November 1st, 2012
Student Press Law Center wants students to help it “break” FERPA
By Donald W. Meyers
Frank LoMonte, the Student Press Law Center’s executive director, wants college students to help him show how flawed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act has become.
LoMonte’s “Let’s Break FERPA” campaign calls for students to contact their schools and ask for copies of their FERPA records. LoMonte points out that FERPA not only requires the records be kept from public view, but must be provided to students and their families on request.
The point of the exercise, LoMonte says, is to show that schools use FERPA to hold back records that should be public. He expects students to just get copies of their college applications and transcripts, and not the myriad records that are usually locked up under FERPA, such as student government meeting minutes, campus crime reports and similar documents.
The law center provides a letter generator to help students write their requests, and LoMonte is expecting to hear the first reports of the campaign filter in in the next couple months. FERPA gives schools 45 days to respond to requests.