The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday December 2nd

DTH, media groups receive favorable decision in lawsuit

The University should have complied with public records requests filed by The Daily Tar Heel and other media organizations, a state judge wrote Tuesday.

In a memorandum regarding his decision in the lawsuit filed against the University, Judge Howard Manning wrote that the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act does not give blanket protection to students.

FERPA does not provide a student with an invisible cloak so that the student can remain hidden from public view while enrolled at UNC,” Manning wrote in his memorandum.

Manning’s decision addresses the following records requests:

  1. Unredacted phone records for Athletic Director Dick Baddour, Head coach Butch Davis and former assistant coach John Blake;
  2. Parking tickets issued to 11 student-athletes;
  3. Names, employment dates and salaries of all individuals employed as tutors for UNC athletes.

The University’s primary defense in each request was that the records are protected by FERPA. Manning’s decision rebukes that argument in the first two requests, but sides with the University on the records involving tutors.

The memorandum is not a final decision in the lawsuit, and only addresses three of the six requests originally contested. Two of those requests were fulfilled by the University prior to Friday’s hearing in the case.

The ruling does not address the media group’s request for all records related to the the University’s investigation into misconduct surrounding the football team.

The next step will be for the attorneys representing the media group to prepare an order reflecting Manning’s decision. After the order is filed, UNC will have 30 days to appeal the decision.

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