Computing Policies

On this page, you'll find the Brandeis University Computer Policy, additional explanation, and ITS resources to consult for more information. The content on this page is subject to change.


The Brandeis University Computer Policy specifies policies for the use of information resources and information technology systems. Brandeis students, faculty and staff are governed by existing policies and procedures (see Appendix). Enforcement of these computer policies follows the procedures in these sources, particularly the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, Faculty Handbook and Staff Policies.

These policies apply to all university computer resources and information technology systems and govern all users of these resources. Users should understand that Brandeis University cannot guarantee protection against media failure. Brandeis and ITS staff cannot be held accountable for violations of user responsibilities, such as unauthorized access by other users.

In this document, "user" refers to a member of the Brandeis community and "resources" refers both to the physical hardware including servers, computers, networks and related systems and to the software and data on those systems.


Users must respect the privacy of all members of the academic community. Users should understand that their files may be subject to access by employees of the university for many reasons. For example:

  • The university may be legally obliged to open files to assist state or federal authorities in an investigation.
  • Supervisors, in that capacity, may access data in the files of personnel for whom they are responsible.
  • Similarly, administrators of local computing networks may access user files in the course of maintaining a system or website.

Email is particularly vulnerable to exposure from many sources, both inadvertent and malicious. Although it has become a cliche to advise users never to trust anything to email that they would not want to see on the front page of the daily newspaper, this comes close to expressing reality. Users should bear this in mind for their own protection.

Authorized Use

Users must not use other users' passwords, IDs or accounts, or attempt to capture or guess other users' passwords.

Restricted Access

Users must not attempt to access restricted files or portions of operating systems, security systems or administrative systems to which they have not been given access.


Users should recognize that computing resources are limited and should therefore not exceed their reasonable share of resources. System and network administrators may limit the use of any users seen to be in violation of this principle. Users must not misuse email. Particularly, they must not spread email widely and without good purpose ("spamming") or flood an individual, group, or system with numerous or large email messages ("bombing"). Staff and faculty should be conscious of the distinction between University and personal use. Internet access, once only available in higher education, is now easily accessible to individuals at home. We expect faculty and staff users to do their personal computer work, including email, outside the University.

Protecting Data and Common Resources

Users must follow established procedures for protecting files, including managing passwords, using encryption technology, and storing back-up copies of files. Users must protect the physical and electronic integrity of equipment, networks, software and accounts. Users must not introduce worms, viruses or other malicious code into the system and must avoid propagating virus hoaxes.


Although anonymity can be legitimate under certain circumstances, such as on an electronic bulletin board, users must not hide their identity for malicious purposes or assume the identity of another user. Users must not harass other users using computer resources (harassment is defined under existing campus policies), or make repeated unwelcome contacts with other users. Users must not display material that is explicitly sexual or offensive, consistent with the Brandeis University Policy Statement on Non-Discrimination and Harassment.

Misuse of Information

Users must not access without authorization electronic mail, protected data, or programs, or information protected under state and federal privacy laws. Users must not release another user's personal information.

Applicable Laws

Users must obey local, state and federal laws including laws on copyright and other intellectual property laws.

Respecting the University's Non-Profit Status

Users must not use campus information systems for personal business purposes. Users must not use the name "Brandeis" without explicit advance authorization. Users must not use information systems in a way that directly or indirectly implies official university endorsement of a political candidate or lobbying position.

Staying Informed

Being informed is a shared responsibility for all users of campus information systems. Being informed means, for example:

  • Knowing these computer policies and other related rules and policies
  • Knowing how to protect your data and data that you are responsible for
  • Knowing how to use shared resources without damaging them
  • Knowing how to keep current with software updates
  • Knowing a virus warning from a hoax.

Appendix: University Rules and Policies Governing This Document