Information about lawsuit over sexual assault case cannot be released, U. of Houston officials say
Two expelled University of Houston students are suing the school and two administrators, claiming they were denied their right to due process during the institution’s 2012 investigation into the students in an alleged sexual assault case.
According to the lawsuit, the UH assistant vice chancellor and vice president did not inform one of the students that he was the target of the investigation, attempted to exclude the other student’s attorney from the interview and withheld evidence from the students’ attorneys. The students were expelled from UH in September 2012.
Although university officials said in a statement the administration is “committed to the enforcement of Title IX, the protections of due process and other legal rights of the parties involved,” they declined to comment further on the lawsuit, citing FERPA.
Source: Houston Chronicle, Former UH students sue school over sex assault investigation (10/20/2014).
Former SPLC Attorney Advocate Adam Goldstein: I go back and forth on whether I think this kind of excuse is only somewhat false or entirely false. Refusing to comment on a lawsuit because you might disclose the contents of education records is a bit like refusing to go to the bank because you might rob it: ordinary good judgment and self-control ought to be enough to avoid the outcome in question.
To put it another way, the existence of a law that can be violated only through a volitional act would not, in most cases, deter people of normal intelligence from engaging in lawful activities only tangentially related to the wrongdoing in question.
You have to wonder what other refusals these college administrators find reasonable…
- “I’m not going to buy home insurance because arson is illegal.”
- “I’m not going to drive a car because drag racing is illegal.”
- “I’m not going to buy a trenchcoat because flashing is illegal.”
- “I’m not going to use birth control because adultery is illegal.”
- “I’m not going to buy a boat because piracy is illegal.”
Are all of these outcomes possible? Absolutely. Does the existence of these outcomes create a legal risk to the precedent activities? No. So…
We rate this: not protected by FERPA at all