Information Technology

Information Technology

Responsible Office: Computing & Information Services

Email is an efficient way to send messages within the Teachers College community. Because of the versatility and ubiquity of email technology, the College recognizes and has established the use of email as an official means of communication. This Email Use Policy defines the appropriate use of the College’s email and its retention.

For the complete and most current version of this policy, refer to the TC Policy Library here.

The purpose of this policy is 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 the free expression of ideas. However, unlawful or inappropriate use of these information technology (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.

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 Columbia University IT policies 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 TC 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 purpose, 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 their right to be free from intimidation, harassment, and unwarranted annoyance including, but not limited to, chain letters and obscene and other unwelcome messages.

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. See Complaints & Discipline regarding IT Policies.

For the complete and most current version of the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Policy, refer to the TC Policy Library here.

Responsible Office: Computing & Information Services

Members of the Teachers College community are bound by, and should be familiar with, Columbia University’s Copyright Policy, also accessible in the TC Policy Library here


Responsible Office: Computing & Information Services

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires institutions to take steps to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials through illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution. The College generally applies a three-step approach to such unauthorized distribution, but particularly egregious misconduct may result in more severe consequences.  

First violation: The student loses network access and must report to the Service Desk in Grace Dodge 70 to show that material has been removed from their system. He/she must also sign a letter acknowledging awareness of the copyright laws and the consequences of further violations. This letter includes a statement that the student understands that sharing other people’s intellectual property without their explicit permission is illegal and that he/she will no longer engage in such activity. Once the infringing material is removed and the letter is signed, network access is usually restored.

Second violation: The student is referred to the Office of the Vice Provost. Once the student has met with the Vice Provost or a designee and the infringing material is removed, network access is usually restored.

Third or subsequent violation: The student is referred for discipline under the Student Conduct Code and may lose network access and student housing privileges permanently.

For the complete and most current version of this policy, refer to the TC Policy Library here.

Responsible Office: Computing & Information Services

Anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay actual damages or “statutory” damages of $750 to $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court may also assess costs and attorney fees. Willful infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including up to five years imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. Detailed information is accessible via the U.S. Copyright Law & Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the U.S. Code.

More information about Copyright may be found on the Columbia University Policy Library, the Copyright Advisory Office, and the U.S. Copyright Office (particularly, see Copyright FAQs).

Responsible Office: Computing & Information Services

Violations of Teachers College IT policies, including copyright policies, are also violations of the Student Conduct Code, as stated in the Policy Library. Individuals who believe that there has been a violation may contact the Director of Information Technology or the Vice Provost.


Daniel Arcena, Chief Information Officer

Katie Embree, Vice Provost of the College

Office: 242 Horace Mann Hall
Phone: (212) 678 - 8210

Office: 113 Zankel Building
Phone: (212) 678 - 3991

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