Acceptable Use Policy

Goshen College Acceptable Use Policy

Code of Conduct for Use of Goshen College Computing Resources


Computers and the Internet are powerful tools and an integral part of a Goshen College education. However, it is quite possible to use these technologies in ways that cause problems ranging from embarrassment to lawsuits. This policy is designed to help you avoid the social, ethical and legal pitfalls associated with computer use. Your use of the Goshen College computing environment implies your acceptance of the following:


The computing and network resources provided by Goshen College are intended to support the academic mission of the institution. This policy applies to all of Goshen College’s computer systems, services and equipment, Goshen College provided devices, data storage, related communication technologies, and information transmitted or maintained on these technologies. All users are expected to abide by this policy, as well as all other campus policies and guidelines, and applicable laws.

Acceptable uses include: instruction, independent study, authorized research, independent research, and the official work of the offices, departments, recognized student and campus organizations, and agencies affiliated with the institution.  All users must:

  • Comply with all state, federal, and local laws;

  • Comply with all Goshen College policies;

  • Comply with the below Rules of Conduct;

  • Comply with IT standards regarding usage of network and technological resources

  • Comply with all ITS policies that govern data integrity, usage, and security. Click here to view those policies

  • Respect intellectual property rights of others;

  • Protect files and system access from use by others;

  • Practice etiquette in communication;

  • Utilize systems via only your Goshen College assigned computer account; and

  • Access only files or systems that are yours, public, or that the account holder has given you permission to access.

Rules of Conduct

  1. Your Use of Computing Resources - Only you are entitled to use your computer account to access Goshen College computing services, web-based services, and equipment provided by Goshen College specifically for your use.

  2. Password Security - Do not give your password to anyone else, even people you trust, like a co-worker, friend or family member who has offered to help you fix a problem, or student assistants working for you or your department. If you suspect that someone may have discovered or guessed your password, change it immediately. You may be responsible for any fees or damages incurred due to security negligence on your part. You may also be held responsible for destructive or illegal activity done by someone to whom you gave access. You are required to maintain a password that complies with our Secure Password Policy.

  3. Goshen College Privacy - Goshen College computing resources are provided for educational and administrative purposes. These resources should never be used for personal for-profit gain, theft, fraud, invasions of privacy, distribution of Goshen College confidential or restricted information, distribution of illegal materials, or distribution of copyrighted or licensed materials. All users must follow and comply with the privacy expectations as outlined in the Data Security Policy and the Email Communication and Privacy Policy.

  4. Commercial Uses - The following commercial uses are expressly prohibited:

    • advertising for or promotion of third party businesses,

    • promotion of affiliate programs on GC websites,

    • receiving payment for your use of GC computers, software, services, or network bandwidth.

  5. Illegal Activities - Never use any college-provided computing resource to do something illegal, threatening, or deliberately destructive--not even as a joke. All complaints will be investigated. Student Life investigates complaints about students; the Office of the Provost investigates complaints about GC faculty and staff.

    • Violations can result in disciplinary action, criminal charges, or both. The police and the FBI routinely investigate such matters.

    • Ignorance is no excuse.

    • You cannot be exempt from the law because you are "just a student" or you were "just playing around".

    • If you are a student with a part-time job at the college, you may be disciplined as an employee and as a student, resulting in both professional and educational consequences.

  6. Harassment - Be civil. Do not send rude, offensive, or harassing e-mail. If someone asks you to stop sending mail, then stop sending it. If you fail to do so, the person can file a complaint and you can be disciplined. If you ever feel that you are being a victim of harassment, it should be reported immediately to Student Life if you are a student, or to the Provost if you are an employee. If you are concerned for your safety or feel that you are in danger, talk to your Resident Director, campus security, Student Life, Human Resources, or in an emergency call 911.

  7. Appropriate Use - Be a good citizen--use resources appropriately. Do not interfere with the activities of others or use a disproportionate share of resources. Send messages only to those who may be interested in the content. Examples of inappropriate use of resources include:

    • Unauthorized access to a personal or GC system or account

    • Deleting or copying files from another person's computer account

    • Excessive use of storage space or network bandwidth

    • Excessive recreational use during work hours or in public labs

    • Logging into multiple computers for non-academic purposes

    • Installation of software on public computers which compromise their security or reliability, or interfere with maintenance procedures

    • Installation or use of sexually explicit or offensive screensavers, wallpaper, pictures, etc.

    • Viewing or printing offensive material in a public area

    • Sending intimidating or harassing messages

    • Sending unsolicited bulk e-mail or advertisements (spamming)

    • Attacks on networks or systems within or beyond Goshen College

    • Using college resources for personal financial gain or illegal activities

    • Performing activities that interfere with the rights of others

    • Forgery - Never falsify e-mail or newsgroup postings. This type of forgery can result in serious criminal penalties and disciplinary action by the Judicial Board or the Office of the Provost.

    • All messages must correctly identify the sender.

    • All electronic mail messages belong to someone and should be treated as private communications unless the author has explicitly made them available to others.

    • Forwarding entire threads of email messages to parties not of interest to the entire thread. As a matter of principle and ethics, individuals bear the responsibility for assuring that e-mail messages, including attachments and previous appended messages, are forwarded only to parties whose interest is consistent with the purpose of and intent of the previous correspondents. In most cases, rephrasing the subject at hand in a new message is better than forwarding the entire conversation.

    • Unapproved mass emailings to campus users

    • Distributing chain letters

  8. Copyrights- Avoid copyright infringement. It is a violation of college policy and federal law to participate in copyright infringement. Copyrighted materials include, but are not limited to, computer software, audio and video recordings, photographs, illustrations, artwork and written material. Violators are subject to discipline, including suspension, as well as legal liability, even if the work did not contain a written copyright notice. ITS complies with all RIAA and MPAA complaints and will revoke the violator's internet access until the offending material is removed. EduCAUSE maintains a list of legal alternatives for downloading music and video at See also the Goshen College Library's resource guide on copyright.

  9. Peer-to-Peer and File Sharing - Users must not engage in the unauthorized copying, distributing, altering, maintaining or transmitting of copyrighted materials, information, software, music or other media.

  10. Plagiarism - Avoid plagiarism. The web contains a wealth of content. If you make use of it, you must include appropriate citation. Never attempt to pass off others' work as your own. Papers you submit for coursework may be checked for plagiarized material copied from the web, other student papers, and selected online databases. Cases of plagiarism are reported to the Associate Dean. Penalties for plagiarism are listed in the college catalog and range from redoing the assignment to dismissal from the college. More info on Plagiarism  

  11. Unauthorized Access - Never try to circumvent login procedures on any computer system or otherwise gain access where you are not allowed. This is not acceptable under any circumstances and can result in serious consequences, including disciplinary action by the Judicial Board or the Office of the Provost.

If you have a question about whether a specific use of computing or networking resources is legal or appropriate, refer to this document or send email to and ask before proceeding.

Additional Links:

Reviewed and updated, 10/13/2014, Patricia Goodman, Paul Housholder