skip to main content columnskip to left navigationskip to horizontal navigation

Information Technology Services

Acceptable Use


Acceptable Use on the Web 

an Information Technology Services Policy


The primary purpose of East Tennessee State University's web resources is to enhance and support the educational mission of the university.

    1. Introduction

Primary audience: All
Active since: August 2015

East Tennessee State University (ETSU) provides access to the World Wide Web (Web) and information technology resources to enhance and support the educational mission of the university. It is the policy of ETSU to provide and maintain access for its community to local, national and international sources of information and to provide an atmosphere that encourages the free exchange of ideas and sharing of information. Access to this environment and the university's information technology resources is a privilege and must be treated with the highest standard of ethics.

The university expects all members of the community to use computing and information technology resources in a responsible manner, respecting the public trust through which these resources have been provided, the rights and privacy of others, the integrity of facilities and controls, and all pertinent laws and university policies and standards.

This policy outlines the standards for acceptable use of university web sites. This policy applies to all users of ETSU web sites, including faculty, staff, students, guests, external individuals or organizations and individuals accessing external network services, such as the Internet, via university facilities. Preserving the access to ETSU web sites is a community effort that requires each member to act responsibly and guard against abuses. Therefore, both the community as a whole and each individual user have an obligation to abide by these standards of acceptable and ethical use.

    1. Purpose of Web Resources

Primary audience: All
Active since: August 2015

The primary purpose of East Tennessee State University's web resources is to enhance and support the educational mission of the university. Access to ETSU's web resources is a privilege granted to university students, faculty, staff, and approved guests. These resources include hardware, software, computer accounts and local area networks, as well as connections to other computer networks via the Internet. Everyone using these resources is responsible for using them in an effective, ethical and lawful manner.

All users must refrain from the following activities:

      • Using computing facilities to violate any university policy or regulation, or federal, state or local law;
      • Entering, without authorization, any account to use, read, transfer or change the contents in any way;
      • Impersonating or misrepresenting another individual's computer account or e-mail username;
      • Granting another individual access to your computer account;
      • Using web resources to interfere with the work of other students, faculty or university officials;
      • Using web resources to send obscene, abusive, threatening, defamatory, or harassing messages;
      • Using web resources to interfere with the normal operation of university computing systems and connected networks including, but not limited to, introducing viruses, flooding the network with messages, sending chain letters, or unfairly monopolizing resources that results in the exclusion of others;
      • Using web resources for profit or commercial purposes.
      • Intentional failure to comply with this policy will result in disciplinary action, which may include suspension of user privileges, suspension or expulsion from ETSU, or termination of university employment. In addition, violations may result in referral for prosecution by local, state or federal authorities.
      1. Overview

Primary audience: All
Last modified or reviewed: August 2015

ETSU encourages its units (colleges, schools, divisions, departments, centers, organizations, etc.) and its individual account holders to create and maintain a web presence. As with any work undertaken at ETSU, creating and maintaining Web pages should be performed with pride and should reflect favorably upon both ETSU and the page authors. 

ETSU must obey laws and governing body regulations, create the most comfortable environment for the greatest number of university members, project a positive image, and communicate effectively. For these reasons, ETSU has instituted this web Policy to govern the use of its web resources. This acceptable use policy for the web is a living document-the policies here will be amended and supplemented as needed.

      1. Audience

Primary audience: All
Active since: August 2015

ETSU Web policies apply to all university account holders. However, specific policies may target distinct subsets of the university community. For this reason, a "Primary Audience" (Student, Academic Departments, Administrative Departments, All, etc.) is identified in each individual policy. This identification is intended mainly as a convenience -- a way of flagging the groups that should be most concerned with a particular policy. However, all policies apply to all university page authors and owners.

      1. Reporting Violations or Clarifying Compliance

Primary audience: All
Active since: August 2015

If it comes to the university's attention that a web page violates any of its policies, the Web Manager or author responsible for the page will be notified and asked to remedy the problem. If the problem is not remedied, the university will remove the page or pages from the web server.

Depending on the nature and severity of the violation, ETSU may be required to inform local law enforcement and/or take disciplinary measures, including suspending or withdrawing computing privileges. It may even take legal action, especially to recover any expenses incurred as a result of the violation.

