Electronic Citizenship


The ethical principles that apply to everyday academic community life also apply to the use of information and computing resources. Every member of the Rensselaer community has basic rights and responsibilities. It is unethical for anyone to violate these rights or ignore these responsibilities.

Furthermore, everything that is technically possible is not necessarily ethical or legal. Anyone who uses Rensselaer’s computer systems and networks is responsible for meeting the standards outlined in Rensselaer’s policy.

To participate in community life, we expect for ourselves and extend to others the freedom to express ideas and a respect for privacy, for property, and for the environment in which we work. In community life, these expectations are reflected in the privileges and responsibilities afforded to each of its members.

The privilege of access to Rensselaer’s computer systems and networks imposes certain responsibilities and obligations and is granted subject to Institute policies and local, state, and federal laws. (The phrase “Rensselaer’s computer systems and networks” as it is used in this document refers to all Rensselaer-owned and operated computer equipment and software, the campus computer network, and all computers connected to the campus network.) Appropriate use should always be ethical, reflect academic honesty and community standards, show restraint in the consumption of shared resources, and are in compliance with Rensselaer’s policies and state and federal law. It should demonstrate respect for intellectual property; ownership of data; system security mechanisms; and individuals’ rights to privacy and to freedom from intimidation, harassment, and unwarranted annoyance. Appropriate use of Rensselaer’s computer systems and networks includes instruction; independent study; authorized research; independent research; communication; and official work of the offices, units, recognized student and campus organizations, and agencies of the Institute.

The complete text of the policy outlining the privileges, responsibilities, and obligations of those who participate in Rensselaer’s electronic community, is available at Rensselaer’s Policy on Electronic Citizenship . Students may also request extra copies from the Academic and Research Computing Help Desk or the Dean of Students Office.

The Policy on Electronic Citizenship is an Institute-wide policy intended to allow for the proper use of all Rensselaer’s computer systems and networks, effective protection of individual users, equitable access, and proper management of those resources. It should be taken in the broadest possible sense and 20 applies to Rensselaer network usage even in situations where it would not apply to the computer(s) in use (for example, student-owned computers attached to the campus network). The policy is intended to supplement, not replace, all existing laws, regulations, agreements, contracts, and Rensselaer policies that currently apply to these services.

The policy contains sections on:

As a condition of using computing and networking at Rensselaer, you must be familiar with this policy and observe it. Persons in violation of the policy are subject to the full range of sanctions, including, but not limited to, the loss of computer or network access privileges, disciplinary action, dismissal from the Institute, and legal action. Some violations may constitute criminal offenses and be subject to local, state, and/or federal prosecution.

Last modified: Aug 12, 2007