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11.22.2004

My accusation: Invasion of privacy

I've given you details and since most of us are aware that I threatened to file a lawsuit regarding some of this, I'm going to get a little more specific on the legal problems as I see them. I'm not a lawyer, this is all based on what I've learned and read on my own. Even if these aren't legal issues, they are moral ethical ones that a Christian community like Taylor should be willing to address.

We'll start with this post about Jan Pletcher. My charge is that this is an egregious invasion of my right to privacy, and unwarranted intrusion. When I threatened to sue, I asked for an apology re: this invasion, and that Taylor take immediate steps to educate all its employees about how to respect its student's rights to privacy, specifically in regard to the counseling center.

Why this is an invasion of privacy
First, the right to privacy isn't necessarily articulated in any statute or law. It comes from an article in the Harvard Law Review in the 1890s written by lawyers "Bull" Warren and future Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis. It's been substantiated firmly in case law, including the infamous Roe v. Wade that Chrisitians tend to despise so much. In somes states, it's called intrusion.

What is the right to privacy? Generally, it's protection against a) intrusion on one's solitude or into one's private affairs; b) public disclosure of embarrassing private information; c) publicity which puts him/her in a false light to the public; d) appropriation of one's name or picture for personal or commercial advantage.

Now, does a private citizen, such as Jan Pletcher, contacting a student's therapist to question him or gain information or to levy accuastions of wrong-doing or for whatever reason she did it constitute an intrusion on one's solitude or one's private affiars? Absolutely.

The Chilling Effect
And unfortunately, Jan Pletcher was only one of a few who did this to me. The Youth Conference Director at the time, Caryn Grimstead did the same. And by all information I've gathered she did it multiple times.

Toward the end of my juior year, my counselor said to me, "I thought if I gave her a little (speaking of the YC Director), she'd back off, but she didn't. I'm sorry, I won't make that mistake again." His was the first, and up until last night, the only apology I've ever received in regard to Taylor. He and Wes are good people.

Now, why would I want to continue counseling under those conditions? Fortunately, I graduated before I found out this ocurred. Why would any student want to trust the counseling center? Or their professors? Where did the wonderful, idealic community I presented to so many prospective students go?

These people, for whatever reason they did what they did, damaged an awesome resource on Taylor's campus. They've irreperably damaged me. They took something from me that wasn't theirs to take. I can't get it back, either. The scary thing, they did it so quickly, and so easily -- possibly without much forethought as to the consequences, but maybe who knows, maybe there was forethought and even malice. I can't be sure. But I don't believe they feel they did anything wrong. I don't believe Taylor feels they did anything wrong. Michael Blickman, from Ice Miller, doesn't.

For Taylor, it seems to be all about protecting themselves from liability.