Who Owns Your Computer?

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I recently received a question from a faculty member that gave me the opportunity to explain better CI's responsibilities and obligations for campus-owned computers. To paraphrase her question:

If I use my faculty startup funds to purchase a laptop or iPad, does that become property of the university? And, is the entire computer searchable under the Freedom of Information Act, or only the files/documents pertaining to work and the university? I am looking to use start-up money to replace my home laptop, which I use 99% of the time for teaching and research. However, I do store personal items on the computer (family photographs, music,  personal email, etc.), so I would like to understand the nuances of university ownership of any computers I purchase with my research start-up money. 
Here's my reply, which is valid for any computer purchased with California State University funds, regardless of the source.

Start up funds are state resources, so any equipment purchased with them is property of the State of California. Technically, you are not using the funds to purchase a laptop or iPad – you are requesting that the funds be used to purchase a computer which is then assigned to you for your use. It’s probably more than you want to read, but if you’re interested, the full policy that addresses the use of any campus computer is here - https://www.calstate.edu/hrs/policies/policies_internet_use.shtml. Bottom line - for most purposes you can treat it as your computer, but really it’s a university resource as long as university funds are used to purchase it. Storing some photos or using your computer to buy something on Amazon is not a problem – It’s called “incidental use” and it’s explicitly permitted under CSU policy.

There are a few ways documents could be searched on your computer. The California Public Records Act (our version of the federal “Freedom of Information”) states that nearly anything you create as part of your employment is available upon request (including email and other things you might consider private, with just a few exceptions). However, these requests generally have to be somewhat specific, e.g “Every document that Professor X has regarding her Intro to Algebra Class”). So I’m not aware of any case where your personal items like family photos would be part of the search.  Caroline Doll is our campus expert on CPRA so she may have additional comments.

However, there are at least 3 other situations that I can think of where we have to search computers. These are all pretty rare, but here you go. One is when there is litigation – a judge can require that we search a computer or even turn over the entire contents as part of the evidence in a legal case. Second, if for some reason the university police have cause to believe that the computer was used for a crime (even if not by you) they could ask us to search it or they could confiscate it. Third, if your computer got “hacked” we might need to search it to try to determine what had happened and also to see what information might have been compromised. As I say, these are rare, but they do occur now and then. And we would certainly do our best in such a case to respect the user’s privacy and just look for the information that we needed, but of course it’s not always easy to determine that until you look.

Thanks for offering me the opportunity to provide this clarification. When you’re ready to purchase you can find models and pricing here - http://www.csuci.edu/tc/compquotes/. Your department coordinator should be familiar with the process.

Fall 2016 Major Project Review - submission deadline July 15

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We are pleased to announce that the fall 2016 project review cycle is now open, and the submission period runs from June 1 - July 15.  Major IT project & procurement requests submitted for this cycle are expected to begin in early spring 2016 (if approved).  

One significant change we've made for the fall submission cycle is that the project request will be submitted electronically (via TeamDynamix), in replacement of the MS Word form used previously. This update should help streamline electronic collaboration on new project requests and facilitate the submission process. Melissa Bergem, T&C Project Coordinator, has been meeting one-on-one with the DPCs to review the new submissions process. To submit a project request, visit the fall 2016 project review cycle page.

The deadline for Division Project Coordinators (DPCs) to submit their draft project list to T&C for review during this cycle is 5:00PM on July 15.

Requests received after July 15 shall not be evaluated by T&C during this cycle. More importantly, major projects or procurements which fail to be submitted during this cycle are not likely to be completed during the 2016-17 fiscal year. 

Please contact your Division Project Coordinator (DPC) with any questions about submitting a new major project or procurement request.

For general information about the fall 2016 review cycle, please contact Peter Mosinskis at peter.mosinskis@csuci.edu. 

