Speaking Out

Locker Privacy

The attached letter was sent to Dr. Michael Diorka, Director of Recreation, regarding the opening and removal of items in my locker at the Gimbel Gymnasium. I still have not received a response to my letter. I believe that the principle of privacy is inviolate and that this gross invasion of privacy must be brought to the attention of the University community. This kind of invasion is equivalent to entering our offices and removing files or other items without permission.

In the over 40 years I have been associated with the University, I have always been proud of the occasions when my colleagues would lean over backwards to avoid any even the appearance of the invasion of my privacy. Thus the idea that some unknown employee could open my locker and remove items, even if they were contraband, is abhorrent to me. If this is administration's policy then I believe it is incumbent upon them to spell out the limitations in our privacy rights.

I would note that the University spent considerable time and effort in developing a privacy statement for our e-mail communications with the idea of ensuring the utmost privacy consistent with the limitations of the medium. Surely, we can expect that our private offices and lockers merit an even greater level of security from administrative searches.

--Burton Rosan, Professor Emeritus, Dental Medicine

I recently experienced a shock when I discovered that Recreation Personnel had entered my locker in Gimbel Gym without my permission or prior notice. Presumably the purpose was to remove some old towels that were perceived to be University property. Had anyone bothered to check with me, I believe I could have satisfactorily explained the presence of these items in my locker. Regardless of the circumstances, entering a private locker and removing anything therein without a warrant or some prior notification and/or permission seems to me a gross violation of privacy that is generally assumed at this University. This is the equivalent of entering my office and removing documents or other belongings without permission and it cannot be condoned or tolerated.

I would appreciate an explanation and a warrantee that this invasion of my privacy or indeed the privacy of any person at this University will not occur again.

Burton Rosan

Speaking Out welcomes reader contributions.

Short, timely letters on University issues can be accepted by Thursday at noon for the following Tuesday's issue, subject to right-of-reply guidelines. Advance notice of intention to submit is appreciated. --Eds.

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 35, May 29, 2001