Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 43

This outcome, is, of course, one of
every university's fears. But too often
those cases rely on hindsight. "It's easy to
say the signs were there," Rooksby says,
adding that it's also not always clear that
contacting the parents would always be
the right thing to do - in fact, sometimes
it's exactly the wrong action, if the family
is estranged, for example.
Victor Schwartz, chief medical officer
at the JED Foundation, a nonprofit that
works closely with schools and colleges
on teenage mental health issues, notes
that more than 10 percent of higher
education students nationwide say they
have serious thoughts of self-harm, and
one to two percent attempt suicide. "You
only hear about when things go bad,
when there's a shooting or a suicide," he
explains. "Schools in general are dealing
with these situations effectively, but they
vary widely in how knowledgeable and
sophisticated they are. There are some
that have extremely timid views about
what can be done and are too cautious,
and some are not cautious enough in
contacting the family or urging the
student to take a leave of absence."
And, too often, the perceived
restrictions or misunderstanding of
FERPA are blamed when a student life
is lost, says Steven McDonald, general
counsel for the Rhode Island School of
Design in Providence, but the reality is
"that these kinds of situations are far
more difficult to diagnose and navigate
than we all would like to believe. There
seems to be a belief if we all just paid
closer attention, they would be easy to
deal with." For the most part, he adds,
"our counseling and student affairs
staffs are doing the best they can with
an extraordinarily difficult and nuanced
issue, but perfection is not attainable."
Scott Schneider, a lawyer at the law
firm Husch Blackwell who represents
universities in legal matters, says there
is no doubt in his mind that "if there
was ever a situation where I had concern

Facts About FERPA
FERPA only applies to written education records (grades, tuition,
and disciplinary hearings, for example), not conversations or
observations. As the Department of Education notes, "FERPA
generally prohibits the improper disclosure of personally identifiable
information derived from education records. Thus, information that
an official obtained through personal knowledge or observation,
or has heard orally from others, is not protected under FERPA. This
remains applicable even if education records exist which contain
that information . . ." Students can also waive some or all of their
rights to FERPA.
There are numerous exceptions to FERPA, when universities have
the choice - but not the obligation - to release information. Those
exceptions can come into play if the student is a tax dependent,
poses a risk in terms of health and safety to himself or others, has
been put on academic probation or suspended, or has a drug or
alcohol violation.
A higher education institution that has been found to violate
FERPA can have its federal funds withdrawn, but that has never
happened once in the law's 54-year history, says Frank LoMonte,
director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, a think
tank. "At times the DOE has sent letters to a university, saying if
you release x document, you will be in violation of FERPA," he says.
"FERPA now is not meant for a single slip, but if a university had a
total and complete break-down of all its information and willy-nilly
started posting transcripts on line."
One cannot sue in a court of law under FERPA; any complaints
must be filed with the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department
of Education. Lawsuits have been brought in the case of schools'
failure to disclose, but these are brought under claims of
negligence.

JANUARY + FEBRUARY 2019

43



Talking Stick - January/February 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Talking Stick - January/February 2019

Talking Stick - January/February 2019
Vision
Just In
Calendar
Your ACUHO-I
Transitions
Res Life
Academic Initiatives
Special Focus
Underlying Expectations
Private Matters
Conversations
First Takes
Around Student Affairs
New Members
Snapshot
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Intro
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - BB1
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - BB2
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Talking Stick - January/February 2019
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Cover2
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 1
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 2
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 3
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 4
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 5
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 6
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 7
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Vision
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 9
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Just In
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 11
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 12
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 13
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 14
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 15
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 16
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 17
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Calendar
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Your ACUHO-I
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Transitions
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 21
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Res Life
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 23
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 24
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 25
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Academic Initiatives
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 27
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 28
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 29
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Special Focus
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 31
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 32
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 33
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Underlying Expectations
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 35
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 36
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 37
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 38
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 39
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Private Matters
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 41
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 42
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 43
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 44
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 45
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 46
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 47
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Conversations
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 49
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 50
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 51
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - First Takes
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Around Student Affairs
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 54
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - New Members
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Snapshot
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Cover3
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - Cover4
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - CCover1
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - CCover2
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C1
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C2
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C3
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C4
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C5
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C6
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C7
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C8
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C9
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C10
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C11
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C12
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C13
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C14
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C15
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C16
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C17
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C18
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C19
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C20
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C21
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C22
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C23
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C24
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C25
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C26
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C27
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C28
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C29
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C30
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C31
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - C32
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 95
Talking Stick - January/February 2019 - 96
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