Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

 Email  Share  Print

Appeals Court Vacates Decision in University of Illinois FERPA Case

May 29, 2012

 

​The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has sent The Chicago Tribune’s case against the University of Illinois (UI) back to the federal district court, vacating the district court’s judgment and directing it to dismiss the case.

This ruling voids the lower court’s decision that the release of student records requested by the Tribune would not violate federal privacy laws.

ACE submitted an amicus brief in 2011 in the case, Chicago Tribune Company vs. University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

The lawsuit is part of the dispute over a student records request stemming from the Tribune’s 2009 series of articles, “Clout Goes to College.” The series looked into a list of applicants kept by the university that included the relatives of certain influential individuals.

The university denied the Tribune's request, made under state open records law, saying the records were protected by the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and thus exempt from the state law.

The federal district court ruled for the Tribune, but the Seventh Circuit ruled that the federal court did not have jurisdiction at all in the case.

Because the Seventh Circuit did not rule on the merits of the case, it offered no clear guidance for institutions faced with a conflict between state open records laws and FERPA requirements. The ruling maintains the protections of the records of the public university, leaving the issue to be resolved in the state courts, where the Tribune still can pursue release of the university's records.

Also see:

 

Other ACE News

  • Institutional Capacity

    July 1, 2015

    Apply Now for ACE’s Institute for New Presidents

    New college and university leaders from all sectors of higher education can apply now for the 2015-16 ACE Institute for New Presidents, which is designed specifically for presidents in their first three years of service.

  • July 1, 2015

    Today's Headlines

    HEADLINES: Today's Top Higher Education News

    In today’s headlines, Washington state became the only state in the country to lower tuition for public universities and colleges next year, with the Washington Legislature cutting four-year college tuition costs by 15 to 20 percent by 2016 in its...

  • Supporting Student Veterans

    June 29, 2015

    Bob Woodruff Foundation Grant Extends Program to Train College Mental Health Counselors

    A grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation will allow ACE to extend an initiative that trains college and university mental health counselors on how to better address issues such as post-traumatic stress and suicide prevention in their work treating...

  • June 26, 2015

    Education Department Scales Back Plan to Rate Colleges

    The Department of Education (ED) announced yesterday that it has scaled back the planned Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS) first announced by President Obama in August 2013.

  • Budget and Appropriations

    June 26, 2015

    Congress Moves Forward on Education Funding

    The House and Senate appropriations committees both passed their FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bills this week, and the results were somewhat mixed for higher education.