Carnegie Mellon University

Privacy of Faculty Offices

POLICY TITLE: Carnegie Mellon University Policy on the Privacy of Faculty Offices
DATE OF ISSUANCE: This policy was originally issued on May 31, 1991. It appears in the current Faculty Handbook.
ACCOUNTABLE DEPARTMENT/UNIT: Office of the Provost. Questions on policy content should be directed to the Office of the Provost, ext. 8-6684.
ABSTRACT: No one may enter a faculty member's office without permission except for reasons explained in the policy.

Policy Statement

No one may enter a faculty member's office, or search a faculty member's files, or examine or remove work products or documentary material (e.g., research data, notes on interviews, drafts of publications or lectures, notes used in the preparation of publications or lectures, audio and visual tapes, films, outtakes, mental impressions, opinion and other material intended for dissemination of information to students, colleagues or the general public) without permission, even if the faculty member is absent.

Exceptions may be made when the occupant's employment with the university has been terminated or when repeated and thorough attempts have been made to contact the occupant (or, if the occupant is deceased, her or his personal representative or, if she or he has none, then the person named to receive her or his life insurance proceeds under the university's life insurance plan), and if neither applies, entry can be made as stated hereafter. No such entry shall be made except by two persons together, one an officer of the university and the other the chair of the Faculty Review Committee. Before making entry these persons shall particularly describe in writing the property or things sought or to be seized.

Exceptions to the procedure for entry also may be made for routine building maintenance, space planning, building emergencies or for the retrieval of joint work or routine documents where the faculty member is not readily available to grant permission and there exists a strong presumption of her or his likely approval of the purpose of the entry.

Exceptions to the procedure may also be made when there is probable cause to believe the occupant is engaged in a crime, in which case a search warrant would be obtained.

Under any conditions of entry the occupant of the office shall immediately afterwards be furnished a list of, and/or copies of, the property or things copied or taken, if any.