US Senator Wyden joins UO Senate in questioning Doug Park’s counseling records grab

3/12/2015 update: Rich Read has the story in the Oregonian, here:

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and the Faculty Senate of the University of Oregon both announced efforts this week to address an apparent loophole in federal law that allows sexual assault victims’ medical and therapy records to be released by colleges and universities. …

Interim General Counsel Park is trying to turn his $209K Interim gig into the permanent position as UO General Counsel. I’m guessing that when a U.S. Senator starts writing a law with the sole purpose of making it clear that what you just did was not just sleazy, but also unambiguously illegal, you’re probably not going to get a promotion.

Maybe Wyden will call it “Doug’s Law”, as a consolation prize.

Next up, a law protecting library circulation records from Doug Park.

3/9/2015: Doug Park admits mistakes were made getting Jane Doe’s counseling records for lawsuit

Josephine Woolington has the story in the RG, here, on Interim UO General Counsel Doug Park’s decision to get Jane Doe’s confidential counseling records and have his staff scan them to pdf, instead of sequestering them.

[Rumor has it that VP Doug Blandy has threatened discipline if Park doesn’t hand over the Zip Drive within 48 hours and remove all copies of the pdfs from the General Counsel’s servers.]

Park’s stupidity manages to get UO some exposure on NPR as well. From the Woolington story:

… The university had previously asserted that it legally accessed, but did not actually review, the student’s records — stored at the UO Counseling and Testing Center — after she told the university in September that she planned to sue.

He also said he should have received a written waiver from the student, allowing the UO to collect her records.

The 18-year-old student said she was raped by three UO basketball players last year. She filed a lawsuit in January against the university and head basketball coach Dana Altman for allegedly violating her federal civil rights by recruiting one of the involved players after he had previously been accused of rape at a different college, among other accusations. …

Word is that Park got the records via VPSA Robin Holmes, whose performance will soon be reviewed by the UO administration. Given that the Executive Leadership Team won’t even trust her to write her own Op-Ed, I’m guessing it’s not going to be a pretty review:

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6 Responses to US Senator Wyden joins UO Senate in questioning Doug Park’s counseling records grab

  1. theyRafraid says:

    In the face of a FERPA and HIPPA violation this seems suddenly convenient along with a few potential scapegoat employees. I’d like to take GC’s word for what happened, but past actions have seriously erroded that trust.

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  2. Just so UOM can’t be accused of selective control-C and control-V-ing…

    “Doug Park told a UO Senate committee on Monday that he was following a legal demand sent to him in August from the woman’s attorneys to collect all documents that relate to the then-pending federal civil rights lawsuit against the UO.

    “There’s no other way we could follow the demand letter without collecting the (therapy) records,” Park said to the group of professors, graduate students, UO administrators and others who make up the UO Senate Committee on Sexual- and Gender-Based Violence.

    “If I could go back in retrospect, I would have sent (the student’s attorneys) a letter or email back, asking, ‘Is this really what you mean?’ ” Park said.”

    Park on Monday distributed to the committee a “litigation hold” that he received on Aug. 6 from Boulder, Colo., attorney John Clune, a high-profile lawyer who is representing the student, along with Eugene attorney Jennifer Middleton.

    Park said such a hold required the UO to “produce and secure” all documents relevant to the alleged rape case.

    In the emailed letter, Clune requested that the UO “preserve” potentially relevant documents that the UO possesses or controls. He specified a number of “key players” who would have such information — such as certain students, basketball coaches, campus police and athletic department employees — but did not name employees at the Counseling and Testing Center.

    “We have potential court consequences if we fail to obey a litigation hold,” Park said. “Our concern was we didn’t want to get burned for failing to comply.”

    Congratulations. You are now the proud owner of a legitimate cumulative excerpt from a newspaper.

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  3. uomatters says:

    The passage I quoted is from the original post of the article on the RG website. You’re quoting from a more recent version.

    If your point is this:

    “He also said he should have received a written waiver from the student, allowing the UO to collect her records.”

    I did add the emphasis, without noting that.

    As for the part about Blandy threatening to discipline Park over the electronic files, I made that up. Actually, Blandy and Park threatened to discipline me.

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  4. Working GTF says:

    So they’ve gone from blaming Jane Doe to blaming Jane Doe’s attorney. Progress at the UO come very incrementally, it seems.

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  5. uO Alum says:

    The lesson for UO:
    As with science, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

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  6. just different says:

    Suzanne Bonamici (Portland) is on it too:

    http://bonamici.house.gov/press-release/rep-bonamici-questions-gap-college-students%E2%80%99-medical-privacy

    However, she is also taking the rape angle, which I think is far too narrow. I’d like to see a total rewrite of both FERPA and HIPAA so that they have some real teeth and to put a stop to the insanely widespread abuse of FERPA by universities to dodge consequences for wrongdoing instead of protecting student privacy.

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