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Another School Wrongly Invokes FERPA For Employee Emails in Sexual Assault Case

Not only does the University of Oregon appear to have a problem with lazy cops, its public records office seems to think that its own employees are covered by federal student privacy law.

The New York TimesEugene Register-Guard, The Oregonian and Portland ABC affiliate KATU were denied their request for full public records concerning “a sexual misconduct investigation involving three UO men’s basketball players,” the Student Press Law Center reported.

The reason?

When the university gave [the Times] redacted emails about the incident on May 28, The Times appealed to Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner, arguing OU wrongly used several statutes to defend the redactions, according to a letter the newspaper sent Gardner June 12 requesting the appeal.

In the letter, the university’s public records office said it made the redactions to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which prohibits the release of personally identifiable information from education records without consent from the student.

However, Times attorney D. Victoria Baranetsky said the request didn’t target individual students or a specific topic. Instead, it focused on the response of seven university employees, and asked for all emails sent and received during a period of 11 days, Baranetsky said.

The Times has filed a new public records request with the university and the other media outlets appealed to the district attorney’s office, SPLC said.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg Piper served as associate editor of The College Fix from 2014 to 2021.

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