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Computer Acceptable Usage Policy

Infomation Technology Department

Policy and Information 

To report violations, please contact For questions concerning this policy, please contact: the Help Desk at 417-659-4444.


As part of our educational mission, Missouri Southern State University acquires, develops, and maintains computers, computer systems, applications and networks. These computing resources are intended for university-related purposes, including direct and indirect support of the university's instruction, research and service missions; university administrative functions; student and campus life activities; and the free exchange of ideas within the university population and among the university community and the wider local, national, and world communities.

This policy applies to all users of university computing resources, whether affiliated with the university or not, and to all uses of those resources, whether on campus or from remote locations. Additional policies may govern specific computers, computer systems or networks provided or operated by specific units of the university. Consult the department heads of the specific computer, computer system, or network that you are interested in for further information (Registrar's Office, Financial Aid, Business Office, et al). This policy may be modified at any time, as deemed appropriate by the University. Users are encouraged to periodically review the policy. MSSU's centralized Policy web site is under construction.

Rights & Responsibilities

The rights of academic freedom and freedom of expression apply to the use of university computing resources, as do the responsibilities and limitations associated with those rights. The university supports a campus and computing environment open to the free expression of ideas, including unpopular points of view. The use of university computing resources, like the use of other university-provided resources and activities, is subject to the requirements of legal and ethical behavior. The legitimate use of a computer, computer system, or network is a privilege and does not extend to whatever is technically possible.

General Rules

Users of university computing resources must comply with federal and state laws, university rules and policies, and the terms of applicable contracts including software licenses. Examples of applicable laws, rules and policies include the laws of libel, privacy, copyrighttrademark , obscenity and child pornography; the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which prohibit "hacking," "cracking", social engineering and similar activities; Student Handbook guidelines; the University's Anti Harassment Policy; and Missouri Research and Education Network (MOREnet) Acceptable Use Policy

Users who engage in electronic communications with persons in other states or countries or on other systems or networks may also be subject to the laws of those jurisdictions and the rules and policies of those other systems and networks. Users with questions as to how the various laws, rules and resolutions may apply to a particular use of university computing resources should contact the IT Director (417-659-4444) for more information.

Users are responsible for ascertaining what authorizations are necessary and for obtaining them before using university computing resources. Users are responsible for any activity originating from their accounts which they can reasonably be expected to control. Accounts and passwords may not, under any circumstances, be used by persons other than those to whom they have been issued. In cases when unauthorized use of accounts or resources is detected or suspected, the account owner should immediately change the password and report the incident to the IT Help Desk at 417-659-4444 or or by contacting the Director of IT at

Although there is no set bandwidth, disk space, CPU time, or other limit applicable to all uses of university computing resources, the university may require users of those resources to limit or refrain from specific uses if, in the opinion of the system administrator, such use interferes with the efficient operations of the system. Two examples of abusing bandwidth are Peer to Peer and excessive FTP (except as granted by the IT Director).

Users may not state or imply that they speak on behalf of the university or use university trademarks and logos without authorization to do so. Authorization to use university trademarks and logos on university computing resources may be granted only by the Office of University Relations ( or the University Athletic Department ( ). The use of appropriate disclaimers is encouraged.

Users must not use computing resources to gain unauthorized access to remote computers or to impair or damage the operations of MSSU computers or networks, terminals or peripherals. This includes blocking communication lines, intercepting or sniffing communications, and running, installing or sharing virus programs. A deliberate attempt to circumvent data protection or other security measures is not allowed.


Users who violate this policy may be denied access to university computing resources and may be subject to other penalties and disciplinary action, including possible expulsion or dismissal. Alleged violations will be handled through the university disciplinary procedures applicable to the user. The university may suspend, block or restrict access to an account, independent of such procedures, when it reasonably appears necessary to do so in order to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of university or other computing resources or to protect the university from liability. The university may also refer suspected violations of applicable law to appropriate law enforcement agencies.

Security & Privacy

The university employs various measures to protect the security of its computing resources and its user's accounts. Users should be aware, however, that the university cannot guarantee security and confidentiality. Users should therefore engage in "safe computing" practices by establishing appropriate access restrictions for their accounts and guarding their passwords.

