Student Handbook

Other Policies and Procedures

Information Technology Resources

Hamilton College offers a wide array of computing, networking, audio, video and telecommunications resources and services to members of the college community. Information Technology Services (ITS) is the organization that oversees the use of these resources at Hamilton. Users of these resources agree to abide by and be subject to the terms and conditions contained in this and all other applicable College policies. This section is a brief summary of the most important IT policies that pertain to students. The full description of all policies can be found at the ITS site.

Students are given access to electronic mail, personal calendar, portal, Blackboard course management system, and network storage.

Passwords should be known only to the person responsible for the account and user ID. Access to user IDs may not be loaned or sold and any suspected breach of password security should be immediately reported to the ITS e-mail administrator, Debby Quayle, (dquayle@hamilton.edu). Passwords should be changed (at least) every six months.

Access in Residence Halls

Wireless and wired access to the Internet is provided in all residence hall rooms.  Residence hall connections are intended to provide students with access to telephone and cable television services, and the campus data network. Network connections, wiring, equipment, or jacks may not be altered or extended beyond the location of their intended use. Students must provide their own telephones, televisions, computers, Ethernet cables (for wired connections) and software. Any costs incurred to repair damages to a network, telephone, or cable television jack in a residence hall room will be divided equally, and billed to the students residing in that room.

Management of Internet Bandwidth

The campus network, including our connection to the Internet, is a critical shared resource for supporting the academic program. Low priority uses, including recreational uses, are peripheral to our mission and will receive lower priority during critical times.

Computers connected to the network may not be used as servers for private enterprises, commercial activity, or personal profit. Computers connected to the network may not be used to provide access to the Internet for anyone not formally affiliated with the College. If personal computers on the Hamilton network are used as servers, the administrator has the additional responsibility to respond to any use of the server that is in violation of these policies and procedures. ITS reserves the right to disconnect any computer whose activity causes an adverse effect on the network or on any other user. Network connections may also be revoked in the case of malicious or inappropriate computing activity on the network.

Virus Protection

All computers connected to the network must have up-to-date virus protection. Free anti-virus software is available to students.  See: http://www.hamilton.edu/its/rc/getting-started-with-information-technology.

Operating System Updates

All computers connected to the Hamilton College network must have a firewall turned on and be kept up-to-date with critical operating system updates from the vendor.

Appropriate Use of E-mail

Hamilton strongly recommends that e-mail not be used for confidential communication. E-mail is now considered a formal written record that carries the same legal weight as a formal memorandum. When a private message needs to be conveyed between two individuals, a conversation is the best way to accomplish it. College policy prohibits certain types of e-mail. These include mail that may be perceived as harassment, political campaigning, or commercial solicitation. Chain mail is also prohibited.

Confidentiality and Privacy

ITS takes reasonable steps to protect users from unauthorized entry into their accounts or files. A limited number of authorized Hamilton personnel must occasionally monitor information on the network and/or computer systems to maintain the integrity of the systems.

Private communication via computer is treated with the same degree of protection as private communication in other media. However, due to limits of current technologies, which are inadequate to protect against unauthorized access, the confidentiality of e-mail and other system files cannot be assured. All users should be aware of this and use reasonable caution when transmitting confidential materials.

Individual Responsibility

While ITS is responsible for monitoring the use of computer systems, it is also the responsibility of all individuals in the Hamilton community to urge their peers and colleagues to use the network and systems appropriately. Individual responsibility includes respecting the rights of other users. Under no circumstances may anyone use college IT resources for profit-making activities, in ways that are illegal (e.g. copyright violations), that threaten the College's tax-exempt or other status, or interfere with reasonable use by other members of the College community.

Copyright on Digital Information Systems

Individuals using computers and networks ("Digital Information Systems") at Hamilton College (the "College") are responsible for complying with copyright laws and the College's policies and procedures regarding use of the Digital Information Systems. The College reserves the right to deny, limit, revoke or extend computing privileges and access to the Digital Information Systems in its discretion. In addition, alleged violations of this procedure, the College's policies regarding use of the Digital Information Systems, or other policies of the College in the course of using the Digital Information Systems may result in an immediate loss of computing privileges and may also result in the referral of the matter to the College's judicial system or other appropriate authority.

Peer-to-Peer Programs (P2P)

Spurred on by the widespread use of the Internet, P2P programs have been developed to allow people to share information in digital formats. In particular, programs like KaZaA, Gnutella, Morpheus, AudioGalaxy and others are commonly used to share music and movies without regard to the restrictions placed on that material by the copyright owners. Most commercially produced music and movies are copyrighted and cannot be freely shared. This is the law. In addition, file sharing programs are known to be sources of Spyware which can seriously affect the functioning of a computer system. Hamilton does not examine the information content that is being transmitted (e.g. the music itself) but does monitor the type of information (e.g., that it is an MP3 file) in order for us to give priority to academic uses of our network.

You may be making audio and video files available on your computer for uploading over the Internet without your knowledge, or permission through functionality built into file-sharing software resident on your computer. The ITS Helpdesk can help you remove such software.

Appropriate Use

Information Technology Services may suspend or terminate all computing privileges of any individuals without notice who engage in improper computing activities. The list of violations includes, but is not limited to:

  • Malicious misuse: For example, using IDs or passwords assigned to others, disrupting the network, destroying information, removing software from public computers, spreading viruses, sending e-mail that threatens or harasses other people.
  • Unacceptable use of software and hardware: For example, knowingly or carelessly running or installing unlicensed software on any computer system or network; giving another user a program intended to damage the system; running or installing any program that places an excessive load on a computer system or network, or compromises the security of the systems or network; violating terms of applicable software licensing agreements, including copying or reproducing any licensed software; or violating copyright laws and their fair use provisions through inappropriate reproduction or dissemination of copyrighted text, images, or other materials; using imaging equipment to duplicate, alter and subsequently reproduce official documents.
  • Inappropriate access: For example, unauthorized use of a computer account; providing misleading information in order to obtain access to computing facilities; using the campus network to gain unauthorized access to any computer system; connecting unauthorized equipment to the campus network; unauthorized attempts to circumvent data protection schemes to uncover security loopholes (including creating and/or running programs that are designed to identify security loopholes and/or decrypt intentionally secure data); knowingly or carelessly performing an act that will interfere with the normal operation of computers, terminals, peripherals, or networks; deliberately wasting or overloading computing resources, such as printing too many copies of a document; or other activities.
  • Inappropriate use of electronic mail and Internet access:  Activities that threaten the integrity of the system or harm individual users are not allowed. These include, but are not limited to initiating or propagating electronic chain letters; inappropriate mass mailing including multiple mailings to newsgroups, mailing lists, or individuals, forging the identity of a user or machine in an electronic communication or sending anonymous e-mail; using another person's e-mail account or identity to send e-mail messages; attempting to monitor or tamper with another user's electronic communications; reading, copying, changing, or deleting another user's files or software without the explicit agreement of the owner; or using e-mail or personal web page advertising to solicit or proselytize others for commercial ventures, religious or political causes, or for personal gain.