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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Columbus Dispatch finds different interpretations of FERPA

Inside Higher Ed highlighted The Columbus Dispatch's investigation that uncovered widely different interpretations of FERPA by athletics programs. The newspaper sent public records requests for athletic-related documents to all 119 in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Several programs used the vague law to deny or redact parts of records that were unrelated to students' academic records. Check to see how open your favorite athletic program was here.
A six-month investigation by The Columbus Dispatch has found that colleges and universities use "wildly different legal interpretations" of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to deny access to information about athletics programs. The newspaper sent colleges with big-time athletics programs similar requests for information and found wide variation in what institutions provided, with FERPA commonly cited to avoid providing information commonly released by other institutions. Even within the same state, the newspaper found inconsistent interpretations. The newspaper also interviewed James Buckley, the one-time U.S. senator who wrote the law, and found that he was "stunned" at the way athletics programs are citing the measure to keep information secret.

More here.

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