On Friday, we did something important.
The Daily Tar Heel has long argued that when someone is found responsible for sexual assault on campus, the University should release the records of the case.
There’s a specific exception in FERPA, the law that protects student privacy, that says universities can do this once the case is over.
UNC has always said no to our public records requests for this information. FERPA says universities can release the information, not that they must release it.
We say releasing the records of these cases is a public service and, quite simply, the right thing to do.
On Friday, we made another records request for the information and, this time, we were joined in the request by eight North Carolina media outlets, Fusion and the Student Press Law Center.
UNC’s Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office released a 2014-15 annual report that described the outcomes of sexual assault cases that year in an extremely broad way — for example, it listed all the “sanctions and corrective actions” that had been issued in the past year, but it didn’t say how many people received any of the consequences. For the outcomes of cases involving students, the report didn’t break apart “policy violations” from “voluntary resolutions.”
In the report, the University said getting more specific would risk identifying people.
We say getting more specific is essential. I badly want to know how many people my school has found responsible for sexual assault and what consequences those people are getting.