Information Technology & Innovation : Policies

Policies and Guidelines for Computer Use

Information Technology & Innovation offers computing services on various computer systems at no charge to all members of the University community (i.e., faculty, students, and staff). This document delineates the current policies on software ownership, software copying, and gaining access to the computer facilities as well as a set of guidelines and responsibilities for the users of these resources.The general principles underlying these policies and guidelines are that the computing facilities are a resource made available to the WCSU community for educational and research purposes. Users must assume responsibility for trying to minimize costs and be responsible in their use of these facilities.

The guidelines are not intended to be an exhaustive list of rules. Rather, these guidelines establish the spirit in which the facilities should be used.


  1. General Policies
    1. Software Ownership
    2. Software Copying
  2. General Guidelines
  3. Account Policies & Guidelines
    1. Policies
    2. Guidelines
  4. Microcomputer Policies & Guidelines


I. General Policies.

  1. Software Ownership.(This section represents policy adopted in February, 1985 along with January, 1987 revisions by the board of Governors for Higher Education.)
    1. Software Conversion. It shall be the policy of the state system of higher education that the end product of any work done by a student from any of the state’s public colleges or universities to convert, modify or update state-owned software shall be owned by the state.
    2. Software Creation (state-owned). If a student from any college or university, receives monetary remuneration from the state for creating software, including source code and/or documentation, it shall belong to the state.
    3. Software Creation (student-owned and state-licensed). Software belongs to the student but shall be licensed gratis to the state for use/or modification under the following conditions:
      1. The state, at the inception of the project, informs the student in writing of the state’s intention to use the software; and/or
      2. The student uses state computer resources to create software.The State shall not have any other rights to such software.


    4. Software Creation (student-owned). Any software developed by a student, unless it is covered under policy statements 1, 2, or 3 above, or is produced under the provisions of a grant or an agreement with an outside funding agent, is owned by the student.
    5. Software Copying. Each constituent unit in the state system of higher education shall have policies in place regarding the use and copying of software and/or documentation to protect against lawsuits by vendors.


  2. Software Copying.
    1. All software and manuals are copyright protected by the software vendor. Any user attempting to copy the software shall be subject to prosecution by the software vendor.
    2. Any person who has been authorized to use the computing resources shall be expected to regard all copyrighted or proprietary information which may thereby become available to him/her as confidential, unless he/she obtains from the appropriate person written permission to copy, modify, or otherwise use any part of it.
    3. Users shall not copy system files nor shall they attempt to access or modify such files or software components or computer management programs and data, except for specifically approved purposes.


II. General Guidelines.

  1. The computer facilities are available for academic university work only. No commercial work is allowed.
  2. A user’s programs and data should be treated as his/her private property. Users must not attempt to access or make use of any other user’s programs or data without the permission of the user concerned.
  3. The granting of access to Western’s computer systems presupposes that the user is knowledgeable in the use of the existing computer facilities. Users should realize that the Computer Center Staff is limited in the amount of time they can spend assisting them with extensive problems.
  4. Printer output represents very real, measurable costs to the Computer Center. Users should be careful to avoid wasting these resources.
  5. Responsibility for a computer account belongs to the person to whom the account was issued (the account owner). No account owner shall furnish any other person(s) with the password to their account. Unless otherwise authorized by the Computer Center, only the person to whom an account was issued should be using the account.
  6. Any computer user who knowingly or continually violates the policies governing the use of accounts, equipment and resources will have his/her account withdrawn and such misuse may result in disciplinary and/or legal action.


III. Account Policies & Guidelines.

  1. Policies.
    1. For classification purposes, there shall be two types of accounts available to members of the WCSU community.
      1. Student Accounts.
        Students must request accounts from the Computer Center. Requests must be made in person.


      1. A Faculty Account.
        Faculty members must request accounts from the Computer Center. Requests must be submitted, in writing, to the Director of Information Systems/Computer Center. Applications must be filed a week in advance. A written response will be forwarded to the applicant.


  2. Guidelines.
    1. Users have the right to expect that their work will remain secure and private. The Computer Center cannot readily determine if the use of an account by another individual is appropriate, so users should only use their own accounts. Account owners can assist in assuring privacy of their work by using a password that is not obviously a nickname or initials.
    2. The Computer Center reserves the right to access users’ data and programs for appropriate management purposes (e.g., making back up copies and to ensure system integrity).


IV. Microcomputer Policies & Guidelines.

(see also General Policies and Guidelines)

  1. Policies
    1. Any person that has been issued a valid WCSU identification card is authorized to use the WCSU computer facilities.