Policies and Procedures

B0408P(b) Computer & Telecommunications Usage - Privacy


Computer Privacy Guidelines

  1. Student and employee privacy on multi-user computer systems means that each account and the content of files associated with that account belong to the designated user(s); they must not be used or intruded upon by anyone else without the explicit permission of the designated owner subject to the following proviso.
  2. Pursuant to the Electronic and Communications Privacy Act of 1986, Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2510 and following, the College does not guarantee the confidentiality of files.
    1. The computing system administrator and his or her designee(s) may have the ability to view all messages and files of any user. INMS staff do not routinely view others' files and intend to keep files private, even though such privacy cannot be guaranteed.
    2. Western reserves the right, upon reasonable cause for suspicion, to access all aspects of its computing systems and networks, including individual login sessions to determine if a user is violating this policy and/or state or federal laws.
  3. Computer access for employees is for educational and College business purposes only.  Computer access for students is for educational purposes only. In general, educational use is interpreted loosely; however, abuse for economic gain or uses of the computer or network that adversely affects others will not be tolerated. If a problem becomes evident, Western has the right to review the contents of any computer memory and storage, to trace information, backups, file server accounts and to determine a user's complicity. Western reserves the right to terminate computer access to any student or employee, with a formal review by Western Senior Leadership, including the appropriate supervisor.
  4. Internet usage is not private. (See section B0408p(c)-1,2)
  5. Use of files or other software that is solely for the purpose of harassing other persons is generally considered just cause for administrative action. Possession of software solely intended to compromise system security or performance is also prohibited. (Reference:  Anti-Harassment (Employees) - Policy C0102)
  6. A "computer account" identifies a particular person and is for the exclusive use of that person. The user is not to share his or her password with others. If a user believes his or her password has been revealed to others, he or she should change it immediately, or if unable to change it, contact the INMS helpdesk for assistance. Any use of a personal account by someone other than the designated owner should be reported immediately to the Director of INMS.
  7. No person shall create on College property or use property belonging to the College to create a set of instructions, programmatic or otherwise, that will cause a computer, computer system, computer network, information storage media, or peripheral equipment to do things unwanted by the owners thereof. Examples include, but are not limited to, computer viruses, Trojan horses, time bombs, logic bombs, mail bombs, and worm programs.
  8. A personal computer in an office is as private as a desk or filing cabinet. All employees (including any student assistants) are expected to make every attempt to honor this.
  9. Administrative computer staff will only view or copy data files on an employee's personal computer upon invitation by the employee or as part of a technical problem analysis or resolution or in response to a complaint. (See section B0408p(a)-12,13)
  10. Western computer equipment should not be removed from campus unless by special arrangement with the supervisor for that department.
  11. If an employee leaves the College, he or she must leave intact all District hardware, software, files, accessories, and documentation that directly relates to the vacated position. Any software or hardware provided by Western to the employee must be returned and/or deleted from employee-owned equipment.

Electronic Mail (Including Voice Mail) privacy

  1. Pursuant to the Electronic and Communications Privacy Act of 1986, Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2510 and following, the College does not provide facilities for sending or receiving confidential messages.
  2. Privacy of messages routed off campus is not within the control of Western Technical College.
  3. Electronic mail is required to carry a valid "from" name of the individual who sent it. Mail represented as being from someone other than the sender will be considered a violation of these guidelines that can result in disciplinary action.
  4. SPAM, Chain letters, or "broadcasting" messages to lists or individuals and other types of use that would cause congestion of the network or otherwise interfere with the work of others are not allowed (the term "chain letter" in a computer system or computer network means an electronically propagated letter or electronic mail message; "broadcasting" means sending a message to multiple mail groups or mailing to multiple people for the sole purpose of reaching as many people as possible).
  5. Electronic mail addressed to a Western network address of an employee who is no longer employed by the College will be deleted on or about the last day of employment.
  6. Video and audio clips consume a tremendous amount of disk space on the mail server and should not be sent across the network unless they are business related.
  7. Western Computer Services reserves the right to discard or block incoming mail during times of employee absence and to remove users from mailing lists as deemed necessary.

Note that Western Technical College complies with the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"), and, accordingly, is in compliance with the federal requirements to protect the privacy of financial records in accordance with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act. These requirements affect areas of the College, including:

Registrar's Office

Financial Aid Office

Bursar's Office (Cashier's Office)

Student Counseling

Academic Departments

Lifelong Learning Office

Other Administrative Offices as appropriate

Failure to comply with the above guidelines or the unauthorized or illegitimate use of Western Technical College computing facilities or resources shall constitute a violation of College policy and will subject the violator to disciplinary or legal action by the College. In addition, the College may require restitution for any use of service that is in violation of these guidelines. Any questions about this policy or the applicability of this policy to a particular situation should be referred to the Director of Computer/Telecommunication Services.


Revised December 12, 2016
Revised March 25, 2009
Revised January 9, 2008
Revised June 21, 2007
Reviewed November 16, 2004
Revised September 17, 2003
Revised March 24, 2003
Revised November 1, 2001
Revised February 26, 2001
Approved February 15, 2000