From the Ivory Tower to the Glass House: Access to 'De-Identified' Public University Admission Records

Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal, Vol. 25, pp. 181-197, 2009

18 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2009  

Richard J. Peltz-Steele

University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth

Date Written: October 28, 2009

Abstract

Admissions processes at public universities are too often and too extensively shielded from public view, which minimizes these schools’ accountability to the public and obstructs legitimate inquiry into government policies in politically volatile areas such as affirmative action. though officials of “ivory tower” public institutions often invoke privacy law to justify this shield against disclosure, that law is mistakenly applied in this context. The specter of individual student privacy should not, and need not, prevent the sunshine of public scrutiny from filtering through the glass house of the public university admissions office. This article explains how state and federal laws, including a newly proposed rule of the U.S. Department of Education, already harmonize needs for both privacy and access in permitting or requiring the disclosure of “de-identified” student data.

Keywords: higher education, university, admissions, privacy, FERPA, freedom of information, FOIA, affirmative action, students, law

JEL Classification: I20, I21, I28, I29, J70, J71, J78, J79, L32, K00, K10, K19, K23, K42

Suggested Citation

Peltz-Steele, Richard J., From the Ivory Tower to the Glass House: Access to 'De-Identified' Public University Admission Records (October 28, 2009). Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal, Vol. 25, pp. 181-197, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1495788

Richard J. Peltz-Steele (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth ( email )

333 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-1252
United States
15089851102 (Phone)

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