The entire community's cooperation helps to ensure that high-quality e-resources remain available for the many endeavors of the College and its constituents.
- Amherst College,
- The Folger Shakespeare Library,
- The Emily Dickinson Museum,
- Other Five College institutions (Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst), and
- Five Colleges, Inc.
- All computers, systems, equipment, software, networks, and computer facilities owned, managed, or maintained by the College for the handling of data, voice, television, telephone, or related signals or information;
- Any access or use of the College's electronic resources from a computer or other system not controlled or maintained by the College; and,
- The creation, processing, communication, distribution, storage, and disposal of information under the College's control.
The staff of the Amherst College Information Technology department ("IT staff") is responsible for the administration of this policy.
Within the College community, each person will have differing purposes for using and accessing e-resources; however, each person also has a shared responsibility to utilize those e-resources appropriately and to protect the resources from unauthorized access or use.
Amherst recognizes that many users participate in outside academic and professional activities that naturally complement the users' on-campus commitments and enhance their contributions to the College. For example, faculty and staff are active in learned societies, professional associations, academic conferences, the preparation of scholarly publications, and other educational institutions' tenure or departmental reviews, occasionally with incidental compensation. Use of e-resources in connection with such activities is generally acceptable as long as the activities are otherwise consistent with Amherst's mission and policies. The College also acknowledges that limited personal use of e-resources is compatible with the type of community that the College fosters in support of its broader goals. Such personal use, except by enrolled Amherst students, must be incidental at most and may not cause the College to incur additional costs. Above all, use of e-resources for outside or personal purposes is always a privilege, not a right, and may not interfere with use for College purposes.
All use of e-resources must comply with:
- all College policies, procedures, and codes of conduct, including those found in the student, faculty, and employee handbooks;
- all laws and regulations applicable to the user or the College; and,
- all relevant licenses and other contractual commitments of the College, as modified from time to time.
- any ongoing business or other commercial activity not administered by the College;
- the benefit of persons or organizations other than the College; or
- political or lobbying activities.
Accounts and Access Restrictions
All users must protect the College's e-resources from unauthorized access. Specifically, all users must:
- Take responsibility for the security and integrity of information stored on any personal or assigned desktop, laptop, or handheld system;
- Take care to access e-resources only from secure environments and to log out of sessions before leaving any computer unattended;
- Take all appropriate precautions when accessing confidential or restricted College data to protect the data from unauthorized disclosures and from threats to its accuracy or integrity;
- Comply with requests from the IT staff and other authorized personnel to cease use of e-resources that compromises the e-resources or the College; and,
- Cooperate with system administrators during investigations of improper use.
- Extend the network by introducing a hub, switch, router, wireless access point, or any other service or device to any College network;
- Provide any other person with e-resources or access to them;
- Send e-mail chain letters or mass mailings for purposes other than authorized College business;
- Alter, remove, or forge email headers, addresses, or messages, or otherwise impersonate or attempt to pass oneself off as another;
- Obtain e-resources beyond those allocated to the user, seek or gain access to data or user accounts for which the user is not authorized, or eavesdrop or intercept transmissions not intended for the user;
- Use the College's Internet or other network access in a malicious manner or to alter or destroy any material which the user is not authorized to alter or destroy;
- Tamper with, modify, damage, alter, or attempt to defeat restrictions or protection placed on accounts or any e-resources; or
- Damage computer or network systems; create or intentionally introduce or propagate computer viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, or other malicious code to any e-resource; attempt to degrade the performance of the system or to deprive authorized users of e-resources or access to e-resources.
Copyright and other Intellectual Property
Users must respect intellectual property rights, including copyrights, in all use of College e-resources. All use of content, including text, images, music, and video, retrieved from e-resources or stored, transmitted or maintained using e-resources, must comply with copyright and other applicable laws. Copied material, used legally, must be given attribution in conformance with applicable legal and professional standards.
Respect for Others
Users may not do anything to interfere inappropriately with others' use of e-resources, including by consuming e-resources in excess.
Users' Expectation of Privacy
- To maintain the integrity of its systems, network or data;
- When required by federal, state or local law, administrative rules, court order or other legal authority;
- To preserve the health and safety of individuals or the Amherst College community;
- When there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of law or a significant breach of College policy may have taken place and access, inspection or monitoring may produce evidence related to the possible misconduct; or
- To address a legitimate business need.
Such College access to a user’s communications or other data on e-resources without the user’s permission will occur only with the approval of: 1) the president; or 2) a) the chief financial and administrative officer and either b) the dean of the faculty (for faculty), the chief human resources officer (for administrators and staff), or the chief student affairs officer (for students), or their respective designees. In cases of emergency where necessary to preserve the integrity of the system, comply with laws or other legal authority, or preserve health and safety, the College may access, monitor, limit and/or disclose a user’s communications or other data on e-resources without seeking the above-described permission. In that instance, the chief information officer or designee will log any emergency access for review by the president, chief financial and administrative officer, dean of the faculty, chief human resources officer, and/or chief student affairs officer, or their respective designees, as applicable.
Finally, the College cannot guarantee the security of those e-resources against unauthorized access or disclosure.
Oversight of E-resourcesAuthorized employees of the College, including the IT staff charged with the daily administration of the College's e-resources, may:
- Take all reasonable steps necessary to preserve the availability and integrity of E-resources, including blocking any user's access to e-resources;
- Reject or destroy email messages, email attachments, and other files suspected of being spam or containing malicious code, such as viruses and worms;
- Exercise administrative authority over networks, systems, or software in order to grant users access to read, write, edit, or delete information in files or databases, to establish security controls and protection for information and e-resources, or to address claims that intellectual-property or other rights have been violated;
- Employ a variety of security monitoring devices and tools to identify misuse or unauthorized use of e-resources;
- With the approval of the Chief Information Officer or the Chief Information Security Officer, temporarily shut off the College's Internet connection, servers, or services, without prior notice, in order to protect College systems, data, and users or to protect other important interests of the College;
- Temporarily or permanently terminate users' use of e-resources to investigate or remedy any threat to e-resources or violation of this policy; and,
- Exercise administrative rights over certain e-resources, if those rights are delegated by the IT staff.
The e-resources and anything accessible on or through them are made available "as is" and "as available." The College makes no guarantee that any e-resource will be free of objectionable matter, errors, defects, bugs, viruses, worms, "Trojan horses," or other destructive features. The College is not responsible for any harm arising from e-resources or users' reliance on them, nor is it responsible for any third-party content accessed using College e-resources, including content made available by another College user or any third party.