[The following report was presented to the Faculty Senate on February 16, 1976.]
January 16, 1976
||Chancellor Reese and The UTK Faculty Senate
||Committee on Policies and Procedures for Safety and Security: Stanford Bohne (Chairperson), Howard Aldmon, Brady Deaton, Steve Hart, Arthur Jones, Herb Ruffin, Sharon Woodman
Introduction and Background
In the Spring of 1975, public accusations were made against the Department of Safety and Security of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. These accusations received public attention when brought before the Knoxville Area Civil Liberties Union by an attorney who represented a former employee of Safety and Security. The charges, as reported by the Daily Beacon (April 15, 16, 1975), may be summarized as follow:
1. Files containing information of non-criminal activities by UT students were kept by University security officials through January, 1975, and may still exist.
The Student Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate requested the full Senate to investigate these charges, and the Senate referred the matter to its Executive Committee. The Chancellor then arranged a meeting with the Executive Committee and some Safety and Security personnel to consider what should be done. At this meeting the Chancellor proposed that a committee of administrators, students and faculty study the procedures by which Safety and Security establishes and maintains its records, and that this committee prepare guidelines for future policy. The Chancellor believed that there should be no investigation of the charges of past misconduct because of the likelihood that forgotten tensions would be revived while no new light would be shed. He later presented his views publicly, in a Beacon column of April 24.
2. These files were concealed from members of the Jarman (sic) Commission in 1972 when they inspected the offices of Safety and Security.
3. During the time of campus unrest, officers of Safety and Security were ordered to maintain continuous surveillance of certain types of people--recording their behavior, their friends' names, and their personal or professional associations.
4. Surveillance during the late 60's and early 70's required a "tremendous amount of surveillance work," and there has been no reduction in the Safety and Security force since that time.
5. Following the publicity given these charges, additional speculation arose concerning other practices such as wiretaps, use of paid or unpaid informers, exchange of information with outside agencies, access to Safety and Security files by potential employers, and general suppression of academic freedom by police activity.
On April 23, the Executive Committee considered the Chancellor's proposal, as well as a counter-proposal by the Senate President recommending that there be an independent faculty committee to investigate the alleged misconduct by Safety and Security. After thorough debate, the Committee decided to accept the Chancellor's suggestion, provided his committee be authorized to look into past activities of Safety and Security which might have bearing on its present practices, and provided that there be minority representation, specifically Black, on the committee. Both the Chancellor and the Senate accepted this compromise, and the present committee was named and received its charge.
The Committee is made up of persons who possess varied backgrounds and who represent the three major parts of the University: faculty, administration, and students. Some of the members were at this University during the troubles being investigated; one was at another university, where campus unrest was more serious. Several of the Committee members, faculty as well as students, are relatively young. The Committee has been chaired by Stanford R. Bohne, Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance. The other members were: Howard Aldmon, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; Brady Deaton, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and a member of the Faculty Senate Committee on Student Affairs; Steve Hart, President of the Student Coordinating Council; Arthur Jones, Professor of zoology and President of the Faculty Senate when the Committee was formed; Herb Ruffin, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction; and Sharon Woodman, Vice President of the Student Coordinating Council.
The Chancellor's charge came to the Committee in the form of a memorandum dated April 29, 1975, as follows:
"I should like to ask if you would agree to serve as an ad hoc committee to work with the Department of Safety and Security in the formulation of policies and procedures concerning the maintenance of records and access to them. I should like to ask Mr. Bohne to chair the group.
We interpreted the charge as a request for positive action--to produce guidelines for Safety and Security in the collection, storage, and utilization of information related to the conduct of individuals and groups in matters concerning public security. We would pay attention to specific charges or allegations of misconduct by Safety and Security only if these were related to public security questions, and only for the purpose of determining procedures for the future. We would not seek either to exonerate individuals or to establish guilt. We would be open to any further evidence that might be brought to our attention. Before proposing guidelines, we would study methods used by college police organizations as well as other security agencies and try to adapt for our use the best of these methods. We would try to keep in mind the special nature of the academic community.
