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Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure(Final - Information)AF.04.01

USA Patriot ActIn November 2003, the Senate Executive Committee (SEC) asked the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (AFT) to study and report on the implications of the USA Patriot Act for the campus.AFT sent letters of inquiry to the following campus officers: Provost Richard Herman; Vice-Chancellor for Research Charles Zukoski; Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs Patricia Askew; University Librarian Paula Kaufman; Dean of the Graduate College Richard Wheeler; University Legal Counsel Thomas Bearrows; and Professor Leigh Estabrook, Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

The Committee received responses from all except University Legal Counsel and the Dean of theGraduate College. We are grateful to those who responded to our request for information.Members of AFT also studied the report of an AAUP Special Committee, “Academic Freedom and National Security in a Time of Crisis” (Academe, November-December 2003, pp. 34-59, or through AFT’s method of inquiry – requests for information from campus officers – is largely the result of the recommendations of the AAUP Special Committee.

This report is divided into two sections: first, a summary of our finding; and second, recommendations to the faculty.I. Summary of Our FindingsLetters from respondents indicate several areas of concern.International Students and Visitors

The USA Patriot Act introduced one program – US-VISIT –and enacted another – SEVIS. US-VISIT requires that international students and international visitors now submit to an inkless fingerprint at their port of entry to the
U.S. SEVIS is a foreign student monitoring program, which requires that the University provide “significant information, continuously updated, “on international students, scholars, and visitors in certain visa categories.The implementation of US-VISIT has caused some international students to fear expression of their views of certain issues without “jeopardizing their ability to remain” in the U.S. The implementation of SEVIS has caused delays for visas for some international students.

Moreover, compliance with the program is expensive. The VCSA has been forced to redirect funds away from support and orientation programs for international graduate students to support SEVIS.The LibraryThe USA Patriot Act requires that libraries reveal information concerning library loan records and records of library computer users. Because the UI Library does not require users to log in to library computers, the Library has no records to reveal. The names of those who borrow Library materials are maintained only as long as the material is on loan; then the names are expunged. (If the material is not returned, the name remains on record.).

The Library has resisted all efforts to require log-in policies.In a survey conducted in October and November 2002, Professor Leigh Estabrook found that, “although the Department of Justice continues to insist no public libraries have received a court order under the USA Patriot Act, “ at least one public library has, and two libraries reported that “they had received court orders prohibiting them from telling parties that authorities had requested information.”As far as University Librarian Paula Kaufman knows, the UI Library has not received a request for information under the USA Patriot Act. However, a provider of information must keep silence if required by the requestor.

Research-related issuesBecause UIUC has no campus policy precluding participation in research with security restrictions, potential contracts are examined on a case-by-case basis. The campus maintains laboratories and classrooms which are “open” learning environments. No classified research is performed on the campus.However, the USA Patriot Act introduced a potential new category of classification: “sensitive, but unclassified.”

The restrictions of this new category are unclear but might involve governmental protection of research results, lengthy pre-publication review of research, and possibly the restriction of the assignment of graduate research assistants to perform thesis-related research in a laboratory, if such research might not be published. These regulations might limit publication of research results and the participation of foreign nationals in academic and research programs.

The campus is concerned that the potential new category, “sensitive, but unclassified” is unclear and might provide retroactive restrictions. Restrictions under other government programs might eventually hamper certain departments by depriving them of qualified graduate students. Compliance with other restrictions might cause additional expense in, for example, retraining researchers and new security measures.

Faculty may wish to read a report “Balancing Scientific Publication and National Security Concerns: Issues for Congress” (January 10, 2003) –, which identifies many issues, concerns, and questions at UIUC and other universities.Office of the ProvostProvost Herman reported no instances of possible threats to academic freedom as a result of the USA Patriot Act.II. RecommendationsThese recommendations suggest responses that might be taken by faculty, staff, or students working in campus positions, should they be approached and asked to provide information under the USA Patriot Act.

Our recommendations are based on those now in effect at the UI Library ( for information by governmental agentsIf approached for such information, disclose no information until you have undertaken the following steps:If a federal law enforcement agent or another government agency demands compliance, ask the officer to provide identification and a court order, subpoena or other legal document.Consult the Office of University Legal Counsel (333-0563) to review the legal documents and to provide advice and guidance on compliance with such documents.

If approached and asked for immediate compliance, contact Campus Police (333-1216). Ask to speak with a shift supervisor to verify the credentials of the agent and the need for immediate compliance.Research professors who seek governmental grants and contracts

If there is any question in a grant or contract involving restrictions which might limit the “open” environment for research at UIUC, the professor should consult with the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research.Assume a role in shaping campus policy and regulations involving research which might involve restrictions antithetical to an “open” learning environment and academic freedom.We commend those campus officers who work to maintain an “open” environment which protects, with the law, confidentiality, academic freedom, and an encompassing educational mission.Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure

Emily Watts, Chair
Clifton Brown
Elizabeth Hearne
Trudy Kriven
Mosbah Kushad
Larry Ribstein
Billie Theide