Student Handbook

Computer Use

Detailed policies, guidelines and information on computer Use, Facebook, copyright, security, and other specific computing policies can be found on the ITS website.

Responsible Use Policy


In support of its educational mission, Macalester College owns and maintains a number of information technology resources. These resources include a high-speed local area network, access to shared network software and storage space, public computing facilities, support services, on-line library databases and access to the Internet. Access to these resources is granted to all Macalester faculty, staff and currently-enrolled students. By sharing and using these resources, users accept full responsibility for their actions and agree that they will use these resources in an ethical manner. In addition, individuals are also subject to federal, state, and local laws governing many interactions that occur on the Internet.

Because we are an academic community, the faculty, students and staff of Macalester College honor intellectual property, respect the privacy of data, and respect the rights of others. As a carrier of information, Macalester College does not subject users' files to prior review. However, the College does make its best effort to educate the community in responsible use and respond when violations are pointed out.

College resources are provided solely for the education and research mission of Macalester and may not be used for commercial or for-profit purposes. Users who express opinions and positions through the College's IT resources must make clear that these opinions and positions are those of the individual who posts them, not of the College. Because the College is the owner of all IT resources granted to users, the College reserves the right to deny use to those who have used them in an irresponsible manner. Offenders may also be subject to disciplinary action through existing structures for faculty, students and staff of the College, as laid out in the relevant College handbooks.

People who use both on-campus and external network media (including any communication performed on the network for any purpose) must do so responsibly, in a manner that constitutes respectful behavior as laid out in the Faculty, Student and Staff Handbooks. It is unethical not to adhere to this type of behavior, even when communicating with people outside the Macalester community. For example, no form of harassment, as defined in the Student, Faculty and Staff Handbooks, will be tolerated within any media. In addition, all communications must include the sender's complete network address, unless the service explicitly invites anonymous communication. If someone requests you to stop communicating electronically with him/her, you are required to do so immediately.

Students accessing "social networking services" such as Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, Twitter, and others should carefully read the terms and conditions set forth by such services. Students are solely responsible for the content of their sites. Neither ITS nor Macalester College assume any responsibility for what students place there. Inappropriate material placed on social networking sites is subject to Macalester College's Responsible Use policy, the Student Conduct Process and the College's Harassment and Grievance Procedures.

Each information technology resource—those existing on campus as well as external ones to which we are connected—has an owner. Attempts, even unsuccessful ones, to use or access any resource without the permission of the owner are a violation of this policy. All accessors must respect conditions of access and use stipulated by the owner. Although individuals are not the owners of accounts assigned to them (the College is the owner), they are the owners of the files they create, and have rights to privacy and responsibilities to control access by others—you must respect others rights when you communicate with them over networks.

Anything less than adherence to the letter and spirit of copyright laws and regulations is unethical and possibly illegal. Users must obtain permission of the creator or publisher to copy software written by others. Users must abide by license agreements controlling copying and use of software and data.

Individuals found to be in violation of any portion of this Responsible Use Policy will face disciplinary action including the restriction and possible loss of network and other information technology resource privileges.

Computer Registration

Before you can use the campus data network you must first complete a brief on-line registration process. The registration process will happen automatically when you physically connect your computer to the network.

Registration has three goals:
Registration associates your computer's electronic address with you, in case we need to contact you about network problems. It also ensures that your computer has software running on it to protect your system from outside threats, like viruses and spyware and that your system is not a threat to other computers on campus by being vulnerable to (or even currently infected by) viruses and spyware. To this end, registration requires that you install all operating system updates and patches, and have up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. It is extremely important to install all updates when they become available.

Macalester College provides a professional-quality virus scanner to students for free. You can download it and other software we provide from macalester.edu/its/software.

Most game consoles and many handheld wireless devices (iPhone, iPod Touch) are known to work with our campus network. You may need to manually register these devices by contacting the Help Desk.

Network Vulnerability Responses

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act demands effective response by the College when notified of potential violation. The College receives complaints of apparent copyright violation from copyright owners and their agents. These groups often scan the file-sharing networks looking for such files. Macalester’s response is outlined in the ‘Response to Copyright Notices’ policy, below.

"Compromised computers" are those that have been infected by threatening worms or viruses or have been hacked. Compromised computers cause grave threat to other computers sharing the network segment by emitting interfering data and/or retransmitting worms and viruses. Computers can be compromised unbeknownst to the owner if left without preventative software. Macalester’s response is outlined in the ‘Response to Compromised Computers’ policy, below.

Response to Compromised Computers

1. Network or other ITS staff members identify an IP address that is infected with a worm or virus, or otherwise is compromised and threatens other network users.
2. Network staff identify the problematic computer in the network registration system and discover the name of its registered owner. Network staff blocks the computer’s network access. Because of the threat to others posed by compromised computers, network access blocking must occur immediately. Any attempt to access the Web will lead to a page informing the student of the circumstances and referring the student to the Help Desk. Attempts to access resources other than the Web will fail.
3. If the student calls the Help Desk, ITS staff members explain the circumstances, and counsel the student on fixing the problem.
4. Help Desk staff notify Network staff when it is safe to restore network access.

"Wireless access devices" are units which, when plugged into our network, emit a radio signal permitting properly equipped computers to access the network. Misconfigured access devices sometimes mimic the actions of central network control equipment and disrupt network access by other users of the network segment, possibly an entire residence hall. Macalester’s response is outlined in the ‘Response to Disruptive Wireless Access Devices’ policy, below.

Response to Disruptive Wireless Access Devices

1. Network or other ITS staff members identify an IP address threatening other network users.
2. Network staff identify the disruptive device in the network registration system and discover the name of its registered owner. Network staff blocks the device’s network access. Because of the threat to others posed by threatening wireless devices, network access blocking must occur immediately. Any attempt to access the Web will lead to a page informing the student of the circumstances and referring the student to the Help Desk. Attempts to access resources other than the Web will fail.
3. Network staff notify the Help Desk. Help Desk staff contact the wireless access device owner.
4. Help Desk staff refers the operator to the wireless "how to" document, explains that such devices are not supported at the College and that a second violation will result in a written order to keep the device off the network, copied to the Dean of Students.
5. If the device appears a third time and is still causing problems on the network, its network access is blocked permanently. The owner is sent a written order to this effect, and the order is copied to the Dean of Students.

Further Computing Information is Available at:
Information Technology Services web site (www.macalester.edu/its/)
ITS Help Desk (Humanities 314, 651-696-6525 (www.macalester.edu/its/helpdesk/)