"The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate has endorsed the formulation of this group. It made two additional suggestions with which I concur:
'We think the charge to this group should specifically include their right to look into any facts that the Committee feels have bearing on their general instructions.
"I would be pleased to meet with the group at its first session to clarify this charge, if you feel it necessary. I assume, however, that you are familiar with the issues as they have been reported in the Beacon and elsewhere.
'We expect the Committee, or its members who represent the Faculty, to make a report to the Senate when the task is completed.'
"Thank you very much for your willingness to take on this important assignment."
We recognized that this university campus was threatened with disruption by sociopolitical causes; police protection at such times may infringe upon political freedoms while at the same time attempting to preserve those freedoms. We attempted to discriminate between ordinary crime-detection and - prevention on the one hand, and surveillance and file-maintenance involving sociopolitical activities on the other.
Procedures of the Investigation
The Committee interviewed 18 individuals during May, June, and July, 1975. Two of those persons interviewed approached the group requesting an opportunity to be heard; the others were invited. Each interview was attended by a majority of the Committee. Although the committee had neither subpoena power nor an attorney, all individuals invited to testify appeared, and the witnesses were cooperative. The tone of the hearings was courteous, although questions were frequently searching. When a witness apparently contradicted an earlier statement (either his or her own or that of another individual), the Committee attempted to resolve the presumed discrepancy. Questions and reservations about testimony were discussed immediately after each interview. Sometimes, these sessions revealed strong differences in opinion concerning the substance of the testimony, although, more often than not, there was agreement concerning the evidence presented. The press was excluded from all meetings.
After most of the witnesses had been interviewed, we asked the Beacon to publish the following notice:
"ATTENTION ALL UT STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES
This notice produced one additional witness.
"The Committee established by Chancellor Reese to investigate alleged improper actions in Safety and Security has now heard all testimony that was brought to its attention.
"The Committee is aware that others may have evidence they wish to give. Anyone wishing to provide additional information should contact Vice Chancellor Bohne at 974-2113 by 5:00 p.m. on July 15, 1975."
Finally, one member of the Committee consulted records currently maintained in the Department of Safety and Security.
While we agreed on the above procedures, we did not agree on all conclusions provided below. The report will note differences of opinion at appropriate points in the narrative which follows.
Nature of the Files
A key question addressed by the Committee has been the nature of files maintained by the Department of Safety and Security. Obviously, the Department has maintained and continues to maintain criminal investigative files.1
In addition, however, we learned that the Department maintained, until at least December, 1974, approximately 75 "public security" files dating from the period of campus unrest. These files were mostly about individual students but contained information regarding several faculty and non-students as well. The files contained the following kinds of information: reports (including transcribed tape recordings) by Safety and Security officers concerning the behavior and actions of the subjects; names and addresses of the subject's friends and associates; the subject's social and organizational ties; newspaper articles, brochures, handbills, and other printed or duplicated material relating to the subject or the subject's associations; membership lists of groups; notices of meetings; photographs; and other material. The files must have been a rather unclassifiable collection of fact, rumor, verified or unverified reports by informers, printed materials, etc., all held together by an indefinable bond labeled "potentially disruptive." Apparently, detectives were instructed by their department supervisors to "study these files in their spare time."
Establishing Files on Public Security
Authority for setting up public security files by the Safety and Security Department seems to have been diffuse. We think a file was set up, in the words of one witness, "on any person who comes to their attention." We think any investigating officer of the Safety and Security Department could institute a file by making a report on an individual or group.
Access to Files
Access to Safety and Security files seems to have been limited to certain persons and agencies. Those working in the Department, including secretaries, had access to all but the public security files, which were protected by lock and key from casual examination. Presumably only those in the chain of command of the UTK central administration could inspect the restricted files. Other law enforcement agencies, including City Police, security departments of other universities, the F.B.I., and Army Intelligence, could see the files upon request by asserting their "right to know." other organizations and individuals, such as potential employers, were not permitted to see the files or receive information contained in them. The personnel from Safety and Security whom we interviewed felt that the files were well protected, and that the public security files received special protection. From the above conclusions we have come to believe that if, as alleged, any files were shown to potential employers, or any information was given them by Safety and Security personnel, this was a direct violation of established procedures. Since the allegation on this question was unsupported by any witness' statement or other information, we believe that the allegation is probably false.