Users should also be aware that their uses of university computing resources are not private. While the university does not routinely monitor individual usage of its computing resources, the normal operation and maintenance of the university's computing resources require the backup and caching of data and communications, the logging of activity, the monitoring of general usage patterns and other such activities that are necessary for the provision of service. The university may also specifically monitor the activity and accounts of individual users of university computing resources, including individual login sessions and the content of individual communications, without notice, when:

The user has voluntarily made them accessible to the public, as by posting a Web page;It reasonably appears necessary to do so to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of university or other computing resources or to protect the university from liability;There is reasonable cause to believe that the user has violated or is violating this policy;An account appears to be engaged in unusual or unusually excessive activity; or it is otherwise required or permitted by law;

Any such monitoring of communications, other than what is listed above, must be authorized in advance by the appropriate Vice President and the CIO. The university, in its discretion, may disclose the results of any such general or individual monitoring, including the contents and records of individual communications, to appropriate university personnel or law enforcement agencies and may use those results in appropriate university disciplinary proceedings. Communications made by means of university computing resources are also generally subject to the Missouri Public Records Law to the same extent as they would be if made on paper.

E-Mail and Other Similar Forms of Communication

For purposes of this document, e-mail includes point-to-point messages, postings to newsgroups and list-serves, and any electronic messaging involving computers and computer networks. Organizational e-mail accounts, including those used by student organizations, are held to the same standards as those for individual use by members of the University community. E-mail is also generally subject to the Missouri Public Records Law to the same extent as it would be on paper.

Live @ EDU mymail email is the official email system for students.

GroupWise email is the official email system for Faculty, Staff and Administrators.

Examples of Inappropriate Uses of E-mail

While not an exhaustive list, the following uses of e-mail by individuals or organizations are considered inappropriate and unacceptable at MSSU. In general, e-mail shall not be used for the initiation or re-transmission of:

Commercial Use

Computing resources are not to be used for personal commercial purposes or for personal financial or other gain. Occasional personal use of university computing resources for other purposes is permitted when it does not consume a significant amount of those resources, does not interfere with the performance of the user's job or other university responsibilities, and is otherwise in compliance with this policy. Further limits may be imposed upon personal use in accordance with normal supervisory procedures concerning the use of University equipment.

Web Pages

Official university pages (including colleges, departments, bureaus, centers, institutes, etc.) represent the university and are intended for the official business functions of the university. Each official home page must use an address that ends in "" and be registered with the university's Web administrator This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it who will then include it as a link from the MSSU Web Site Listing.

Every Web Page should include the following:

Commercial Pages

Using MSSU Web pages for personal gain is forbidden. Any private commercial use of MSSU Web pages must be pre-approved pursuant to existing university policies and procedures regarding outside employment activities. The university may require pages involving commercial use to reside on a specific domain such as or All MSSU units that accept payments electronically via the Internet must have approval of the application from the MSSU Business Office and IT Department.

External Links

MSSU accepts no responsibility for the content of pages or graphics that are linked from MSSU pages. However, Web page authors should consider that such links, even when clearly labeled, can be misinterpreted as being associated with the University. Links to pages where you have a personal monetary interest should be avoided and may violate policies regarding advertising and commercial use and should be avoided.

Problematic Use

Excessive or disruptive use of university resources in the viewing or publishing of Web pages is not permitted. Departments owning or administering the resources involved will determine whether specific usage is considered normal, excessive or disruptive.

Retention Periods

Under development.

Network Infrastructure/Routing

Users must not attempt to nor implement their own network infrastructure. This includes, but is not limited to basic network devices such as hubs, switches, routers, network firewalls, and virtual ad hoc wireless and physical access points or networks. Users must not offer alternate methods of access to MSSU IT resources such as modems and virtual private networks (VPNs). Users must not offer network infrastructure services such as DHCP and DNS. Any exceptions to this policy must be coordinated with and authorized by Network Services. Please contact the Help Desk at 417-659-4444.


For the purposes of this document, we refer only to wireless transmission using radio frequency (RF). Wireless is shared media and easily intercepted by a third party. Wireless users are encouraged to use some type of encryption.

Improperly configured wireless access points (WAPs) might cause denial of service to legitimate wireless users therefore they are not allowed. WAPs can also be used to subvert security. Wireless access points must be installed by Network Services.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Remote Access

A VPN provides secure encrypted access between a client and the VPN server. They are most commonly used for secure access to a trusted network from remote, distrusted and unsecured networks.

VPN servers must be authorized by Network Services as well as remote access services such as GoToMyPC and LogmeIN.