Acceptable Use of Electronic Mail, the Internet and Other Technology

Information taken from the Adler School Student Handbook; refer to the handbook for the most current policy.

This policy outlines the acceptable use of the electronic communication tools owned, paid for and/or operated by the School.

Recent advances in electronic communications and information technologies present valuable opportunities for the School. These technologies, when properly used, support our activities and enable us to better serve our students, staff, clients, and customers through closer and timelier communications and nearly instantaneous access to vast stores of information. In recognition of these benefits, the School has made a substantial investment in its electronic communications and information systems. While the School encourages the use of its systems, such use carries with it important responsibilities. The careless or inappropriate use of these systems can have dramatic consequences, harming the School, the individual users of the School's systems and others. This policy is intended to minimize the likelihood of such harm by educating users of the School's electronic communication tools as to proper and improper usage of such tools and by setting forth the conditions that apply whenever the School's electronic communication tools are being used.

This policy addresses the appropriate use of the School's electronic "communication tools". These tools include, but are not limited to the following:


Conditions of Access

Access to the School's communication tools is provided in conjunction with the School's business and the job responsibilities of everyone working on behalf of the School. All use of the School's communication tools is subject to this policy and to other the School policies and procedures that may be implicated by such use. The School's communication tools also may be made available to individuals who are not employees of the School (e.g., students, customers, temporary employees, vendors and subcontractors). Such individuals' use of the School's communication tools is also governed by this policy.

Communication tools and the data created, entered, received, stored, or transmitted by the School's communication tools, including electronic files and messages, are School property and are subject to inspection by the School at all times. E-mail messages and other electronic files belong to the School. Use of the School's communication tools is a privilege that may be revoked at any time. Anyone who uses or is granted access to such tools must comply with the provisions of this policy.

Acceptable Use

The School's communication tools may be used to communicate internally with employees of the School or externally with consultants, suppliers, vendors and other business relations and acquaintances. The School provides electronic communication tools to facilitate business communications, enhance productivity and improve service.

The Internet may be used for appropriate business uses such as: research, updates of business information or news, or for specifically approved projects.

As with the telephone, there may be occasion to use these facilities for appropriate personal purposes. Occasional, limited appropriate personal use of the School's communication tools is permitted so long as it does not interfere with the performance of an employee's job and/or the transaction of School business, consume significant resources or excessive time, give rise to more than nominal additional costs or interfere with the activities of other employees of the School.

You have no expectation of privacy in connection with your use of the School's electronic communication tools. By using these tools, you consent to monitoring of your use. All communications transmitted, received and/or stored using any of the School's electronic communication tools are subject to being accessed and reviewed by the School, regardless of the business or personal nature of the communication. Users should not assume that any such communications are private.

Unacceptable Use

Notwithstanding the limited personal use noted above, to further the goals of limiting liability and curbing unlawful or inappropriate behavior, the following uses of the School's electronic communication tools are inappropriate in any context:

  1. Users should not monopolize the School's electronic communication tools to the exclusion of others. Accordingly, activities such as sending mass e-mails or e-mails with large attachments that are not business-related, sending chain e-mails, spending excessive amounts of time on the Internet, engaging in online chat groups, printing multiple copies of documents or otherwise creating unnecessary network traffic are not allowed.
  2. Because audio, video and picture files require significant storage space, files of this sort should not be downloaded unless they are business-related.
  3. Users should not install any software products on or modify the operating characteristics of any computer system owned or operated by the School without permission of the network administrator.
  4. In addition to the other restrictions and conditions discussed in this policy, the School's communication tools shall not be used:

The School shall not be responsible for any losses or damages resulting from or relating to any use of the School's communication tools.

