April 15 - May 5, 2005
Vol. 35, Issue 7
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IN THIS ISSUE
Rankings - Graduate schools fare well
BOV plan seeks $1 billion in building over next six years
Board sets Tuition and fees for 2005-2006
Digest
Faculty actions
Improving faculty recruitment searches
Officials warn: Stay away from computer porn
The view from the Grounds: Students talk diversity
U21 Conference
Sustaining dialogue on diversity
Harper to speak at U.Va. April 27
Band, graduate research benefit from bowl proceeds
U.Va. celebrates Garden Week April 19
A physical evening
Whodunnit — Who knows?
U.Va. continues push to welcome diverse class throug 'AccessUVa'
 

 

Officials warn: Stay away from computer porn

By Dan Heuchert

Perhaps it should go without saying, but University officials want to make sure employees hear their message loudly and clearly: using University computers to access pornography is grounds for termination — and in some cases, could get you arrested.

The University has investigated at least four reports of such computer abuse during the last four to five months, leading to the departure
of at least two employees, said Barbara Deily, director of audits.

In one case, a Dining Services employee was arrested Feb. 11 and charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography after sexually explicit images and videos of young girls were found on his state-issued computer, said Sgt. Melissa Fielding of the University Police.

If a person is suspected of possessing child pornography, police are notified immediately, Deily said. Investigations of other types of sexually explicit computer usage are usually handled administratively, she said.

The state’s human resources policies and procedures manual notes that state-issued computer equipment is “provided to facilitate the effective and efficient conduct of state business. Users are permitted access to the Internet and electronic communications systems to assist in the performance of their jobs.”

It specifically prohibits “accessing, downloading, printing or storing information with sexually explicit content.” State law allows an academic research exception, but such research must be approved through the offices of the provost and president.

The policy reserves the state’s right to monitor “any and all aspects of their computer systems.”

The University does not yet randomly monitor employee’s e-mail and Internet usage, Deily said, although it may legally do so and could
institute such a policy in the future if needed.

“We want to encourage people to do the right thing, rather than catching them doing the wrong thing,” she said.

So far, abusers have come to light when reported by fellow employees, or if local service providers notice unusual network traffic or discover pornographic material while servicing employees’ computers, she said.

If employees suspect someone is abusing state computers, Deily encourages them to call the Audit Department, the University Police or the Employee Relations Department.

Deily stressed that those who stumble upon illicit images or Web sites need not be concerned.

“If you accidentally open something, obviously you are not going to be fired,” unless you save it, download it, or return to it repeatedly, she said.


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