Policies for Using Information Services at McMurry University

McMurry University is committed to academic freedom. In accord with this ideal, the information systems that support the university’s academic mission are to be governed in the least restrictive manner possible. Likewise, McMurry embraces a philosophy that encourages the empowerment of individuals through access to all relevant technology and information. McMurry’s policies for information systems are designed to ensure the most effective delivery of resources to the, largest body of users. These principles are balanced by other important concerns and McMurry’s commitment to Christian education. McMurry’s policies reflect an appreciation for both the freedom based ideals of higher education and legal, ethical and practical demands that should constrain all system users.

The information systems (including networks, computer accounts, microcomputers, computer, printers, software, electronic mail, and telephones) at McMurry are available for the use of McMurry students, faculty and staff in support of the programs of the University. All students, faculty and staff are responsible for seeing that these information systems are used in an effective, efficient, ethical and lawful manner. Information Systems Usage Policies will be revised periodically. The latest official copy of these policies is available from the Computer Services. Copies will also be posted on various University information servers, such as the McMurry Home Page and made available in the Council Fire.

The use of information systems is a privilege, not a right, which may be revoked at any time for misuse. The following policies relate to their use.


  • No one should deliberately attempt to degrade the performance of or destroy any information system. The definition of an information system includes networks, computers, personal computers, computer workstations, and telephone systems.
  • No one may use resources for which they are not specifically authorized. Unauthorized use of another person’s computer account, telephone PIN number, or other information system resource is prohibited unless permission is expressly given. Exploiting loopholes or bugs in information systems security systems to pin extra resources, take resources from another user, gain access to systems or use systems for which proper authorization has not been given is prohibited. Anyone who engages in such behavior will be subject to disciplinary actions from the university, including possible criminal charges.
  • Copyrighted software is not to be copied to or from using campus information systems, except as permitted by the license agreement with the owner of the copyright. The use of software on a local area network or on multiple computers must be in accordance with the license agreement. Anyone who violates copyright restrictions may be held personally liable for civil or criminal penalties.
  • The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requires that the confidentiality of student information be upheld. Each McMurry University employee is expected to protect the confidentiality of student information contained on any McMurry information system. McMurry University provides access to confidential student information only in cases of legitimate education interest (need to know). Information may not be given to non-McMurry University parties unless it is unrestricted ‘directory information!, authorized in writing by the student or in accordance with specific McMurry University policies. For additional information regarding the confidentiality and the release of information, contact the McMurry University Registrar.
  • The information systems are owned by the University and are to be used for University related activities only. Information systems are to be used only for the purpose for which they are assigned and are not to be used for commercial purposes or non-university related activities without specific permission to do so.
  • All access to and modification of the central information systems, (including the DEC ALPHA and various files servers) must be approved through the Computer Services. All programs or files that are added to public directories or removed from public directories on the DEC ALPHA or any file server must receive prior approval the Computer Information Director.
  • Computer programs, electronic mail, voice mail and electronic files are considered private and confidential unless they have explicitly been made available to other authorized individuals. However, the privacy and confidentiality cannot be guaranteed due to the limitations of security on the Internet and other networks. Their contents may be accessed by systems managers as files, programs and e-mail traverse a network.
  • Within the networks controlled by McMurry University, only authorized personnel from the Computer Services or the Administration for may browse files, and-only for compelling business -and/or security reasons.
  • Fraudulent, harassing or obscene messages and/or materials are not to be sent, printed, requested or stored on university owned computers. Pornographic materials constitute harassing material to most users of the network.
  • A computer account assigned to an individual may not be used by others without explicit permission from the owner of that account. The individual is responsible for the proper use of the account, including proper password protection.
  • Information system accounts which expire, along with the files in the expired accounts, will be deleted. Accounts expire in accordance with the terms of the account. Students E- mail messages will be deleted at the end of each semester.
  1. An individual’s information systems usage privileges may be suspended immediately upon the discovery of a possible violation of McMurry University information system policies. Such suspected violations will be confidentially reported to the Dean of Students for Adjudication.
  2. Violations of these policies will be dealt with in the same manner as violations of other university policies and may result in a disciplinary action. In such action, the full range of disciplinary sanctions is available, including the loss of information systems usage privileges, dismissal from the University and legal action. Violations of some of the above policies may constitute a criminal offense under the Texas Penal Code (see V.T.CA., Penal Code section 33.01 et seq.).

Official policies governing academic computing are contained within the “Policies for Information Systems at McMurry University.” Some of those policies are repeated below to highlight attention to them. Use of academic computing resources is a privilege and must be treated as such. Misuse of academic computing resources can result in the loss of access to those resources. The guidelines in this document are intended to promote responsible academic computing. The policies stated in “Policies for Information Systems at McMurry University” should be observed at all times.