Methods of Surveillance
The absence of the public security files2 forced us to rely on witnesses for information as to how these were compiled, particularly those materials obtained from surveillance. The information we received on surveillance consisted primarily of examples, descriptions of specific incidents, and remembered conversations, but the evidence was sufficient to reconstruct to our satisfaction surveillance activities during the period of campus unrest.
The use of informers appears to have been minimal. We think perhaps three or four individuals were "undercover agents." One of these agents may have been recruited from outside Safety and Security, but the others were apparently patrolmen assigned to undercover work. After such assignment, they followed instructions to avoid visible contact with the Department supervisors, made phoned reports only, and received their pay inconspicuously. These people were not simply "plain clothes detectives." They separated themselves from the Department and were usually enrolled as students.
Other informers were student volunteers, presumably unpaid. We interviewed two such people, who provided insight into the motivation which caused them to become friendly with dissident persons in order to inform on their activities. These volunteers expressed little if any embarrassment at their role; they believed they were helping to prevent or contain disorder. There seems to have been some doubt in the minds of Department personnel, however, that the use of informers was entirely or always appropriate.
We were left with uncertainty concerning the full extent of the use of informers and undercover agents. In spite of the obvious risk that informers may be tempted to become agents provocateurs, we heard no evidence that any did so.
Surveillance by tape-recorders and cameras was actively carried on in gathering intelligence about potentially disruptive persons and groups. Secret recorders were used at informal and other gatherings where dissidents were present. Conversations were recorded and the taped material was given to the department for transcription and filing. Photographs of crowds at rallies, demonstrations, etc. were taken by University personnel at the Department's request, and were later used to identify participants at disruptive riots. It is not clear to us whether any attempt was made in advance to distinguish between legal and illegal aspects of the subjects' recorded behavior. Detectives were stationed in gathering places, such as "the Rafters," for the purpose of listening to private conversations among students and/or faculty. Probably the secretly gathered information became part of the public security files. Tapes were erased after transcription.
Open surveillance by tape-recording, note-taking, photography, and observation (often by recognizable detectives) also occurred during the period of campus unrest. Public meetings such as anti-war rallies were subject to such observation. The explanation given the Committee was that this kind of information-gathering was convenient as well as proper. Anything that could lead to illegal acts should be observed and recorded, in order to protect the University. Some people whom we interviewed took a contrary view, suggesting that open surveillance had a chilling effect upon the assembled individuals' freedom of assembly and speech.
Certain types of people were singled out for surveillance by the responsible officers in Safety and Security. These were "hippie type" persons, whoever they might be, and their friends and associates. Others were "anti-establishment types," as well as people in crowds who expressed anti-establishment (at the time in question, mostly anti-war) views. Presumably the kinds of surveillance mentioned above--secret or open recording and informers--were used to obtain information about the types of persons specified.
Use of the Public Security Files
The use of the files, like the contents, must remain conjectural. The Committee speculates upon the comments we heard from people who may be presumed to know. The occasional vagueness of their remarks did not seem evasive, but reflected, we think, the lapse of time since the files were active (apparently 1971) as well as the real nature of the files, which may well have had little security value and were easily forgotten.
There is no doubt that the files were set up in order to help prevent serious disruption of the campus. The Vietnam War, among other problems in the 1960's, produced an atmosphere in which students, faculty, and non-student dissidents at other universities created disturbances resulting at times in suspension of classes, destruction of property, and death or injury to individuals. The administration needed to know and required Safety and Security to find out what risk there was of such disturbances at UTK, and which individuals would be likely to be involved. We cannot judge whether or not the intelligence files were effectively used in preventing disorder. Preventive measures used here, whatever they were, were effective; there was relatively little disruption at UTK.
