Examples that are NOT Violations of Willamette University’s Responsible Use Policy

Unsolicited e-mail or junk e-mail

The amount of unwanted or unsolicited e-mail (junk mail) circulating on the Internet continues to increase. You undoubtedly get similar things through the U.S. Postal mail on a regular basis, for example catalogs, advertisements, solicitations, and political propaganda. This form of speech is usually protected under the first amendment, even though some people may find some of the content objectionable.

Junk mail is NOT illegal and it does NOT represent a violation of University policies. Willamette attempts to filter junk mail based on some characteristics of the messages, but these efforts will always be imperfect. Among other things, the University wants to be careful that it does not throw away legitimate messages that you wish to receive.

Note that chain mail is a form of junk mail that is a violation of policy and can be reported.

Breaches of network etiquette

Things like off-topic postings to e-mail lists, advertising by posting the same message to numerous lists, rude or impolite behavior, heated arguments (or flame wars) and some forms of hate speech will often annoy others. However, Willamette is not in a position to control etiquette. When these sorts of problems arise, you should try to work them out with the other people involved.

In some cases, rude behavior can cause disruptions. Any behavior that interferes with the ability of others to access or use a system is a violation of policy.

Remember that the Internet spans diverse cultures and societies around the globe. What is acceptable to one may be totally inappropriate in another. Keep in mind that it is easy to misunderstand electronic communications due to the lack of personal contact.

Hate Speech

Uncivil, antagonistic or derogatory speech that is disrespectful of classes of people is commonly referred to as hate speech. Although hate speech may be extremely offensive, particularly to members of the targeted group, posting hate speech does not generally constitute a violation of University policies or local, state or federal law. This is because, especially as an educational institution, Willamette is committed to the protection of freedom of expression. In exceptional cases, however, the University may decide that hate speech directed to classes of individuals presents such a hostile environment that certain restrictive actions are warranted.

Adult pornography

Possession of adult material is not a violation of policy, unless the material is illegal. Willamette does not monitor or censor electronic mail or any other electronic communications. However, viewing adult pornographic material in public locations where minors and non-consenting individuals may be exposed to it constitutes a violation of policy.

(December 15, 2008)