Responsible Computing Policy

General Statement

As part of the learning environment for students, Southern State purchases, installs and maintains computers, computer systems and networks. These computing resources are intended for college–related purposes including direct and indirect support of instruction and communication for faculty, administrative functions and the free exchange of ideas among the college community and between the college community and the wider local, national and international communities.

The rights of academic freedom and freedom of expression apply to the use of the college computing resources. So, too, however, do the responsibilities and limitations associated with those rights. The use of the college computing resources, like the use of any other college-provided resource and activity, is subject to the normal requirements of legal and ethical behavior within the college community. Thus, legitimate use of a computer, computer system or network does not extend to whatever is technically possible. Although some limitations are built into computer operating systems and networks, those limitations are not the sole restrictions on what is permissible. Users must abide by all applicable restrictions whether or not they are built into the operation system or network and whether or not they can be circumvented by technical means.


This policy applies to all users of the college’s computing resources, whether affiliated with the college or not, and to all uses of those resources whether on campus or from remote locations. Additional policies may apply to specific computers, computer systems or networks provided or operated by specific units of the college or to users within specific units. Consult the operators or managers of the specific computer, computer systems or network in which you are interested or the management of the unit for further information.


All users of the college computing resources must:

  • 1. Comply with all federal, Ohio and other applicable law, all generally applicable college rules and policies and all applicable licenses and contracts. Examples of such laws, rules, policies, contracts and licenses include the laws of libel, privacy, copyright, trademark, obscenity and child pornography, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act which prohibit "hacking", "cracking" and similar activities, the college’s Student Code of Conduct, the college’s Sexual Harassment Policy and all applicable software licenses. Users who engage in electronic communications with persons in other states or countries or on other systems or networks should be aware that they may also be subject to the laws of those other states and countries and the rules and policies of those other systems and networks. Users are responsible for ascertaining, understanding and complying with the laws, rules, policies, contracts and licenses applicable to their particular uses.
  • 2. Use only those computing resources that they are authorized to use and use them only in the manner and to the extent authorized. Ability to access computing resources does not, by itself, imply authorization to do so. Users are responsible for ascertaining what authorizations are necessary and for obtaining them before proceeding. Accounts and passwords may not, under any circumstances, be shared with, or used by, persons other than those to whom they have been assigned by the college.
  • 3. Respect the privacy of other users and their accounts regardless of whether those accounts are securely protected. Again, ability to access other persons’ accounts does not, by itself, imply authorization to do so. Users are responsible for ascertaining what authorizations are necessary and for obtaining them before proceeding.
  • 4. Refrain from using those resources for personal commercial purposes or for personal financial or other gain. Personal use of the college’s computing resources for other purposes is permitted when it does not constitute personal commercial purposes or personal financial or other gain.
  • 5. Refrain from stating or implying that they speak on behalf of the college and from using college trademarks and logos without authorization to do so. Affiliation with the college does not, by itself, imply authorization to speak on behalf of the college. Authorization to use college trademarks and logos on college computing resources may be granted by the college President only. The use of suitable disclaimers is encouraged.


Users who violate this policy may be denied access to the college computing resources and may be subject to other penalties and disciplinary action, both within and outside the college. Violations will normally be handled through the college disciplinary procedures applicable to the relevant user. For example, alleged violations by students will normally be investigated and any penalties or other discipline will normally be imposed by the Dean of Student Services. However, the college may temporarily suspend or block access to an account, prior to the initiation or completion of such procedures, when it reasonably appears necessary to do so in order to protect the integrity, security or functionality of college or other computing resources or to protect the college from liability. The college may also refer suspect violations of applicable law to appropriate law enforcement agencies.

Security & Privacy

The college employs various measures to protect the security of its computing resources and user accounts. Users should be aware, however, that the college cannot guarantee such security. Users should therefore engage in "safe computing" practices by establishing appropriate access restrictions for their accounts, guarding their passwords and changing them regularly. Users should also be aware that their uses of the college computing resources are not completely private. While the college does not routinely monitor individual usage of its computing resources, the normal operation and maintenance of the college’s computing resources require the backup and caching of data and communications, the logging of activity, the monitoring of general usage patterns and other such activities that are necessary for the rendition of service. The college may also specifically monitor the activity and account of individual users of college computing resources including individual login sessions and communications, without notice, when a.) the user has voluntarily made them accessible to the public, as by posting to a list serve or a web page, b.) it reasonably appears necessary to do so to protect the college from liability, c.) there is reasonable cause to believe that the user has violated, or is violating, this policy, d.) an account appears to be engaged in unusual or unusually excessive activity as indicated by the monitoring of general activity and usage patterns or e.) it is otherwise required or permitted by law. Any such individual monitoring, emergency situations must be authorized in advance by the President or Treasurer, or the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

The college, in its discretion, may disclose the results of any such general or individual monitoring, including the contents and records of individual communications, to appropriate college personnel or law enforcement agencies and may use those results in appropriate college disciplinary proceedings. Communications made by means of college computing resources are also generally subject to Ohio’s Public Records Statute to the same extent as they would be if made on paper.

