Computer Acceptable Use Policy

Statement and Purpose

The use of all SPU information technology systems, equipment, and resources is subject to this Acceptable Use Policy. The purpose of the Acceptable Use Policy is to enable the appropriate, effective and efficient use of campus technology resources for University operations. This policy outlines individual responsibilities concerning the permissible use of University computer systems, network resources, and electronic information. By definition, all University information technology resources, including computer hardware, software, data, and physical and network infrastructure, as well as all personally owned devices connecting to these resources, fall within the purview and intent of this policy.

Seattle Pacific University is a Christian educational community committed to integrating faith with learning and life. We strive to use all of our resources (including technology, computers, networks, and information itself) to the glory of God. We encourage members of the University community to make faith in Christ the authentic center of their lives. This transforming and developmental process enables Christian growth and maturity by promoting the spiritual disciplines, fostering spiritual mentoring, modeling a community of love, justice, reconciliation, support, authenticity and civility; encouraging an informed and thoughtful faith; and cultivating and advancing faith through service.

All communities expect that their members will uphold certain standards of behavior and contribute to the welfare of the group in specific ways. The expectations of the University reflect its commitment to a Christian philosophy of education in the context of a Wesleyan heritage, and the obligation to abide by local, state and federal statutory requirements.

There are many types of
Computer User Accounts and Resources that are made available to SPU faculty, staff, students, and even former students.  This policy includes all SPU provided or managed accounts and resources – whether hosted on-site or in the cloud.

Table of Contents

Version: 1.1  

Effective Date:  August 20, 2008 
Last Updated (minor revisions):  November 15, 2016

Responsible Office:
Computer & Information Systems
Responsible Executive: 
AVP for Information Technology / CIO

Intended Use, University Enforcement, and Privacy

Information technology resources and access are provided for the explicit and sole purpose of fulfilling official business and the academic functions of the University. SPU maintains the right of ownership for these assets and all information communicated, stored, and processed within. Rights of ownership extend to SPU email, Banner, and similar user accounts which, while provided to and on an individual basis are done so specifically for use in the context of approved business and academic functions. As such, these accounts and all associated information are the property of the University. 

Seattle Pacific University reserves the right to audit and inspect any computer system (personal or University owned) that is or has connected to the SPU network for alleged or confirmed violations of the Acceptable Use Policy, and to execute and enforce disciplinary measures SPU deems appropriate. The University reserves the right to audit and monitor all information stores and network transmissions within the campus network regardless of their source of origin.

In order to promote personal privacy and the confidentiality of sensitive information, any suspected violation of the policies set forth herein will be investigated through official University channels, such as: Human Resources (faculty and staff members), the Office of Student Life (students), or other agents as designated by Office of the President. Outside of direct requests by the resource owner, actions taken by CIS must be authorized by SPU named executives. It is also understood that authorized actions by CIS may include access to institutional, departmental, and potentially private and confidential information of the resource owner. Specific actions to investigate and resolve violations will be at the discretion of the investigating authority. Computer and Information Systems (CIS) will act under the direction of the University’s designate when conducting investigations and enforcing disciplinary measures. Procedures for enforcement and privacy are further detailed in the CIS Privileged Account Usage.

Individual Responsibilities for Acceptable Use

The following provisions outline individual responsibilities associated with “Acceptable Use.” In the event that aspects of use are not specifically delineated, the original intent of this policy as outlined above shall form the basis of interpretation and decision making.

  • Information technology resources are to be used for authorized purposes only as established by one’s role with the University. Use is governed by the provisions for lifestyle and employment expectations, and in local, state, and federal law. You may not use University resources to do anything that violates local, state, national or international law or the law of any foreign government, or that breaches any of your contractual obligations or fiduciary duties.
  • Seattle Pacific University does not permit the sharing of personally-assigned accounts and/or passwords. Users must take appropriate and reasonable measures to protect the integrity, exclusiveness, and confidentiality of individual resources and account credentials.  See Password Policies and Guidelines for additional details.
  • Misrepresenting or masking your identity, affiliation, or equipment is expressly prohibited.
  • Persons with authorized access to confidential, sensitive, or strategic University information are to take appropriate steps to ensure the integrity and preservation of such information on whatever device that data resides. Further considerations and responsibilities for handling institutional data, sensitive and/or confidential information are set forth in the Institutional Data Policy and Data Classification Levels.
  • Network access is made available for the exclusive use of University employees, students, alumni and other agencies or individuals that have a contractual relationship with SPU. To ensure the functionality, availability and security of University technologies, personal devices may not interfere with University provided services, functions or roles. Persons may not use any technologies that serve to bypass controls for ingress to or egress from the campus network, nor may individuals extend network access beyond that which is provided by SPU.
  • Users are responsible to ensure that personal devices connecting to the campus network are properly configured so as to not pose a threat to other devices and resources. All devices must be clearly identifiable via electronic means, and where applicable, must authenticate through appropriate network access channels. It is a violation of University policy to bypass or attempt to bypass controls for authentication, system maintenance, firewalls and routing, and device health assurance.
  • Alternate Internet Service Provider (ISP) connections to or from campus buildings are not permitted. Use of campus technologies and facilities for personal commercial gain is prohibited.
  • No one shall deliberately attempt to degrade the performance of any of the University technology systems. Users are to refrain from monopolizing systems, overloading networks with excessive data, wasting computer time, connect time, disk space, printed paper or other information technology resources.
  • No one shall create, modify, execute or re-transmit any computer program or instructions intended to gain unauthorized access to, or make unauthorized use of any computer facilities, software, or information, either inside or outside of the University. The use of personal devices to “snoop” on the activities of other users (network traffic capture) is strictly forbidden.
  • Persons may not harvest or distribute SPU email addresses for use by any third party. Message content should be strictly of a business or academic nature when sending bulk email messages to campus email recipients. Solicitation and spamming through SPU email is prohibited, as is the harvesting or generation of spam email to any Internet email recipients. Email should not be used for advertising or broadcasting unsolicited messages or annoying other users or for commercial or partisan political purposes.

