The Ohio State University Gets The Law Wrong on FERPA

By November 28, 2012

The Student Press Law Center’s (SPLC’s) “FERPA Fact” Tumblr is at once humorous and disturbing. It awards a number of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan heads corresponding to the silliness of a university’s misuse of the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to deny a request for information. FERPA is routinely abused by colleges looking for any justification to avoid releasing embarrassing information. You don’t need to take our word for it: this is the view of the man who wrote the law.

This week’s “FERPA fact” gets three Arne Duncans, which would cause me to crack a smile if the situation weren’t so serious. As SPLC reports:

After Ohio State police reported three sexual assaults in one dorm this semester, The Lantern talked with police and student life officials about the assaults. Both offices declined to say whether disciplinary action had been taken by the school, citing FERPA and HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

In plain English: Ohio State refuses to release information that federal and state law (and common decency) obligate it to release, apparently thinking that image control is more important than student safety and open records laws. 

SPLC’s Adam Goldstein lays it all out here

Schools: The Ohio State University