Anderson Johnston andy at umbc.edu
Fri Jun 21 15:06:34 GMT 2002

The Supreme Court handed down a ruling yesterday that individuals do not
have the right, under FERPA, to sue or persue any other action against
universities for FERPA violations.

Does anyone expect any fallout from this at the policy level?  FERPA is
still in effect, of course, but the threat of monstrous lawsuits seems to
be gone.

						- Andy


"(a)This Court has never held, and declines to do so here, that spending
legislation drafted in terms resembling FERPAs can confer enforceable
rights. FERPA directs the Secretary of Education to enforce its
nondisclosure provisions and other spending conditions, 1232g(f), by
establishing an office and review board to investigate, process, review,
and adjudicate FERPA violations, 1232g(g), and to terminate funds only
upon determining that a recipient school is failing to comply
substantially with any FERPA requirement and that such compliance cannot
be secured voluntarily, 1234c(a), 1232g(f). In Pennhurst State School and
Hospital v. Halderman, 451 U.S. 1, the Court made clear that unless
Congress speak[s] with a clear voice, and manifests an unambiguous intent
to create individually enforceable rights, federal funding provisions
provide no basis for private enforcement by 1983, id., at 17, 28, and n.

** Andy Johnston (andy at umbc.edu)          *            pager: 410-678-8949  **
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