Unacceptable Content

Material that is or could reasonably be construed as harassing, offensive, embarrassing, sexually explicit, racially demeaning, profane, abusive, threatening, intimidating, pornographic, obscene, defamatory or otherwise unlawful or inappropriate may not be sent or received by, viewed or displayed on, copied to, stored in, accessed from or downloaded to the School's communication tools. Users encountering or receiving this kind of material should not forward the material and should immediately bring the material to the attention of a supervisor. In addition, any user who believes the School's communication tools are being used in a manner which violates either this policy or the School's policies prohibiting harassment should immediately report the matter pursuant to the requirements below and pursuant to the School's anti-harassment policy. It is the responsibility of all users of the School's communication tools to see that these tools are used in an appropriate manner at all times.

Examples of unacceptable content include, but are not limited to:

Even personal e-mail, Internet visits, and voicemail messages may be accessed by the School's management without notice. To ensure the lawful use of the School's communication tools under this policy, the School reserves the right to inspect the content of all information and messages generated by or contained in any of its communication tools. Users should not assume that any such usage or communications are private.

Transmitting Confidential Information

In recognition of the significant responsibility of protecting confidential or sensitive information, the School's communication tools, especially its e-mail system, should not be used to transmit confidential communications.

Keep in mind that deleting e-mail does not necessarily remove the e-mail from the system. There is also a possibility that, when documents are transmitted electronically, earlier drafts of the documents thought to have been deleted may be retrieved. Accordingly, extreme care must be taken when using e-mail to transmit confidential or sensitive communications, even internally.

All users are required to use good business judgment to safeguard School information and to protect against inadvertent disclosure of confidential or sensitive information in situations where there is a need to communicate such information electronically. Failure to exercise an appropriate level of care when transmitting confidential information electronically is a violation of this policy and may result in discipline up to and including discharge.

Etiquette and the School Representation

E-mail and voicemail messages reflect the School's image. Such messages, therefore, should always be composed in a professional manner that is no different than the manner used to compose letters or memoranda on School letterhead. Inappropriate use of the School's facilities may damage the School's reputation and could give rise to School and individual liabilities. Accordingly, every effort must be made to be professional in all usage of the School's communication tools. In addition, employees using the School's electronic communication tools should be aware that materials created and stored on the School's network systems may constitute public records subject to disclosure under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

Limits of Privacy

Because communication tools are provided for the School's business purposes, employees using the School's communication tools have no expectation that any information transmitted over the School's facilities or stored in the School's computers, even deleted information, is or will remain private. These systems are owned and/or controlled by the School and are accessible at all times by the School without notice for maintenance, upgrades or any other business or lawful purposes. Use of passwords to gain access to the computer system or to secure particular files or messages does not imply that users have an expectation of privacy in any material created or received on the computer system. The School has global passwords that permit it to access all material stored on the system, regardless of whether such material has been password-protected by the user. To protect the integrity and security of the computer system, though, employees should not share passwords with other individuals.

The School permits limited personal use of its communication tools as set forth herein with the express understanding that it reserves the right to review employee use of and to inspect all material created by or stored on these communication tools. It is essential that the School be able to ensure that its communication tools, which are provided primarily for the School's business purposes, are being used in a proper manner consistent with this policy. For this reason, the School reserves the right to monitor, search, retrieve and/or read any and all aspects of its electronic communication and network systems. Use of the School's communication tools constitutes each employee's permission for the School to monitor communications and to access files that are made on or with these communication tools.


Viruses can cause substantial damage to electronic communications and information systems. Each user is responsible for taking responsible precautions to ensure he or she does not introduce viruses into the School's network. To that end, all material received on floppy disk or other magnetic or optical medium and all material downloaded from the Internet or from computers or networks that do not belong to the School must be scanned for viruses and other destructive programs before being placed onto the School's network. Users should understand also that their home computers and laptops may contain viruses and that all disks transferred from these computers to the School's network must be scanned for viruses.

Regulation and Enforcement

Misuse of any of the School's communication tools or violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action, including suspension of privileges to users, or termination of employment. Criminal or civil action may result in appropriate instances. If an individual believes that he or she has been harassed or discriminated against in violation of this policy, the individual should follow the complaint procedure outlined in the School's EEO and Anti-Harassment Policy. Any questions regarding use of the School's communication tools should be directed to HR.