Appropriate Use Policy

Focusing on the Missions and Goals of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

This policy defines the boundaries of “acceptable use” of the Southern Seminary’s electronic resources, including computers, networks, electronic mail services, electronic information sources, telephones and copiers as detailed below.

The policy is based on the principle that the electronic information environment is provided to support the academic and accreditation goals of Southern Seminary including its mission of education, research and service. All other uses are secondary.

Technology usage that might threaten the integrity of Southern Seminary’s network; the actual or perceived safety of others; or any illegal activity is strictly forbidden.

By using Southern Seminary’s electronic information systems you assume personal responsibility for their appropriate use and agree to comply with this policy, other applicable Seminary policies, and all applicable City, State and Federal laws and regulations.

This policy defines penalties for infractions, up to and including loss of system access, employment termination or expulsion. In addition, some activities may lead to risk of legal liability, both civil and criminal.

Users of electronic information systems are urged in their own interest to review and understand the contents of this policy.


The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary makes computing resources (including, but not limited to, computer facilities and services, computers, networks, electronic mail, electronic information and data, video and voice services) available to faculty, staff, students, and special guests to support the academic, research and service missions of Southern Seminary.

If the demand for computing resources exceeds current capabilities then priorities for their use will be established and enforced. The priorities for use of Seminary-wide computing resources are:

High – Uses that directly support the educational and service missions of the Seminary including official electronic communications

Medium – Other uses that indirectly benefit the education, research and service missions of Southern Seminary including reasonable and limited personal communications

Low – Recreation activities, including personal communications, game playing and recreational Internet browsing

Forbidden – All unethical or illegal activities that do not represent a faithful Christian witness

Southern Seminary may enforce these priorities by restricting or limiting usages of lower priority in circumstances where higher priority tasks are impacted. The Campus Technology (CT) department diligently works to support the goals of this organization by providing reliable voice and data communication services for the Faculty, Staff and Students of the Seminary.

Implied Consent

Each person with access to the Seminary’s computing resources is responsible for his/her appropriate use and by their use agrees to comply with all applicable Seminary and Campus Technology policies and regulations, and with applicable City, State and Federal laws and regulations.

No expectation of privacy.

The computers and computer accounts given to users are to assist them in performing their work. Users should not have an expectation of privacy in anything they create, store, send, or receive on the computer system.

General Standards

Each person who utilizes the equipment and computers of the Seminary will display the following basic behavior traits at all times.

Responsible Behavior. Users will behave responsibly with all Seminary equipment and computers. Users will understand the value of this equipment and take care not to abuse the equipment.

Consistent Behavior. Users will faithfully display behavior consistent with the mission of the Seminary and a Christian life.

Respectful Behavior. Users will respect the rights and property of others, including intellectual property rights.

Obedient Behavior. Users will comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and Seminary policies.

Enforcement and Penalties for Violation

Any person who violates any provision of this policy, or other relevant Seminary policies, or of applicable City, State, or Federal laws or regulations may face sanctions up to and including termination or expulsion.

Users should report all suspected violations of these policies to their immediate supervisor.

Interpreting this Policy

As technology advances, questions will arise about how to interpret the general standards expressed in this policy. The Vice-President for Planning & Communication or the Vice President of Campus Technology may periodically update this policy to provide more specific rules that comply with the mission of the Seminary.


When restrictions in this policy interfere with the research, educational or service missions of the Seminary, faculty and staff members may request a written waiver from the Vice President of Campus Technology.

Specific Rules

The following specific rules apply to all uses of Seminary computing resources. These rules are not an exhaustive list of proscribed behaviors, but are intended to implement and illustrate the General Standards for the Acceptable Use of Computer Resources, other relevant Seminary policies, and applicable laws and regulations.

Content of Electronic Communication. The content of electronic communication (including e-mail, voice mail, etc.) is the property of Southern Seminary. Users will communicate in a manner that faithfully represents the mission of the Seminary and a Christian life. Unlawful communications, including threats of violence, obscenity, and harassing communications, are prohibited. Users should never consider electronic communications to be either private or secure.

Personal Business Use. The use of Southern Seminary’s computer resources for private business or commercial activities (except where such activities are otherwise permitted or authorized under applicable Seminary policies) is prohibited.

