Acceptable use of clusters

There are rules regarding acceptable use of University computer clusters covering things like eating and drinking, using mobile phones, reserving computers and security on computers.

Acceptable use

Computing systems in clusters are provided for academic purposes. This is so that everyone can make use of them, and isn’t intended to be obstructive. If you use them for non-academic purposes (such as playing games or accessing non-academic services on the Internet) they won’t be available for people who need to do University work. The definition of a valid academic purpose is the responsibility of the user’s department.

Booked clusters

When a cluster is booked, the person or persons booking it are responsible for its supervision whilst being used for that booking. They can choose to admit (or not) students on other modules. All students admitted must abide by the instructions of the person in charge. Students admitted may be directed as to where to sit, or as to what they may do (e.g. no printing).


Cluster areas are serious workplaces (like the University Library). Outside group working areas, you should work quietly and respect the need for others to be able to concentrate. If a cluster is being used for a supervised course the person in charge is responsible for determining the appropriate acceptable noise level. Horseplay and other misbehaviour will not be tolerated.

Fault reports

If you find any faults with the computers or printers in the clusters contact the IT Service Desk.


Playing games in clusters is not permitted.

Food, drink, etc.

Food, drinks (except bottled water) or snacks may not be consumed in clusters.

Mobile phones

Mobile phones must not be used in clusters, except for texting in silent mode.

Leaving an active computer

Do not leave computers logged on when you are not working on them, even for a short period. In your absence anyone could use your user account for mischievous or criminal activities. Any such event will initially be attributed to the logged-on user and the onus may rest with that user to prove it was not them. This can be both time-consuming and stressful for the innocent victim.

Reserving a computer

Please don’t try to reserve a computer by leaving a coat, books, or notes, etc – it isn’t fair on other people. Screen locking software is not permitted.

Licensed software

You must not use unlicensed software, or store unlicensed software on the hard disks of systems. The University cannot accept any liability for use of unlicensed software or responsibility for lost files associated with the use of it.

Use of user accounts

Your account is only to be used by you. You must not allow any other person to use your usernames, regardless of whether that person is a member of the University or not. You can only use accounts which have been authorised for your use by the University. The unauthorised use of another person’s user account, as well as the providing of false or misleading information to get access to computing or network facilities, is not allowed. This could be regarded as a criminal act and would be treated accordingly by the University. Note that unauthorised use of a user-account may be an offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

Hacking, trojans, viruses, etc

You must not do anything that might be harmful to the University computer systems, the network, or the data stored on or transported by them or other computers connected to them. This includes, but is not limited to, propagating viruses, removing or modifying system files, copying password files, attempting to decipher or record other users’ passwords. Deliberately gaining or attempting to gain unauthorised access to computing facilities, using ‘Trojan horses’ and deliberately propagating viruses is not permitted and will be treated very seriously

Security and out-of-hours access

Access to clusters may be granted outside normal opening hours. If you have this access you must not allow access to other users. Clusters found with doors propped open will be emptied and closed by the Security Service. Security Officers are empowered to ask for IDs and any relevant access authorisation letter, and users must co-operate with such requests. Those who cannot provide satisfactory authorisation will be asked to leave the cluster and may be reported. A number of clusters are available 24 hours –  for the keypad code to access them.


Faculties and schools that require their students to access material which may be contrary to University’s Use of Computer Systems Policy must follow the exemption request process outlined within that policy and complete the application form at

Faculties and schools that require their students to use facilities in a way that would normally be contrary to these Standards & Code of Conduct (e.g. a student project on computer games,) should ensure that the students concerned have written permission to do so.

Policing & reporting

Faculty and School/Service staff and IT staff are responsible for policing University regulations governing the use of IT facilities. You can ask others to leave computers which are being used for non-academic purposes.

All reports of cluster misuse should be sent to the IT Help Desk.

Sanctions for unacceptable use

People found making unacceptable use of clusters become liable to disciplinary action in accordance with existing University proceedings.