Published in


An Open Letter From University Faculty and Staff Against Campus Facial Recognition

Photo: Stegerphoto/Getty Images

OneZero is presenting an open letter penned by more than 150 college and university faculty, staff, and researchers. It was written in coordination with a national campaign to stop facial recognition on college campuses led by Fight for the Future, a nonprofit advocating for rights in the digital age, and Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, a nonprofit dedicated to ending the War on Drugs. The letter comes before a student-led national day of action on March 2.

To add your name to this letter, fill out this form.

To all campus administrators:

We are a group of academic faculty and staff who oppose the use of facial recognition on college campuses. We believe it is our duty to protect our campuses as learning environments where our students, fellow staff, and community members are safe, and that the constant surveillance of facial recognition threatens our human rights and privacy.

Facial recognition poses a unique threat to safety, civil liberties, and academic freedom on campus. It is inherently biased, highlighted by a recent study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that showed some systems misidentifying people of color up to 100 percent of the time. Such misidentification on campus could result in traumatic interactions with law enforcement, loss of class time, denied access to dorms or other campus buildings, disciplinary action, and potentially a criminal record. Law enforcement and ICE are already using facial recognition to search databases without their knowledge or consent, and college campuses facial recognition systems could provide new data for law enforcement and ICE to mine and target vulnerable populations. The biometric data collected is also a target for hackers and stalkers, and we’ve seen that many schools are ill-equipped to safeguard this data. In the wrong hands, these systems, and the data they generate, could be used to harm students. Facial recognition is invasive, enabling anyone with access to the system to watch students’ movements, try to analyze facial expressions, monitor who they talk to, what they do outside of class, and every move they make.

Adopting facial recognition is not an effective means for increasing security. According to the ACLU, video surveillance does not increase security at all. And the dangers of facial recognition cannot be avoided, whether it’s used in CCTV cameras explicitly for security or for seemingly innocuous purposes like speeding up lines at big campus events or taking attendance in a large lecture hall. The problems with the technology outlined above remain true regardless of how it’s implemented. There is no safe way to deploy facial recognition technology, which is why leading technology and human rights experts have called for it to be banned.

We want to lend our support to students organizing to keep facial recognition off of our campuses. Students should not have to trade their right to safety and privacy for an education. Since facial recognition technology poses too many threats that cannot be avoided, it should not be used at all.


