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The Montana University System must now release sexual assault records to author Jon Krakauer in a long-standing legal battle, Montana District Judge Mike Menahan ruled Krakauer will have access to the majority of the documents asked for, with names redacted.
The editors and staff of Knight News at the University of Central Florida were presented Oct. 22 with the annual College Press Freedom Award, in recognition of their extraordinary determination in pursuing disclosure of public records in the face of brutal attacks by their university.
Two of the victims reportedly detailed in a sexual assault and harassment investigation at the University of Kentucky are seeking to join the university in its lawsuit against the school’s student newspaper.
Students at one of the nation’s largest private universities are using a little-known tactic as a method of protesting unpopular decisions by university administrators: FERPA requests.
The Eighth Division Fayette Circuit Court ruled Monday against the Kentucky Kernel student newspaper in its fight to obtain investigation records of a University of Kentucky professor accused of sexual misconduct.
Student journalists at St. Louis Park High School in Minnesota have filed a lawsuit against the school seeking access to a hallway surveillance video under the state open records act.
In a months-long records battle with Utah State University, Alex Stuckey of the Salt Lake Tribune said she considers her January 12 hearing with the Utah State Records Committee a “half-win” as they promise a result by mid-February.
The SPLC and five open-government advocacy groups weighed in behind student journalists with Orlando-based Knight News in the University of Central Florida's appeal of a court order declaring student government expense reports to be public records.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is joining two student newspapers in fighting back against their colleges’ attempts to withhold public records of investigations into sexual harassment complaints.
The Kentucky attorney general will appeal a ruling from a circuit court’s determination that he does not have authority to review records the University of Kentucky has kept confidential following sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced last week that the Trump administration plans to revise Obama-era federal guidelines for colleges and universities on handling sexual misconduct. Here's how the current system affects student reporting and where there is room for potential change.
UNC-Chapel Hill is misapplying the FERPA student privacy law to withhold public records that could help journalists shed light on the way the university does, or does not, punish students found liable for sexual assault, an SPLC legal brief argues.
A circuit court judge ruled Oct. 13 that the state Attorney General has the right to privately review public records on sexual assault at Kentucky State University to determine whether the school is required to release them to student reporters.
Newsworthy video from school surveillance cameras can’t be withheld from the public on the grounds of student privacy (FERPA), a group of open-government groups argues in a brief filed with a Pennsylvania appeals court.
School officials often deny requests for generalized concussion data, incorrectly citing privacy laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Sometimes concussion information isn't being tracked in the first place.
It's understandable when colleges use their confidential in-house disciplinary systems to afford a "do-over" to a student who violates a campus rule (say, yelling profanities at a professor) or commits a minor, victimless offense (say, sneaking a six-pack into the dorm). Such behavior would never result in a criminal charge if it happened at an off-campus apartment, and it seems inequitable to inflict a permanent scar on a young person's record because he happens to live in Ivy Hall instead of Ivy Apartments.
But if this much is true, then the converse also is true, and it is likewise inequitable to give a free pass to a person accused of a violent offense carrying potential felony charges just because the offender was "lucky" enough to attack someone on campus.
Campus disciplinary bodies operate almost entirely in secret, thanks to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"), the federal confidentiality law that protects against disclosure of students' educational records.
The federal privacy regime governing student records is badly broken, perhaps beyond repair.
Schools and colleges don't understand -- or choose not to understand -- where legitimate student privacy interests end and where the public's interest in disclosure begins, and too often reject journalists' valid information requests by raising bogus confidentiality claims.
It's no secret that FERPA is out of control. Enacted in 1974, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act aimed to protect the confidentiality of students' "educational records." But today, thanks to over-broad definitions, coupled with the Draconian threat of cutting universities' federal funding if violated, the law is causing universities to consistently err on the side of secrecy, keeping information of public interest hidden under a misplaced redaction bar.
In the May 14 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, the SPLC's Frank LoMonte tackles the current state of FERPA's rampant misuse, highlighting some of the most extreme applications of the federal law that student and professional journalists alike have run into, and pointing out the irrational interpretations of "education records."
Despite the dire state of the law -- a law that admittedly has the well-intentioned goal of preventing disclosure of students' private academic information -- it's not too late to turn it around.
Despite eighty years of contrary U.S. Supreme Court precedent, a Wyoming judge has restrained a newspaper from publishing lawfully obtained information about a local college -- on the grounds of the college's bogus claim of "student privacy."
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that Laramie County District Judge Peter G.
It's becoming increasingly difficult for colleges to argue with a straight face that the federal student privacy law prevents them from honoring their duty to disclose newsworthy public records they'd prefer to keep hidden.
The Florida Supreme Court's decision Monday to decline review of a lower-court ruling -- which declared that NCAA documents shared with, and used by, Florida State University are subject to disclosure under Florida's open-records law -- reaffirms that government documents may not be withheld from public view just because the documents incidentally mention college students.
The dispute involved a request by the Associated Press and other news organizations for documents relating to allegations that several Florida State employees afforded preferential academic treatment to student-athletes.