Responsible Use of Information Technology Policy FAQ

What is the meaning of “other devices” that this policy covers?

The Responsible Use Policy applies to any device that is capable of connecting to, transmitting, or receiving information on the University’s wired or wireless networks. Examples include, but are not limited to, “smart” phones, iPods and other music players, iPads, book readers, wireless game players, or equipment used to gather and/or analyze data for academic or research purposes

What is peer-to-peer file sharing and what are the University rules for it?

Peer-to-peer (P2P) is an approach to content distribution in which digital files are transferred between “peer” computers over the Internet. P2P file sharing allows participants to use software to search the network for shared files on the computers of other users (i.e., peers) connected to the network. Much P2P file sharing is legitimate, but when individuals trade copyrighted music or other files through the use of file-sharing software, they are engaged in copyright infringement in violation both of copyright law and University copyright policies. To comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act, each campus must publish explicit statements about unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material and the civil, criminal, and institutional penalties for such distribution. Section 2.6 of the policy provides such statements.

Does this policy apply to me when I am conducting University business off campus and not using University resources?

Members of the University community who use resources not owned by the University must adhere to this Responsible Use policy when conducting University business, whether on or off campus, and must adhere to all policies and procedures established by the administrators of any non-University information technology resources they use.

What about my privacy when I am using University IT resources?

The University does not condone or endorse the routine inspection of electronic files or monitoring of network activities related to individual use, but at times legitimate reasons exist for persons other than the account holder to access computers, electronic files, or data related to use of University information technology resources. The University may inspect information technology resources when the University determines inspection is necessary to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of information technology resources, to protect the University from harm, or when there is reasonable cause to believe the individual has violated or is violating Notre Dame policy or applicable civil or criminal law. Such inspection requires the advance approval of the General Counsel and the appropriate dean or vice president, in consultation with the Chief Information Officer.

How does this policy impact personal use of University resources? How do I guide my department on personal use?

Provisions concerning personal use of University information technology resources mirror existing policies and practices concerning personal use of other University resources. University-provided information technology resources, like University-provided telephones, photocopiers, office supplies, tools, etc., are for “University-related purposes.” Use of such resources for personal commercial purposes or for personal financial or other gain is clearly improper and, under some circumstances, may be illegal. However, this policy provides that “incidental” personal use of University information technology resources is permitted – as it typically is with other types of University resources. The policy defines “incidental” uses as those that do not consume a significant amount of those resources, do not interfere with the performance of the user’s job or other University responsibilities, are not for personal commercial purposes or personal financial or other gain, and are otherwise in compliance with applicable laws, rules, policies, contracts, and licenses. Individual administrative units of the University may, at their discretion, impose additional use restrictions on – or prohibit all personal use of – the University-provided information technology resources under their control.

Does the restriction on use of University information technology resources for “commercial purposes or personal financial or other gain” prohibit faculty from using such resources in connection with their consulting work?

The University’s policy on Outside Activities in the Faculty Handbook recognizes that appropriate professional service outside the University is both part of the University’s mission and is of benefit to the University. The policy on Outside Activities requires faculty to obtain approval, in advance, for the consulting work itself, and for use of University resources, including information technology resources, in connection with such work. The policy requires that faculty must make arrangements to compensate the University if the use of its resources will be significant.

If I have other questions about this policy, whom should I ask?

For policy questions or clarification, contact the University's Chief Information Officer by telephone at (574) 631-9700, or by email to