The FBI and other government law enforcement agencies periodically contact people to complete regular processes, such as background checks or security clearances. Penn’s arrangement is that law enforcement should notify Penn Public Safety before coming to campus and before seeking to question a Penn employee regarding their Penn related activities.
Any faculty or staff member, student, or post doc contacted by the FBI or any other law enforcement agency regarding a Penn activity (and, in the case of faculty, an extramural engagement) should defer speaking with the agent until after obtaining advice by promptly contacting Kathleen Shields Anderson, the Vice President of Public Safety and the Office of the General Counsel. One is not required to speak with law enforcement agents immediately. The Office of General Council will provide advice and support in responding to the law enforcement agency. Kathleen Shields Anderson is the university contact for the Philadelphia FBI Office, as well as other law enforcement agencies, and will help to identify any issues in questions. They or other advisors can attend meetings with the law enforcement agents.
External legal support may be provided, when appropriate (i.e., In consultation with OGC), during an investigation to provide limited external/independent legal support.
If law enforcement asks to speak with an individual about their extramural activities or other non-Penn matter, the individual has the right to consult with their personal attorney before they decide whether or not to voluntarily speak with law enforcement agents. OGC can provide a list of external attorneys with the relevant expertise.
The Office of the General Counsel can be reached during university business hours at 215-746-5200. If this is an emergency that cannot wait until business hours, contact Public Safety.
For more general guidance on one’s rights, please see the following: