Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Newspaper criticizes OU, OSU for keeping student parking tickets secret

OU and OSU officials are defying common sense by claiming that parking tickets issued to students are confidential educational records,
The Oklahoman said in an editorial Saturday.

"The federal law was designed to protect students’ academic records, not such things as tickets issued to students for parking in the faculty lot," the newspaper said.

The universities refused to disclose the tickets to a student in my reporting course and later to a reporter for The Oklahoman. The student's story was published in The Daily O'Collegian and on this blog.

OSU and OU officials contend the tickets are confidential under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Open government experts disagree with that interpretation of the federal statute.

In its editorial, The Oklahoman called on federal education officials "to clean up and simplify the law."

"Meantime, the application of common sense is in order," the newspaper said.

Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Journalism

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Differing interpretations of law and policy are welcome. Personal attacks and character assassinations will be rejected.