If you wish to report a page that violates ETSU's Web policies, or if you need interpretations regarding compliance, contact Dr. Karen King, Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice Provost, Information Technology Services, Box 70728, Johnson City, TN 37614; telephone (423) 439-5654; or e-mail . Dr. King will refer violations to the appropriate university official.

      1. General Restrictions

Primary audience: All
Active since: August 2015

These restrictions apply to all ETSU Web pages and their use.

Both ETSU and the State of Tennessee have policies, procedures, standards, and guidelines that govern the use of the state's computing resources. ETSU's Web policies augment this existing policy body as well as address issues peculiar to the Web medium. ETSU page authors should be aware of the larger policy sources and realize that these policies are in effect. Some sources of these policies are:

        • State of Tennessee Internet Acceptable Use Policy
        • TECnet's Acceptable Use Policy
        • ETSU's Policies and Procedures
        • ITS Policy on Web Design
        • ITS Policy on Accessibility on the Web 
        • ITS Policy on  Acceptable Use of Technology
        • ETSU's Student Handbook

Web browsing via equipment located on ETSU property should be limited to university-related purposes.

Access to ETSU-supported computing is granted contingent on that access not being misused. Users must practice good and responsible cyber-citizenship.

Use of East Tennessee State University's seal and logo must be in accordance with East Tennessee State University's policies for a consistent visual image. ETSU's logo is also a trademark and can be used only with the university's permission.

    1. Web Page Content

Primary audience: All
Active since: August 2015

The content of Web pages must comply with both East Tennessee State University policies and State of Tennessee policies and laws on acceptable computing use.

Content for all website on the ETSU domain must be related to information that is fully endorsed and sponsored by the university.

Copyrighted material - Copyrighted material must not appear on any Web page without the permission of and an acknowledgment to the copyright holder. (See U. S. Copyright Law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.)

Images/Recordings - It is especially tempting to copy images or record favorite music selections and incorporate them into a Web page. However, such images and recordings are usually copyrighted and cannot be used without the permission of the copyright holder. Even backgrounds are often copyrighted. When downloading, recording, or scanning images and sounds, page authors must determine whether they are free or available for a fee, or whether expressed permission is required before they can be used.

Plagiarism -  Authors who copy what others have written or created and present such material on a website as their own rather than giving proper citation are in violation of ETSU policy regarding plagiarism.

Commercial Use - The Web resources made available to the ETSU community are intended for educational or administrative use, not for personal gain.

      • Web pages should not be used to advertise personal services for hire or belongings for sale.  
      • Web pages may not contain advertisements to companies outside of ETSU, unless those companies are co-sponsoring or otherwise supporting the office, department or event represented on the page.


    1. Who May Have a Web Page

Primary audience: All
Active since: August 2015

All authorized ETSU computing account holders are permitted to create Web pages using the university's technology resources. East Tennessee State University encourages all colleges, schools, departments, officially recognized student organizations, students, faculty, staff to use university resources for creating their own Web pages. 

      1. Publishing Assistance

Web managers and page developers may take advantage of the numerous training opportunities on campus to learn how to develop technical and design elements for Web pages. For specific technical assistance, please refer to the content management web site at or contact the ETSU web team in the Information Technology Services, 9-8249 or .


    1. Administration of ETSU Home Page and Main Servers

Primary audience: All
Active since: August 2015

The ETSU Office of University Relations and the Information Technology Services are responsible for determining the appearance and functionality of the ETSU home page. These offices initiate any redesigns or revisions of the page consistent with established ETSU Web Format Guidelines. University Relations determines the topics to be listed on the home page and cultivates and protects ETSU images on the Web.

The physical maintenance of the top tier ETSU Web pages is the responsibility of the Web manager in Information Technology Services (ITS). The ITS server administrators maintain the servers that contain most ETSU Web pages and many departmental and personal pages, although some colleges and departments maintain their own servers.

    1. Personal Pages

Primary audience: Faculty, Staff, Students, Unit Heads
Active since: August 2015

      1. Policy Statement

Personal pages may be created by faculty, staff, and students and may contain personal information that features the interests, activities, and opinions of their creators. It must be clear that the views and opinions expressed in personal pages are the sole responsibility of the page authors. East Tennessee State University does not accept responsibility for the contents of personal Web pages. Further, personal pages must not state or imply that ETSU has reviewed or approved the pages. Personal page authors must not give the impression that they are representing or making statements on behalf of ETSU or any unit of the university. Personal pages may not be linked to the top tier of the ETSU site.

