Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy

Wharton School Staff Policy

This policy was created for staff to provide a clear understanding of the appropriate use of Wharton’s and the University of Pennsylvania’s electronic resources. Included in “staff” or “employees” are regular full and part time, limited service, temporaries, contractors and student workers.  With the increased utilization of the latest technologies, we must be mindful of our limited resources as well as the impact of the Internet and outside world.  It is important to remember that your computers, email, network access, etc. are the property of Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania. They are provided in order to perform the duties of your job and conduct official business on behalf of the University and its affiliates.  Please keep in mind that you are part of a community of users within the University who share the same resources and your actions impact that entire community.

Wharton’s electronic resources consist of both software and hardware, including, but not limited to: computers, networks, electronic mail services, Internet and Intranet access, telephones and voicemail.  These electronic resources are the property of the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania and as such may be accessed by the University’s or School’s  IT or Human Resources staff at any time without prior notice.

By using the University’s and Wharton’s electronic resources, you assume personal responsibility for their appropriate use and agree to comply with this policy and other applicable policies, as well as City, State and Federal laws and regulations.

These guidelines complement the University of Pennsylvania’s Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources and apply to all employee users of electronic resources owned, or managed, by the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania.  Wharton staff are urged to review the entire University Policy, at, to understand it more fully.

Prohibited categories include, but are not limited to:

Electronic Communication

  • The use of University or Wharton computer resources for private business or commercial activities that could jeopardize the University’s tax-exempt status;
  • Threats of violence, obscenity, pornography, harassing communications (as defined by law), e.g., via emails or downloads to University computer resources and the making available of any materials the possession or distribution of which is illegal;
  • Interference with or disruption of the computer or network accounts, services, or equipment of others, including, but not limited to, the intentional propagation of computer “worms” and “viruses”, the sending of electronic chain mail, the inappropriate sending of “broadcast” messages to large numbers of individuals and providing a Department’s e-mail addresses and distribution lists for matters not related to University or Wharton business without the expressed approval of Wharton Computing and Information Technology and Wharton Human Resources;
  • Misuse of email.  Receiving or sending the occasional personal e-mail, just like personal phone calls, is understood to be part of the normal office environment; however, this practice should be kept to a minimum so as not to jeopardize the University’s resources or security;

Operational integrity

  • Revealing passwords or otherwise permitting the use by others (by intent or negligence) of personal accounts for computer and network access;
  • Altering or attempting to alter files or systems without proper authorization;
  • Damaging or destroying (by intent or negligence) the integrity of electronic information, computing/networking equipment and resources;
  • Intentionally wasting electronic resources and the associated human efforts involved (for example, downloading a third party software program that interferes with the proper functioning of your desktop computer or the network, wastes resources.  Not only is a technician’s time spent undoing the problem, but other endusers may not be able to perform their responsibilities as a result);

Access to computer resources

  • Failure to treat computing resources and electronic information as a valuable University resource.  (For example, downloading programs that are not supported by Wharton Computing and Information Technology or not setting appropriate passwords and changing them regularly.)
  • The unauthorized copying or use of licensed computer software;
  • Failure to comply with requests from appropriate Wharton computing and Information Technology, Human Resources or other University officials to discontinue activities that threaten the operation or integrity of computers, systems or networks;
  • The use of restricted-access Wharton computer resources or electronic information beyond one’s level of authorization; Using computers, computer accounts and computer files for which you do not have authorization or shared accounts;
  • Making Wharton computing resources available to individuals not affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania without approval of an authorized Wharton Computing and Information Technology  or Wharton Human Resources official;

Identification of user

  • Misrepresentation (including forgery) of the identity of the sender or source of an electronic communication;
  • Acquiring or attempting to acquire someone else’s password;
  • Unauthorized use or attempt to use someone else’s computer accounts;
  • Alteration of the content of a message originating from another person or computer with intent to deceive.

Enforcement and Penalties for Violation

Any person who violates the provisions of this policy, other relevant University and Wharton policies, and/or applicable City, State, or Federal laws or regulations may face disciplinary action up to and including termination.  In addition some activities may lead to legal liability, both civil and criminal.

If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact Anna M. Loh, Director of Human Resources, at or 898-8917.

If you need technical clarification, feel free to contact your distributed staff representative or local support provider.