Privacy Rights of Faculty Members

Privacy, as Judge Thomas Cooley described it, is “the right to be let alone” (1888, p. 29). Faculty members, as well as all university employees, may look to several sources—constitutional, statutory, and common law—as a basis for asserting their privacy rights. Insofar as the entry on the Fourth Amendment rights of faculty members focuses on issues surrounding searches of their persons, offices, and property, this entry highlights other concerns associated with the privacy rights of faculty members and other employees in institutions of higher education.

Constitutional privacy claims under the U.S. Constitution consist of two types. The first is informational privacy, which is breached when governmental officials release private information about individuals. Because a substantial number of federal laws address release of private information, claims for ...

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