Committee on Information Technology

October 7, 2002

The meeting was called to order at 12 noon. Present were members Rhoda Channing, Jay Dominick, Paul Escott, Lanier Jackson, Ralph Kennedy, Ananda Mitra, Kurt Shaw, and Robert Swofford.

Swofford reported on efforts to collect policies from similar private institutions concerning their procedures for accessing users' email and files on university computers. CIO Dominick posted an email to the Educause CIO listserv to which he belongs in order to assist in the collection. The body of the email follows:

Dear Colleague,

We are seeking copies of policies describing the procedures your Information Systems Departments must follow in obtaining permission to access electronic files or email files belonging to members of your University community. We have been asked by our Provost to consider amending our policy, as explained below, and we would welcome the opportunity to learn from the policies that you have in place.

Several years ago, our faculty Committee on Information Technology wrote our policy to address the Responsible and Ethical Use of Computing Resources. The document can be found at

http://www.wfu.edu/organizations/CIT/ethical_use.html

The original policy was intended to provide guidance to our Information Systems Department if the situation ever arose that required that they access user files or email on university-owned servers or University-owned laptops or desktops. We have now been asked by our Provost to consider amending the policy so that it provides guidance in the case that a request for access to user files comes from other members of our University community, e.g., Human Resources, Student Life, University Police, etc. The University emphasizes that it wishes to establish procedures that limit approval of such access to a very few senior administrators, in line with the current policy. It furthermore wishes to emphasize the principal importance of academic freedom and the privacy of electronic communications among the members of its community.

Thanks you for your assistance in our task.


About a dozen responses were received, but few of the responses were from institutions similar to Wake Forest. Therefore, email has been sent directly to the CIOs at the following institutions: Davidson, Duke, Emory, Furman, Notre Dame, Richmond, Seton Hall, Vanderbilt, Washinton & Lee, William & Mary, and Yale.

The Committee then discussed the choice of email package to replace Netscape. A committee was appointed last year to evaluate possibilities. Preliminary indications are that the choices have been narrowed to Mozilla and Outlook. One issue important to some users is the calendar feature. CIT urged the committee to move quickly with its evaluation so that there would be sufficient time to test fully the recommended choice within the WFU environment before the final load is built for next year's laptops.

CIO Dominick reported that  IS continues to receive at the rate of about 6 per week leaglly-binding cease-and-desisit orders from organizations such as MediaForce which represents large recording companies . The staff attention required for the removal of such illegal material  from the users' laptops continues to be a burden. Also, the simple attempts to manage bandwith by limiting bandwith usage on certain ports known to be used exclusively by peer-to-peer file-sharing programs such as KaZaA are being thwarted by new verions of software that mingle file-sharing with other, regular traffic on the network. It can be expected that bandwidth consumption will increase once these workarounds become known to more users.

The Information Technoogy Center (ITC) requested that CIT form a BlackBoard courseware advisory panel to consult on choices of BlackBoard functionality now being unbundled and separately priced. Ananda Mitra and Kurt Shaw volunteered to serve in that capacity.

The next meeting will be at 12 noon on Monday, October 21, in the Library Conference Room adjacent to Library Director Channing's office.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:04 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert L. Swofford,
Chair