  1. Users of the labs must have a valid McMurry ID to use these facilities. Special exceptions may be made only by Computer Services and only when computer resources are not in use by McMurry students or faculty.
  2. Students are responsible for remembering their password. Students are responsible for changing their password when prompted by the network. Failure to do so will result in inconvenience to the student and possibly interfere with classroom activities.
  3. Fraudulent, harassing or obscene messages and/or materials are not to be sent, printed, requested, stored or viewed on university owned property.
  4. The academic computing labs are to be used primarily for legitimate and serious educational purposes. Computer Services does recognize, however, an increasingly diverse variety of valid educational computing experiences. Due to limited resources, playing games, Internet relay chat (IRC), e-mail, and participating in non-academic activities cannot take precedence over academic computing. In cases where there is heavy demand for computer use, authorized personnel, including laboratory assistants, may require anyone engaged in these activities to relinquish his/her computer to another person whose educational purpose is perceived to be more serious. Refusal to give up a computer under such circumstances constitutes a violation of computer use policies.
  5. Respect for the intellectual work and property of others is essential to the mission of universities. Plagiarism in any form (including electronic media such as files and graphics) is not tolerated and may result in university disciplinary actions.
  6. Report any suspected problems with hardware or software to the lab assistant or Computer Services. Do not attempt to repair or disassemble any laboratory equipment. Removing, theft of, tampering, modifying, or opening, university owned computer hardware constitutes a violation of McMurry University’s computer usage policies.
  7. The lab assistant is available to answer basic questions on the operation of lab equipment and the usage of lab software. Please be patient and courteous when – asking questions.
  8. Do not modify current file configurations or change the system settings or preferences on any computer or terminal in the labs. Intentional activity of this nature will be considered by the university to be malicious destruction of property. Computer use privileges may be revoked from anyone who engages in this activity
  9. Files should be saved on the individual user’s floppy disk, rather than on a laboratory unit hard disk. Student files on hard drives will be deleted regularly. Do not copy copyrighted/licensed software onto hard drives for personal use.
  10. Do not use the printers to make multiple copies of a single document. Paper, toner, and other printing resources are expensive. Laboratory assistants and other authorized personnel may charge $.25 per page for multiple copies of documents.
  11. Eating, drinking, and tobacco use are prohibited in the labs.
  12. If all of the workstations in the labs are in use, place your name on a waiting list with the lab assistant on duty. A user may not place his name on a waiting list while using a computer. Positions on the waiting list are not transferable. When a waiting list is in effect, a workstation that is left unattended for more than 20 minutes will be made available for another user.
  13. Failure to adhere to any of the rules stated above could result in the suspension of computing privileges at McMurry University.

Official policies governing the use of e-mail are contained within the “Policies for Information Systems at McMurry University. Some of those policies are repeated below to highlight attention to them. Use of resources such as electronic mail (e-mail) is a privilege and must be treated as such. Misuse of e-mail can result in the loss of access to e-mail and/or other resources. The guidelines in this document are intended to promote responsible use of e-mail.


  1. E-mail and other electronic communication is not private or secure. E-mail is the electronic equivalent of a postcard. As it travels the network and the Internet, it can be read by system administrators along the way. Users should, not consider E-mail and other forms of electronic communication as private or confidential
  2. Fraudulent, harassing or obscene messages and/or materials are not to be sent, printed,requested or stored.
  3. Any-use of e-mail, such as (but not limited to) congestion of e-mail systems, that would deprive others of resources is prohibited.
  4. Chain letters and other forms of mass mailings are not allowed.
  5. Commercial use of e-mail is not allowed.
  6. Mass E-mailing or “Spam Mail” is prohibited.
  7. Any communication that violates McMurry University policies and/or local, state or federal laws and regulations is prohibited.
  8. The content and maintenance of an electronic mailbox is the responsibility of the person to whom the e-mail account is assigned.
  9. E-mail messages that have been read and are older than the limit set by the e-mail system administrator will be deleted by the system administrator. (All e-mail will be deleted following each semester.)
  10. Check your e-mail often and remove messages that are no longer needed. Messages needed beyond the time limits stated above should be downloaded to personal disks or printed for future reference.
  11. E-mail messages are considered private unless they have been explicitly made available to others. Every attempt is made to assure the security of McMurry email systems so that there is a reasonable expectation that mail cannot be read by unauthorized individuals. However, there is no guarantee of the privacy of messages.
  12. Be aware of the potential for forged mail. If a person has acquired another individual’s password, that person can pretend to be the other individual and send forged mail. (This would be a policy violation but it -can happen if someone is careless with his or her password.) Also, e-mail that originates from outside McMurry may not be subject to strict security. If a message appears out of character for the sender, it may be a forgery and you should contact the sender by other means for verification.
  13. Deliberate forging or E-mail spoofing constitutes a violation of McMurry University computer use policies and is subject to the appropriate sanctions.
  14. Software for accessing e-mail systems has been licensed by McMurry for use on University- owned computers. Individuals who own their own computers are responsible for purchasing the appropriate software licenses and hardware (such as a modem) if they wish to access e- mail from their computers. There is no guarantee of available software for individually owned computers.
  15. Netscape Communications has licensed its software for student and university use and may be downloaded directly from Netscape, subject to their educational use terms and policies. This browser is an excellent software tool for sending and receiving E-mail as well as browsing HTML documents on the World Wide Web.

All computers connected to the McMurry network, including student owned computers, are required to have active virus protection software installed. In order to insure that the software is effective the latest virus definitions should be downloaded on a regular basis.
Before any computer is connected to the network, it needs to be certified by the Information Services staff or a representative designated by them.

Failure to comply with this policy may result in removal of the computer from the network untill it is in compliance.

Information Services will be happy to give recommendations for software.