Stretching FERPA a bit too far?

9/22/2011: From student reporter Thomas Bradley at Ohio State:

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Ohio ordered the university to submit unredacted documents that are the subject of a lawsuit ESPN Inc., filed against OSU on July 11. ESPN sued OSU for withholding records that the sports network viewed as public documents.

In the suit, ESPN said OSU wrongfully cited the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as a reason for withholding various documents.

Timothy Smith, a coordinator for the Ohio Center for Privacy and The First Amendment and a professor at Kent State University, said it is normal for the Supreme Court to require the university to provide unredacted documents.

“The Supreme Court wants to see what the files are and what the university wants to cut out, so they can make a determination as to whether or not this information truly does sit under FERPA,” Smith said.

Smith said that misuse of FERPA is common among universities.

“The university is doing what universities routinely do, which is to try and take (FERPA) and stretch it as far as they can to cover as much information as they think they can squeeze under that particular title,” Smith said.

UO has also used FERPA to hide NCAA violation info, successfully, and will likely try again.

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One Response to Stretching FERPA a bit too far?

  1. Anonymous says:

    The FERPA “defense” is also one reason why Elizabeth Denecke is a defendant in the current racketeering case against the University.

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