Personal pages must be created and maintained on the designated faculty server provided by Information Technology Services.

A personal page may be either linked or freestanding. The head of a unit must approve the link from the unit's Web page to any personal page. Personal pages linked to unit pages must comply with any unit policies and requirements as well as university policies and procedures. Unit heads are responsible for ensuring that personal pages linked from their unit page comply with university policies and all relevant federal, state, and local statutes. Unit heads are responsible for removing links to personal pages found to be in violation of policies and statutes.

Personal pages that do not comply with this policy may be removed from the ETSU Web site. Page authors who refuse to bring their pages into compliance may be prohibited from using computing resources to publish Web pages and may be liable for reimbursing ETSU for any costs associated with enforcing this policy.

      1. Related Issues

If a personal page receives an unreasonable amount of traffic, such that the performance of the ETSU Web site as a whole is degraded, the page author may be asked to change the content of the page.

There are some programs that may make a page(s) act as a server. This kind of activity can severely affect the performance of the ETSU network. Since the ETSU network, servers, Web and desktop computers are intended for educational purposes, desktop computers should not be used as servers. Further, such use could overload ETSU systems and compromise network security.

    1. Use of Official Academic Policy Documents on the Web

Primary audience: Academic departments
Active since: August 2015

      1. Policy Statement

Colleges, schools and departments are encouraged to maintain Web pages that offer helpful information to both current and prospective students, as well as other university and public audiences. Those who wish to include ETSU and program admission requirements, degree and course requirements, degree and course descriptions, and course offerings must do so by linking to the officially sanctioned Web versions of these university documents:

        • University catalogs
        • The current Schedule of Classes
      1. Why follow this policy?

These documents should be the prime source for academic policy and procedure information given to current and prospective students. Serving up abridgments, abstracts, re-writes or unauthorized revisions of official statements of academic program policy documents may lead to inconsistency with ETSU or other accreditation/licensure requirements. Potential exists for misinterpretation on the part of students because of typographical errors or mistakes in interpretation by those authoring the re-writes. Colleges, schools, departments and units should be certain that all information on their Web sites is consistent with the policies mentioned above. On policy matters, ETSU should speak with one clear voice.

    1. Useless Duplication

Primary audience: Faculty, Staff, Students, and Unit Heads
Active since: August 2015

      1. Policy Statement

Web publishers should publish only what they ought to maintain and what they can maintain.

What they ought to maintain

Page authors may want to supplement their own information with information on another site. Such information should be hyperlinked--not be copied or re-keyed. Authors should especially ask themselves, "Am I the ultimate source for, or 'owner' of, this supplemental information?" If the answer is "No," they must link to the information.

What they can maintain.

Out-of-date Web sites can be frustrating for visitors and may present incorrect or misleading information. Limit the information on your Web site to that which you can update and maintain.

      1. Why follow this policy?

By following this policy, page owners:

Avoid the risk of publishing incorrect, misleading, or erroneous information. Duplicating information risks committing typographical errors or misinterpreting the information and passing on the misinterpretations. Also, information which page owners duplicate, but do not "own," may become out-of-date without their knowledge.

Conserve space regardless of the server housing the owner's files; the owner wastes space by needlessly reproducing information.

    1. Student Organizations

Primary audience: Students
Active since: September 2015

      1. Policy Statement

Student organizations are encouraged to maintain Web pages that provide helpful information to both current and prospective students, as well as other campus and public audiences. Student organization web files will reside in the server space established and maintained by the Student Organization Resource Center (SORC) and must be updated at least annually. The SORC will confirm that the organization is currently registered before the student organization is linked to the Student Organizations Web site. Student organizations that are not registered with Student Organization Resource Center will not be granted space on the web server.

The SORC will provide all information about specific procedures for students to:

        • Register their organization and Web site with SORC
        • Assure their organization Web pages comply with ETSU minimum standards for student Web pages
        • Obtain web space
    1. Web Steering Committee

Primary audience: All
Active since: September 2015

      1. Charge to the Web Steering Committee

The Charge of the Committee is as follows:

        1. Identify and review policy areas related to the use of the web at ETSU;
        2. Draft new policies as needed and submit them to the Information Technology Governance Committee (ITGC) for review and approval;

Approved: Information Technology Governance Council
Reviewed: November 2015

icon for left menu icon for right menu