Conditions of account
Computer and network access at Mount Holyoke College is provided
in accordance with our Acceptable Use Policies (AUP).
This document describes types of accounts
and how long they remain active. It also describes some of
the general aspects of disk usage.
Account classification, duration, and expiration
Accounts are valid for the term of employment.
(These may include 5-College employees.)
Accounts are expired when employment ends.
In special circumstances, a grace period may be
granted after employment ends.
This is normally requested by the individual's
supervisor or department chair before the
term of employment ends..
| Retirees and Emeriti
Retirees and Emeriti normally may retain their
computer accounts. Some services, such as library
database access, may not be available.
Student accounts are valid while enrolled at MHC.
Account privileges are normally continued for students
on leave or for those enrolled
at other institutions who are expected to return.
| Five College students
Accounts are provided to Five College students while they
are enrolled in MHC courses. The account expires when the
term ends or when the course is dropped.
Graduates may retain their computer account for the purpose
of electronic communications.
Yearly reapplication in is required.
An account for which there is no current reapplication
may be considered expired.
Accounts may not be retained for
accounts that have had policy violations or other
Former students who have not graduated are not
eligible for a continuing account.
An account that is persistently over INBOX quota
be inactivated. When the individual is ready to prune
the INBOX, she may have the account reactivated by
contacting the MHC email address, account-manager.
For details, please see the document,
"Computer Account Access after Graduation".
| Other affiliations
Limited term accounts are provided for others who have
temporary affiliations with the College, such as
contract workers, visiting faculty, consultants.
Because we strictly prohibit the sharing
of accounts with others such as family members,
we provide accounts for employee spouses, partners, and
Accounts expire when the affiliation expires.
Information stored on College computers
All information on accounts must be saved by the account owner
prior to the end of the term of the account. The College is not
responsible for information left in the system after the term
of the account has expired.
Information in an expired account that is pertinent to the business
of the College may be moved to an active account.
Privacy of information
Although there is a general expectation of privacy of
in the event of subpoena or other legal action or
investigation, information may be accessed by College
Information related to the business of the College remains
that of the College.
File contents, like electronic mail, are generally private and in
most circumstances, there can be an expectation of privacy. However,
there are conditions in which privacy cannot be assured.
Some of these circumstances are:
Your HOME directory contains some "dot" files which have to do
with login processing to which the system managers must have access.
These files should generally not be altered or removed.
(Examples of such files are: .ssh, .profile, .cshrc, .login, and .logout)
In extraordinary circumstances, for purposes of system
or College security, or system resource allocation and
performance, specific contents may be viewed by system managers.
For example, files that are being run as programs and/or
are consuming large amounts of system resources may have to
be examined in order to
determine whether the program should be unconditionally
terminated, whether it is operating normally and can be left
running, or whether there is a security breach in the system.
In the course of an investigation of health/safety issues,
misconduct, or illegal
activity, a designated system manager may be required to examine
contents of specific files deemed related to the investigation.
Files and other information may be released in response to
a subpoena or other legal investigation.
If an account has been used for College business and the account has
been closed or expired, contents of specific files may be
examined by a designated system manager with the concurrence
of the Director of
Human Resources to determine if they
need to be retained or moved.
If an account is used in connection with the administration
of the College, it may be necessary to provide the supervisor
with specific file(s) related to such administration if
the account owner is not available. This is done with the concurrence
of the Director of Human Resources.
Files may be read if the file permissions have been set to
grant others permission to read or write the files.
World Wide Web files: all files on the World Wide Web server(s)
are considered public. Even if the individual does not
specifically permit such files for public viewing, they may
be made available for public viewing.
File names and file sizes are not considered
private. These may be seen by system managers in
the course of operating the system.
Disk usage and disk quotas
Disk space is a limited resource. Disk quotas are implemented
in order to prevent individuals from using more than a fair share
of storage. Disk quotas may be adjusted for College business and
Your computer account may have access to a number of different
disk areas, similar to separate disks on your personal computer.
Each area has its own quota of disk storage for each computer
You should view your disk usage from time to time by going to
the disk quota area of Webshell at:
If you exceed your quota on a particular disk area, or filesystem,
you should receive an email warning. You can exceed your quota
up to a hard quota limit for a 7-day grace period. Normally
the hard quota limit is significantly higher than the quota so work
is usually not affected during the grace period. Quota limits on
some filesystems may be increased for College academic or business
Personal or local storage vs. server storage
The advantage of
server storage is that it is routinely backed up to prevent
loss from disk failures.
Most of us are not diligent about backing up our own computers,
Therefore, information on server storage is
less likely to be lost than information on the hard drive
of your own computer. Loss is also a factor. A USB flash
drive may also hold a lot
of information, but it is quite easy to misplace or lose.
server disk storage is very much more expensive than personal storage.
For less than a cost of a dinner in most restaurants, you can
purchase more storage on a USB flash drive
than we can afford to provide for each person on the
So where should you store your information? Should you store
it on the server (network space) or on your local
devices (desktop computer, USB/flash drives, CDs or DVDs)?
Unfortunately there is rarely a definitive answer. It depends
on various factors.
Type of use:
Is the information for College business (academic/administrative),
personal academic work/research, or other personal use?
You should choose server storage for material that is
related to College academic or business work. Some server space
is provided for personal information, such as personal email.
Size of the material:
Some academic material, such as movies, large numbers of pictures, or
very large data sets may be too large for server storage
and should use personal or local storage.
Frequency of use:
Some large sets of material, such as multimedia or research files
referred to above, may be frequently used for a particular class
for a limited time. While the primary storage may be on personal
or local devices, server storage during the period of frequent
access may make sense.
Development material and distribution material:
There are some projects (especially those involving multimedia)
which require a great deal of disk space during development,
but which require much less space for the final form of the
project. Only the final project needs to use server storage
Storage of any confidential
College information on personal storage devices is discouraged.
For more information about the use of confidential College
information, see the policy documents from the Privacy and
Security task Force:
In the event you misplace, lose, have stolen, etc any
confidential College information (paper or electronic), you
must contact LITS which will contact the Privacy and Security
Task force in order to evaluate the incident.
Server storage should not be used for backup for personal or local
storage. It is prudent, however, to do the opposite and
back up server storage to local or personal storage. The
exception to this relates to confidential College information
which should remain on the server only.
System backups are maintained for the recovery of catastrophic system
or disk failure. Since no backup system can be perfect, we cannot absolutely
guarantee that your files can be completely recovered in the event of
System backup procedures do maintain files on tape. These backups are maintained
for system recovery and are not maintained for the recovery of specific
information that is accidently removed.
While such recovery is done
(especially for critical College or academic data),
it can be time consuming and is not a service that is routinely
offered; and it may not be possible, depending
on when the information was lost in relation to the backup schedule.
There is no obligation to attempt or succeed in any recovery attempt.
It is impossible to selectively delete any file that
is already stored on tape.
Archival backups are copies of materials made at a specific time
and kept for some period of time, or indefinitely. They are
"snapshots" of information at a particular time.
Since backups are maintained for the recovery of catastrophic system
or disk failure, we do not maintain archival copies of material
Full system backups are normally done two or three times per year
and incremental backups (weekly/daily) are done on top of that.
Tapes are recycled and full system backups are normally retained no
more than a year before a full system backup set is recycled.
Weekly and daily tapes are recycled more often. Because of the
huge "churn" of data, we do not maintain archival backups of
the system INBOXes.
For your personal and academic work, it is a good idea to maintain
on your own computer or other personal storage devices. This
permits you, for example, to go back in time to view a document
as it was at an earlier stage of a project.