23 students have had their accounts suspended by ISS for continual improper use of the network
Students risk their academic future if they misuse the Universities’ internet systems. Photography: Rachel Wilson
A number of Newcastle students have been warned for improper use of the universities computer services.
Last year, 411 students received warnings via email for visiting sites with indecent, obscene or abusive content, with 98 students receiving second warnings about their failure to comply with the Universities’ policy on internet usage.
35 students were then interviewed for continuing to misuse servers with 23 students having their accounts suspended by Information Systems and Services (ISS).
As of yet, however, there have been no referrals to the police for severe breaches of the ISS policies.
Misuse of the computer services can result in extreme circumstances for students, such as suspension or exclusion from the University, as well as the potential of criminal proceedings.
A first-year student living in Richardson Road, who preferred to remain anonymous said: “I received a warning email during my first semester. It was a genuine surprise as I had no idea that the sites we visited were being closely monitored.
“Then I found out we could be thrown out of university, which really did give me a shock.
“Now, its safe to say, I try and stick to Facebook and Twitter”.
Internet use is monitored on all computers with are connected to the Universities’ server, including those in computer clusters, libraries and halls of residence, both on and off site.
Newcastle follows the requirements of JANET (Joint Academic Network) AUP (Acceptable Use Policy), which details the types of internet activity that are deemed unacceptable. This can vary anywhere from pornographic material to extremist or terrorist based sites.
ISS staff do not perform random checks on internet activity, with manual detection being used to spot habitual breaches of the system’s policy.
When a student is alleged to have breached the policy, he will be asked through email to stop immediately. Then, if unacceptable usage persists, the students will be constantly sent emails threatening them with account suspension.
In their Statement on Internet use, the University stresses the role of the Internet on campus for undertaking their academic coursework or research. However, the university does concede that students can also use the system for personal use, as long as it is in line with ISS usage policies.