Proper Use of Information Resources, Information Technology, and Networks at the University of Michigan

  1. Policy

    It is the policy of the University to maintain access for its community to local, national and international sources of information and to provide an atmosphere that encourages access to knowledge and sharing of information.

    It is the policy of the University that information resources will be used by members of its community with respect for the public trust through which they have been provided and in accordance with policy and regulations established from time to time by the University and its operating units. As a member of the University community, you may not assume another person’s identity or role through deception or without proper authorization. You may not communicate or act under the guise, name, identification, email address, signature, or indicia of another person without proper authorization, nor may you communicate under the rubric of an organization, entity, or unit that you do not have the authority to represent. (See SPG section 601.19)

    In accordance with the above policies, the University works to create an intellectual environment in which students, staff, and faculty may feel free to create and to collaborate with colleagues both at the University of Michigan and at other institutions, without fear that the products of their intellectual efforts will be violated by misrepresentation, tampering, destruction and/or theft.

    Access to the information resource infrastructure both within the University and beyond the campus, sharing of information, and security of the intellectual products of the community, all require that each and every user accept responsibility to protect the rights of the community. Any member of the University community who, without authorization, accesses, uses, destroys, alters, dismantles or disfigures the University information technologies, properties or facilities, including those owned by third parties, thereby threatens the atmosphere of increased access and sharing of information, threatens the security within which members of the community may create intellectual products and maintain records, and in light of the University’s policy in this area, has engaged in unethical and unacceptable conduct. Access to the networks and to the information technology environment at the University of Michigan is a privilege and must be treated as such by all users of these systems.

    To ensure the existence of this information resource environment, members of the University community will take actions, in concert with State and Federal agencies and other interested parties, to identify and to set up technical and procedural mechanisms to make the information technology environment at the University of Michigan and its internal and external networks resistant to disruption.

    In the final analysis, the health and well-being of this resource is the responsibility of its users who must all guard against abuses which disrupt and/or threaten the long-term viability of the systems at the University of Michigan and those beyond the University. The University requires that members of its community act in accordance with these responsibilities, this policy, relevant laws and contractual obligations, and the highest standard of ethics.

  2. Regulations

    Though not exhaustive, the following material defines the University’s position regarding several general issues in this area.1

    The University characterizes as unethical and unacceptable, and just cause for taking disciplinary action up to and including non-reappointment, discharge, dismissal, and/or legal action, any activity through which an individual:

    1. violates such matters as University or third party copyright or patent protection and authorizations, as well as license agreements and other contracts,
    2. interferes with the intended use of the information resources,
    3. seeks to gain or gains unauthorized access to information resources,
    4. without authorization, destroys, alters, dismantles, disfigures, prevents rightful access to or otherwise interferes with the integrity of computer-based information and/or information resources,
    5. without authorization invades the privacy of individuals or entities that are creators, authors, users, or subjects of the information resources.

    This policy is applicable to any member of the University community, whether at the University or elsewhere, and refers to all information resources whether individually controlled, or shared, stand alone or networked. Individual units within the University may define “conditions of use” for facilities under their control. These statements must be consistent with this overall policy but may provide additional detail, guidelines and/or restrictions. Where such “conditions of use” exist, enforcement mechanisms defined therein shall apply. Where no enforcement mechanism exists, the enforcement mechanism defined in the Guidelines for Implementing the Proper Use Policy of the University of Michigan: Responsible Use of Technology Resources shall prevail. Disciplinary action, if any, for faculty and staff shall be consistent with the University Standard Practice Guides and the Bylaws of the Regents of the University. Where use of external networks is involved, policies governing such use also are applicable and must be adhered to.

1 Information resources in this document are meant to include any information in electronic or audio-visual format or any hardware or software that make possible the storage and use of such information. As example, included in this definition are electronic mail, local databases, externally accessed databases, CD-ROM, motion picture film, recorded magnetic media, photographs, and digitized information such as the content of MIRLYN.

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Printable PDF of SPG 601.0729.12 KB
Details Column 1
SPG number: 
601.07
Date issued: 
May 25, 1990
Last updated: 
December 5, 2002
Next review date: 
December 5, 2004
Applies to: 
All Faculty and Staff
Owner: 
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Primary Contact: 
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs