Code of Conduct for Users for Computing Systems and Services

At The School of Medicine and Health Sciences

The computing systems and services at the George Washington University Medical Center are to be used in a manner that supports the mission of the University in fostering the overall academic climate.

The George Washington University Medical Center computing systems and services refer to all computers owned or operated by the University and include hardware, software, data, communication networks associated with these systems, and all allied services. The systems range from multi-user systems to single-user terminals and personal computers, whether free standing or connected to networks.

Users are all those individuals with privileges on University computing systems and services.


  • Users must apply standards of normal academic and professional ethics and considerate conduct in the use of all GW computing systems and services or any other computer system accessed by virtue of their affiliation with GW. Users agree and are bound by these and all other applicable rules and regulations, including the Code of Student Conduct, related to appropriate, legal, and ethical use of GW computing systems and services.
  • Identification and Authorization: Individuals using GW computing systems and services must be identified either through the physical location of an office computer or through an authorized GW computer account in the case of multiple user systems. Individuals may not access or use another person's computer account or allow another person to use his or her account. Users should logout of shared systems and take reasonable precautions to secure access to office computers. GW computing systems and services may not be used as a means of unauthorized access to computing accounts or systems inside of or outside of the University's systems.
  • Purpose: Computing systems and services are provided in support of the teaching, research, and public service mission of the University, and the administrative functions that support this mission. The unauthorized use of GW computing systems and services for personal profit not in furtherance of the mission of the University is prohibited.

    University computing systems and services may be used for personal purposes provided that such use does not (i) directly or indirectly interfere with the University operation of computing facilities, (ii) burden the University with noticeable incremental cost, (iii) interfere with the computer user's employment or other obligations to the University, or (iv) violate other University regulations or law.
  • Copyright and Intellectual Property: Computer users may use only legally obtained, licensed data or software in compliance with license or other agreements and federal copyright or intellectual property laws.

    The George Washington University is a member of EDUCAUSE and users are expected to adhere to the Code of Software and Intellectual Rights:

    Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgement, right to privacy, and right to determine the form, manner, and terms of publication and distribution.

    Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expression of others is especially critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access, and trade secret and copyright violations, may be grounds for sanctions against members of the academic community.

    (See: "Using Software: A Guide to the Legal and Ethical Use of Software for Members of the Academic Community," Educom/ITAA, 1992.

  • Privacy: Computer users must respect the privacy of others by refraining from inspecting, broadcasting, or modifying data files without the consent of the individual or individuals involved, except as permitted as part of their employment, and then only to the extent necessary for employment. University employees and others may not seek out, examine, use, modify, or disclose, without authorization, personal or confidential information contained in a computer which they need not access as part of their job function. Employees must take necessary precautions to protect the confidentiality of personal or confidential information encountered in the performance of their duties or otherwise
  • False Identity: University users of e-mail or other electronic communications shall not employ a false identity. Nor may e-mail be sent anonymously with the intent to deceive.
  • Interference: University computing services shall not be used for purposes that could reasonably be expected to cause or does cause, directly or indirectly, excessive strain on any computing facilities, or unwarranted or unsolicited interference with others' use of computing systems and services.
  • This provision explicitly prohibits the posting of unsolicited electronic mail to lists of individuals, and the inclusion on electronic mail lists of individuals who have not requested membership on the lists. Students may be required to accept membership in an electronic mailing list for a class to which they are registered or for the purpose of official communications between authorized University personnel and an identified group of students. Faculty and staff may be required to accept membership in an electronic mailing list for the purpose of official University communications.
  • Protection against interference also extends to sites not within the University's jurisdiction. The Vice President in charge of each unit responsible for the provision of e-mail service may authorize the termination of connections with external e-mail providers whose users violate this provision. This authorization may be delegated in writing to the University official in charge of the unit providing the University e-mail service.
  • Obscenity and Harassment: GW computing systems and services may not be used in an obscene, harassing or otherwise improper manner. GW computing systems and services shall not be used in a manner that discriminates against another individual on any basis protected by federal or local law. This provision explicitly prohibits any behavior that is intended to or has the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment because of an individual's sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, pregnancy, sexual orientation, disability, or other factors protected by law.
  • Enforcement: Computer activity may be monitored by authorized individuals for purposes of maintaining system performance and security. In instances when individuals are suspected of abuse of computer usage, the contents of user files may also be inspected upon the approval of an individual authorized by the Vice President for the area with jurisdiction over the computer system in which the files reside, or their delegate.
  • Violations of University policies governing the use of University computing services may result in restriction or termination of access to University information technology resources. In addition, disciplinary action may be applicable under other University policies, guidelines, implementing procedures, or collective bargaining agreements, up to and including dismissal.
  • By the discretion of the manager of the computer system or service in question, or designee, in collaboration with the appropriate authority, computer use privileges may be temporarily or permanently revoked pending the outcome of an investigation of misuse, or finding of violation of this Code. Where practical, 24 hour notice will be given in advance of revocation.
  • All data, programs, and files placed on or contained in the University computer systems are subject to the University's copyright, patent, and privacy policies.
  • Additional rules may be in effect at specific computer facilities at the discretion of the directors of those facilities.

Computer Applications and Support Services

The School of Medicine & Health Sciences

2300 Eye St. NW
Ross Hall Room 302
Washington, DC 20037