NCC NEASC Self-Study Report

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Information Technology

Policy - Electronic Communications Policy

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS POLICY

(Issued on December 16, 2002 by Chancellor Herzog)


I. INTRODUCTION

The Connecticut Community Colleges (CCC) encourages the use of electronic communications to share information and knowledge in support of CCC mission and goals. To this end, CCC provides and supports interactive, electronic communications resources and services. 

II. GENERAL PROVISIONS

A. PURPOSE

The purpose of this Policy is to:

  • Ensure that CCC electronic communications resources are used for purposes appropriate to the CCC mission and goals;

  • Prevent disruptions to and misuse of CCC electronic communications resources and services; 

  • Ensure that the CCC community is aware that use of  CCC electronic communications resources is subject to state and federal laws and the CCC policies; and 

  • Ensure that electronic communications resources are used in compliance with those laws and the CCC policies.

B. SCOPE

This Policy applies to:

  • All electronic communications resources owned or managed by CCC including the content of electronic communications, electronic attachments and transactional information associated with such communications;

  • All electronic communications resources provided by CCC through contracts and other agreements with CCC;

  • All users and uses of CCC electronic communications resources; and

  • All CCC electronic communications records in the possession of CCC employees or other users of electronic communications resources provided by CCC.

C. DEFINITIONS

The following terms are used in this Policy. Knowledge of these definitions is important to an understanding of this Policy:

Appropriate CCC Authority:  Chancellor, College President or designee.

Compelling Circumstances: Circumstances in which time is of the essence or failure to act might result in property loss or damage, adverse effects on electronic communications resources or services, loss of evidence of one or more violations of law or of CCC policies or liability to CCC or to members of the CCC community.

Electronic Communication: Any communication that is broadcast, created, sent, forwarded, replied to, transmitted, stored, held, copied, downloaded, displayed, viewed, read, or printed by one or several electronic communications services, including, e.g., e-mail and telephone. 

Electronic Communications Records: Electronic transmissions or messages created, sent, forwarded, replied to, transmitted, distributed, broadcast, stored, held, copied, downloaded, displayed, viewed, read, or printed by one or several electronic communications services. This definition of electronic communications records applies equally to the contents of such records, attachments to such records, and transactional information associated with such records.

Electronic Communications Resources: Any combination of telecommunications equipment, transmission devices, electronic video and audio equipment, encoding or decoding equipment, computers and computer time, data processing or storage systems, computer systems, servers, networks, input/output and connecting devices, and related computer records, programs, software, and documentation that supports electronic communications services.

Electronic Communications Services: Any messaging, collaboration, publishing, broadcast, or distribution system that depends on electronic communications resources to create, send, forward, reply to, transmit, store, hold, copy, download, display, view, read, or print electronic records for purposes of communication across electronic communications network systems between or among individuals or groups, that is either explicitly denoted as a system for electronic communications or is implicitly used for such purposes.

D. RESPONSIBILITIES

Policy. This Policy was issued by the Chancellor of the CCC after consultation with appropriate councils, including the Council of Presidents and the Information Technology Policy Committee.

Implementation. In support of this Policy, system standards and procedures shall be developed, published and maintained.  And where CCC standards and procedures do not exist, each college is responsible for policy implementation.

Informational Material. Each college shall ensure that users of CCC electronic communications resources are aware of all Information Technology policies, standards and procedures as appropriate. 

E. VIOLATIONS OF LAW AND POLICY

The CCC considers any violation of this electronic communications policy and/or law to be a serious offense and reserves the right to copy and examine any files or information resident on CCC electronic communications resources to ensure compliance. Violations of this policy should be reported to the appropriate CCC authority. 

Sanctions of Law. Both federal and state law prohibit theft or abuse of electronic communications resources.  Abuses include (but are not limited to) unauthorized entry, use, transfer, tampering with the communications of others, and interference with the work of others and with the operation of electronic communications resources.  Any form of harassing, defamatory, offensive, illegal, discriminatory, obscene, or pornographic communication, at any time, to any person is also prohibited by law.  Violations of the law may result in criminal penalties.

Disciplinary Actions.  Violators of this Policy and/or law may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or expulsion pursuant to applicable Board policies and collective bargaining agreements.

III. ALLOWABLE USERS

CCC students, faculty, staff, and others affiliated with CCC (including but not limited to those in program or contract relationships with CCC) may be authorized to use CCC electronic communications resources and services.

IV. ALLOWABLE USES

CCC encourages the use of electronic communications resources for legitimate and authorized academic and administrative purposes and makes them widely available to the CCC community.  To insure the reliable operation of these resources, their use is subject to the following:

  • Contents of all electronic communications shall conform to laws and CCC policies regarding protection of intellectual property, copyright, patents and trademarks.

