Responsible Division: Finance and Administration
Approving Official: Kyle Clark
Effective Date: January 1, 2014
Last Revision Date: Unrevised at this time.




BOG Regulation 3.0075
Florida State University Regulations

This policy statement is intended to support appropriate and effective use of information technology (IT) resources at Florida State University (FSU), while providing guidelines for allowable use.


1. FSU provides a wide variety of IT resources, including computers, networks, software, computer accounts, cellular phones, office telephones and hand-held and wireless devices, for use by University students, faculty, and staff. These resources are administered by the Information Technology Services, and a number of schools, colleges, departments, and institutes, and are intended for the legitimate business of the University

2. Appropriate business use of IT resources includes instruction, research, and the official work of the offices, departments, recognized student and campus organizations, and other agencies of the University. Priority for resources may be granted to certain users or certain groups of users in support of the University's mission.

3. Computer accounts are provided to faculty, staff, and students as a privilege associated with membership in the University community. When an individual accepts this privilege, a number of responsibilities must be assumed, including knowledge of appropriate University policies and procedures.

4. In recognition of the World Wide Web (WWW) as an important communication medium, FSU encourages its use as a means of supporting and fulfilling the mission and official work of the University. Moreover, the University is presented a challenge when establishing partnerships with commercial enterprises, as these partnerships may raise questions of conflict-of-interest, neutrality, or freedom from influence.

5. This and all policies and procedures associated with FSU IT resources are not intended to abridge academic freedom, constitutional guarantees of free speech, or freedom of expression. The use of IT resources is available to all members of the University community. While the rights of academic freedom and intellectual creativity are recognized, the interests of the University, students, faculty, and staff must be protected. In addition to consideration of legal liability issues, the institutional image and reputation of FSU as a major research institution are valuable assets requiring protection.

6. The use of e-commerce and online business processes are encouraged as a way to improve services to the FSU community. Commercial links must be presented in a way that preserves the image and reputation of the FSU campus and conforms to University policies and commercial enterprises. It is critical that e-commerce systems maintain adequate security and departments hosting such services safeguard the confidentiality of data related to purchases of goods and services.


1. All uses of University IT resources are subject to applicable rules, policies and procedures of the University and/or governing boards as well as Florida Statutes governing computer fraud, misuse of state equipment resources, public information, and related criminal offenses.

2. Any commercial use of FSU IT resources by an individual must be pre-approved consistent with existing University policies and procedures regarding outside employment. A link from the fsu.edu Web site to an external site may only occur if the main focus of the site supports or enhances the University mission. Further, contracts are required for all fsu.com links from the fsu.edu Web site except as noted in item 10 below. These contracts require review and approval by the University General Counsel, Provost, and Vice President for Finance and Administration.

3. Commercial advertising on unofficial Web sites using a University computing account is a violation of University policy. Individuals are prohibited from using their computing accounts in association with any commercial purpose or enterprise.

4. Advertisements for personal gain are not allowed on fsu.edu Web sites.

5. Occasional, incidental personal use of IT resources is permitted by this policy, except when such use:

a. Interferes with the performance of the user's job, employment or other University responsibility.

b. Results in additional incremental cost or burden to the University's IT resources.

c. Is otherwise in violation of this policy.
This does not preclude additional limits on personal use of University equipment as may be determined by individual units within the University in accordance with normal supervisory procedures.

6. Owners of computer accounts are responsible for all use of the accounts. They should prevent unauthorized use by others and report intrusions to the system administrators.

7. To help maintain the proper functioning of computer and networking hardware and software, the University will take reasonable steps to ensure its computing resources are free of deliberately destructive software, such as viruses. Individuals must share responsibility for protecting University computers and should ensure the integrity of any electronic media they introduce.

8. Respect for intellectual labor, creativity, and the right to privacy is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. System integrity is also essential for individual function. Invasion of privacy and unauthorized access to files can be justified only by real threats to the integrity of the network or node.

9. FSU accepts no responsibility for content on servers not maintained by the University that are linked from pages on FSU servers. Web site authors should consider that such links, even when clearly labeled, might be misinterpreted as being associated with the University. Links on unofficial Web sites to sites (other than fsu.com sites) where the individual has a personal monetary interest should also be avoided.

10. This policy is intended to govern commercial use of the fsu.edu Web site, but not prohibit its use as a component of academic instruction and research. Therefore, commercial references may be included on fsu.edu sites as exceptions if determined to be in the best interest of the University. An example of an appropriate exception would be commercial references necessary as part of an academic assignment for students.

