Personal Use of University Resources Policy

Policy Summary

The university provides many types of resources and facilities for faculty and staff to undertake activities related to the university’s mission. The university recognizes that occasional unofficial use of certain resources and facilities will occur, and permits such use so long as it is incidental, reasonable, and in accordance with this policy and any other applicable policies. This policy is intended to support appropriate and effective use of University Resources, while providing guidelines to limit personal use of those resources.

Who is Governed by this Policy

  • Staff
  • Faculty


The university provides a wide variety of resources, including computers, networks, software, printers, office telephones, cellular phones, and office facilities for use by faculty and staff.  Property, facilities, assets, and other resources may only be acquired to support the mission of the university, and are not intended to support more than incidental personal use.  The university recognizes that faculty and staff may occasionally use University Resources for personal purposes.   

The primary principles governing personal use of University Resources are that reasonable and incidental personal use is authorized only so long as: (1) the university incurs no additional cost from that use other than the minimal cost incurred from ordinary wear and tear, and the use of minimal amounts of other resources (e.g., ink, toner, or paper); (2) the use does not inappropriately interfere with or reduce the hours worked by the employee; (3) the use does not preclude others with work-related needs from using the resources; and (4) the use does not violate any applicable laws, regulations, or other university policies. 

When the university incurs no additional costs or only negligible additional costs from personal use of a University Resource (e.g., local telephone calls; e-mail; internet usage; cell phones subject to fixed price charges; and fax machines, copiers, and printers), reasonable and incidental personal use of the resource is permissible, but supervisors and employees are responsible for keeping that personal use to a minimum. 

In the case of occasional personal use that results in additional cost to the university, such as printing or copying, employees must reimburse the university for additional costs incurred beyond a nominal amount.   

Use of university telephones is restricted to university business and necessary personal communications.  Examples of necessary personal communications include telephone calls to arrange family and personal schedules, communications for medically-related purposes, communications to reach businesses or government agencies that can only be contacted during business hours, and communications for other reasonable purposes (see the university’s Telephone/Wireless Communication Usage Policy and the Acceptable Use Policy for Computing Systems and Services). 

Examples of unallowable uses of University Resources may include, but are not limited to:  

  • Any personal use that could reasonably be expected to cause congestion on, or disruption of, electronic communications resources; 
  • Use for private income-producing activities or for other commercial purposes (e.g., consulting services, or sales of goods or services);  
  • Using university systems and services for personal purchases; 
  • Uses that are unlawful, such as improperly copying licensed or copyrighted software materials, or using any resources acquired for a sponsored project for personal purposes;   
  • University funds, duplication machines, computers, telephones, fax machines, or other equipment or supplies may not be used on behalf of or against any candidate for public office, political party, or political action committee (see Political Activity Policy); and 
  • Uses that violate other university policies or guidelines. 

Employees and supervisors are responsible for keeping incidental personal use of University Resources to a minimum.  Supervisors are expected to monitor periodically for abuses, and violations may result in disciplinary action.  


University Resources: Property, facilities and/or assets purchased, leased or acquired by the university, or under the university’s control, that are intended to foster or support the ongoing missions of the university. 

Related Information


Contact Phone Number Email Address
Office of Ethics, Compliance, and Risk 202-994-0462  [email protected]


Responsible University Official: Associate Vice President, Ethics, Compliance, and Risk
Responsible Office: Office of Ethics, Compliance, and Risk

Noncompliance with this policy can be reported through this website.