December 2, 2008
Student Privacy Rights Opinion
A recent opinion of the North Dakota Attorney General in response to a newspaper request for student disciplinary records concludes:
FERPA [the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] does nor prohibit the release of disciplinary proceedings if an educational institution can adequately remove all personally identifiable information from those records. The University of North Dakota violated the open records law when it incorrectly responded that FERPA prevented the release of all disciplinary records and because it failed to consider whether the requested records could be released after removing all personally identiable information.
The newspaper had sought records relating to any sanctions imposed on a student based on allegations of taunting a fellow dorm resident concerning his Jewish heritage, writing anti-Semitic graffiti in an elevator with ice cream and possession of a mock weapon. The names of the students involved had already been reported by the newspaper and released by the local prosecutor's office. (Mike Frisch)
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