Posthumous Degree Policy

At the request of a parent or spouse, Southern State may award an associate degree posthumously to a student providing the student was in good academic standing at the time of death and had earned at least 45 semester hours of credit related to the associate degree being awarded.


The family member must make the request to a Campus Director or the Vice President of Academic Affairs. The Campus Director or the Vice President of Academic Affairs must send a memo to the Office of the Registrar requesting that the degree be awarded posthumously as of the appropriate graduation date.

The Office of the Registrar will waive the graduation application fee.

The diploma may be given to the Campus Director or the Vice President of Academic Affairs for presentation in a private gathering as special gesture to the family, or, if requested, may be presented to the family at the regular graduation ceremony in May.

Students Right to Appeal

Academic Nature

A student seeking an academic appeal must follow all the steps outlined in sequence.

Level 1

1. In an effort to resolve the issue, the student must first arrange a meeting with the faculty member involved within 30 calendar days of the awarding of grades. If the professor is absent from campus, the student must attempt to contact the professor through mail, email or by phone working with campus personnel if necessary. Students should document all attempts to contact faculty.

2. When discussing the grade with the professor, students should present as much evidence as possible to support their appeal. Open and civil communication is the best approach in an attempt to reach agreement on the appeal.

3. In the event the professor is absent from the campus or no longer in the employment of the college, or after consultation with the faculty member the issue is not resolved, the student may proceed to appeal Level 2.

Level 2

1. A Level 2 appeal is initiated by the student through a typed statement to the respective Campus Director or Program Director depending on the course for which they are appealing the final grade. Should a Program Director be the instructor of record for the course involved in the appeal, then it shall be handled by the Campus Director. Should the appeal occur for a course taught by a Campus Director, then the Vice President will appoint a designee to review the appeal. The typed statement will describe the exact nature of the complaint and the remedy the student is seeking. This typed statement must be submitted within 5 working days from the date of the meeting with the faculty member and must include:

  • a statement of the reason(s) the student believes the grades or academic dismissal was incorrectly or arbitrarily assigned;
  • the steps taken to resolve the disagreement over the grade with the faculty member; and
  • the resolution sought.

2. The written request for appeal may be accompanied by any additional evidence (e.g. papers, tests, syllabi) the student believes supports the conclusion that the grade or academic decision assigned meets the grounds for appeal outlined previously.

3. Upon receiving the typed student appeal, the Campus Director will notify the faculty member and request a written statement from the professor concerning the appeal. Additionally, the Campus Director may request a meeting with the professor and or the student to obtain further clarification of the appeal.

4. After receiving typed statements from both the student and professor and through possible consultation with the student or the professor, the Campus Director must give a typed response to the student with a copy to the professor within 10 working days. If the issue(s) brought forward in the appeal are not resolved satisfactorily in this step, the student or faculty member may then appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee (AAC) in Level 3.

Level 3

1. Student wishing to take the appeal the Academic Appeals Committee (AAC) must submit their typed appeal within five working days after receiving the Campus Director’s response. If the student appeals to the AAC, the Campus Director will forward all information provided and gathered during their evaluation of the issue to the committee. Additionally the professor will be notified by the AAC that they have received the appeal.

2. The AAC will review the appeal within 10 working days of receipt of typed appeal. The AAC may, but are not required to, request a meeting with the student and/or the professor in which the student and/or professor may present evidence or information on his or her behalf and may be accompanied by an academic advisor or other faculty or staff member (or if the student is under age of 18, may be accompanied by a legal guardian). The advisor or guardian may consult with the student, but may not speak on behalf of the student or otherwise participate in the proceedings, unless given specific permission by the committee. Should a mutually agreeable meeting date or adequate review not be feasible within the 10 working days, Level 3 may be extended an additional five days. Once the AAC has made a decision, the chair of the committee will provide a typed response that will be sent to the student.

3. The decision of the AAC is final even if a decision against the student will mean that the grade or requirement under appeal will result in academic disqualification. There is no further college appeal.

Non-Academic Nature

1. The student should contact a staff member in the Student Services Office.

2. If the student does not receive satisfaction, they may request to see the Dean of Student Services.

3. If the student is not satisfied with the above results, they may request to see the President of Southern State.

In the event that a student is not satisfied with the above results, the student may request that the President appoint a Grievance Committee to hear the complaint. The committee will consist of two students (one of which may be chosen by the student), one faculty member and one administrator. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will chair the committee.

Additional Policies

This section provides links to the remaining college policies.