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Policies & Regulations - Electronic Communication Policy

General Statement of Principles

The University of Maine encourages the creative and innovative use of information technology to enhance its teaching, research, and public service mission. Users will not have their right to access denied or abridged due to the individuaal’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or citizenship status, age, disability, or veteran’s status. The University respects the intellectual labor and creativity of others and seeks to protect the free and peaceful expression of ideas. All members of the University share responsibility for maintaining an environment where actions are guided by mutual respect, integrity, and reason.

The University of Maine expects all members of its community to use network systems with proper regard for the rights of others and the University. Abuse of these privileges will be subject to disciplinary action, as established by the operating policies and procedures of the University. The University reserves the right to limit access in response to evidence of violations of University policy or federal, state or local laws. All members of the University community are bound by federal, state and local laws relating to civil rights, harassment, copyright, security, pornography, privacy, and other statutes relating to electronic media. It should be understood that this policy does not preclude enforcement under the laws and regulations of the United States of America, the State of Maine or local communities.

Who is covered by this policy?

All users of University of Maine electronic communications systems are subject to the provisions of this policy, including those who rely on remote or off-campus access to these systems.

Use of these systems implies consent with this policy, as well as other applicable University policies and local, state and federal laws. For individuals whose network accounts are primarily for representing units or special projects, further policies may apply as governed by the needs of the unit or project.

Individual Privileges

The following individual privileges are extended to all users of electronic communication systems. However, it is understood that each of these privileges is conditioned upon acceptance of the accompanying responsibilities.

Individual Responsibilities

Users of the University of Maine’s network systems accept responsibilities that include, but are not limited to, the following specific examples.

Reporting Violations

If a user believes that a violation of this policy or criminal act has occurred, the user should contact the appropriate campus office listed below. University officials will take appropriate action in accordance with established University procedures. Infractions that may be violations of federal, state, or local laws will be reported by University officials to the appropriate authorities.

If a situation occurs in which a user feels that their personal health or safety is in jeopardy or that of another person (i.e., death threat, physically threatening message, or suicide threat), the police should be contacted by dialing 911.

If a student has violated the Student Conduct Code, as published in the Student Handbook, users may report this directly to the Student Conduct Officer at 581-1409. If a user believes that he/she or others have been subjected to discriminatory harassment, this may be reported directly to the Office of Equal Opportunity at 581-1226. If a user’s employment is being affected by a violation, he/she should contact their supervisor or the Office of Human Resources at 581-1640.

In some situations, it may be necessary to suspend account privileges to prevent ongoing misuse while the alleged violation is under investigation. The system administrator reserves the right to immediate temporary suspension of the account(s) of anyone suspected of a violation, pending the outcome of investigation by the appropriate office listed above. In the case of minor, first time offenses, the system administrator may choose to resolve the situation informally without reporting the violation to other University officials. Appeals of any disciplinary decision will be handled according to existing law, University policies, and disciplinary procedures.

Administration and Implementation

Systems administrators will manage network systems in a manner that is consistent with the system’s importance for campus communication and the need for privacy of personal electronic mail messages. In connection with their responsibilities, professional staff members may on occasion need access or monitor parts of the system and thereby be given access to the contents of certain electronic mail messages. System administrators will respect the privacy of personal communications encountered on the systems. However, if, during the course of routine duties, a system administrator encounters information that indicates that a breach of this policy or criminal act has been or is about to be committed, they will report the existence and source of this information to the proper authorities.

Administrators are not responsible for monitoring user activity or content on any network system. However, when they become aware of violations, either through the normal course of duty or by a complaint, it is their responsibility to refer the matter to the appropriate authority for investigation and possible discipline. To forestall an immediate threat to the security of a system or its users, system administrators may immediately suspend access of the people involved in the violation while the incident is being investigated. They may also take other actions to preserve the state of files and other information relevant to an investigation. Specific personal electronic communications and computer files will not be searched deliberately to seek evidence of malfeasance except when the appropriate authorities feel it is necessary in order: to enforce policies regarding harassment and the safety of individuals; to prevent the posting of proprietary software or texts, images, or audio works in disregard of copyright restrictions or contractual obligations; to safeguard the integrity of computers, networks, and data either at the University or elsewhere; and to protect the University against seriously damaging consequences.

In general, electronic mail is considered the private information between the sender and recipient account holder. There may be exceptional circumstances where the University may release electronic mail to other parties. These situations may include, but are not limited to, the death of the account holder, when an absent or terminated employee has received mail associated with his/her job responsibilities, or during the course of a criminal investigation by authorized legal authorities.

The University recognizes that all network system users are bound by federal, state, and local laws relating to civil rights, harassment, copyright, pornography, privacy, security and other statutes relating to electronic media. Nothing in this policy should be interpreted as precluding enforcement of the laws and regulations of the United States of America, State of Maine or any locality in the state of Maine.

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Contact Information

Student Handbook
5748 Memorial Union
Orono , ME 04469-5748
Phone: (207) 581-1406 | Fax: (207) 581-4215
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System