Motion US02/03-4 Ð Request for a Summary Report of the University's Policies and Procedures in Response to the US Patriot Act, CAPPS II, and Other Similar Legislation

Motion proposed by Barbara Pope, Women and Gender Studies For action in the University Senate, May 14, 2003

THEREFORE, WE MOVE THAT the University of Oregon Senate initiate a process to work with all sectors of the university to formulate policies and procedures to protect academic freedom and the working environment that is necessary to carry out the University's core mission. This process must begin with an understanding of what procedures are now in place, or are being considered, by administrative units such as the Library, the Office of International Programs, Admissions, the Graduate School, Student Health Services, Human Resources, the Registrar's Office, Public Safety, the Provost's Office, and the President's Office to respond to requirements of the Patriot Act, the proposed CAPPS II, and similar legislation.

We request that the administration provide a summary report to the University Senate at its first fall meeting (8 October 2003) on current procedures, or policies under consideration, relating to:

In its report the administration should attempt to ascertain and disclose any restrictions on the travel of University personnel or students that has resulted or will result from the Patriot Act or anticipatory compliance with the proposed CAPPS II.


Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, the US government enacted legislation (the USA Patriot Act) to limit threats of domestic terrorism. Responses to terrorism are clearly needed. However, the hastily enacted Patriot Act, and similar legislation and executive orders, contain elements that interfere with the University of Oregon's educational and research mission, which is based upon the open exchange of ideas and the advancement and dissemination of knowledge.

The Patriot Act permits use of wiretaps; secret searches of property; retrieval of voicemail, email, and internet search results; and access to university personnel files, library and book-buying records, and academic records. Such surveillance may be conducted under a "gag order," meaning that members of the university community (including office workers, computer programmers, librarians, booksellers, campus security officers, faculty, administrators, and others) can be ordered to provide information to federal authorities without revealing that surveillance is occurring.

At present, the Patriot Act and the proposed Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II Act (CAPPS II) have resulted in visa and travel restrictions. Portions of the Patriot Act are inhibiting the scientific use of biological materials and the work of laboratory personnel. New restrictions on use of the Freedom of Information Act limit historical and social science research.

These measures pose threats to academic freedom, and the maintenance of a working environment that fosters the free exchange of ideas and the dissemination of new knowledge. 

The legislation was amended at the 14 May 2003 Senate meeting to require an "annual" report. It was then passed.
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