October 25, 2001
A judge, who is an adjunct professor at a private college, may authorize
the college to use its records that contain information about the judge
for the purpose of obtaining accrediation.
The inquiring judge is an adjunct professor at a private college. As part of an accreditation process, the college administration has asked all faculty, including the judge, to sign a general release form authorizing college administrators to access faculty records such as resumes, transcripts, awards, publications, or other achievements for submission to the accrediting authorities. The release form does not include any language limiting how the college may use any information obtained. The judge asks whether use of any information from the judge's faculty records should be limited to the accreditation process.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a judge from lending "... the prestige of judicial office to further the private interests of the judge or others." 22 NYCRR 100.2(C). In the Committee's view, the judge may authorize the college administrators to access information about the judge contained in faculty records which may be needed for the college's application for accreditation without violating this provision. The judge should, however, limit use of any information obtained from the records to the accreditation process only, to ensure that it is not also used for some impermissible purpose.