The attorney for one of four Ohio University students facing misdemeanor charges for allegedly disrupting a student senate meeting has requested records from the university regarding the incident, but an OU representative claims those records are protected by federal law.
University police officers arrested the four students in September when they attended a student senate meeting to speak out against the senate president’s “blood bucket” challenge, which called for the university to “divest and cut all ties with academic and other Israeli institutions and businesses.”
The students were charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor for disturbing a lawful meeting, which carries a $250 fine and a maximum of 30 days in jail.
Jim Miller, the University’s representative, claims any document the university maintains with student information is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Larry Zuckerman, the attorney for one of the students, said that FERPA should not apply because he is “not asking about financial aid information or the students’ grades.”
Source: The Post, Students arrested at senate meeting keep not-guilty pleas (10/30/2014)
Former SPLC Attorney Advocate Adam Goldstein: There’s something almost endearing about watching two reasonable, intelligent human beings try to make sense out of the completely irrational mess that is FERPA, a statute that has not only never been enforced, but is selectively cited by institutions with the same whimsical flair that usually accompanies mentions of Lovecraft’s mythological destroyer of worlds, Cthulhu: a thing we’re supposed to fear, but, y’know, not really.
Original by BenduKiwi, on Wikipedia (CC license) (modified)
Ordinarily, you’d have to know a little bit about what records were being requested to know if FERPA protected those records or not. But in this case, the records were part of a subpoena. And one of the exceptions to FERPA’s protection of education records is records that are responsive to lawfully-issued judicial subpoenas. See 34 C.F.R. Sec. 99.31(a)(9).
Which means the university’s entire position here is beyond baseless. The fact that the record exists and is responsive to a subpoena means FERPA won’t protect it from this disclosure, regardless of its contents.
That is not private which may be judicially exposed,
And in strange aeons, even FERPA records may be disclosed.
We rate this: not protected by FERPA at all