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Computing Policies

All students are encouraged to choose computing resources appropriate to their work. Public computing clusters are available at various sites on campus. All users of Brown's computing resources are expected to behave in a responsible, ethical and legal manner. In general, appropriate use means respecting the rights of other computer users, the integrity of the physical facilities, and all pertinent license and contractual agreements. More specific guidelines are established in the document "Acceptable Use Policy."

The following list, while not exhaustive, provides some specific guidelines for responsible and ethical behavior:

  • Use only the computers, computer accounts and computer files for which you have authorization.
  • Obey established guidelines for any computers or networks used both inside and outside the University.
  • Do not attempt to access restricted portions of the operating system, security software, or accounting software unless authorized by the appropriate University administrator.
  • Abide by all state and federal laws.
  • Respect the privacy and personal rights of others. Do not access or copy another user's electronic mail, data, programs, or other files without permission.
  • Abide by all applicable copyright laws and licenses. Both university policies and the law expressly forbid the copying of software that has not been placed in the public domain or distributed as "freeware" or "shareware."
  • Use appropriate standards of civility when using computing systems to communicate with other individuals. University guidelines prohibit harassing email, electronic chain mail, pyramid schemes (also illegal in Rhode Island), "spamming" (Any unwanted or unsolicited email, usually propaganda for scams, web sites, goods, and services).
  • Be sensitive to the needs of others, and use only your fair share of computing resources.
  • Treat computing resources and electronic information as a valuable university resource. Protect your data and the systems you use. University guidelines prohibit food and beverages in the public clusters.
  • Use Brown's computing facilities and services for university-related work. Activities that would jeopardize the University's tax exempt status are prohibited.
  • Use Brown's anti-virus software (licensed for download to all Brown students) and ensure that your system automatically updates its anti-virus software and its operating system (Brown's Help Desk can assist with set-up).
  • Stay informed about the computing environment.

For all of the University's policies related to computing, please visit