Grady Asked IT Specialist to Remove Files from Laptop

Nov 29, 2012

NIU police chief Donald Grady had an information technology specialist remove "personal files" from his laptop the day before he was placed on administrative leave, according to reports of court testimony this week.

Credit NIU

The Daily Chronicle reports that DeKalb County Circuit Court heard testimony from Haider Thahab, a computer forensic expert with NIU, who said Grady asked to meet him at the police department on Nov. 9 to remove files from Grady’s laptop and place them on a flash drive.

It is unclear exactly what information was in those files, but Thahab says there were documents related to Grady’s book, The Injustice of Justice.

Grady was placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 10  for failing to report two witness statements in the case against an officer accused of sexual assault. The charges against the officer were dropped this week.

NIU Police Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan also was placed on leave for the incident.  The newspaper says Ramakrishnan called Thahab on Nov. 11 and asked to meet with him to remove personal files from his computer. Since Ramakrishnan was already on leave, his computer had been blocked.

Illinois State Police are currently investigating the NIU police department.

Deborah Haliczer, Assistant Vice President for Employee Relations in Human Resource Services at NIU, provided this outline of the university’s web policies:

  • The "Acceptable Use Policy” is located on the ITS web page under information security.
  • While this policy mainly addresses email and other uses, it makes a reference to "computers attached to this network."  The State Officials and Employees Ethics Act clearly directs employees to use university resources only for work-related purposes, since these are state resources provided for work.
  • Most university employees use their computers for limited personal needs, such as booking flights, answering personal emails (to a limited and reasonable extent), etc. The operative words used by Steve Cunningham, NIU Vice President for Administration, are always "reasonable" and for "limited" use.
  • Faculty members can use university-provided computers to conduct professional research and writing and work done in conjunction with professional service activities related to their jobs. The bottom line is that the university "owns" employee computers and access to university networks.
  • The "System Access and Security Policy states: "Computer systems are provided to users to perform university business."
  • The use of university resources is to be for university-related activities.
  • Some colleges provide (on long-term loan) laptops and access to networks to faculty and some staff who need to work from remote locations for business purposes.