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U.S. Senate Votes to Open Campus Crime Records

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

U.S. Senate Votes to Open Campus Crime Records

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U.S. Senate votes to open campus crime records

Campus crime reports would be opened to the public under an amendment to the Violent Crime Control Act of 1991 adopted by the U.S. Senate June 27.

The amendment, proposed by Sen. Tim Wirth (D.-Colo.), would be explicitly exempt crime records from those student records which colleges are not permitted to make public under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

In a case brought by a Missouri student newspaper editor, Traci Bauer, U.S. District Court Judge Russell G. Clark ruled earlier this year that FERPA did not apply to campus crime records, and that any law that prohibited the release of those records would be unconstitutional.

However, the Department of Education has appealed that ruling, and has warned at least 14 universities that they could lose their federal funding if they continue to make campus crime records available to the public and news organizations.

Sen. Wirth said he had created his amendment to remove any contradictions between federal laws and laws in states such as Colorado that require all police agencies - including campus police - release routinely the names of those arrested or otherwise involved in alleged crime. …

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