Thursday, April 12, 2007

Social Conditions and Political Events influence Suggestion Book entries

Some questions from the Suggestion Book archives , like this question we received in Dec 2003, are more disturbing, and reflect trends and fears following the events of 9/11/01:
3750. I’m not sure what the limits in the library are respecting the Patriot Act, but I feel I should make a suggestion if at all possible/ necessary: I believe the staff here should make an effort at identifying somehow what students are emailing, downloading, and sending, because when it comes to our safety, I don’t care whose rights are politely infringing upon. This morning I saw what can be identified as a middle eastern young man reading in English with words that the Homeland Security Dept website lists as plausible “yellow lights”: jihad, “only true religion”, etc. I’m an accepting, open-minded person but when I saw this I just got scared. He was certainly looking at something suspicious in nature. What would the school do if a terrorist “sleeper” is found here, browsing the net to talk to his “buddies” and get more info to inflame his zeal and harm us? I’m sorry but after 9/11, this I am saying is not incendiary it is reality.
We answered that although we appreciate the writer’s concern, the Library and the College support freedom of inquiry. Furthermore, Library staff never have and never will monitor or keep track of what our users look at or research.

We cited the NOVA Student Handbook and the Library Bill of Rights in support of this position

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