Penn State - Administrative
Policy AD53 PRIVACY STATEMENT
To set forth the University's position regarding the privacy of its
employees and students.
In the interest of promoting academic freedom and an open, collegial
atmosphere, this University recognizes its obligation not to infringe
upon the reasonable privacy expectations of its employees and students
in their laboratories, classrooms, designated meeting and conference rooms,
individually assigned offices, and personal residences, or in relation
to their personal papers, confidential records and effects, and in communications
by mail, telephone, and other electronic means, subject only to applicable
state and federal laws and University regulations. Inquiries about the personal characteristics of employees or students (including
but not limited to sexual orientation) are prohibited unless relevant to the
investigation of a complaint or an academic or work related matter, or unless
relevant under applicable law or University policies.
In invoking the exception clause ("subject only to... laws and
University regulations"), the following principles apply:
authorized only when reasonably necessary to protect the security of the
University, its communications system, and the academic process, and when there
is good reason to believe that the individual employee or student has violated
law or University regulations. For example, if the computer security officer
has good reason to believe that a specific user of the University system is
endangering the technical integrity of the system, he/she may authorize entry
into the user's files for an investigation reasonably necessary to protect the
security of the computer network for all users. In general, audio recording or
video surveillance of laboratories, classrooms, designated meeting and
conference rooms, individually assigned offices, and personal residences shall
not be permitted without the consent of the employee or student to which the
facility is assigned. Blanket searches of employee offices or random monitoring
of written or electronic communications shall not be acceptable.
- Consultation and Authorization - The exception clause may be
invoked only by persons with responsibility and authority for administering the
law or regulations within the University (e.g., computer security officer,
University police) and only after consultation with the appropriate
administrator (e.g., dean or unit head).
- Accountability - Normally, in any application of the exception
clause the affected individual shall be notified in advance, unless conditions
necessitate immediate access or notification would compromise an on-going
criminal investigation. Records of any exception must be kept; the records
should be made accessible to the affected individual, unless such access would
compromise an on-going criminal investigation. Information collected must be
kept secure and be used only for the intended purpose.
Other Policies in this Manual should also be referenced, especially:
- AD11 - University Policy on
Confidentiality of Student Records
- AD20 - Computer and Network
- AD23 - Use of Institutional
- ADG01 - Glossary of Computerized
Data and System Terminology
- ADG02 - Computer Facility Security
- HR60 - Access to Personnel
- RA10 - Handling Inquiries /
Investigations into Questions of Ethics in Research and in Other Scholarly
Effective Date: August 1, 2007
Date Approved: August 1, 2007
Date Published: August 1, 2007
Most recent changes:
- August 1, 2007 -
Changes to POLICY section.
Revision History (and effective dates):
- August 28, 2003 - Significant rewrite emphasizing the balance between privacy
issues and the need to observe state and federal laws and University regulations.
- February 22, 2000 - New Policy.