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Computer and Network Resources Use Policy

Note: The VCU Health System has specific regulatory and statutory requirements related to patient confidentiality (See the VCU Health System Policy Manual).

Policy Statement and Purpose

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU or University) provides and maintains computer and network resources to support the education, research, patient care, and work of its faculty, staff, and students. All individuals receiving a University computing account, or using University computer and network resources, are bound by this Computer and Network Resources Use Policy. All users of these resources are expected to act in a responsible, ethical, and legal manner. VCU computer and network resources are conducted in a public forum, and users must respect the rights and privacy of other users, share the resources equitably and follow VCU policies and local, state, and federal laws relating to copyrights, privacy, security, and other statutes regarding electronic media.

Although the University recognizes the role of privacy in higher education, and every attempt will be made to honor that ideal, users must be aware that any communication and electronic storage utilizing University-owned computer and network resources may not remain confidential and may potentially be disclosed under the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and other state and federal laws and regulations, as well as University policies and procedures.

The Policy recognizes the responsibilities of faculty and system administrators in taking a leadership role in implementing the Policy and ensuring that the University community honors it.

Who Should Read this Policy

Everyone within the University Community should read this policy.

Related Documents

VCU Health System Policy Manual
Virginia Freedom of Information Act
VCU Computer and Network Resources Use Policy Enforcement Procedures


Information Security Officer


The following shall govern the use of all VCU computer and network resources

Access to computer and network resources is restricted to authorized individuals as defined by the appropriate organizational unit. Accounts and passwords, when required, are assigned to specific individuals and may not, unless properly authorized by the University, be shared with, or used by, other persons within or outside the University.

Actions that harass, threaten, or otherwise cause harm to individuals are prohibited. Respect for the rights of others is fundamental to ethical behavior at VCU. Actions that threaten or cause harm to other individuals are violations of both VCU policies and of Virginia and federal law. Such actions may be prosecuted through both the University judicial process and, independently, in state or federal court (Va. Code § 2.2-2827).

Actions that impede, impair or otherwise interfere with the activities of others are prohibited. University computer and network resources are shared, and misuse of a particular resource can have a negative impact on other users. Accordingly, the University may require users to limit or refrain from specific uses. Intentional misuse or damage to resources is prohibited.

Actions which download or post to University computers, or transport across University networks, material that is illegal, proprietary or in violation of University contracts are prohibited. Actions performed using the University's computer and network resources, regardless of any disclaimers that might be made, ultimately reflect on the University community as a whole. Violations of copyright, licenses, personal privacy, or publishing obscene materials or child pornography may result in civil or criminal legal actions as well as University disciplinary actions (Va. Code § 2.2-2827).

Use of computer and network resources for commercial purposes, other than University-approved business, is prohibited. Limited personal use of the University's computer and network resources for other purposes is permitted when it does not interfere with the performance of the user's job or other University responsibilities, and otherwise is in accordance with this policy. However, University-related uses take priority over personal uses when resources are inadequate to meet both demands. Further limits may be imposed upon personal use in accordance with accepted management principles.

Security and Privacy

Virginia Commonwealth University uses various methods to protect the security of its computer and network resources and of its users' accounts. Users, however, should be aware that the University cannot guarantee such security and privacy. Users should also be aware that any electronic communications and data utilizing University-owned computer and network resources potentially may be disclosed under the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and other University, state and federal laws and regulations or for appropriate university business needs.

The University assigns to selected staff the responsibility for investigating alleged violations of this policy as well as applicable University, state and federal laws and regulations. The University may monitor electronic activities and inspect data files and communications of individuals.

Violations of this policy shall be addressed and investigated using the VCU Computer and Network Resources Policy Enforcement Procedures.

This article was updated: 09/10/2015