  • Bruce Schneier, Harvard Kennedy School, Fellow and Lecturer
  • Evan Selinger, Rochester Institute of Technology, Professor
  • Richard Boyce, Northern Kentucky University, Professor
  • Jevan Hutson, University of Washington School of Law, Lead Policy Advocate, Technology Law & Public Policy Clinic
  • Robin DeRosa, Plymouth State University, Director, Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative
  • Blake C. Stacey, University of Massachusetts Boston, Research Assistant Professor
  • Jack Poulson, Stanford University, (Former) Assistant Professor of Mathematics
  • Linda Hanson, Michigan State University, Adjunct professor
  • Martha Fay Burtis, Plymouth State University, Learning & Teaching Developer
  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Michigan State University, Director of Digital Humanities and Professor of English
  • Yves Moreau, University of Leuven, Full professor
  • Dr. Charles R. Simpson, SUNY Plattsbugh, Professor of Sociology, retired
  • Margaret Hu, Washington and Lee University School of Law, Associate Professor of Law
  • James Keach, University of Hawai’i — Mānoq, Assistant Extension Agent Faculty
  • Max White, CSSH, PT faculty
  • Jesse Stommel, University of Mary Washington, Senior Lecturer
  • Moya Bailey, Northeastern University, Assistant Professor
  • Joan Steinman, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Tech., Professor of Law Emerita
  • Rega Wood, Indiana University, bloomington, Professor
  • Dan Gillmor, Arizona State University, Professor of Practice
  • Sasha Costanza-Chock, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Associate Professor of Civic Media
  • Professor Steven F. Forleo, Community College of Rhode Island, Professor of English
  • Daniel Noemi Voionmaa, Northeastern University, Associate Professor
  • Griffin J Rademacher, Northeastern University, Lead Cx Technician
  • Jay Aronson, Carnegie Mellon University, Professor and Director of the Center for Human Rights Science
  • Noah Theriault, Carnegie Mellon University, Assistant Professor
  • Kimberle Crenshaw, UCLA law school, Professor of law
  • Harry Hochheiser, University of Pittsburgh, Associate Professor
  • Autumm Caines, University of Michigan — Dearborn, Instructional Designer
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan, University of Virginia, Robertson Professor of Media Studies
  • Lisa Melonçon, University of south Florida, Professor
  • Woodrow Hartzog, Northeastern University, Professor of Law and Computer Science
  • Dorothea Salo, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Distinguished Faculty Associate
  • Jordan Carroll, University of Tampa, Professor of Instruction
  • Kyle M. L. Jones, Indiana University-Indianapolis (IUPUI), Assistant Professor
  • Nicole d’Avis, Berklee College, Managing Director, Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship
  • Sundi Richard, Davidson College, Assistant Director for Digital Learning
  • Aimee Stubbs, Tarrant County College, Library Specialist
  • Arielle Wolff, University of Tennessee, Veterinary Technician
  • Chris Gilliard, Macomb College, Professor
  • Melissa VerDuin, Grand Rapids Community College, Custodian
  • Dr. Leslie Patrick, Bucknell University, Professor Emeritus
  • R Burns, SLCC, AD
  • Stanley Taylor, Lane Community College, Instructor of Political Science
  • Richard Boyce, Northern Kentucky University, Professor
  • Jill Godmilow, University of Notre Dame, Emeritai Professor
  • Darlene R. May, Wake Forest University, Full Teaching Professor
  • Paul Eisenberg, Indiana University, Bloomington, Professor Emeritus
  • Pedro M Hernandez, Jackson State University, Associate Professor
  • Marilyn Lee, University of North Alabama, Professor
  • K. Feilmeyer, Hamline University, Academic Librarian
  • Judith Commons, California State University, Sacrmento, ASA
  • Edward Hubbard, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Catherine Bolten, University of Notre Dame, Associate Professor
  • Jay Rutherdale, Sacramento State, ASC II
  • David B. Chandler, University of Delaware, mathematics
  • Nicole Dambrun, Oakland University, Special Lecturer in Department of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Martha Smith, Elmira College, Instruction & Outreach Librarian
  • A, Messiah College, Library
  • Richard Sheehan, University of Notre Dame, professor
  • Robert Freeborn, Pennsylvania State University, Associate Librarian
  • Marina Savenkova, WSU, lab manager