Personal Use

It is understood that SPU resources are provided for the purpose of fulfilling academic and business functions of the University. However, it is acknowledged that incidental use of campus resources (such as email, campus owned computers, and the campus network) for some personal use is allowed under this policy.

Based on the relationship of the user to the University, responsibilities will vary in the use of SPU user accounts and technology resources:

  • Students - use of campus technology is primarily for academic and instructional purposes.  
  • Employees - use of campus technology is provided to conduct business and aid in the academic purposes of the University.  Personal use is allowed, but should be limited to breaks or non-working hours.  Employee use of accounts and resources must also follow various policies and procedures in the handling of university data including, but not limited to:  Email Retention and Recovery Policy, Employment Separation Procedures, and Computer User Accounts and Resources.  

Intellectual Property

The University encourages the legal and authorized sharing of information and expression of ideas. SPU also recognizes and respects intellectual property rights. There is an obligation on the part of all users of University information technology systems, equipment and resources to respect the intellectual property and access-rights of others.

All software (including program applications and multimedia such as music and movie files) is considered copyrighted work unless specifically designated as freeware or open source. In keeping with provisions for intellectual content and copyright ownership, therefore, persons are prohibited from downloading, sharing or making available for distribution or modifying copyrighted material without the express permission from the owner.

The Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Copyright Compliance policy outlines responsibilities for respecting intellectual property rights and copyright.

Inappropriate Content

Seattle Pacific University policy defines a number of categories of content that are contrary to University lifestyle expectations and inappropriate within our campus environment. Such content is not allowed to be sent or stored on University resources and includes material sent or viewed on the Internet, via email, diskettes, file transfer or any other electronic means; whether written, graphics or images, aural or visual. Specific categories of inappropriate content include:

  • Sexual - Obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit, or sexually offensive material.
  • Harassing or Slanderous - Material that harasses, threatens, slanders, defames, or libels any other person or groups.
  • Academic Dishonesty - Material that might be used to cheat, plagiarize or in other ways receive academic benefits without performing the actual work.

SPU reserves the right to modify or expand upon these categories as deemed appropriate by the University President.

Content Filtering

SPU has implemented a blocking mechanism to prevent access to sexually objectionable web sites. Internet blocking of offensive content began May 4, 2000 and continues to this date. Attempts to circumvent Seattle Pacific University’s Internet Content Filtering policies are expressly prohibited; violations are subject to disciplinary review and action.

Additional Terms

Disclaimer of Warranties

The use of these resources is solely at your own risk. These resources are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis. Seattle Pacific University expressly disclaims all warranties of any kind with respect to these resources whether express or implied. SPU also expressly disclaims any responsibility for the actions of any other user of these resources. 

Exclusions and Limitation of Liability

You understand and agree that Seattle Pacific University will not be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, or exemplary damages, including without limitation, damages for loss of use, data loss, or other losses that result from any use of SPU information technology systems, equipment, or resources.

Intellectual Property

These resources and their contents are owned by Seattle Pacific University or third parties and are protected by law, including but not limited to copyright and trademark law. Certain content, such as copyrighted materials and trademarks, are used by permission of third parties. Except as allowed by law (such as fair use) or as expressly permitted in connection with specific content, these resources and their contents may not be reproduced, modified, distributed, displayed, performed, or used in any way without the prior written permission of SPU or the third-party owner.


SPU makes no representations or warranties with respect to any linked websites: Your use of any linked website is solely at your own risk.

Changes and Revisions

SPU reserves the right to make changes to any of its information technology systems, equipment, or resources at any time without notice and without liability. SPU may revise the Acceptable Use Policy at any time at its sole discretion. If a change to the Acceptable Use Policy is made, SPU will post the revised Acceptable Use Policy on this website. 


SPU cares about the security of its systems and its users. However, SPU cannot guarantee that unauthorized third parties will not be able to defeat its security measures. You should notify us immediately of any compromise or unauthorized use of your account by emailing the CIS Help Desk at

Suspended or Terminated Use

SPU may block, suspend, or terminate your use of its information technology systems, equipment or resources at any time for any reason.  Reasons SPU might do so include, but are not limited to, the following: (a) your breach of this policy; (b) SPU is unable to verify or authenticate any information you provide to us; or (c) SPU believes that your actions could cause financial loss or legal liability to SPU or other users of these resources; (d) routine network maintenance affecting all users; or (e) your use of these resources in a manner that violates the law or other SPU policies.

All members of the SPU community are expected to participate in insuring the legal and ethical use of University resources as set forth in this Acceptable Use Policy. Suspected or confirmed violations of any provisions set forth herein are to be promptly reported to the appropriate University designate.

Related Policies and Procedures: