/ Computing and Information Technology

Technology Usage Policy

Hope College is committed to encouraging and facilitating the effective and appropriate use of campus technology resources. Use of institutional facilities, devices, accounts, and access to the campus network is a privilege, not a right. Such a privilege is embodied in the responsible use of resources. It is important that everyone is aware of their individual obligations and what constitutes proper use and behavior.

While this document covers many aspects of technology use, there are policies within the Hope College Student Handbook and the Hope College Employee Handbook that can also be applied toward enforcement of responsible use. Local, state, and federal laws are also applicable. This document does not address every possible scenario or situation. Questions about the scope, applicability, or any other aspect of this policy should be addressed to Computing and Information Technology (616-395-7670 or cit@hope.edu).

By accessing any College technology resource, a user agrees to abide by the terms of this policy. The scope of College technology resources includes but is not limited to the College-provided computers, tablet/slate devices, cellular telephones, landline telephones, and pagers. Accessing the Internet through a College-provided connection ("the campus network") is included regardless of who owns the involved device.

It should be noted that conduct that is illegal or inappropriate in the physical world is almost always illegal or inappropriate while online. Therefore, users of College technology resources should not take part in any of the following activities:

  • Unauthorized access/use (either physical or remote) to accounts, equipment, resources, or transmissions
  • Libel
  • Copyright Violation
  • Harassment, including but not limited to the distribution of unsolicited electronic communication
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Intimidation
  • Negligence and Misuse
  • Privacy Violation
  • Fraud/Misrepresentation
  • Theft, including theft of data
  • Denial of Service
  • Violating the provisions or threatening the stability of the College's software, hardware, service provider, or other licensed products and services
  • Unauthorized interception of telecommunications traffic/data
  • Facilitating excessive telecommunications traffic or resource utilization
  • Circumvention of technology procedures or devices
  • Creation, possession, distribution, or accessing of pornography or sexually offensive material
  • Creation or facilitation of electronic content or communication that promotes hate, violence, or defames/demeans on the basis of age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other basis protected by law
  • Failure to cooperate with an investigation

Framework definitions for many of the above terms are provided later in this document. Please note that neither this list nor the framework definitions are comprehensive. In all cases, unsuccessful attempts that fall in violation of this policy will be treated the same as if they were successful.

All technology equipment issued by Hope College remains the property of the College at all times. The College retains the right to access such equipment and its digital contents at any time for purposes of maintenance, to facilitate the continued operation of the institution, or to investigate potential issues of misuse (including but not limited to potential violations of policy or law).

Hope College technology resources may not be used for commercial or contract purposes unrelated to the direct business of the College. Any/all use of Hope College technology resources to advance a not-for-profit or political organization must be approved in advance by both Computing and Information Technology as well as the appropriate divisional head. Use of College technology resources to advance initiatives, positions, or conversations that are contrary to Hope College's interests is prohibited.

All users are strongly encouraged to use non-College accounts and personally-owned devices to store, access, and manipulate any and all materials not directly associated with College work or interactions. In the event of employee termination or student dismissal, Hope College reserves the right to immediately and permanently restrict any/all further access to College-owned equipment, College-issued accounts, as well as services which rely on either.

Violation of this policy may result in the immediate and permanent revocation of College technology privileges, even those not directly relating to the activity in violation. Additional penalties up to and including termination (employees), dismissal from the College (students), banishment from College property (all users), and legal prosecution (all users) are also possible.

Any issues related to the immediate safety, security, and/or well-being of an individual or group should be immediately reported to Campus Safety at 616-395-7770 or the appropriate local agency via 911. Technology issues of a less urgent nature can be addressed to Computing and Information Technology at cit@hope.edu or 616-395-7670.

Further information and policies are available at:

Technology Usage Policy Definitions

Unauthorized Access/Use (Either Physical or Remote) to Accounts, Equipment, Resources, or Transmissions

A user may not attempt to gain access to systems or devices (either on or off campus) for which she/he has not explicitly been granted access. The ability to utilize with little/no effort does not constitute permission or an acceptance to use. You may not deliberately attempt to disrupt the performance of a system or a network. You may not attempt to break, circumvent, reverse-engineer, or otherwise disrupt system security or stability measures. You may not reconfigure computer systems to make them unusable for others. You may not attempt to destroy or alter data or programs belonging to other users.


Defamation via written or printed words, including but not limited to email.

Copyright Violation

Copyright is a complex and detailed legal concept. It is impossible to broadly define its appropriate application or use cases in policy. This is especially true within an academic environment. Therefore, for any given situation a user is responsible for educating her/himself on the appropriate and legal use of materials. Note that the concept of Fair Use within United States law, which allows for limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders, does not constitute an automatic or blanket permission to use copyright protected material even when such use is within the academic environment.


Hope College provides detailed explanations for this term in its employee and student handbooks. Please consult those resources for more details.

Sexual Harassment

Hope College provides detailed explanations for this term in its employee and student handbooks. Please consult those resources for more details.


Technology resources many not be used to participate in or otherwise facilitate behavior that causes another individual to fear injury or harm.

Negligence and Misuse

Having access to Hope College technology resources means that you bear responsibility for the activity which takes place as a result of using those resources. You may be held responsible for any loss, damage, or other issues resulting from your inappropriate or inattentive use of the resources. It is the responsibility of the user to stay informed of the changes in the laws and policies as they occur.


Includes activities such as lying, giving false testimony, claiming to be another individual, claiming to have authority which you do not have, and/or failing to present proper identification to any College representative.

Theft, Including Theft of Data

In the case of data, copying while leaving the original version intact can also constitute theft. Relocating of College technology resources without authorization may be treated as theft. A lack of security or restriction does not constitute permission to access.

Denial of Service

Any activity that hinders the ability of another person or group to utilize a resource to which they are rightfully entitled.

Violating the Provisions or Threatening the Stability of the College's Software, Hardware, Service Provider, or Other Licensed Products and Services

To provide a robust and functional technology environment, Hope College maintains contractual relationships with numerous external entities. Each includes stipulations outlining the obligations of the College community as well as actions and circumstances that would terminate or otherwise jeopardize the contractual portion of the relationship. Activity that violates any of these terms or that presents a reasonable threat to the stability of those relationships can affect the entire community. Details on the terms of these relationships are available by contacting Computing and Information Technology.

Unauthorized Interception of Telecommunications Traffic/Data

Attempting to intentionally monitor, capture, scan, interpret, or otherwise interact with data for which she/he is not the intended recipient regardless of whether such traffic is in an encrypted or non-encrypted state. Applies to data being stored as well as that being transmitted.

Facilitating Excessive Telecommunications Traffic or Resource Utilization

Any use or attempted use of technology resources deemed to intentionally exceed a level that is reasonable.

Circumvention of Technology Procedures or Devices

Bypassing, thwarting, monitoring, reverse-engineering, or otherwise inhibiting the functioning of mechanisms (both technical and procedural) that ensure the availability of technical resources to the community.