Privacy | Access | Disclosure of Information

In general, information stored on a computer or sent electronically over a network is considered private and confidential, unless the owner or sender makes that information available to others.  All users must respect this right of privacy.  Examination of private information without authorization from the owner is a violation of this policy.  Merely attempting to circumvent security measures protecting the information will be treated as a violation and may subject you to discipline.

On shared and networked computer systems, certain information about users and their activities is visible to others. Users are cautioned that certain accounting and directory information (for example, user names and electronic mail addresses), certain records of file names and executed commands, and information stored in public areas, are not private. Nonetheless, such unsecured information about other users must not be manipulated in ways that they might reasonably find intrusive; for example, eavesdropping by computer and systematic monitoring of the behavior of others are likely to be considered invasions of privacy that would be cause for disciplinary action.

TCU will exercise reasonable security measures to protect your private files and data. Nonetheless, users should understand that no security mechanisms are perfect, and the potential for unauthorized access to private information does exist.  Exercise caution when creating digital files or messages containing personal or sensitive information.  Shut down or lock your computer before leaving it unattended.  Do not share your network password or leave it displayed on or near your computer.  Many instances of unauthorized access are attributable to the careless actions of the owner.

Even though TCU deems your electronically stored information to be private, users must understand that in certain situations, such information may be accessed, reviewed and/or disclosed by TCU.

  • If you request technical assistance, the technical staff may need to view specific data in order to investigate, diagnose, or correct a problem.
  • TCU logs network activity on a routine basis, and these logs are reviewed periodically by system administrators. The logs include a record of user processes.
  • System administrators may access and review users’ files and communications when it is necessary to maintain or prevent damage to systems.
  • TCU may access the computer and electronic data of an employee who is absent or unavailable if such access is necessary to carry out the employee’s job responsibilities during the absence.
  • Electronic data left behind by a former student or employee, excluding retirees, becomes the property of the University and may be accessed, archived and/or deleted, at the sole discretion of the Chief Technology Officer.
  • Electronic data will be accessed and disclosed in connection with authorized TCU investigations of policy violations.
  • TCU will comply with any lawful administrative or judicial order, warrant or subpoena requiring the production of electronic files or data.
  • TCU may preserve and/or disclose your communications and/or documents in connection with civil lawsuits.

These disclosures may occur even if you are not a party to the lawsuit.  All such disclosures will be coordinated through TCU legal counsel.

In some situations, the law requires that TCU give you advance notice that your data or files may be disclosed to a third party.  Even if legal notice is not required, TCU will try to inform you of a data disclosure unless the circumstances warrant otherwise.

To access, review and/or disclose electronic data and information, TCU may access discs, tapes, drives and other storage media, and electronic communications, whether in transit or storage.  Keep in mind that even if you delete files or electronic communications stored on TCU’s servers, copies of the data may still persist on backup media and may therefore be subject to access and disclosure in the situations described above.