computers or network systems, data, or information. The negligence of another user in revealing an account name or password is not considered authorized use. Users must not attempt to subvert the restrictions associated with their computer accounts.
  2. Users must not use the College's network resources to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to remote computers.
  3. Users must not knowingly tamper with, obstruct, or impair the availability of Madison College resources, or attempt to do so.
  4. Users must not knowingly send a crippling number of files across the network; introduce damaging, self-propagating, or otherwise harmful software into a machine or a network;
  5. Users must not knowingly hoard computer, network or print resources in an attempt to deliberately degrade performance or deny service to others in the user community.
  6. Users must not attempt to remove or modify computer or network equipment without proper authorization.
  7. Users must not intentionally make changes to software or hardware, which damages or disrupts a computing system, alters its normal performance, or causes it to malfunction.
  8. Users must not attempt to circumvent data protection schemes or uncover security loopholes.
  9. Users must abide by the terms of all software licensing agreements and copyright laws. The copying of copyrighted materials, such as third-party software, without the expressed written permission of the owner or the proper license, is prohibited.
  10. The following type of information or software cannot be installed or loaded on any college-owned computer system:
    • Material, which is offensive, obscene or abusive and may violate the College's Student Code of Conduct on harassment. Users of Madison College computer systems must make themselves familiar with, and comply with, the College's codes concerning all forms of harassment.
    • Using electronic mail to harass or threaten others. This includes sending repeated, unwanted email to another user.
    • That which infringes upon the rights of another person.
    • That which consists of information that may injure someone else and/or lead to a lawsuit or criminal charges. Examples of these are: pirated software, destructive software, pornographic materials, or libelous statements.
    • That which uses computer resources for personal commercial gain, or other commercial purpose without approval by the College.
  11. Users must not harass others by sending annoying, threatening, libelous, or sexually, racially, or religiously offensive email messages.
  12. Users must not attempt to monitor another user's data communications, nor may users read, copy, change, or delete another user's files or software, without permission of the owner.
  13. Users must not use any of the College's microcomputers, workstations, or networks for other than a Madison College course, research project, personal communications or enrichment activities.
  14. To the greatest extent possible in a public setting we want to preserve the individual's privacy. However, users must recognize that Madison College computer systems and networks are public and subject to the Wisconsin Open Records Act.
  15. Madison College computer users must understand that the District cannot guarantee the privacy or confidentiality of electronic documents and any information that is confidential should not be communicated electronically.
  16. The District reserves the right to access email, electronic files, system logs and computer systems to engage in routine computer maintenance and housekeeping, to carry out internal investigations, to prepare responses to requests for public records or to disclose messages, data or files to law enforcement authorities.
  17. DoITS and the user community need to cooperate in its operation of computer systems and networks as well as the investigation of misuse or abuse. Accordingly, while users need not expect regular examination of such files, users must be aware that the files on College systems and networks are subject to inspection.
  18. Misuse of computing, networking or other information resources may result in the loss of computing privileges and/or disciplinary action. Additionally, misuse can be prosecuted under applicable state statutes. Users may be held accountable for their conduct under applicable College policies, procedures or collective bargaining agreements. Complaints alleging misuse of College resources will be directed to those responsible for taking appropriate disciplinary action.
  19. The computing systems, networks and associated facilities at the College are intended to support the College mission, vision and values and to enhance the educational environment. Users must be aware that they have access to valuable and sensitive resources and that their computer practices can adversely affect others. Open access to the Internet is a privilege, and requires that individual users act responsibly. Users must respect the rights of other users, respect the integrity of the systems and related physical resources, and observe all relevant laws, regulations, policies and contractual obligations.

If you have any questions concerning these guidelines, or wish to report a violation of these guidelines, you may call the Technology Services help desk at (608) 246-6666.

[As adopted 09/28/00 by the Institutional Information Systems Technology Steering Committee]