Another week passes and we still have no names for several of the summonses issued on campus. While University Police continues to hide behind Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), there are more issues now that need to be explained further than “a summons was issued…” or “there is an ongoing investigation for…”
In the last two weeks, we have seen two terrorist threats as well as multiple “dating violence” reports in the university blotters. These are not topics that we can just brush away like a liquor law violation. These are threats that could put a lot of people in danger, we deserve to know what is happening.
While the names of the individuals who have been making the terrorist threats may be released, those names would be the only student names we have seen in the crime reports all year.
There have been four weeks total this semester and two weeks sequentially where we have seen dating violence in the blotter. We at the Missourian have requested the names in the university blotter multiple times, and have been denied.
If the university is going to continue to hide behind FERPA, then we should at least get details about the crimes that are more than just the usual liquor law violation.
While there is still an argument about how students are protected by FERPA, there should be no argument in these cases. How is a domestic dispute classified as an academic record protected by FERPA? Just because the two involved are students? Two people could live off campus while still a student and have this same issue and it would not be protected in this way.
Relationship violence is a big issue today and continues to grow. If this is something we continue to hide the names of those involved, blurring the crime itself, then how do we stop it from happening again?
The argument has been that the students are being protected by FERPA because they classify these crimes as university violations, and by not putting names in the paper, the student will have another chance at pursuing a career because this was just a mistake.
This is wrong, relationship violence is a serious issue. You can not just classify it as a university violation and withdraw the names because they made a mistake and do not know better. They should know better at this point and should not be excused because this was a mistake.
Our question is, how can crimes be labeled academic records just because they are synonymous with university violations? We don’t see how liquor law violations, terrorist threats or relationship violence can be classified as academic records. They do not pertain to grades, classes, grade point average or anything in accordance with student academic progress and passing these cases through the student judicial system does not change the nature of these records. If the student were off campus; misdemeanor or even felony charges could be filed against the individual.
Potential employers deserve to know if the person they are hiring made a terrorist threat in college. They should know if their new employee has a history of domestic violence. These are big issues that can make or break a person. If they decide to do these things, they deserve to have their names in the paper and be known.
This university can not hide behind FERPA any longer, especially in cases as serious as the ones we have been seeing lately. There needs to be some action taken here.