Personal Identification. All users of Southern Seminary’s computer resources will be provided a personal user identification or User ID from the Campus Technology department. This User ID should be treated as confidential and should not be given to anyone not authorized to use the Seminary’s computer resources. However, some public access computer resources, as identified by the Vice President of Campus Technology, do not require personal identification measures.

Strictly Prohibited

In an effort to protect Southern Seminary’s computer and network architecture from intentional and unintentional harm, rules have to be established and enforced. These rules are not meant to hinder the users from performing their job, but are meant to ensure them that the systems and their data will be available when they are needed. The following activities and behaviors are strictly prohibited.

Misrepresentation (including forgery) of the identity of the sender or source of an electronic communication;

Acquiring or attempting to acquire passwords of others;

Using or attempting to use the computer accounts of others;

Harassing, threatening or harming individuals or classes of people and/or impeding their activities;

Alteration of the content of a message originating from another person or computer with intent to deceive;

Using the Internet to view pornographic or morally offensive web sites or the electronic distribution of such material;

The use of restricted-access Seminary computer resources or electronic information without or beyond one’s level of authorization;

The interception or attempted interception of communications by parties not explicitly intended to receive them;

Making Seminary computing resources available to individuals not affiliated with this organization without approval of the Campus Technology Director or the Vice President of Institutional Administration;

The unauthorized copying or use of licensed computer software;

Unauthorized access, possession, or distribution, by electronic or any other means, of electronic information or data that is confidential under Southern Seminary’s policies regarding the privacy or the confidentiality of student, administrative, personnel, archival, or other records;

Intentionally compromising the privacy or security of electronic information;

Intentionally infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others in computer programs or electronic information (including plagiarism and unauthorized use or reproduction);

Interference with or disruption of the computer or network accounts, serviced, or equipment of others, including, but not limited to, the propagation of computer “worms” and “viruses”, the sending of electronic chain mail, and the inappropriate sending of “broadcast” messages to large numbers of individuals or hosts;

Failure to comply with requests from appropriate Southern Seminary officials to discontinue activities that threaten the operation or integrity of computers, systems or networks, or otherwise violate this policy;

Revealing passwords or otherwise permitting the use by others (by intent or negligence) of personal accounts for computer and network access;

Altering or attempting to alter files or systems without authorization;

Unauthorized scanning of networks for security vulnerabilities;

Attempting to alter any Southern Seminary computing or networking components (including, but not limited to routers, switches, and hubs) without authorization;

Unauthorized wiring, including attempts to create unauthorized network connections, or any unauthorized extension of any computer or network services;

Intentionally damaging or destroying the integrity of electronic information;

Intentionally disrupting the use of electronic networks or information systems;

Intentionally wasting human or electronic resources; and

Negligence leading to the damage of Southern Seminary electronic information, computing/networking equipment and resources.

The following sections pertain only to Southern Seminary owned computers

Computer Software

The Campus Technology department is responsible for installing all software applications on Seminary owned computers. Additionally, the Campus Technology department maintains a “Software Policy” for Southern Seminary. All employees should make themselves familiar with this policy if they have any questions regarding computer software. Each employee is responsible for understanding the rules regarding software as listed in this policy and restated here.

The Rules of Software

The following software rules are established because Southern Seminary is responsible for complying with all software license requirements.

All software must be legal and the Campus Technology department will keep a copy of the Software License on file;

No software is to be installed on any Seminary owned computers without the expressed permission of the Vice President of Campus Technology;

Users are not allowed to download and install any software (freeware, shareware, or individually purchased) programs without the permission of the Campus Technology department;

Southern Seminary owned software shall not be installed on any non-Seminary owned computers without a legal software license and the permission of the Vice President of Campus Technology;

Faculty and Staff members may request the purchase of new software as outlined in the Technology Procurement Policy;

All software license agreements, activation keys, and serial numbers should be treated as confidential and should not be shared with anyone outside of the organization;

Staff members may not install personally owned software;

Faculty members may install personally owned software on a Southern Seminary computer if the following conditions are met, (1) Permission is obtained from the Vice President of Campus Technology, (2) The user provides a copy of the proper software license for the software to the Campus Technology Department, and (3) The software does not conflict with any of the existing Seminary owned computers, software, or network.

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