The University Record, October 21, 1996

On privacy, confidentiality and honor

In his closing comments to the Regents, PSAC Chair Jeffrey Lehman offers the committee's assistance and made a strong point about the importance of honor in protecting the candidates' confidentiality.

First, you have asked us for our advice, and we have come here publicly to give it. We believe that you should follow it. But we also want you to know that we understand that our role has been purely advisory. The decision is yours, and if you choose not to follow our suggestions to the letter, we will all continue to love this great University.

Second, we would like to be of continuing help to you in whatever ways we can. We would like to share with you whatever additional insight we could provide or knowledge we might have accumulated during our careers---before and during our work in this committee.

At the same time, we understand that we are under a preliminary injunction that precludes us from speaking with you outside the presence of the media, and that precludes us from sharing documents with you that are not also distributed to the media.

And we will respect that injunction. We will have no private conversations. But we want you to know that this really does change the things we might otherwise do.

For, even as we shall respect the court's order, we shall respect the importance of preserving and protecting the lives of people we have dealt with in confidence, and thereby maintaining the honor of the University of Michigan.

We will not bring dishonor to this University by revealing publicly the private thoughts of a person that were obtained on the basis of the universal understanding that confidential references are to be kept confidential.

We will not bring dishonor to the university by giving you redacted references which, while they may protect the privacy of the speaker, subject the object of the references to the least reliable form of commentary---commentary from unidentified sources.

We will not bring dishonor to the University by publicly revealing the identities of individuals whom we recruited to meet with us via a promise of confidentiality.

We will help you in any way that we lawfully can, but we will not bring dishonor to the University of Michigan.