Magazine article Security Management

Judicial Decisions: Campus Security

Magazine article Security Management

Judicial Decisions: Campus Security

Article excerpt

In a recent case before the Ohio Supreme Court, judges ruled that university disciplinary board proceedings must be made public on request. According to the court's decision, such information is essential in promoting campus security.

In 1995, Jennifer Markiewicz, editor of the student newspaper at Miami University, requested the records of student disciplinary proceedings conducted by the university's disciplinary board. Markiewicz wanted the records to develop a database to track campus crime trends. The university refused to give Markiewicz the records.

Markiewicz, along with Emily Herbert, her successor at the paper, issued a written request again asking for the records. The request cited the Ohio Public Records Act and noted that the university need not disclose the names, Social Security numbers, student identification numbers, or any other information that would reveal the identity of the accused or convicted parties. The letter went on to say that "If this identifying information cannot be deleted from the aforementioned records, however, then the records should be provided in their original form."

In April 1996, the university released the records, but in compliance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), officials deleted certain information from the records. FERPA, enacted in 1974, prohibits educational institutions from carelessly releasing student educational records to the public.

Under the act, universities that release restricted educational information on students forfeit all federal funds. Fearing a violation of the act, officials deleted the identity, sex, and age of the accused; the date, time, and location of the incident; and written statements prepared by students appealing disciplinary board decisions.

Markiewicz and Herbert believed that the omissions were excessive and again requested the complete records with only names, Social Security numbers, and student ID numbers deleted. …

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