The following email was received by NIO early this morning and we have just been given the express permission of our embedded colleague, Dr. X, to publish this portion of his/her commentary:
“… [UF] has never encountered such a threat of public exposure as the NIO activists currently present… Dr. Guzick’s directive to ‘avoid contact with suspicious persons’ is eerily reminiscent of one of the most tragically-failed campaigns in U.S. history which was designed to protect children from sexual predators in the early 1970s… the flawed advice was responsible for grooming an entire generation victims… The university does not know how to respond either, but fears students may panic… Additionally, your ‘unpublished’ interview with the Gainesville Sun reporter was shared with his UF associates. Dr. Guzick’s statement follows.” -X
Subject: extremists in our midst…
Date: Sat, July 16, 2011 2:54 am
As you may be aware, an extremist animal-rights group known as Negotiation Is Over has focused its attention on the University of Florida since fall 2010.
This group is very small but its members have made many attempts to attract attention by criticizing UF, often using inaccurate information and confrontational tactics.
The University Police Department is involved in the situation and has stepped up its efforts in response to an incident last week, when an NIO leader violated a no-trespass order and came on campus to post flyers.
So far, the NIO has focused most of its attention on a few UF faculty members that the group believes are involved in non-human primate research. Now it is offering rewards to those who provide contact information for students involved in biomedical research.
We strongly condemn the tactics of this anti–animal research extremist group.
I’m taking this opportunity to remind you to be aware of your surroundings and employ appropriate security precautions.
Lt. Scott Summers of UPD has asked that all UF personnel follow these guidelines:
*Do not admit any strangers to locked facilities.
*Make sure that security devices at your facility are being used appropriately. For example, self-locking doors should not be blocked open.
*If you notice any suspicious activity around your facility, such as strangers loitering, contact UPD at 392-1111 if you’re on the UF campus, or contact the appropriate local law-enforcement agency if you’re elsewhere.
*Avoid direct contact with suspicious persons whenever possible. Instead, notify law enforcement.
*Notify your supervisor if you receive any communications or harassment from animal-rights activists. These could include e-mails, phone calls, letters, etc.
*Be aware that you are not required to discuss animal-rights issues with reporters or anyone else who may inquire. You can refer inquiries to Janine Sikes, UF public affairs director, at (352) 846-3903 firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please notify your supervisor of any potential security issues at your facility, and any past incidents that may have been the work of animal-rights activists.
Finally, I want to reassure you that we are concerned and involved. We’ll monitor UPD’s findings and activities, and we’ll take all the necessary steps to help safeguard HSC personnel, students and facilities.
With your help, we’ll meet this challenge with vigilance and professionalism.
David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D.,
Senior Vice President, Health Affairs,
President, UF&Shands Health System