The Student Press Law Center is challenging students to challenge their schools and see if they how complaint their school is with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. — More commonly known as FERPA. Reporter Cory York went around Kent State’s campus to collect his personal records and here are his results.
Universities often reluctant to hand over documents
The Student Press Law Center is asking students to ask their universities for their records. The reason… universities are often reluctant to hand over records for fear they will break FERPA. Executive Director at the SPLC Frank LoMonte explains why.
“If the Department of Ed(ucation) were to ever find you in violation of FERPA they can just about close your college down. They could take away your entitlement to all federal money that would include Pell Grants. And at that point if you cant take Pell Grants and you can’t get any type of federal aid, most institutions that would be a death blow where you go out of business.”
I started my search for my records at the Schwartz Center and stopped at the Bursar’s Office, Registrar’s Office and Career Services.
The Bursar’s Office and Career Services made copies on the spot for me but when I got to the Registrar’s Office I had to formally submit my request in writing to the university’s legal office.
I then went across campus to the Dean’s office for the College of Communication and Information and dropped my request off there.
Why not centralize the records?
After going from office to office my question became how could a student possibly know what office they need to go to find all their records, should there be an easier way?
“The idea that you as a student would have to go department to department asking people for your FERPA records kind of goes against the purpose of FERPA that would give you access to stuff you didn’t know was there.”
The ball is now in the university’s court to comply to the rest of my requests within the allotted 45 days.
Distasteful response by Kent State
Later that day I received a phone call from the head of the university’s media relations department, Eric Mansfield, complaining I did not go through his office to record myself requesting records. Yet Kent State is a public university and by law there is no need to go through the media relation’s office to record at a public university.