Other use of these files is uncertain. They were apparently shared with law enforcement and intelligence agencies of other jurisdictions. On at least one occasion, the Billy Graham disturbance, close cooperation between Safety and Security and City Police led to arrests by City Police. We presume that cooperation included providing the City Police with access to the information gathered by Safety and Security, including that which may have been a part of public security files.
Disposition of the Files
Destruction of the public security files occurred, we believe, in late December 1974, or early January, 1975. Chief Griffin stated that he burned these files and that they no longer exist.
One of the Committee members visited Safety and Security to examine the existing files to see if any public security material was still being maintained. He found in the card file one reference (listing name only) to a faculty member not connected to any criminal investigation. This card, he was told, was left over by mistake when the "intelligence files" and the cards referring to them were destroyed. This card was then torn up, with a comment that there was no further need to keep it. A general file on the Billy Graham disturbance exists, but it contains no "arbitrary or personal" information such as that which has been described as being a major part of the public security files.
At least 200 current files were checked at random without the discovery of any improper material. Older files dating from 1969-72 were also examined; a few of these did contain some surveillance information such as those which the 75 public security files were alleged to contain. These reports, like, the card found and destroyed in the current card-file, were supposed to have been destroyed, the Committee's representative was told, and they were destroyed in his presence. He was also told that the tape recordings which had been made during surveillance activities had been erased and re-used after they had been transcribed and that the taped information was therefore destroyed when the public security files were burned.
We are inclined to believe that there has been no attempt to "cover up" either the existence or the destruction of the public security files. Our recent examination of the Department's files and filing system led to the discovery of only fragments left by oversight from. the public security files once admittedly maintained. if any "cover up" (as has been charged) is still being attempted, the Committee does not think such remnants would have been left for casual discovery. The Committee's representative was impressed by the openness of the Department personnel concerning the files in question.
An unresolved question is whether or not the public security files were temporarily concealed some years ago during an examination of the operating efficiency of the Department of Safety and Security (either the "Jarman Commission"--a state group appointed by Governor Dunn during his first year in office--or the "Garner Study"--an internal management study conducted several years later by the University's Management Consultant). According to the testimony of two former employees of Safety and Security, certain members of the Department removed the public security files to the trunks of automobiles, and returned them to the office when the investigation was over. This allegation has been denied by the chief officers of the Safety and Security Department. Motives for the temporary removal of the files, if it occurred, are not clear.
Summary of Conclusions
The study of the accusations against Safety and Security led the Committee to the following conclusions:
1. Files concerning non-criminal activities of UTK students and faculty members were compiled and maintained, as alleged, during the late 1960's and early 70's.
2. These public security files do not still exist but were destroyed in the winter of 1974-75.
3. The Committee could not resolve fully whether or not the files were concealed from a "state investigator."
4. The accusation that the kind of surveillance carried on by the Department involved subjects vaguely described by personal appearance, speech and opinion, but not by name or occupation, is true; but the question of propriety, considering the climate of unrest and real or imagined danger to the campus at the time must, in our opinion, remain open. It is not our duty to attempt to judge past behavior except in terms relevant to future guidelines. We are concerned that the kind of surveillance that was described--a kind of indiscriminate spying on individuals plus an intimidating presence at lawful gatherings--be regulated in the future. This will be considered in a later section of the report.
5. The allegation that a large part of the security force was engaged in surveillance of non-criminal activities has not been supported by facts coming to our attention.
6. The statement that there has been no reduction in the Department since 1970 (an implication that surveillance has been a continued major activity) has been unsupported by facts. In actuality, from 1972-3 to 1975-6 the number of Safety and security employees was reduced from 70 to 52.
7. We could find no evidence that surveillance of political or non-criminal activity goes on today.
The Committee now moves to the most important part of its report, recommendations for procedures for accumulating and maintaining information useful in preventing campus disruption arising from non-criminal activities of groups or individuals. The Committee wants it clearly understood that our specific recommendations do not imply that particular acts of commission or omission by Safety and Security personnel were done in the past. All references in our recommendations are directed toward the future.
