Univ. of Wisconsin pays student paper to settle records dispute
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has agreed to settle an open records lawsuit by providing previously redacted information and paying $11,765 in legal fees to its student newspaper, The UWM Post reported.
The former editor-in-chief of The UWM Post, Jonathan Anderson, made a public records request in January 2009 for documents and audio recordings of the school’s Union Policy Board meetings, which are open to the public. But when he received the records, information identifying the board’s student members had been redacted. The paper filed a suit against the university last November.
The school employee who withheld the information argued that the six students’ names and voices were protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act — a somewhat murky area of law — the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“We still desperately need Congress to clarify that FERPA applies only to legitimately confidential academic information, as its sponsors understood and intended," Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, told The UWM Post.