Sexual harassment and FERPA

Scary Boston Globe story about a student being kicked out of school for violation of rights and responsibilities, on the grounds of, we are led to assume, sexual assault. As in the infamous Brandeis case, the student was tried in some type of campus judicial system and expelled, and, as in the Brandeis case, the world will not get the full story because neither side will waive their FERPA rights. I am moved by the guy’s story, I am worried about him and this potential travesty of justice, yet another example of the possible problems with student judicial processes, but I cannot form a real, concrete opinion on the matter when the student can talk to the papers and the school cannot. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act gives strong protection to student’s personal information, including provisions that deny schools the ability to talk about any of the specifics of students in cases like this. If the student will not waive his FERPA rights and let the school talk, how can I trust that anything he is saying is trustworthy?

In other news, Brandeis is floating the idea, apparently, of abolishing student boards of conduct all together, making the already inscrutable and (potentially) patently unfair hearing process even more so. Sadly no one outside of that office really understands what goes on inside of it, least of all students, and it leads to strange and unfortunate situations like we have before us.