The University of Iowa may have broken federal guidelines by sharing with the local sheriff’s department private information about students who apply for campus gun permits.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, public universities are required to keep secret personal information on students, such as their grades and addresses. But Iowa has been sending personal information regarding students who apply for campus gun permits to the sheriff’s office.
That information includes whether students received bad grades, or were exhibiting signs of depression or anger.
The policy dates back to a campus shooting in 1991, when a mentally disturbed graduate student killed himself and five others.
But the policy probably violates FERPA, according to the Des Moines Register.
“This is incredibly alarming,” said Justin Dedecker, a graduate student who sought a gun permit in 2011, in statement. “How does my performance in class become an indicator of my mental stability?”
Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, said Iowa’s actions are definitely inappropriate.
“This type of situation is precisely what the sponsors had in mind when they enacted FERPA,” he said in a statement. “It was to restrict the sharing of student education and disciplinary information with law enforcement.”
The university has decided to re-examine the policy, given the accusations.
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