The Committee studied and discussed such. varied sources of information as a proposal for campus security made by a private detective agency and the report of a commission which describes "Public Security Activities of the Intelligence Division, New York City Police Department." We tried to recognize both the value of procedures in use elsewhere and- the peculiar needs of the UTK community. We weighed competing values and alternative solutions, and although we did not reach consensus (as the reader will see) on every recommendation, we did agree that the problem of security with freedom is very difficult. Fortunately, we were asked to recommend, merely; the Chancellor will receive our recommendations as advice which we hope he and the Department will follow.
Threats to Security
First, we think there should be a clearer understanding as to what matters constitute a threat to public security, that is, a threat to the general right of members of the university community to be secure in pursuing their lawful activities--learning, teaching, speaking, listening, gathering in groups or engaging in private pursuits. Obviously, the Committee's charge did not include the investigation of crimes and the apprehension of criminals. We are concerned with activities that tend to "have a potential. for violence or disorder," adversely affect the conduct of teaching and learning, create traffic, crowd control or noise problems to the extent that unusual deployment of police becomes necessary, "involve deliberate and concerted illegal behavior as a form of protest," "foment intergroup hostilities, counter demonstrations, assaults, destruction of property," or involve groups or individuals advocating violence, racial or religious conflict, or "the achievement of goals by unlawful means." (The quoted categories are from the New York City Police Department "Procedures: Public Security Activities of the Intelligence Division.")
We think the Department of Safety and Security believed it was dealing with such problems when it undertook the surveillance and file-building activities that we have reviewed. We affirm the duty of University Security to become aware of the potential for disruption, and to take appropriate preventive and corrective action. Also, in preserving the above rights of the University community, it is understood that Safety and Security should communicate with and at times cooperate actively with other police agencies that can help. The procedures which we now outline are intended to clarify the Department's role and to guide its staff in the exercise oil that role.
We repeat a word of caution here. "In few other areas of professional police responsibilities is it as important to be especially sensitive to constitutional rights, societal interests and community values as in the operation of an intelligence system. 'The impact of an intelligence system upon the constitutional rights of those about whom it collects information ultimately depends upon the whole of the system's operations: the categories of individuals included in its files, the persons and agencies to which it disseminates information, the provisions it makes for verification and purging, the adequacy of its security arrangements, and so on.'" (Quoted from New York City Police Department "Procedures" and, quotes within, Basic Elements of Intelligence, etc. November 1971, Godfrey and Harris.) It would be wise for the Department to provide intensive training in relevant constitutional principles, especially those in the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, for all personnel engaged in Public Security duties.
The procedures which we have considered involve several steps. These are the gathering of information, evaluation and analysis of the information received, recording and storage of information, dissemination of information, and eventual disposition of the stored material. We shall discuss these stages in the following paragraphs, and shall conclude with a recommendation that procedures and personnel be constantly re-evaluated.
The responsibility for the initiation of investigation of individuals or groups believed to be a threat to public security should rest with the Director of the Department or a subordinate delegated in his or her absence. The decision to investigate should be based on a substantial possibility that the information sought would help the Department perform its public security function. Instructions to subordinates who are asked to investigate should include the reasons for the investigation and the kind of information to be collected. While our recommendations are mainly restrictive, aimed at preventing excessive or improper surveillance, we recognize the fact that public security is important, and that information concerning individuals or groups may be properly sought if there is substantial risk of property damage, personal injury, or severe traffic problems arising from the individual's or group's actions.
The use of informers should be carefully limited. By this we do not mean to restrict the activities of plain-clothes detectives in the investigation of serious crime, or even the employment of paid informers to combat, for example, traffic in hard drugs. But informers should not be employed to secure information about the activities of groups or individuals, or to report opinions or other statements that do not relate to ordinary crime. Granted, some lack of preparedness may result from failure to gather information about planned rallies, protests, picketing, etc.; but the harm done by the presence of undercover agents among students and faculty who value their freedom to learn, that is, to speak and to listen, in our opinion outweighs the possible good that early warning by informers might do. The resulting suspicion of colleagues and fellow students would erode the atmosphere of trust that a university seeks to maintain. The security force, especially, becomes an object of paranoid hostility when it is thought guilty of improper involvement in legitimate activities. The image of the police as helpers can be quickly destroyed by even a hint of Gestapo-like tactics.
