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This message is to all public universities and/or colleges who must manage records in accordance with both public access laws and FERPA.

Here is the hypothetical scenario:

Student does something off-campus, say at a fraternity house, that requires the University police and then an ambulance to be called.  The incident is listed as "suspicious incident" on the University's police investigation report.  No arrests were made, however the student was transported to the hospital.

Local paper wants the name of the student and requests it through both the University spokesperson and via public records.


Polling Question:  In regards to FERPA only - as a public institution do you deny access to these records under FERPA and classify them as "education records?"

My interpretation of FERPA is law enforcement records are not considered education records according to 34 CFR 99.3.  Under the definition of an education record it states "the term does not include...records of the law enforcement unit of an educational agency or institution, subject to the provisions of 99.8"  See http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2008/julqtr/pdf/34cfr99.3.pdf.

I am not concerned with the public access laws since every state is different.  I am only interested in hearing how other public universities/colleges interpret FERPA in this situation.  It is also my understanding that a private college would not be subject to disclosure and therefore would not have to contend with public access rights.

Thanks for the input!!

Thanks!
Cheryl Westlund
Public Records & Records Retention Administrator          Purdue University          (765) 494-9218




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