Service Alert: Campus Email and Telephone Outage Update 3-9-16

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UPDATE 3:25PM: The employee email issue has been resolved, and the system is working as expected. Emergency maintenance on the email servers will be performed this evening to ensure ongoing system stability; however, no downtime is expected. Thank you for your patience & cooperation. 

12:48PM: Please note that an earlier issue today with the central disk storage system caused users to experience slowness when accessing campus email and dropped calls through campus telephones.  T&C Infrastructure has resolved the issue with campus telephones but email is functioning sporadically for some users.

T&C continues to work with technical support to resolve the issue and we will provide an update at 3 p.m. today.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

If you’re still experiencing issues, please contact the HelpDesk at 805-437-8552 or helpdesk@csuci.edu.  Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve this problem. 

Changes to IT project & procurement processes

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I'm excited to announce some significant changes that the Division of Technology & Communication is implementing for the processes surrounding IT project & procurement management.

Our division is initiating these changes because our current processes aren't sustainable, mostly because we don't have strategic alignment at the campus level for our largest, most complex project & procurement requests. This means that as an organization, T&C is getting bogged down by uncoordinated requests from campus organizations for same small, finite set of information technology resources. These resources are being affected by inefficiencies, waste, conflict and delays related to constantly shifting priorities, so we are taking steps to improve the way we manage these processes.

Stephen Covey provided a great analogy about prioritization called "The Big Rocks of Life" which is illustrated here. This principle underlies the goal of our changes: to focus on the high-value, high-impact activities that must be done first.

We met on Thursday, March 3 with project requestors, sponsors and stakeholders to discuss these changes. You can watch a video presentation about the forthcoming changes, or plan to attend an upcoming information sessions (dates TBD).

At the meeting, we shared a one-pager (in PDF format) summarizing these changes with the attendees.

We also launched an updated T&C procurement web site, which describes a 7-step process to successfully complete procurement of IT-related products and services. 

Finally, today we published an updated business practice on IT project and procurement governance, which goes into a lot of detail about how our new project & procurement request process is supposed to work. 

This is a big change, and we don't expect the first iteration to work perfectly. In fact, we expect there to be some problems that we have to work around. 

On behalf of Michael Berman and all of the staff in the Division of Technology & Communication, I  appreciate your patience, feedback and ongoing support as we transition to this new process, and thank you for being our valued partners in creating an exceptional University. If you have any questions, or can think of any ways in which we can improve the speed, quality or efficiency of this process, please contact me at peter.mosinskis@csuci.edu.  

2014-15 T&C Annual Report

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The Division of Technology & Communication is pleased to share its annual report for the 2014-15 fiscal year for your review:

View the 2014-15 Annual Report (in PDF format)

We are deeply grateful to T&C staff, campus leadership, and the University community for their ongoing support in creating a technology environment that enhances the educational experience and University operations at CI.

Google Releases Security Update for Chrome

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Google has released Chrome version 45.0.2454.85 to address multiple vulnerabilities for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Exploitation of one of these vulnerabilities may allow an attacker to take control of an affected system.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review the Chrome Releases page and apply the necessary update.

Welcome back!

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We hope you had a great summer!

T&C had a fun and busy summer too:

  • We completed some major network upgrades to make our wired and wireless network access faster and more reliable than ever.
  • We set up classrooms and deployed over 300 new computers to our newest campus classroom and lab space: Sierra Hall.
  • We made it easier to find campus events by adding CampusQuad to the goCI mobile app.
  • We've made it possible for CI students & employees to get Microsoft Office for free.

Are you a first time CI student or a new CI employee? Check out the New to CI page to familiarize yourself with the full range of services that are available to you.

If you have any technology questions, feel free to contact the T&C Help Desk at 805-437-8552 or email helpdesk@csuci.edu.

We wish you a fun-filled fall 2015 term, and let us know if there's anything we can do to improve your experience at CI.


Peter Mosinskis
Director of IT Strategy
CSU Channel Islands