If it is necessary, in a crisis situation, to use undercover agents to discover important plans which Safety and Security is obliged to prepare to react to, then the decision to use such methods should be made by a high-ranking officer, with the knowledge and consent of the Chief, Director, appropriate Vice Chancellor, and the Chancellor.
Surveillance by tape recording and photography carries the same risk of counter-productivity as the use of informers. The Committee, however, is not unanimous in its views as to how the use of recording equipment should be regulated. The following paragraphs dealing with wiretaps (of which we disapprove), hidden recorders (of which we disapprove), and open taping and photography (on which we differ), should make this clear.
Wiretaps, we agree emphatically, should not be used or be permitted to be used for public security purposes. As stated before, we do not believe Safety and Security engaged in improper wiretapping. (We distinguish here, as elsewhere, between purposes of public security and purposes of ordinary law enforcement and the detection of serious crime. Legal wiretaps, under court order, do not concern us here.)
Hidden Recording vs. Open Surveillance
The presence of hidden tape recorders or concealed cameras at legitimate assemblies is, we agree, an unjustified and harmful abuse of the police function. But some think the open use by police of the same instruments at such gatherings is proper. It is argued that just as an individual, or a member of the press, has a right to observe and record anything public, so the police should not be denied that right.
Others of us think that this argument, while logical, neglects the important point that the police, when observing, taking notes, using tape recorders, or making photographs, are seen and recognized as performing a police function. They cannot be accepted as mere individuals or even as representatives of the media. They represent the arm of government that accuses, arrests, and after trial, punishes. Therefore, they effectively threaten, harass, intimidate, or provoke a crowd when they observe its members in such extraordinary ways. In the view of some Committee members, open surveillance is an instrument of oppression. We cannot tolerate it in a community that values freedom of speech and assembly. (The Committee agrees that in one situation open surveillance is proper, that is, during an actual event where illegal acts are being performed.) The Committee remains divided on this issue, however, and leaves it to the Chancellor to use his good judgment. He may be interested in seeing how the New York City Police Department views this question, however. In their "Procedures" they state (p. 8,2.):
"Public Security Activities are to be conducted in such a manner that no infringement upon the statutory and constitutional rights of any individual, group or organization is occasioned.
"In particular, any collection of information is to be done with discretion so as to minimize the possibility that citizens will be deterred from exercising their lawful rights."
Surveillance of Speech or Opinion: Prohibition and Exceptions
The Committee agrees that there is usually no need for Safety and Security to know or care what any individual thinks or says about sociopolitical matters. As we recommended concerning undercover agents, we recommend that no political files ever be compiled or maintained, and that intelligence as to speech or opinions be neither gathered nor preserved. The New York City Police rules are very clear on this point: "Information which merely reflects the political preferences, personal habits, predilections, associations, or activities of any person, group or organization and which is not substantially relevant to legitimate public service purposes will not be stored in the Public Security files, but will be destroyed." If any occasion should arise where, in the opinion of responsible officers in the Department, it is necessary to investigate matters of this sort, they should obtain authorization from their supervisors, including the appropriate Vice Chancellor and the Chancellor, informing these officials of the need to know. The request should be supported by the same kind of justification that a search warrant requires, and the granting authority should be fully cognizant of the basis for the request and the probable consequences of granting it. The gathering of information about sociopolitical actions which are themselves noncriminal should, like the use of informers and, some think, recording equipment, be severely limited in such situations.
Dissemination of Information
If the gathering of public security information should be limited, then obviously the dissemination of such information should be highly restricted. The New York Police Department spells out what the Committee believes to be the appropriate limits of access to its "intelligence" materials as follows:
"The only information which is to be disseminated by Public Security to other members and units of this department is that which would further the goal of providing this department with the necessary intelligence to perform its legitimate police service functions. Dissemination of such information must be approved by the Commanding Officer, Intelligence Division, or his designated representative.... In passing upon requests, all of the following factors must be considered: ... nature of the information ..., ... source of the information ..., ... classification (i.e., according to reliability) ..., ... identity of members ... requesting the information, ... nature of the investigation being conducted...."