  • Using electronic communications resources for any purpose restricted or prohibited by laws, regulations or CCC policies is prohibited.

  • Using electronic communications resources for personal purposes, including monetary gain, or for commercial purposes that are not directly related to CCC business or otherwise authorized by appropriate CCC authority is prohibited.

  • Usage that directly or indirectly causes strain on the electronic communications resources is prohibited.

  • Capturing, opening, intercepting or obtaining access to electronic communications, except as otherwise permitted by the appropriate CCC authority is prohibited.

  • Using electronic communications to harass or intimidate others or to interfere with the ability of others to conduct CCC business is prohibited.

  • Users of electronic communications resources shall not give the impression that they are representing, giving opinions or otherwise making statements on behalf of CCC unless authorized to do so.

  • Directly or by implication, employing a false identity (the name or electronic identification of another), except under the following circumstances, is prohibited:

A supervisor may direct an employee to use the supervisor's identity to transact CCC business for which the supervisor is responsible. In such cases, an employee's use of the supervisor's electronic identity does not constitute a false identity.

A user of the CCC electronic communications services may not use a pseudonym (an alternative name or electronic identification for oneself) for privacy or other reasons, unless authorized by an appropriate CCC authority for business reasons.

  • Forging e-mail headers or content (i.e., constructing an e-mail so it appears to be from someone else) is prohibited.

  • Unauthorized access to electronic communications or breach any security measure is prohibited.

  • Interfering with the availability of electronic communications resources is prohibited, including but not limited to the following:  (i) sending or forwarding e-mail chain letters or their equivalents in other electronic communications services; (ii) "spamming," i.e., sending electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings; (iii) "letter-bombing," i.e., sending an extremely large message or sending multiple messages to one or more recipients to interfere with the recipient?s use of electronic communications resources; or (iv) intentionally engaging in other practices such as "denial of service attacks," i.e., flooding the network with traffic.

V. ACCESS RESTRICTIONS

Use of CCC Electronic Communications resources or services may be wholly or partially restricted or rescinded by CCC without prior notice and without the consent of the user under conditions such as:

  • when required by and consistent with law;

  • when there is reason to believe that violations of law or the CCC policies have taken or may take place; or

  • when there are compelling circumstances.

Restriction of use under such conditions is subject to appropriate procedures or approval of appropriate CCC authority.

VI. NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY

No Expectation of Privacy.  Electronic communications are not personal or private. Therefore, users should have no expectation of privacy in the use of CCC electronic communications resources. CCC reserves the right to inspect, monitor, and disclose all electronic communications records without the consent of the holder of such records.

Authorized Inspection. During the performance of their duties, electronic communications support personnel periodically need to monitor transmissions or observe certain transactional information to ensure the proper functioning and security of CCC electronic communications resources and services. On these occasions, such personnel may see the contents of electronic communications. Except as provided in this Policy or allowed by law, electronic communications support personnel are not permitted to seek out the contents of electronic communications or of transactional information where not germane to the foregoing purposes or to disclose or otherwise use what they have seen.

VII. ADMINISTRATION

Electronic communications support personnel are required to follow CCC standards and procedures when implementing and managing CCC electronic communications resources or services.

A. SECURITY

CCC attempts to provide secure and reliable electronic communications services. Managers of electronic communications resources are expected to follow sound professional practices in providing for the security of electronic communications records, data, application programs and systems under their jurisdiction based on existing policies, procedures and guidelines.  However, users should be aware that electronic communications systems may not be totally secure.

B. RETENTION AND ARCHIVING

Electronic communications records are subject to laws, regulations and CCC records management and archiving policies in administering the retention, disposition, disclosure and storage of all records.

CCC does not maintain central or distributed electronic archives of all electronic communications sent or received. Electronic communications are normally backed up, if at all, only to assure system integrity and reliability, not to provide for future retrieval, although back-ups may at times serve the latter purpose incidentally. Managers of electronic communications services are not required by this Policy to routinely retrieve electronic communications from such back-up facilities for individuals.  Employees who have obligations to retain records in accordance with retention schedules promulgated by the State should know that electronic records are subject to the same rules as paper records.  See, "Electronic & Voice Mail Management and Retention Guide for State and Municipal Government Agencies" for more information.

VIII. DISCLAIMER

CCC disclaims any responsibility for and does not warranty information and materials residing on non-CCC systems or available over publicly accessible networks.  Such materials do not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions or values of CCC, its faculty, staff or students.

IX. NOTICE TO USERS

As laws change from time to time, this Policy may be revised as necessary to reflect such changes.  It is the responsibility of users to ensure that they have reference to the most current version of the CCC Electronic Communications Policy.


Portions of this policy are based on language contained in the University of California's Electronic Communications Policy dated November 17, 2000. The CCC gratefully acknowledges the University of California for permission to use its policy.