Policy on Computer Software and Usage | Stark Faculty Handbook | Kent State University

Policy on Computer Software and Usage

1.    Policy of the Use and Installation of Software on University Computers.

The University has a tradition and commitment to the protection of intellectual property rights. Neither plagiarism nor the unlicensed reproduction or any other unauthorized use of proprietary material is tolerated. Therefore, Kent State University will comply with all state, federal and international copyright laws regarding the use of computer software. To uphold these commitments and to protect the members of the KSU community from the liabilities of copyright infringement and the university community against charges of harassment, certain policies regarding the use of software on university-owned equipment is currently required of all faculty.

2.    Policy on University-Owned Software.

Kent owns and maintains computers and software that are used by faculty, staff, and students for administering the University's business and delivering instruction. The software is licensed on a per-copy or per-site basis. The software is University property and may not be removed from the site, copied onto diskettes or another magnetic media, nor uploaded to another site. University software may not be altered or configured by anyone in such a way as to make it unusable or unstable. All configuration changes to university owned software must be performed and/or authorized by the campus LAN Administrator.

3.    Acquisition of New Software.

The University acquires computer software either by updates to site licenses or by individual requests by faculty and staff or donations. Software requests must be submitted to the Faculty Technology Committee, which, in consultation with the LAN Administrator, will evaluate the software to ensure compatibility with existing applications and to ensure that sufficient computer hardware capacity is available to accommodate the requested application. Software requested for a new instructional program should be requested at least 60 days before the program’s classes begin to allow time sufficient for acquisition, installation and testing.

4.    Policy on Use of Software Not Owned by the University

Installing personally owned software on University-owned computers is discouraged. However, if the use of outside software is authorized, the University is diligent in ensuring that copyright laws are not violated.

Faculty who wish to install personally owned software must have the permission of the Dean. Installation must be done by the LAN Administrator. Proof of ownership must be filed with the LAN Administrator.

The University has very minimal copyright violation liability regarding the use of shareware. The author or publisher inherently assumes that payment for any widely distributed product is voluntary. Several products initially distributed as shareware have entered the mainstream market to the benefit of both users and publishers. The greater concern to the University is the potential for shareware to spread computer viruses throughout the organization causing unacceptable downtime and loss of data. University faculty and staff are required to get approval from the LAN Administrator before installing or downloading shareware on university-owned computers.

5.    Installing Freeware on University-Owned Computers.

Freeware is distributed in the same manner as shareware but the author or publisher does not request payment for use. Freeware is of the same nature as shareware but is much more prone to carrying viruses. The rules regarding the use of freeware are the same as those regarding the use of shareware.

6.    University Policy Statement Regarding the Display of Potentially Offensive Material.

The University recognizes its role as the guardian of a forum for the free and open exchange of ideas and information. Furthermore, the University also recognizes its responsibility to provide an environment for research free of hostility and to be considerate of the sensibilities of all participants. The University, while not desirous of playing the role of censor, must assure that it provides proper avenues of redress if a member of the university community feels degraded or harassed by something he or she sees on a university computer display. The University’s network system allows access to all manner of textual and graphic information from all over the World, some of which could be considered offensive by some people and acceptable by others. Individuals who display information of a graphic or textual nature in a public or private area viewable by others who consider it offensive or degrading are liable to face charges of harassment.

The University ensures that the offended party has free and open access to whatever state, local or federal grievance procedures are available. The University encourages faculty to be considerate of others in choosing what is displayed on their computer screens.