  • Jason Schulman, Lehman College, CUNY, Adjunct Assistant Professor
  • Clayton Mendonça Cunha Filho, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Professor
  • Sascha Meinrath, Penn State University, Palmer Chair in Telecommunications
  • Frank K. Thorp, University of Chicago, Emeritus professor
  • Germano Brandes, UFSC, Teacher Filosophie Antropologie
  • Chris Albers, Delgado Community College, writing center coach
  • Emily Wang, University of Notre Dame, Assistant Professor of Russian
  • Deberniere Torrey, University of Utah, faculty
  • Sean O’Brien, Yale University, Lecturer, Yale Law School
  • Tagert Ellis, UC Irvine, Assistant Course Director/Lecturer
  • David Segal, Stanford, Fellow, non-residential, Center for Internet and Society
  • John Cooper,, Prof. Emeritus
  • M Port, Palm Beach State College, Learning Specialist
  • Aaron Hogue, Salisbury University, Associate Professor
  • Maria Salgado, UNC-Chapel Hill, Professor Emerita
  • Oona Hatton, San Jose State University, Assistant Professor
  • Robert Petersen, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
  • Kenneth Chay, Brown University, Professor
  • Meira Levinson, Harvard University, Professor of Education
  • William O’Grady, University of Washington, KUOW-FM Announcer
  • David Elmendorf, Saint Xavier University, Associate Professor
  • Gerard F. Gaudin, Delgado Community College, Retired Professor
  • Kay Clopton, Ohio State University, Librarian
  • John Weirick, Augsburg University, Writer
  • Liz Tymkiw, University of Delaware, Research Associate
  • Kathryn Ryan-Zeugner, Library, Librarian, Retired
  • Dr.F Taylor, Benedictine University, professor
  • Tika Bordelon, Evergreen, Counselor
  • Sasha Kay, UGA, Research Professional I
  • Lilly Irani, UC San Diego, Associate Professor
  • Frank T Fitzgerald, Ph.D., College of Saint Rose, Professor of Sociology
  • Misti Kane, Pitt, librarian
  • Susanne Weil, Centralia College, Professor
  • Eliot Moss, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Professor (Informations and Computer Sciences)
  • Selena Ambush, Daytona State College, Faculty
  • Nathan Devir, University of Utah, Associate Professor
  • John Detweiler, M Ed, Universidad Tecnológica de la Mixteca, Profesor/Investigador
  • Tom Gutnick, Northern Virginia Community College, Instructor, Information & Engineering Technology
  • Dan Wicht, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Usher at Ted Mann Concert Hall
  • Steven Wallace, University of Colorado, Boulder, Museum Associate
  • Stephen Steppe, Purdue University, Enrollment Specialist
  • Dorothy Kidd, University of San Francisco, Professor
  • Michelle Wolf, San Francisco State University, Professor Emerita
  • Heike Schotten, University of Massachusetts Boston, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Jonathan Becker, Virginia Commonwealth University, Associate Professor, Educational Leadership
  • John Helveston, George Washington University, Assistant Professor
  • Carmen Rodriguez, Virginia Commonwealth University, Teaching Associate Professor
  • Hao Do, Full Sail University, Associate Course Director
  • Professor Kalervo Gulson, University of Sydney, Australia, Professor
  • David Ebner, University of Southern California, TA
  • Chris Tilly, UCLA, Professor
  • Merrill Cole, Western Illinois University, Professor of English
  • Sahar Aziz, Rutgers Law School, Professor of Law
  • Ruth Anne Robbins, Rutgers Law School, Distinguished Clinical Professor
  • Jeremy Bearer-Friend, George Washington University Law School, Associate Professor of Law
  • Randolph A. Robinson II, University of Illinois Chicago John Marshall Law School, Assistant Professor of Law
  • Shirley Lin, New York University School of Law, Acting Assistant Professor
  • Anthony Paul Farley, Rutgers Law School — Newark and Albany Law School, Peter Rodino Distinguished Visiting Professor at Rutgers Law School (2020) and Matthews Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at Albany Law School
  • Alan Meyers, Boston University School of Medicine, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics
  • Albert Fox Cahn, NYU Law School, Fellow
  • Eric Miller, LMU Loyola Law School, Professor and Leo J. O’Brien Fellow
  • Bernard W. Bell, Rutgers Law School (Newark Campus), Professor & Herbert Hannoch Scholar
  • Barbara Hoffman, Rutgers Law School, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
  • john leubsdorf, Rutgers Law School, Professor
