Acceptable Use Policy

Goshen College Code of Conduct for Use of Computing Facilities

Computers and the Internet are powerful tools and an integral part of a GC 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 in the internet age. Your use of the Goshen College computing environment implies your acceptance of the following guidelines:

The computing and network resources provided by Goshen College are intended to support the academic mission of the institution. Usage of these resources must be in accordance with GC’s “Community Standards“, 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.

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 e-mail to and ask before proceeding.

Please read these rules carefully. For further information, see the Additional Links section at the bottom of this page.

Rules of Conduct

Rule #1 – Your Use of Computing Resources

Only you are entitled to use computing resources provided by the college specifically for your use. (Such as your Ethernet connection.)

Rule #2 – Password Security

Do not give your password to anyone else, even people you trust, like your boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, or a friend who has offered to help you fix a problem. If you suspect that someone may have discovered or guessed your password, change it immediately.

  • You are responsible for any fees or damages incurred using the ResNet connection or computing resource assigned to you, even if a friend using your account without your permission did the damage.
  • You will also be held responsible for destructive or illegal activity done by someone to whom you gave access. (This rule applies even if the computing resource doesn’t require a password — for example, if you give someone else physical access to your Ethernet port.)
Rule #3 – 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 or network bandwidth

It is, however, permissible to link to non-GC sites promoting business or professional activity.

Rule #4 – 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.
Rule #5 – 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 (x7543). If you are concerned for your safety or feel that you are in danger, talk to your Resident Director, campus security or Student Life, or in an emergency call 911.

Rule #6 – 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 disk space or network bandwidth
  • Excessive recreational use during work hours or in public labs
  • Unapproved mass emailings to campus users
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Viewing or printing offensive material in a public area
  • Distributing chain letters

These actions frequently result in complaints and may incur restriction or suspension of computing priveleges and/or disciplinary action.

Rule #7 – 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.
Rule #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. Click here to see a list of these alternatives.

Rule #9 – 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

Rule #10 – 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.

Additional Links: Digital Milllenium Copyright Act

Some material used with permission from University of Texas, Austin and Salem State College.