Business Communications Labs

Back to SBCC

SBCC Student Use Policy

Santa Barbara City College
Policies For Student Use Of Computers And Networks

Use of college computers by students and access by students to college computer networks and to the Internet are services made available to students to further the educational mission of the College. In order to be granted these access privileges and to retain them, students must abide by the policies and guidelines described in this document.

Computers and networks can provide access to resources on and off campus, as well as the ability to communicate with other users worldwide. Such open access is a privilege, and requires that individual users act responsibly. Users must respect the rights of other users, respect the integrity of the systems and related physical resources, and observe all relevant laws, regulations, and contractual obligations.

Appropriate use

The College provides students with access to computers and computer networks for educational purposes. Use of college computers or networks for other purposes is not permitted. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, exchanging electronic mail and accessing materials or information on the network if not relevant to the instructional or related functions of the College.

Students are required to adhere to the posted usage policies of student labs or facilities they wish to use. These policies will be posted in or near the facility, and relate to such things as which students are allowed to use the facility, time limits, reserved hours of usage, restricted activities, etc.

Game playing using college computers is not allowed, with the exception of educational games that have been assigned as part of a college course or certain games authorized for use in one or more student labs because they are considered to have an academic purpose. Note that some labs do not allow any game playing at all.

It is prohibited to use college computers for any activity that is commercial in nature, i.e. paid for by non-college funds. Commercial activities include, but are not limited to, consulting, typing services, and developing software for sale. Exceptions to this prohibition are certain internships and work experience programs when specifically approved in writing by the appropriate college authority.

Security and passwords

The security of computer systems is based to a great extent on passwords. Therefore it is important to take your password very seriously, and to keep it secret at all times. Do not select an obvious password, and change your password any time there is any chance that someone else may have learned it. Your password is for your protection. It ensures that no one can make unauthorized use of your computer account. Use of any other user's account or loaning the use of your account is prohibited. Do not attempt to capture or use any other person's password or account, even for fun or as a joke.

Note that educational networks intrinsically are not secure. Normally student files and electronic mail are private, but this cannot be guaranteed.

Software copying

With only a few exceptions, software on college computers and networks is licensed for use on college computers only. Copying software from a college computer or network is prohibited unless specifically authorized in writing by an appropriate college authority. Illegal copying of software is subject to civil damages and criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment.

Examples of Misuse

Examples of misuse include, but are not limited to, the activities in the following list.

o Using a computer account that you are not authorized to use, attempting to monitor or tamper with another user's electronic communications, or reading, copying, changing, or deleting another user's files or software without the explicit agreement of the owner. Files owned by individual users are to be considered private property, whether or not they are accessible by other users.

o Obtaining a password for a computer account without the consent of the account owner. If you as an authorized user give out your account and password to another individual, you can still be held accountable for any actions that may arise that are associated with your account.

o Using the Campus Network to gain unauthorized access to any computer systems, or attempting to circumvent data protection schemes or uncover security loopholes. This includes creating and/or running programs that are designed to identify security loopholes and/or decrypt intentionally secure data. This also includes programs contained within an account, or under the ownership of an account that are designed or associated with security cracking.

o Knowingly or carelessly running or installing on any computer system or network, or giving to another user, a program intended to damage or to place excessive load on a computer system or network. This includes, but is not limited to, programs known as computer viruses, Trojan Horses, and worms.

o Violating terms of applicable software licensing agreements or copyright laws.

o Deliberately wasting/overloading computing resources, or in any other way knowingly or carelessly performing an act which will interfere with the normal operation of computers, terminals, peripherals, or networks. This includes, but is not limited to, printing multiple copies of a document or printing out large documents that may be available on-line, or that might impact significantly on other users printing resources.

o Using electronic mail to harass others, including sending electronic mail that the sender would reasonably anticipate to be unwelcome.

o Creating mail or electronic distribution lists larger than 10 addressees that send electronic communications to other accounts without prior permission of the receiving individual.

o Moving large files across networks during peak usage periods or prime hours such that it degrades resource performance. Prime hours will be considered to be Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

o Masking the identity of an account or machine. This includes, but is not limited to, sending mail anonymously.

o Posting on electronic bulletin boards or any type of electronic forum information that may be slanderous or defamatory in nature or any materials that violate existing laws or the college Standards of Student Conduct.

o Displaying sexually explicit, graphically disturbing, or sexually harassing images or text in a public computer facility, or location that can potentially be in view of other individuals.

Activities will not be considered misuse when authorized in writing by appropriate college authorities for security or performance testing.


Penalties may be imposed under one or more of the following: SBCC Standards of Student Conduct, California law, the laws of the United States. All existing laws (federal and state) and the regulations listed in the SBCC Standards of Student Conduct document apply, including not only those laws and regulations that are specific to computers and networks, but also those that may apply generally to personal conduct.

Minor infractions of this policy, when likely accidental in nature, such as poorly chosen passwords, overloading systems, excessive disk space consumption, and so on are typically handled in an informal manner by electronic mail or in-person discussions. More serious infractions are handled via formal procedures:

Infractions such as sharing accounts or passwords, harassment, or repeated minor infractions as described in, but not limited to, the above policies may result in the temporary or permanent loss or modification of computer access privileges, and notification of the Dean of Student Services. Warning! Loss of the privilege of using college computers, even if temporary, may prevent a student from completing course assignments and from making normal progress in the course. This is very likely to have a negative impact on the final course grade.

Offenses which are in violation of local, state or federal laws will result in the immediate loss of all computing privileges, and will be reported to the appropriate college and law enforcement authorities.

Legal Context

Student files are considered "educational records" as covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Title 20, Section 1232(g) of the United States Code). Such records are considered confidential under the law, but student files and electronic mail may be subject to search under court order if such files are suspected of containing information that could be used as evidence in a court of law. In addition, system administrators may monitor network traffic and/or access student files or electronic mail as required to protect the integrity of computer systems (e.g., examining files or accounts that are suspected of unauthorized use or misuse, or that have been corrupted or damaged).

Misuse can be prosecuted under applicable statutes. Students may be held accountable for their conduct under any applicable college policies. Complaints alleging misuse will be directed to those responsible for taking appropriate disciplinary action as specified under "Enforcement."

Illegal copying of software protected by United States Copyright Law is subject to civil damages and criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment.

Other organizations operating computing and network facilities that are reachable via the Internet may have their own policies governing the use of those resources. When accessing remote resources, students are responsible for obeying both the policies set forth in this document and the policies of the other organizations.


College staff responsible for the computer technology will make every effort to ensure the integrity of the computer systems and of the information stored on them. However, students must understand that the College does not take responsibility for the safe storage of student files. Students must keep their own copies of any information that is important to them. Santa Barbara City College is not responsible for any loss of information from college computers or networks, regardless of the cause.

Information posted by students on computer bulletin boards, electronic forums, Web pages, or other publicly accessible sites administered by the College, is subject to review for conformity with legal requirements, including copyright provisions, and with the computer policies described in this document. Postings found to be unacceptable will be removed.



Back to top Back to top

721 Cliff Drive Santa Barbara, CA 93109-2394    Main Campus Phone: 805.965.0581    © 2015 Santa Barbara City College