11. Use of trademarked/copyrighted University graphic elements, including logos and seals, on unofficial Web sites is prohibited except when done in the development of University related functions where the use of such may be an appropriate feature, such as development of a class project.

12. The Addendum to this policy should be reviewed for further descriptions of requirements.


1. Official pages are viewed as analogous to print publications of the institution in the approval process they must go through (must be reviewed and signed by the appropriate approving authority).

2. Individual faculty, staff, and students at FSU may use University Web space to publish a Web site that contains information pertinent to their role and responsibility at FSU. However, fsu.edu Web sites are not to be used for professional business or advertising. Web sites related to professional activities of faculty, (e.g., consulting services), may appear as fsu.com sites if they are registered with the University. Additionally, an approved outside employment form covering the faculty activity must be on file with the Office of the Dean of the Faculties.

3. Web sites, excluding course materials distributed by instructors, representing an individual or expressing personal opinions are the sole responsibility of the author and must include the following disclaimer:

"The views and opinions expressed in this site are strictly those of the site author and in no way represent those of Florida State University, the Board of Trustees, nor the State of Florida."

4. Unofficial Web pages must exhibit the standard disclaimer of official status and the name and e-mail address of its creator.

5. When providing links from official University Web sites to any off-site or unofficial on-site content, surrounding text should make it clear the viewer is leaving FSU's official Web site.

6. Generally, the University does not host Web sites for non-University groups or organizations on official University Web sites, unless the site can legitimately carry the logo of both FSU and the external group.


1. The University supports open access to electronic communication and information and members of the University community may freely communicate and access information on electronic networks, provided that the following guidelines are observed:

a. Material accessible to the FSU community through networks and materials disseminated from FSU should not be restricted on the basis of content, nor because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to its creation. However, University IT resources may not be utilized:

1) For personal financial or commercial purposes.

2) To access or view pornographic or obscene materials unless necessary for academic instruction or research.

3) To impersonate another person or misrepresent authorization to act on behalf of others.

4) To state or imply, without authorization, that a user speaks or acts on behalf of the University.

5) To utilize the University's trademarks or logos without specific authorization from the FSU Office of University Trademark Licensing.

6) To harass another person. Users should not transmit to others or display images, sounds, or messages that might be perceived by a reasonable person as being, or have been identified as, harassing.

7) To invade the privacy of others or make unauthorized use of their work. Users should not attempt to read or copy files belonging to others, or decrypt or translate encrypted material, unless the files have deliberately been made accessible by the owner(s) or authorization has been obtained to do so.

8) To send or create junk mail, spams, chain letters, computer viruses or hoaxes, or other disruptive material.

9) To intentionally damage or disable computer systems, networks, or software.

10) In violation of federal, state, or local law governing use of computer and information technology. Unauthorized or fraudulent use of the University's computing resources may result in felony prosecution and punishment as provided for by state or federal law.

11) In violation of copyright laws.

12) In violation of University or governing board rules and regulations concerning computer and information technology.

13) To undermine the security or the integrity of computing systems or networks or to attempt to gain unauthorized access. Users may not use any computer program or device to intercept or decode passwords or similar access control information. Security gaps should be reported to the appropriate system administrators.

14) To copy or use software, except as explicitly permitted under licensing agreements. Computer users should be able to prove ownership of software in their possession.

15) To delete or destroy public records without authorization.

b. Public records. Any information, including e-mail messages or other data, produced, transmitted, or received by University employees "pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business" is defined as a public record by Florida Law, and is subject to the provisions of Chapter 119, Florida Statutes. Public records must be retained according to specific retention schedules, are subject to inspection and copying upon request by any member of the public (except as specifically exempted by law), and may not be deleted or destroyed except as authorized by law. Responsibility for adhering to public records requirements is the individual responsibility of each employee. Subject to public records law(s), the University supports each individual's right to private communication, and will take reasonable steps to ensure security of the network; however, the University cannot guarantee absolute privacy of electronic communication.

c. Electronic forums such as mail distribution lists and Usenet newsgroups all have expectations regarding subject area and appropriate etiquette for postings. Members of the FSU community should be considerate of the expectations and sensitivities of others on the network when posting material for electronic distribution.


1. FSU recognizes the importance of collaborative arrangements between academic units and corporate supporters. The increase in traffic on University Web space has created an additional opportunity to recognize those corporations that support the University in a substantial way. The purpose of these guidelines is to recognize corporate supporters on the University and Unit Web space without commercializing the University and Unit Web sites with corporate logos.

