Office of the General Counsel
October 16, 2009
Dr. Katherine Robinson
President of Faculty Association
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL 32224
As you know, Marc Snow of the Office of the General Counsel attended the October 1st meeting of the Faculty Association to address legal issues related to the surreptitious tape recording of private conversations, such as conversations between a faculty member and a student or a faculty member and his/her department chair.
As Marc explained, it is illegal and considered a crime in Florida for one party to a conversation to tape record the conversation without the knowledge of and express consent of the other party. This is the case whether the parties are speaking by phone or in person. In addition, in my legal opinion, the content of a surreptitiously taped conversation should not be considered credible, should not be accepted as evidence in a campus proceeding, and should not be given any consideration during a decision-making process. The only appropriate use of a surreptitious tape recording is in connection with disciplinary action against the employee who illegally recorded the conversation.
To assure that academic administrators and other supervisors on campus are aware of these issues, I will be sending out a deans/directors communication.
Karen J. Stone
Vice President and General Counsel