/ Computing and Information Technology

Technology Usage Policy

The purpose of the Technology Usage Policy is to inform and educate all of us at Hope College of the rights and responsibilities associated with our shared use of College Technology Resources, encouraging transparency and common understanding.


Hope College is committed to providing integrated and comprehensive technologies to enhance teaching and learning and to improve productivity and support a residential student community. Hope provides students, faculty and staff with access to a wide range of computing resources, digital information and communication networks to support the academic, research and administrative functions of the College.

This policy strives to provide a balanced approach between user rights and responsibilities with appropriate use of College Technology Resources. Students, faculty, staff, and anyone else authorized (see the “Authorized Users” provision below) to use College Technology Resources are responsible for reading, understanding and complying with this Technology Usage Policy.

College Technology Resources

For purposes of this Policy, College Technology Resources include, but are not limited to, College-owned transmission lines, networks, wireless networks, servers, exchanges, internet connections, terminals, applications, equipment and devices. College Technology Resources include those owned by the College and those used by the College under license or contract, including but not limited to information recorded on all types of electronic media, computer hardware and software, paper or other documentation generated using College Technology Resources, computer networks, and telephone systems.

All technology equipment issued by Hope College remains the property of the College at all times. The College retains the right to access all files stored on College Technology Resources as provided in the “Privacy and Security” provision below.  Similarly, the College may access all messages created, sent, received or stored within College email accounts, regardless of their origin, as provided in the “Privacy and Security” provision below.

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. Incidental personal use of College Technology Resources is permitted.

Authorized Users

Those who access resources whether on campus or external to campus should do so responsibly and in a way that constitutes respectful behavior as defined in the Virtues of Public Discourse and the Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Non-Discrimination Policy.

Hope College employees and students have access to College Technology Resources.

Hope College graduates may have access to College Technology Resources to aid in their transition after leaving the College. The College reserves the right to limit the amount of access and type of service provided.

Faculty Emeriti and retired staff may have limited access to College Technology Resources at the sole discretion of the College.

Campus visitors, volunteers and guests directly associated with official college activities may have limited access to College Technology Resources at the sole discretion of the College.

An employee or a student who is no longer employed or enrolled at the College, or their designate, may, in the College’s sole discretion, be permitted access to personal or scholarly work stored on College-owned equipment or College-issued accounts.

An employee who has been terminated from the College or student who has been dismissed from the College may, in the College’s sole discretion, have access to College-owned equipment or College-issued accounts according to the “Privacy and Security” section below.

Use of the College Technology Resources

The College operates on a trust basis, assuming that the community uses College Technology Resources acceptably and with integrity. Acceptable uses of College Technology Resources include those which (i) enhance teaching, learning, research, scholarship, creative activity, and service, (ii) enhance co-curricular activities and residential life, (iii) support internal and external communication and collaboration in concert with the College’s mission, and (iv) promote productivity and the official work of students, faculty, staff, offices, departments, recognized student and campus organizations and agencies of the College, and professional and scholarly associations.

Acceptable uses of College Technology Resources comply with the Expense and Resource Stewardship Policy and the College’s Social Media Guidelines. All usage and communication by College employees and students must comply with employee and student handbooks.

The College strives to protect the privacy of its users and supports the use of technology for the free expression of ideas. As an academic community, the students, faculty, and staff of the College must respect the privacy of data, respect the rights of others, honor Invention and Patent policies, and adhere to the College’s Copyright and Intellectual Property policy, remembering that the same provisions of copyright ownership and fair use that apply in the print environment apply to digital resources including the use of computer software, library online databases and data files such as text, audio, graphics, video, etc.

Prohibited uses include, but are not limited to, uses that:

Infringe On the Rights of Other Users

  • Unauthorized access to non-public (confidential) information and email, voice mail, or other communications intended for others, including sharing or revealing individual or organizational authorizations and passwords.
  • Use of College Technology Resources to impersonate another individual or entity.
  • Harassing communication; any communication sent to individuals that is abusive, threatening, or discriminatory toward the recipient or others, or that otherwise violates the College’s Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Non-Discrimination Policy or behavior policies in Employee and Student Handbooks.

