FERPA helps to maintain broken system

Editorial — FERPA, the Family Educational Rights Act, was instituted to protect student records to prevent a third party from using that information in a way the student would not approve.

Originally meant to work in the interest of the student and the parents, FERPA has since become a measure which officials can hide behind.

While we at the Echo will always uphold a student’s right to protect his information, we think that, given the currently climate in which students cases through the University are being mishandled by University officials, that we should reassess the way the cases are being released.

What FERPA does well is give students the right to disclose their own information. What is also does well is give the administration an easy ‘no comment,’ and allows for no data to be collected on how many students are actually being held responsible for their actions in the student conduct boards.

We in student media think that redacted copies of student conduct cases should be made available to the public, the way court records are done through the county clerks office.

Again, we want to stress that student privacy should be considered, but when the officials in charge of that information are the same who are facing scrutiny for mishandling and, in some specific cases such as the incident with a male in the English Department, straight-up losing information and testimonies in a cases, there needs to be a better system of accountability.

The very least, we suggest that redacted notes taken by University officials about the cases be made available should anyone want to investigate further.

Privacy will always be needed; but, at what cost does that come when we can’t check our administration? How can we ever make a quality call that the system meant to exact justice works if there is no data on these cases?

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