Regarding extra-departmental dissemination, the New York rules are even stricter, requiring not only the same kind of scrutiny of the nature of the filed information requested, but also a thorough, detailed written statement of the outside group's "need to know." Further, such information will be transmitted only over the signature of the "Commanding Officer, Intelligence Division." The request and response will. be logged into the appropriate records of the Department. Unless specifically authorized to release particular information, personnel should make no outside disclosures. These principles are especially applicable to so-called "intelligence" material.
As to nongovernmental individuals or agencies, there should under no circumstances be dissemination, either formal or informal.
Dissemination of photos should be controlled with a least the same care as other sensitive materials. Requests for such material by other police agencies for any purpose beyond the identification of individuals wanted for extremely serious matters should be denied. "Surveillance photos--much more so than criminal identification photos--are of a particularly sensitive nature. Accordingly, their dissemination must be strictly limited to instances involving the most compelling, legitimate law enforcement purposes, such as investigations of homicides, bombings, kidnappings, and other extremely serious matters" (New York Police Department "Procedures"). Our Committee recommends that the UTK Department of Safety and Security initiate written rules and procedures which will protect intelligence information, including photos, from being improperly disseminated.
Punitive Use of Information
Any punitive use of the filed information--for example, disclosure to persons responsible for hiring, firing, or recommending the employment or discharge of others--should never be permitted. Suspicion of such use could lead again to accusations against the Department and serious loss of confidence in the Department's professionalism. In the case of faculty subjects, release of public security information to department heads or colleagues would be a severe breach of the principles of academic freedom.
Limits of Maintenance
The time during which filed information is kept was of concern to the Committee. Loss of possibly useful information must be weighed against the bureaucratic tendency to accumulate paper and the continued risk of injury to the innocent. The Student Conduct Office normally maintains a student's file for only five years. Whether that is a reasonable time to preserve material of an "intelligence," nature is difficult to decide in advance. Obviously, the longer a file of sensitive material is kept, the more risk there is that unauthorized access may occur, "leaks" may develop, and innocent persons may be harmed. We recommend that public, security files be frequently reviewed, with the presumption that they should be destroyed. only the same compelling reasons that established such files in the first place should be used to justify keeping them for more than a short time. We suggest that public security files should be routinely examined and purged after 3 to 6 months. The existence and disposition of such files should be logged and certified by the supervising officer.
Re-evaluation of Procedures and Personnel
Re-evaluation, as described above, should extend to more than actual files. The Department should frequently examine its procedures to see if they are relevant to objectives that are valid, and to see if they are adequate to new needs that may have been recognized. In order to regularize the process of re- evaluation, we propose that the operating procedures, especially those to which this inquiry is addressed, should be written down and should remain available to Department personnel. Efforts should be made to be sure that personnel understand the rules and obey them. Since any set of rules requires modification as experience is gained, the re-evaluation process should seek to change faulty or useless regulations and to propose new ones when needed. We think that re-evaluation of information and procedures is not enough, however. The strength of the Department depends ultimately upon the competence of its members. Careful evaluation prior to employment as well as constructive re-evaluation of staff, perhaps with recommendations for further training or changed behavior, should be carried on routinely.
We as a Committee are not competent, however, to list specific do's and don'ts for the professionals who comprise UTK's Safety and Security Department. Our recommendations go to the level of principles only. Nevertheless, we strongly urge that the Department review and update the day- to-day operating rules which govern the collection, maintenance, dissemination, and destruction of intelligence material affecting the public security.
1It should also be pointed out that the office of Student Conduct maintains student disciplinary files, which are normally destroyed after five years.
2Later in this report we discuss the destruction of the files, which occurred in 1974-5.
To offer suggestions or comments about this web site, please click here.