News Release

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Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056
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Supreme Court Rules On Student Records

07/10/1997

OXFORD, Ohio --The Ohio Supreme Court today (July 9) ruled that Miami University must provide university disciplinary information requested in a lawsuit filed by editors of The Miami Student.

Miami officials provided all of the documents requested by the student journalists, but deleted what was considered to be personally identifiable information.

The 1996 lawsuit, which pits student privacy against freedom of the press, put Miami in the middle of a national controversy, said Richard Little, senior director of university communications.

"Federal law protects the privacy of individuals, including victims and those falsely accused of crimes as well as persons committing minor violations of university regulations. The suit by The Miami Student put this right to privacy at risk, and also threatened Miami students with the potential loss of federal financial aid," said Little.

"The court decision provides some clarification of these issues."

The decision involved a 1974 federal law, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the privacy of student records, and Ohio's Open Records Law, which provides access to public documents.

The university was concerned that providing student journalists with all the requested information violated FERPA and as such could have resulted in the loss of $40 million in federal funds, Little said.

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