Are Harmful to the System

  • Interfere with the normal operation of computing systems and software by disrupting or degrading the performance of computer, network, website, or e-mail systems or consuming an unfair share of system resources.
  • Damaging any system by knowingly introducing computer viruses, worms, or spyware.
  • Unauthorized attempts to alter data files or systems.
  • Any action compromising or attempting to compromise the integrity or security of computer systems or networks, whether internal or external to campus

Are Inappropriate or Illegal

  • Unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted materials; infringement of trademark or patent law.
  • Actions that violate software license agreements.
  • Use of College email, web and other College Technology Resources for commercial and/or private gain, unrelated to or in competition with the direct business of the College.
  • Contractual obligations that violate the Expense and Resource Stewardship Policy.
  • Actions that violate the College’s Social Media Guidelines.
  • Implying in any way that the College is participating in political campaigns, campaign fundraising, or other political activity that is inconsistent with its 501(c)(3) status.
  • Use of technology to intentionally access, create, store or transmit pornographic or violence-oriented or harassment-oriented materials or websites unless for legitimate academic purposes.
  • Activity that violates state or federal laws, or College policies.

Hope College Email

Hope maintains electronic mail and provides College issued e-mail addresses to facilitate College business. Communications via e-mail are subject to all of the College standards and policies that govern other forms of communication.

The College expects e-mail messages to be treated as confidential by other employees and accessed only by the intended recipient or in accordance with the “Privacy and Security” provision below. Employees should not attempt to gain access to another employee's messages without permission.

All messages composed using, sent from, or received on the College’s electronic mail system should be considered official College correspondence and may be accessed by the College pursuant to the Privacy and Security section below. The College will not view, access or otherwise utilize non-Hope email accounts.

To help secure your email and personal accounts, please consider the following:

  • Once you send an email, you no longer have control over what the recipient does with it. An email has two owners: the sender and the recipient.
  • To provide the greatest security, do not forward your personal or non-Hope email accounts to your Hope email account.
  • To provide the greatest security, do not sync your personal or non-Hope accounts with your Hope account.

Privacy and Security

The College respects the privacy of users. However, the College retains the right to access College-issued technology equipment or other College Technology Resources and their contents for purposes that are related to maintenance, the continued operation of the institution, or to investigate potential issues of misuse (including but not limited to potential violations of College policy or law). Otherwise, the College does not monitor or examine user communications, activities and information.

External law enforcement agencies may request access to files through valid subpoenas or other applicable legal processes. Internal access to College Technology Resource records/usage, outside of maintenance and actions to ensure the continued operation of the institution, may only be authorized by the Director of Computing and Information Technology in conjunction with an Administrator charged with investigatory authority for a college policy/investigation process. For employees, only the Director of Human Resources may authorize this process. For students, this would include administrators responsible for student safety and conduct, according to their roles. Procedures pursuant to such matters will follow guidelines established in employee (Exempt Employees; Hourly Full-time Employees; Hourly Part-time Employees; Faculty) and student handbooks and disciplinary policies. Emergency access by CIT is permitted in the event of a compromised account or system. The College will inform affected users as soon as possible when an account is accessed under this policy, but there may be incidents when prompt notifications are not possible.

Employees who access College financial, student record or employee databases or other College information systems containing confidential information must access, store, and dispose of that data in a manner that maintains the privacy and security of College information to the greatest extent possible. Such information may also be subject to other privacy or confidentiality laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or laws governing the use and disclosure of health information.

In the event of employee or student departure, Hope College reserves the right to immediately and permanently restrict any/all further access to College-owned equipment, College-issued accounts, or other College Technology Resources, as well as services which rely on either.

Enforcement of Policy

Reporting: Employees who believe they have witnessed or been a victim of a violation of any of the above policies should notify an immediate supervisor, an appropriate Vice President, the ombudsperson, the Director of Human Resources, or the Director of Computing and Information Technology. Students should notify the Dean of Students, an Associate Dean of Students, Residence Life staff member, or the Director of Computing and Information Technology.

Response: Violation of this policy may result in the immediate and permanent revocation of College technology usage privileges, even those not directly relating to the activity in violation. This applies to all users, including guests. Disciplinary action beyond revocation of technology privileges up to termination or dismissal will be carried out in accordance with existing discipline procedures.

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.

Read example scenarios that help demonstrate this policy