Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let me get this straight, Oklahoma . . .

Sometimes you read something so weird that you think, "I guess I just misunderstood."

Nope. Oklahoma State University really did fail to alert police that a student had committed a series of sexual assaults on other students. And their rationale really was that doing so might illegally disclose the predator's educational records.

Nathan Cochran was a 22-year-old fraternity leader at OSU when a student conduct board suspended him from campus in 2012. Cochran was accused of groping and attempting to engage in oral sex with three other male students while they were sleeping. No member of OSU's staff contacted the police, who only heard of the case from a reporter at the student newspaper. Since a police investigation was opened, eight other students have come forward.

University officials originally stated that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prevented referring the case to Oklahoma law enforcement, since this would have involved disclosure of Cochran's educational records. I believe this is what is technically referred to as bullshit. My friend Mr. Google found me the relevant statutory provision in ninety seconds.
An educational agency or institution may disclose personally identifiable information [ ]only if . . . the disclosure is in connection with a disciplinary proceeding at an institution of postsecondary education. The institution must not disclose the final results of the disciplinary proceeding unless it determines that [t]he student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense [and]with respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of the institution's rules or policies.
Does sticking your hand down your frat brother's pants while he's asleep counts as a non-forcible sex offense? Is this why OSU's Board of Regents decided yesterday that the school's original interpretation of FERPA was incorrect? Is it possible that administrators didn't want to acknowledge the possibility of homosexuality within the Greek system?


Today's $5 is for PAVE (Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment), which works to remove stigma for victims of sexual assault.

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