Lab Policy


Last reviewed May 8, 2012


1.     PURPOSE

The District owns and operates a variety of instructional computing systems which are provided for the use of Sonoma County College District students, faculty, and staff in support of the educational programs of the College and are to be used for such related activities only. Commercial uses are specifically excluded. All students, faculty and staff are responsible for seeing that these computing facilities are used in an effective, efficient, ethical, and lawful manner. This document defines acceptable use of these instructional computing systems. Unacceptable use is prohibited, and is grounds for loss of computing privileges, as well as prosecution under Federal, State, and local law.


All users of the District instructional computing systems must comply with the policies outlined in this document, as well as any additional guidelines established by the administrators of each system. Such guidelines will be reviewed by the chair/supervisor and, if necessary, the component administrator, and may become subject to Board approval as a District policy or procedure. By using any of these systems, users agree that they will comply with these policies.

3.     RIGHTS

The District reserves all rights, including termination of service without notice, to the instructional computing resources which it owns and operates. These procedures shall not be construed as a waiver of any rights of the District, nor shall they conflict with applicable acts of Law.

Users of these systems have rights that may be protected by Federal, State, and local law. Statements required by some acts of law can be found in Section 6 of this document: "Disclaimers."

All use is subject to monitoring by authorized College personnel for the purpose of network/system management or security, with reasonable efforts made to maintain user privacy. 

Copyright, obscenity, libel, and other laws governing communication and publication apply to electronic media as well. Users are personally responsible and liable for such infringing

activities. For example, you may not pirate software(use software in violation of pertinent software licensing agreements), or distribute pirated software with College resources.

Downloading illegal copies of music, video, or text is prohibited and the owner may sue you for infringement.


Access and privileges on the District instructional computing systems are assigned and managed by the administrators of specific individual systems. Eligible individuals may become authorized users of a system and be granted appropriate access and privileges by following the approval steps prescribed for that system.

Users may not, under any circumstances, transfer or confer these privileges to other individuals. Any account assigned to an individual shall not be used by others without explicit permission from the systems administrator. The authorized user is responsible for the proper use of the system, including any password protection.


Users are responsible for maintaining the following:

a.     An environment in which resources are shared equitably between users;

The system administrator of each system sets minimum guidelines within which users must conduct their activities.

b.     An environment conducive to learning;

A user who harasses, or makes defamatory or derogatory remarks, shall bear full responsibility for his or her actions. Further, by using this system, users agree that individuals who transmit such remarks shall bear sole responsibility for their actions. Users agree that the District's role in managing this system is only as an information carrier, and that they will never consider transmission through this system as an endorsement of said transmission by the District.

Many of the District instructional computing systems provide access to outside networks both public and private which furnish electronic mail, information services, bulletin boards, conferences, etc. Users are advised that the District does not assume responsibility for the contents of any of these outside networks.

The user agrees to comply with the acceptable use guidelines for whichever outside networks or services they may access through the District systems.

The user agrees never to attempt to transmit, or cause to be transmitted, any message in which the origination is deliberately misleading (except for those outside services which may conceal identities as part of the service).

The user agrees that, in the unlikely event that someone does transmit, or cause to be transmitted, a message that is inconsistent with an environment conducive to learning or with a misleading origination, the person who performed the transmission will be solely accountable for the message, not the District, which is acting solely as the information carrier.

c.     An environment free of illegal or malicious acts;

The user agrees never to use a system to perform an illegal or malicious act. Any attempt to increase the level of access to which (s)he is authorized, or any attempt to deprive other authorized users of resources or access to any District computer system shall be regarded as malicious, and may be treated as an illegal act.

d.     A secure environment.

Knowledge of passwords or of loopholes in computer security systems shall not be used to damage computing resources, obtain extra resources, take resources from another user, gain unauthorized access to resources or otherwise make use of computing resources for which proper authorization has not been given.

Users are responsible for proper password maintenance, inducing periodic changes and safeguarding the password.

Users are responsible for backup of their own data.


The following statements regarding this system are mandated, or may soon be mandated, by federal and state law. In some cases, local procedures are also included.

a.     Privacy

1.     Electronic Mail

While reasonable attempts have been made to ensure the privacy of user's electronic mail, this is no guarantee that electronic mail is private. The instructional computing systems and/or networks to which they are connected are not necessarily secure.

System administrators will respect user's privacy to the extent possible, and will not examine mail except in the following circumstances:

Investigating an apparent violation of these procedures; Disc capacities are exceeded, and user's mail storage is a contributing factor; Performing any necessary maintenance of the mail system; Forwarding a misdelivered message; Closing an account which contains unread mail.

In the first four circumstances, users affected will be notified that mail was examined by a system administrator.

2.     Other forms of data

Programs and files are confidential unless they have been made available explicitly to other authorized individuals. The District reserves the right to access all information stored on District computers. File owners will be notified, in advance, if such notice is practical. When performing maintenance, every effort will be made to insure the privacy of user's files. However, if violations are discovered, they will be reported immediately to the appropriate College official(s).

b.     Nondiscrimination - All users have the right to be free from any conduct connected with the use of the District computing systems which discriminates against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability.

Discriminatory conduct includes, but is not limited to, written or graphic conduct that satisfies both the following conditions: (1) harass, denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group based on that person's gender, race, color, national origin or disability, and (2) has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile, intimidating, or offensive educational environment. "Harassing conduct" and "hostile educational environment" are defined below.

"Harassing conduct" includes, but is not limited to, the following: epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, or threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts, that relate to race, color, national origin, gender, or disability. This includes acts that purport to be "jokes" or "pranks," but that are hostile or demeaning.

A "hostile educational environment" is established when harassing conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the District computing systems.

Any user who believes he or she has been subject to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, or disability may inform the system administrator or the District Compliance Officer. Upon receiving any such complaint, the District shall process the complaint in accordance with the District "Discrimination and Grievance" Procedures.


Computer software protected by copyright shall not be copied from, into, or by means of the District computing facilities, except as permitted by law or by the contract with the owner of the copyright. The number of copies and distribution of copies may not be done in such a way that the number of simultaneous users exceeds the number of original copies purchased.


Any user's privileges may be suspended immediately upon the discovery of a possible violation of these policies. Such suspected violations will be confidentially reported to the appropriate College official(s).

Violations of these policies will be dealt with in the same manner as violations of other College policies and may result in disciplinary review. In such a review, the full range of disciplinary sanctions is available including the loss of computer use privileges, dismissal from the College, and legal action. Violations of the procedures above may constitute a criminal offense.

Any user who files a complaint or otherwise protests against discrimination has the right to be free from any retaliatory action because of the complaint or protest. Any user who protests against discriminatory conduct and who is subsequently subject to retaliatory action because of the protests may file an additional or amended complaint with the system administrator or the District Compliance Officer.


System administrators may develop additional detailed guidelines, as needed, for any of the District instructional computing systems. These guidelines will cover such issues as allowable connections, disk space, handling of irretrievable mail, responsibility for account approval and other items related to administering the system.