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Institutional Electronic Information Policy

All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to choose computing resources appropriate to their work. All users of The Boston Conservatory’s computing resources are expected to behave in a responsible, ethical and legal manner. In general, appropriate use means respecting the rights of other computer users, the integrity of the physical facilities and all pertinent and contractual agreements. The Conservatory supports all City of Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and United States federal laws that govern the use of computer telecommunications and computer networks, information security and personal privacy. The Conservatory Institutional Electronic Information Policy is intended to complement these laws, rules and regulations.

Electronic Mail

The following policy describes the degree of privacy email users may reasonably assume.  The Boston Conservatory personnel generally will not read or make available for anyone else to read the contents of any employee’s email files without the permission of the user unless there are grounds for doing so.  Such grounds might include, but are not limited to, maintaining system integrity (such as tracking viruses), meeting legal obligations (such as subpoenas) and performing certain system management functions (such as routing misaddressed messages).

Internet Use

 The Boston Conservatory provides internet access to support the curricular and informational needs of students, faculty and staff members.  All users are responsible for acknowledging sources, handling potentially offensive material with discretion and acquiring information that is consistent with one’s objectives as a student, faculty or staff member.

Responsibility for Acknowledging Sources

Documents and other information accessed through the internet that are used in compiling reports, term papers, journal articles and the like must be cited with a proper footnote and bibliographic reference as if the source were a book or other printed work.  To do otherwise constitutes plagiarism and will be treated as such.

Responsibility for Handling Potentially Offensive Material with Discretion

Material can be accessed on the internet that some may consider objectionable or offensive.  In no way does The Boston Conservatory encourage or endorse accessing such material except for legitimate academic purposes.  Users must exercise judgment when choosing the information they access.  If there is the reasonable expectation that the accessed information would be considered objectionable by some, then public terminals (those in open offices, labs, the library and other public places) may not be used, and hard copy of such information may not be directed to public printers.

Thus, in accessing such material, the user has the responsibility to do so in a private environment, such as a residence hall room or private office, and in such a way that the material does not negatively affect those who may deem it objectionable or offensive.  For example, such material should not be forwarded to others without their consent.

Responsibility for Internet Use Consistent with One's Objectives

The Boston Conservatory provides on-campus internet capabilities to students, faculty and staff members at the Conservatory’s expense for their use on Conservatory business and incidentally for personal purposes, as long as this use does not violate Conservatory policy or adversely affect others. The internet is not to be used to cause harm, no matter how minor, to any individual or computer facility. Users are expected to familiarize themselves with the Conservatory’s institutional electronic policies. Users are expected to protect the Conservatory’s good name and reputation.

Sharing of Copyrighted Files

Most movies, sound recordings and software applications are copyrighted.  Any duplication of copyrighted materials without the express consent of the copyright holder is not only against The Boston Conservatory policy, but also violates Commonwealth and federal law.  Those laws carry severe penalties, with significant fines and prison sentences for the most serious violations.

E-mail and Conservatory Communication

Every enrolled degree-seeking student and employee is assigned a Boston Conservatory email address.  For students, this email address is usually in the form of firstname_lastname@BostonConservatory.edu.  For faculty and staff, this email address is usually in the form of first initial and last name (FLastname@BostonConservatory.edu).

The Boston Conservatory considers the transmission of information to students and employees via email to this Conservatory-assigned email address a form of official notification.  It is your responsibility to check your Conservatory email account regularly.  You can access your Conservatory email account via the web, from any networked computer, at www.bostonconservatory.edu.

For any technical questions or problems using the network, other information systems or your Boston Conservatory email account, please contact the Help Desk at (617) 912-9299 or HelpDesk@BostonConservatory.edu.

The following list, though not exhaustive, provides some specific guidelines for responsible and ethical behavior for computer and internet use:

