Acceptable Use of Information Technology | Policies

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Acceptable Use of Information Technology

Policy governing use of technology resources at the College.

Owner: Information Technology


The purposes of this policy are to promote and improve the effectiveness of Teachers College computing and communications resources and to support the College community’s norms of scholarly discourse, academic integrity, and fairness. As an academic community, the College places a special value on free expression of ideas. However, unlawful or inappropriate use of these information technologies  (IT) resources can infringe upon the rights of others. Accordingly, all members of the College community are expected to use these resources responsibly. Prevention of abuse of the College’s IT resources is important to:

  • promote the appropriate and productive use of the College’s information technology resources, which are a finite, shared resource of the College community;
  • protect individuals from harassment and undue annoyance;
  • prevent waste of the IT resources and obstruction of College activities; and
  • protect the College and its resources.



This policy applies to all students, staff, faculty members, officers, employees, and affiliates of Teachers College, Columbia University, including extended learning sites, guests, tenants, visitors, contractors, consultants, vendors, individuals authorized by affiliated institutions and organizations, and all others granted use of and/or access to Teachers College, Columbia University technology resources and data.



The information technology resources of the College are part of the Columbia University network; all College users must be familiar with and adhere to the University IT policies found at and particularly the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy, 


Use of College information technology resources must also conform with College policies, regardless of whether they make explicit reference to electronic or other media. Relevant policies, including those related to professional conduct and protection from harassment, are available in the College’s Policy Library,


Students, faculty, staff and others using College and University electronic resources and services assume personal responsibility for their appropriate use and agree to comply with all relevant policies, as well as applicable laws. College IT resources may not be used for any purpose that violates College or University policies or for any illegal or criminal purposes, including violation of copyright law. Copying, storing, displaying, or distributing copyrighted material using College or University computers or networks without the express permission of the copyright owner, except as otherwise allowed under the copyright law, is prohibited. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, repeat copyright infringements by a user of the College’s IT resources can result in termination of the user’s access to those resources.


It is illegal and a violation of College and University policies to attempt to gain access to or use another person’s ID, password, or account, or to send an email impersonating another individual, regardless of where the email originates. Sharing of passwords is prohibited and each user is responsible for the proper use of his or her account and any activity conducted with it.


Communication at the College, whether spoken, written, or electronic, should be conducted courteously, and with respect for other people’s ideas, privacy, intellectual property, and right to be free from intimidation, harassment, and unwarranted annoyance, including, but not limited to, obscene and other unwelcome messages and postings.


All email and postings should have the name of a person from or for whom it is sent, even if replies are not permitted. Broadcast messages to large lists should have an educational or work-related significance to many members of the group.


Messages or files that interfere with or impair the computers or activities of other people, including but not limited to viruses, worms and Trojan horses, are forbidden. They violate College and University policies and applicable law.


Failure to abide by these policies will have consequences that may range from warnings to suspension of email and other computing privileges to dismissal or termination of employment. Conduct that violates College and University policies may also violate federal, state, or local law and subject individuals to civil or criminal liability. Violations of Teachers College IT policies, including copyright policies, are also violations of the Student Conduct Code. Individuals who believe that there has been a violation may contact The Office of the CIO or the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.


Responsible Office: Teachers College Information Technology

Effective Date: October 1, 2020

Last Updated: July 13, 2020

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