Responsible Use Policy - Table of Contents


As a public institution of higher education, Cal Poly is committed to fostering an educational climate in which students, faculty and staff can approach their respective roles with a sense of high purpose and in which they may study and work free from harassment and intimidation.

The University's Responsible Use Policy for Information Technologies (RUP) recognizes that personal viewing or transmittal of potentially offensive digital materials (for example, sexually explicit materials) may result in excessive use of campus computer and network resources inconsistent with professional responsibilities and ethical standards. Such practices may also result in educational and work environments that are hostile or are perceived to be hostile.

In consequence, all members of the campus community are advised that the University does not condone and will not tolerate any such actions that are proven to constitute excessive use, to create a hostile work environment, or to have the effect of harassing or intimidating members of the campus community. In addition, any viewing or transmitting of illegal materials (for example, child pornography or obscene materials) is explicitly prohibited.

The University also emphasizes that its policies are not aimed to impair free expression and open inquiry or unduly to restrict access to any lawful digital materials by those who would do so within the guidelines of the RUP.

A.  Scope
B.  Purpose
C.  Guiding Principles
D.  Policy Application
E.  Policy Provisions

  1. Authorized Use/Access
  2. Data Security, Confidentiality and Privacy
  3. Electronic Information Retention and Disclosure
  4. Network and System Integrity
  5. Commercial Use
  6. Political Advocacy
  7. Harassment
  8. Copyright and Fair Use
  9. Trademark and Patents
  10. Electronic Communications
  11. Web Sites

F.   Policy Compliance
G.  Consequences of Non-Compliance
H.  Reporting Irresponsible or Inappropriate Use
I.   Policy Review and Practices Oversight


Appendix A - Glossary and Definition of Terms

Appendix B - Examples of Responsible and Irresponsible Use

Appendix C - References and Works Cited

Appendix D - Policy Implementation and Practices


Effective Date: 3/12/2001
Review Frequency: Annual
Responsible Officer:

Vice Provost/Chief Information Officer

Policy Development History

Date Action
March 2015 Migrated, reformatted and updated as needed RUP and related pages
04/25/2005 Modified Section E.11 and Appendix C to address accessibility to websites and digital content, and to add references to related policies and laws. Updated link to Confidential-Security Agreements in Section E.2.
03/01/2005 Modified Section E.4, E.4.8 and E.4.12 and Appendix A to address network attached devices and network communication devices. Added reference to Cal Poly's Information Security Policy to Section E.4 and Appendix C. Updated links to campus websites as needed.
06/30/2003 Added FAQ and modified E.2 and Appendices A and D to comply with State law on disclosure of personal information, and updated Appendix C
04/16/2003 Added preface, reformatted and updated policy development history, updated links in Appendix C
April 2002 Appendices and links to websites were updated and more FAQs were posted online
3/12/2001 Final policy approved by President Warren Baker and posted online
2/13/2001 Academic Senate passed a resolution endorsing the policy (AS-554-01 [PDF])
Feb 2001 Policy endorsed by Associated Students, Inc. (ASI)
Feb 2001 Policy endorsed by Information Resource Management Policy and Planning Committee (IRMPPC)
Feb 2001 Policy endorsed by Instructional Advisory Committee on Computing (IACC)
Feb 2001 Policy endorsed by Administrative Advisory Committee on Computing (AACC)
Aug 2000 Interim policy released and posted online
Oct 1999 Initial draft policy released and posted online

Continue to Sections A & B | Return to RUP Index Page

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