Rensselaer's rich and varied computing environment provides superior educational advantages, and using your RCS account for less educational purposes such as keeping in touch with friends at other universities is fine as long as you keep the RCS Conditions of Use in mind.
However, it is all too common for computer users to misuse their computer privileges, and to use campus computing facilities with malicious intent. In light of this, one of the roles of the Postmaster is to investigate complaints of electronic mail forgery, harassment, chain mail, mail bombing, and other similar abuses of Rensslaer's computing privileges, all of which violate the RCS Conditions of Use form you read and signed when you first received your RCS computer account and userid. And in the event that you *didn't* read this form when you signed it, some examples of ethics violations appear below.
- Bypassing accounting mechanisms of computer accounts
- Misusing any computing facility as cited on pages 9 and 10 of Rensselaer Student Handbook of Rights and Responsibilities.
- Allowing others to use your RCS account. Modifying computer equipment without authorization
By making any of these a regular practice, "for fun" or not, you are setting yourself up for some serious disciplinary action.
Take Some Additional Advice
Always remember to use your RCS account responsibly. For example, you should also be very cautious about leaving yourself logged on to your RCS account, or leaving your laptop untended for even a few minutes. In the time it takes to go to the restroom, or run back to your dorm room to get a book, some other user could easily access your files, send a harrassing message from your account, or perform a number of other "pranks" that could get YOU in trouble -- not the person who actually did it.
ARC does not take these "innocent" pranks lightly, and reports such incidents involving the misuse of information technology to the Dean of Students. Some of these incidents lead to legal action; others result in campus disciplinary procedures. In any event, it's hardly worth risking your entire college education for the sake of playing a little joke on someone.
The Rensselaer Student Handbook of Rights and Responsibilities includes a more comprehensive list of examples of computing misuse, and we urge you to read and understand what constitutes responsible computing ethics on our campus. Remember, as a student here at Rensselaer, you have access to a rich and powerful computing environment, and as such, *you* have the obligation to use that environment in a responsible manner.
If you have any questions, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Thanks very much for your cooperation.