by Irma Voigt
Tired of educating students and parents about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), one university office is taking an extremist approach.
“We’re simply denying our mission, vision, our very existence,” said Erik J. DeLaney, Director of Judicial Affairs at Tennison State University, in what he said would be his last statement before the office disappears.
DeLaney explained that there was increased confusion about FERPA and the restrictions it places on the sharing of student records after an orientation session in January. Another university administrator led the obligatory “Understanding FERPA” session, comparing the act to trying to pry Apple product release information from Steve Jobs before press conferences.
“I intended to be educational and helpful,” said DeLaney, “But this has been a nightmare. It’s easier to go away from the public eye forever. I’m taking my cues from post-car accident Tiger Woods.”
Students summoned to conduct conferences will receive sufficiently vague information about both their violation and the location of their hearing.
“It was very Platform 9 ¾, “ said Tennison student Lisa Earwood, referencing the Harry Potter books method of boarding a train to Hogwarts, the famous school of witchcraft and wizardry.
Earwood said she received a letter in invisible ink, which told her to visit the third stall in the women’s restroom on the first floor of the student union. Once inside, she was met by a little person, who led her to an office on campus she had never seen before.
“It was the most bizarre thing ever,” said Earwood. “I get that we have rights, but really, a midget?”
DeLaney explained that with an influx of inquiries regarding conduct conferences and their outcomes, this was a logical decision.
“We can’t chance that anyone even know a policy may have been violated, let alone how the conduct process works,” DeLaney explained. “In fact, I’m not sure I should even be admitting that we have policies.”
Conduct-related holds have been removed from student accounts and directory listings for the department’s staff have been deleted from all databases.
“For all intents and purposes, Judicial Affairs is gone,” DeLaney said. “I can’t risk a FERPA violation.”
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