Acceptable Use

Date Approved:2-8-2001
Last Revision:12-16-2019
Last Reviewed:12-16-2019
Approved By:President


The intent of this policy is to make clear certain uses which are and are not appropriate, not to exhaustively enumerate all such possible uses. This statement represents a guide to the acceptable use of network and computing resources which includes an array of institutional electronic business systems, computing services, networks, databases and other resources (“NMU IT resources”). Using these guidelines, Northern Michigan University (“NMU”) may at any time make determinations that particular uses are or are not appropriate.


Northern Michigan University students, faculty and staff and any user or provider of NMU IT resources, including any individual who uses, logs in, attempts to use or attempts to log in to a NMU system, whether by direct connection or across one or more networks, or who attempts to connect to or traverse a network, whether via hardware, software or both (each a “User”).


Central to appropriate and responsible use is the stipulation that network and computing resources shall be used in a manner consistent with the instructional, public service, research and administrative objectives of the University.

Users are responsible for informing themselves of any university policies, regulations or other documents that govern the use of NMU IT resources prior to initiating the use of NMU IT resources.


  • Users must respect the privacy of others. NMU Users who invade the privacy of others may have their access suspended and may also be subject to university disciplinary action. NMU will make reasonable efforts to maintain the confidentiality of files stored on university hardware and to safeguard the contents from loss, but is not liable for the inadvertent or unavoidable loss or disclosure of the contents, or for disclosure resulting from the unlawful acts of others. NMU has the right of access to investigate complaints and manage the network and computing resources of the University, and to keep records and files to the extent appropriate to administer those computing resources.
  • While every effort is made to ensure the privacy of NMU Users, this may not always be possible. In addition, since employees are granted use of NMU IT resources to conduct University business, there may be instances when NMU, based on approval from authorized officers, reserves and retains the right to access and inspect stored information without the consent of the User.
  • For your own personal protection and the protection of the University computing system, Users are expected not to share their User ID and password with any other persons.
  • Users may not assume another person’s identity or role through deception or without proper authorization. You may not communicate or act under the guise, name, identification, email address, signature or indicia of another person without proper authorization, nor may you communicate under the rubric of an organization, entity or unit that you do not have the authority to represent. Users shall not intentionally seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, other data or passwords belonging to other Users, whether on the NMU campus or elsewhere, or develop or retain programs for that purpose.

System Integrity

  •  Users must respect the integrity of NMU’s IT resources on campus and at all sites reachable by NMU’s external network connections. Computing services and wiring may not be modified or extended beyond the area of intended use. This applies to all network wiring, hardware and in-room jacks. IT resources may not be used to provide unauthorized Internet access to anyone outside of the university for any purpose. Users shall not intentionally develop or use programs that harass other Users, that obstruct or disrupt use (or that could reasonably be expected to disrupt), or that attempt to damage, alter, or infiltrate (e.g. gain access without proper authorization) a computer, system or network, regardless of whether the resource used is securely protected against unauthorized use.
  • To respect the shared nature of NMU IT resources, Users shall avoid activities that unreasonably tax system resources or that, through frivolous use, goes beyond the intended use of the system. This includes, for example, intentionally placing a program in an endless loop, printing excessive amounts of paper, or sending “spam,” “chain letters” or other unsolicited mass mailings to lists or individuals and other types of use which would cause network congestion or otherwise interfere with the work of others.
  • NMU IT resources may not be used to fundraise, advertise or solicit unless that use is approved in advance in writing by NMU. Furthermore, Users must not use NMU IT resources for partisan political purposes, such as using electronic mail to circulate advertising for political candidates.

Personal Information

Users should be cautious about making information about themselves and others available on the Internet. NMU cannot protect Users from invasions of privacy, identity theft and other possible dangers that could result from the individual’s distribution of personal information.

Use of Resources Accessed through NMU IT Resources

When using NMU IT resources or resources owned by third parties that are accessed using NMU IT resources, Users must comply with all applicable federal and state laws, all applicable University rules, ordinances, and policies and the terms of any contract or license which governs the use of the third-party resource and by which the User or NMU is bound. Users must not use NMU IT resources to violate copyright, patent, trademark or other intellectual property rights.

User Compliance

When using NMU IT resources and accepting any NMU issued computing accounts, Users agree to comply with this and all other computing related policies. Users have the responsibility to keep up-to-date on changes in the computing environment, as published, using NMU electronic and print publication mechanisms and to adapt to those changes as necessary.

United States Copyright Law

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including text and content, images, computer software, motion pictures, music and other media in both personal use and in production of electronic information. Unauthorized copying or downloading of copyrighted material is in violation of U.S. copyright laws. Users may not make or use illegal copies of copyrighted materials or software, store such copies on NMU IT resources or transmit them over NMU networks. Further, you may not attempt to override copy protection on commercial software. For more information on copyright and fair use provisions, go to the NMU Olson Library web site (

The Law of the State of Michigan

Act 53 of the Public Acts of 1979 of the State of Michigan is “An act to prohibit access to computers, computer systems, and computer networks for certain fraudulent purposes; to prohibit intentional and unauthorized access, alteration, damage, and destruction of computers, computer systems, computer networks, computer software programs, and data; and to prescribe penalties.” The penalties for violating this act follow: A person, who violates this act, if the violation involves $100.00 or less, is guilty of a misdemeanor. If the violation involves more than $100.00, the person is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years, or a fine of not more than $5,000.00 or both.

Student Code

Student behavior on and off campus is governed under the Student Code. All regulations related to communication and use of University resources also relate to Internet usage. Some examples include but are not limited to Harassment, or Unauthorized access to Information (accessed at ). Other University Student Code Regulations and Policies are listed in the NMU Handbook and can be accessed at All of the policies and regulations which are listed there also cover the use of computers and the Internet.

Disciplinary Actions Taken

When NMU has reasonable cause to believe there has been inappropriate use, NMU staff may take immediate remedial action. In an emergency, to prevent further inappropriate activity, NMU computing staff may temporarily disconnect a User from the network or other NMU IT resources. Punishment for violation of the NMU Acceptable Use Policy may include, but is not limited to, temporary or permanent disconnection from NMU IT resources, suspension of a specific User's NMU ID for up to one (1) academic semester or further disciplinary action deemed necessary by the Dean of Students Office or where appropriate, the Human Resources Office, Office of the Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs or law enforcement agencies.

Information Disclaimer

Individuals using NMU IT resources do so subject to applicable laws and NMU policies. NMU disclaims any responsibility and/or warranties for information and materials residing on or within NMU IT resources, non-NMU systems or publicly accessible networks. Such materials do not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions or values of the State of Michigan, NMU, its faculty, staff or students.