In today’s world it is difficult to imagine anything that has changed as fast and with consequences as significant as the Internet and its associated applications and technologies.   Though its origin was largely among academic institutions enabling the free exchange of knowledge and ideas, it rapidly proved to also be a valuable tool for corporations and governments, as well as a tool for illegal activities.

For institutions of higher education, this expansion of the opportunities provided by the Internet, both good and bad, has introduced a tension which seeks to balance the core mission of academic research and teaching with the need for network security to ensure the availability and performance of the resource to support the mission.  On the one hand, support of the academic mission recognizes and facilitates collaboration and the open exchange of scholarship and ideas both within and across institutions.  On the other, security of the network requires close regulation and restriction of devices, users, data stores, and online traffic streams.

Information Technology Services (ITS) understands the critical nature of both of these perspectives.  It also respects the pace of technological change which limits the time in which directives of any kind are meaningful.  ITS believes that the most effective way to navigate and balance these competing perspectives is through a partnership between those who use the Internet resource and those who support it characterized by continual conversation and negotiation toward achieving everyone’s goals.

The purpose of this policy document is to establish a framework which can guide this shared conversation.  Given this approach, we expect that the results of conversations and the corresponding solutions may vary considerably over time.  

We are confident that this partnership and its associated conversations is the most effective means of achieving the goals of all users and supporters of the academic mission of Macalester College.


This policy applies to all members of the Macalester College community or guests who have any device connected to the Macalester College network, including, but not limited to, desktop computers, laptops, servers, wireless computers, mobile devices, smartphones, specialized equipment, cameras, environmental control systems, and telephone system components. The policy also applies to anyone who has systems outside the campus network that access the Macalester College network. The policy applies to College-owned computers as well as personally-owned devices that connect to the campus network.

Framework for Conversation

The Macalester network and associated computing resources are intended for instruction, study, academic research, and the official work of campus organization offices to allow members of the community to learn, explore, and grow.

The statements below represent general expectations for the use of college technology resources and a starting point for conversation should ambiguity or questions be present.

Users who are not sure of the relevance or meaning of any of these expectations for their particular circumstances are urged to contact the ITS Help Desk  at helpdesk@macalester.edu or 651-696-6526 for a consultation with an appropriate ITS representative.

All users are expected to:

  1. Comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, Macalester College policies, especially the Information Technology Responsible Use Policy, and all applicable third-party vendor contracts and licenses.

  2. Use only those computing resources that they are authorized to use, and use them only in the manner and to the extent authorized, especially email and other communication applications.

  3. Respect the privacy of other users and their accounts.  Access only information that is one’s own, or that is publicly available, or to which one has been given authorized access.

  4. Respect the limited capacity of the network resources of the college.  Refrain from any activity that might compromise the performance, security, availability, or integrity of the network.

  5. Protect unauthorized access to Macalester accounts by constructing strong passwords and keeping them secure. Never share usernames and/or passwords. See Computing Password Guidelines for more information. 

  6. Cooperate fully with system administrators if advised of potential security problems associated with their accounts or systems.