  • Rosalind Petchesky, Hunter College & the Graduate Center, City University of New York, Distinguished Professor Emerita
  • Cynthia Franklin, University of Hawaii, Professor of English
  • Ivan Huber, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ., Madison, NJ, Prof. Emeritus of Biology (member cs4af and living in LA)
  • Julie Levin Russo, The Evergreen State College, Member of the Faculty
  • Lynne Joyrich, Brown University, Professor
  • Faisal Chaudhry, University of Dayton, Assistant Professor of Law & History
  • Jeffrey Skoller, UC Berkeley, Assoc. Professor
  • Emily McFadd, CalState Los Angeles, Lecturer
  • Joseph Futoma, Harvard University, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Kate Hayes-Huer, Massasoit Community College, Administrative Assistant
  • Bernadette Brooten, Brandeis University, Kraft-Hiatt Professor, emerita
  • Alice Rothchild MD, Harvard University, Faculty of Medicine, retired, Assistant Professor Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
  • Judith Butler, UC Berkeley, Professor
  • Sarah Combellick-Bidney, Augsburg University, Associate Professor
  • Brian S Collier, University of Notre Dame, Faculty
  • Ellen P. Goodman, Rutgers Law, Professor
  • David Klein, California State University Northridge, Professor
  • Barry Trachtenberg, Wake Forest University, Faculty
  • Naomi Braine, Brooklyn College, City Univ of NY, Professor and Chair, Sociology Dept
  • Ellen Vandevisse, Matanuska Susitna College, University of Alaska, adjunct professor
  • James Pope, Rutgers University, Distinguished Professor of Law
  • Eunsong Kim, Northeastern University, Assistant Professor of English
  • Akos Rona-Tas, UC San Diego, Professor of Sociology
  • Eliah Aronoff Spencer, UCSD, Professor
  • Kerry McKenzie, UC San Diego, Associate Professor
  • Caren Kaplan, UC Davis, Professor Emerita, American Studies
  • Martha Lampland, University of California, San Diego, Professor
  • Kelly Gates, UC San Diego, Associate Professor
  • Robert S Westman, University of California, San Diego, Professor Emeritus
  • Saiba Varma, UCSD, Assistant Professor
  • John Comaroff, Harvard University, Professor
  • Ilana Gershon, Indiana University, Ruth N. Hall professor of anthropology
  • K Anne Pyburn, Indiana University, Professor
  • Kate Weisburd, GW Law School, Associate Professor of Law
  • Lynn S. Dombrowski, IUPUI, Assistant Professor
  • Stacie M. King, Indiana University, Associate Professor, Anthropology
  • Gail P. Streete, Rhodes College, Professor Emerita
  • Ricardo Dominguez, UCSD, Professor
  • Ivan Huber, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ., Madison, NJ, Prof. Emeritus of Biology
  • Beth Buggenhagen, Indiana University, Associate Professor
  • Arthur Wohlwill, Lansing Community College, Instructor
  • Tai Cossich, Royal College of Art, PhD candidate / Research Assistant
  • William Balco, University of North Georgia, Assistant Professor
  • Mary R D’Angelo, University of Notre Dame, Associate Professor, Emerita
  • Céline Castets-Renard, Law Civil Faculty, Université of Ottawa, Professor
  • Erin Hill, UCSD, Asst professor
  • Thomas Sabatini , Kent State University at Trumbull, Adjunct Professor
  • Laura Gibbs, University of Oklahoma, Lecturer
  • Colin Maclay, University of Southern California, research professor
  • Dr.F Taylor, Benedictine University, professor
  • Jeeyun Baik, University of Southern California, PhD Candidate




The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.

Recommended from Medium

Google Is Looking to Buy Fitbit, Which is Good News for Shareholders but Terrible News for Users’…

City University of New York Students Collect 27,000 Signatures Against Invasive Surveillance Policy

What Surveillance Capitalism Means to Democracy in Today’s Digital Age

Don’t Stop Thinking About Your Privacy in a Time of Crisis

Colorful neon mail envelope notification icons across the screen.

So You Think You Know Your GDPR?


2022: It is Time to Make Productivity Private

📷 Surveillance capitalism: big tech’s invasion of our private spaces through smart home technology…

My phone is listening to me?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Fight for the Future

Fight for the Future

We believe there's hardly anything as important as ensuring that our shared future has freedom of expression and creativity at its core.

More from Medium

The Human Brain-Scale AI Supercomputer Is Coming

CogView: Image generation and language modelling at scale

Broussard’s AI: Chapter 1

Op-Ed: A Warning about Self-Driving Cars