“No expectation of privacy:” New draft policy alarm faculty senators, create working group

Moss Brennan, Reporter

The chief information officer for App State presented a draft revision of the Acceptable Use of Computing and Electronic Resources Policy, Policy 901, to the Faculty Senate in January that contained language some senators said they were worried about.

The draft policy is a proposed revision that would replace the current policy in its entirety.

“No University employee, student or any other user shall have any expectation of privacy in the material or information sent, received or stored using any portion of the University information system infrastructure,” the draft policy states.

That also includes “personal computing devices used to conduct University business.”

The draft policy states that any student found in violation of the proposed policy is subject to the code of student conduct.

A small working group of divisional representatives and Faculty Senate members are reviewing the draft revision and will recommend edits.

Martha McCaughey, professor and director of first-year seminar and common reading program, is a Faculty Senate representative for the working group. Four other faculty members are also in the group.

“The thing that raised a bit of alarm was a wording that said, ‘No one using the information infrastructure or equipment provided should expect any privacy in the documents or materials being transmitted,’” McCaughey said.

McCaughey said the working group is determining if the draft policy is overreaching.

“David Hayler is extremely open to all the feedback from faculty and I imagine he would be equally open to feedback from students,” McCaughey said. “No one thought the university was trying to come up with an Orwellian policy.”

David Hayler, the chief information officer, directed interview requests to University Communications.

“I do think the university policy is a problem and I’m hoping that some of it gets kind of toned down,” said Michael Behrent, professor in the Department of History and faculty senator.

Student Government Association representatives will also help vet the policy, according to the IT Governance page on the Information Technology Services website.

“Students should take an active interest in what the current policy says and anything they would want it to say in the future,” McCaughey said. “There might be things they find ring an alarm bell for them that aren’t the same that might ring an alarm bell for a faculty member.”