Student Press Law Center May Sue Government: Charges Education Head with Threatening Withdrawal of Federal Funds to Schools If They Release Campus Police Records

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Student Press Law Center may sue government

Charges education head with threatening withdrawal of federal funds to schools if they release campus police records

Charging that the U.S. Department of Education is aiding in the cover-up of campus crime, the Student Press Law Center, Washington, D.C., was expected to file a lawsuit against Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander on Oct. 10.

According to the SPLC, Alexander has been using the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also known as the Buckley Amendment, to "threaten schools with withdrawal of their federal funding if they release campus law enforcement records to the public."

The SPLC said that if the department changed its policy by Oct. 10, it would not file suit.

Mark Goodman, executive director of the SPLC, said the group would seek preliminary and permanent injunctions, as well as a declaratory judgment that the Buckley Amendment is unconstitutional.

Despite a victory for access to these reports in a court decision last March (E&P, March 16, P. 19), Goodman said the Department of Education is choosing to apply that ruling only to Southwest Missouri State University, where student journalist Traci Bauer filed suit.

"That's why we're going directly against the Department of Education. …

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