  • Use only computers, computer accounts and computer files for which you have authorization.
  • Network services and wiring may not be tampered with or modified.  This applies to all network wiring hardware and jacks.
  • Network services and wiring may not be extended beyond the port provided.  Retransmission or propagation of network services is prohibited without explicit permission.  This includes the installation of hubs, switches and wireless equipment.
  • You are ultimately responsible for anyone’s use of your network connection.
  • Obey established guidelines while using any computers or networks inside and outside The Boston Conservatory.
  • Do not attempt to access restricted portions of the operating system, security software or accounting software unless authorized by the appropriate Conservatory administrator.
  • Abide by all applicable federal and Commonwealth laws.
  • Respect the privacy and personal rights of others.  Do not access or copy another user’s email, data, programs or other files without permission.
  • Abide by all applicable copyright laws and licenses.  Both Conservatory policies and the law expressly forbid the copying of software that has not been placed in the public domain or distributed as “freeware” or “shareware.”  Reproduction of copyrighted material is subject to the copyright laws of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.).  Infringement of copyright may subject persons to fines and penalties.
  • Employ appropriate standards of civility when using computer systems to communicate with other individuals.
  • Be sensitive to the needs of others, and use only your fair share of computing resources.  The network is a shared resource; thus network use or applications that inhibit or interfere with the use of the network and services by others are not permitted.
  • Treat computing resources and electronic information as a valuable Conservatory resource.  Protect your data and the systems you use.
  • Use the Conservatory’s computing facilities and services for Conservatory-related work.  Activities that would jeopardize the Conservatory’s tax-exempt status are prohibited. Persons are not permitted to engage in consulting or other business ventures using the Conservatory network.
  • The network may not be used to provide computer services or internet access to anyone outside of the Conservatory for any purposes without the express written permission of the Director of Information Technology.
  • Stay informed about the computing environment.
  • Take due precaution against the spread of computer viruses. Install virus protection software on your personal computer.  Regularly check hard drive and for the presence of viruses.
  • The following activities are prohibited: disclosing your password to others; using somebody else’s password to gain access to the Conservatory’s system; using illegally obtained software on the system; copying, altering or deleting someone else’s files without that person’s permission; forging messages; cracking passwords and systems; sending harassing, bullying or threatening messages; sending unauthorized, anonymous messages; sending bulk unsolicited messages; reading someone else’s files without permission; attacking system hardware, software, network or data; denial of services; and other malicious uses of the network and systems.
  • Sending data over the campus network and/or the Conservatory’s computer systems and identifying yourself as anything but your assigned username is strictly forbidden.
  • Network connections may not be used to monitor network traffic or devices by means of hardware or software applications.
  • All IP addresses, both static and dynamic, are the property of the Conservatory.

Violations of Guidelines

Violations of the above policies are considered unethical and may lead to Boston Conservatory disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution.  Individuals are encouraged to report information concerning instances in which the above guidelines have been or are being violated.  In accordance with the established Conservatory practices, policies and procedures, confirmation of inappropriate use of The Boston Conservatory technology resources may result in termination of access, expulsion from the Conservatory, suspension and/or termination of employment, legal action or other disciplinary action.

Questions about this document and reports of possible violation can be directed to the Director of Information Technology at HelpDesk@BostonConservatory.edu.  (This statement draws heavily upon the following documents: Emerson College’s Electronic Information Policy Statement, Ithaca College’s Campus-Wide Information Service Policy Statement, Bentley College’s Computer Ethics Policy, SIPB Guidelines for Appropriate Use of MIT’s Campus-Wide Information Services, University of Michigan’s Computing Handbook, University of Missouri-Columbia Code of Conduct for Legal and Ethical Computer Use, University of Rochester’s Acceptable Use Policy and User Manual, University of California–Santa Barbara’s Responsible Use Policy and Harvard’s Use of Computers and Networks.)

Email Miscommunication

Remember that unlike interpersonal communication, email does not communicate to the receiver the tone of your voice or nuances of your facial expression or body language.  Without these cues, it is easy for the receiver to misconstrue the meaning in your email.  When writing email, be aware of how the receiver could interpret your message, especially if the issue is controversial or involves strong opinions.  Something that might sound completely innocuous in person could be offensive or inflammatory via email.  Take a moment to review what you’ve written and think about the “message” your words are sending.  If in doubt, it is best to discuss the matter in person.

Addressing Email

When sending email, make clear whether or not a response or action is required from the receiver.  The following rules will help everyone determine when the action is necessary or when the email is simply informative.

  • Persons listed in the To: line should assume that a response or action is required from them.
  • Persons listed in the CC: line should assume that the email is informative only, and no response or action is required.
  • Use the subject line in your email as a communication tool. A subject line such as “Hey!” or “Another thing…” is not very useful. You can sort email messages by subject line in Outlook. It may also be useful to change the subject line of the message if the topic of the discussion has changed.
  • Limit the recipients of your email to only the people who will benefit most from the information it contains. The email can be easily forwarded to additional recipients if necessary.
  • Do not click “Reply All” unless it is absolutely necessary that everyone receives your response. If an email has been sent to a group of people, it is generally preferable that the sender collects feedback or a meeting is held to discuss the topic.

Other Suggestions

  • When sending important documents or information via email, be sure to confirm receipt with a phone call.  You can also select to have a Read Receipt sent to you (see Message Options).
  • When attaching documents to an email, remember that the recipient will see everything in the document.  Be sure to delete any comments or hidden text that might not be appropriate for the receiver to see.

Email Viruses

Email viruses can spread quickly and cause significant damage. The Boston Conservatory does not want to infect another school or business partner with such a virus. All students, faculty and staff should follow Conservatory instructions for dealing with an email virus. with an email virus.

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