Computer policy aims to keep students safe

College monitors
online activity,
keeps records

Carlos Gonzalez / Reporter

The William F. White Library is Del Mar College’s fortress of knowledge — a place where students can work on projects, essays and even their homework. But because it is located on an open campus, there must be guidelines, especially when it comes to using the computers.

Students take advantage of the free Internet access in the White Library on East Campus.
Students take advantage of the free Internet access in the White Library on East Campus.

The White Library has computers on each of its five floors. When students sign up to get their IDs at the beginning of each semester, they also sign a form that states, “I have read the Del Mar College Computer and Network Acceptable Use Policy and agree to abide by the terms and conditions of the policy.”

This policy doesn’t apply to just the library. It is a campuswide policy that states students will not use the computers for personal gain, such as downloading programs, games, music and anything they would use on their personal computers. Computer labs are also available in the Rec Center on the second floor of the Memorial Classroom Building and on the first floor of the Collegiate Building.

“We wanted to have a place that guarantees that students would have access to good computer facilities,” said Chris Tetzlaff-Belhasen, director of Learning Resources.

When entering a computer lab, students have their ID scanned and are assigned a computer, and their computer activities are monitored. The policy states, “Users are expressly forbidden to use these resources to upload/download or transmit obscene or pornographic material or material contrary to Del Mar College’s Statement of Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action.”

Because Del Mar is an open campus, the library is open to the public. There are computers located on the second floor and up to the fifth floor that can be accessed by anybody. If students do not like the lab and prefer a different setting, they can use the computers on the higher floors.

“Because we are a library, we are here to provide information, and nowadays much information comes from an electronic format,” Tetzlaff-Belhasen said. “We also provide the computers throughout the building so that if students prefer a different setting, they can use the computers wherever they want to (in the library).”

This has brought up many incidents from some homeless people and other community members looking up pornography and other types of obscene material. When something like this happens with someone who is not a student, security is called to escort the person off campus. With the library open until 10 p.m., it can be difficult for the staff to keep track of who is each floor.

The online policy helps keeps students safe by making sure that what they are looking up on the computers doesn’t create a hostile environment. So whenever you are doing research in the labs around campus, remember that you are being monitored and a record is being kept.

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