2. University policy prohibits advertising on fsu.edu Web sites except in the following situations:

a. Through a University approved contract, an academic or administrative unit may use their fsu.edu Web site to promote and market University services and products.

b. It is acceptable to acknowledge sponsorship of FSU events and programs on fsu.edu Web pages provided that such acknowledgement does not advertise a product or service.

c. A unit's fsu.edu Web page publicizing a performance or special event may display information and provide links to sponsors that underwrite the activity.

All other commercial activity is relegated to University registered .com sites.

3. University sites may include marketing pages to present information to prospective students, faculty and staff, current and potential sponsors and donors, alumni, governmental representatives and community members to help FSU achieve admissions and employment recruiting, funding, and community service objectives.

4. University Web space may not be used for commercial purposes not under the auspices of FSU, for personal financial gain, or other personal use unless consistent with allowable usage as described in this policy.


1. The University cannot guarantee that, in all instances, copies of critical data will be retained on University systems. It is ultimately the responsibility of computer users to obtain secure, backup copies of essential files for disaster recovery.

2. Unauthorized access to computer files, either by direct examination or by automated searching, will not be permitted unless there is reasonable cause and access is approved by the director (or designee) of the facility that supports the system.


1. The University does not actively monitor content of Web sites; however, it reserves the right to remove a Web site from any FSU server found to be in violation of federal, state, or local law; or any University rules, policies or procedures (including this policy).

2. Users who violate this policy may be denied access to University IT resources and may be subject to other penalties and disciplinary action, both within and outside the University. Violations may be handled through the University disciplinary procedures applicable to the relevant user. Additionally, the University may temporarily suspend, block or restrict access to an account, independent of such procedures, when it reasonably appears necessary to do so in order to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of University or other IT resources or to protect the University from liability. The University may also refer suspected violations of applicable law to appropriate law enforcement agencies.



Commercial use includes any use that may have the intent to produce a profit for an individual.

Copyrights of FSU include all text and photographs appearing on the www.fsu.edu site or subsequent official Web sites, and include all works that are entitled to copyright protection under U.S. law. The site is considered an official publication and communication tool of FSU and contents may not be reproduced without written permission from the Division of University Relations.

Electronic Commerce (e-commerce) is defined as the performance of University business functions through the use of Internet technologies. E-commerce includes financial transactions and business processing conducted via the web.

Information Technology (IT) resources means data processing hardware and software and services, communications, supplies, personnel, facility resources, maintenance, and training. This includes things like computers, networks, software applications, data files and records, computer accounts, Web sites, hand held and wireless devices, telephone devices such as cellular phones, beepers, and office telephones.

Official Web sites are a part of the communications/marketing and educational efforts of the University and should meet specific design guidelines. The service catalog provides more details of services and can be found at the ITS Web Site.  Official sites include FSU's home page and other sites of administrative and/or academic units (e.g., a departmental Web site) and should be clearly identified as official pages according to the Web guide.

Public record is any information, including e-mail messages or other data, produced, transmitted, or received by University employees "pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business" and is subject to the provisions of Chapter 119, Florida Statutes.

Trademarks are any marks, symbols, logos, nicknames, letters, words, or derivatives that can be associated with the University, and can be distinguished from those of other institutions or entities. The University's identifying trademarks may not be used without permission of the University, except on Official Web sites.

Unofficial Web sites are Web pages within the fsu.edu domain of faculty, staff, students, or student organizations that may reflect personal views and interests or may provide information that is relevant to the individual's role at FSU.

University Web space is defined as any Web page within the fsu.edu domain and includes both official and unofficial Web sites. The top level of FSU University Web space is www.fsu.edu.

Unit Web space is Web space under the control of the colleges, schools, and departments within the University.


FSU students and employees are bound by all applicable laws, rules, policies and procedures. For reference, some frequently referenced policies are listed below. This is a non-inclusive list and is not intended to limit the applicability of any other law or policy.

Damaging or Disabling Computer Systems, Networks, or Software Student Conduct Code, Section 9.d

Harassment University policies on sexual harassment; Student Conduct Codes, section 9.c.3

Outside Employment Faculty Handbook, Chapter 7.47; Faculty Handbook, Chapter 7.48

Public Records FSU Policy on Public Records

Use of Computer and Information Technology Chapter 815, Florida Statutes (Florida Computer Crimes Act); Title 18, United States Code; Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986; Guide to Computing at Florida State University

Use of Computing and Network Resources in Connection with University-sponsored Commercial Projects Faculty Handbook, Chapter 6.19