Earlier this month, University of Utah’s president announced changes to the university’s fight song, Utah Man. Among the changes, “man” has been replaced with “fan." The Salt Lake Tribune requested copies of nearly 1,300 emails sent by students, faculty and alumni regarding the changes. Citing FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the university redacted the names of students who submitted comments.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, More emails: The fight over the University of Utah fight song. (July 7, 2014)
Former Executive Director Frank LoMonte:
We may not live forever on this jolly good old sphere,
But while we do we’ll live a life of merriment and cheer.
And when our college days are o’er and night is drawing nigh,
With parting breath we’ll sing that song:
A Utah Man am I!
Seriously, that’s the way the song ends. It’s about dying. And not just dying, but singing your college fight song while dying. Unless you’re actually killed at the game, who does that? (Is this how nursing homes in Utah know it’s time to gather the family? "Better come quick, Maude, he’s on the third verse.”)
Okay, where were we? The FERPA thing. Yeah, that’s just stupid. Emails commenting on matters of public controversy on a college campus aren’t confidential education records. Anybody can send a complaint to a college, so there’s nothing “student-y” about an email. FERPA applies to documents that a college archives as part of a student’s record. If your college’s response to input on a disputed policy decision is to print a copy of the email and stick it in your permanent file, you might want to reconsider whether NSA University is really right for you.
I guess an email about a campus dispute could be a confidential education record. If the email says, “I hope that you will give special weight to my opinion in light of my recent ‘A’ grade in Western Philosophy, as documented in my attached transcript."
On second thought, nah.
We rate this: not protected by FERPA at all