College of DuPage (ECWd) –
Following up on my September 20, 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for public records, which was partially denied by the College of DuPage, I am posting my response to COD’s excuses for withholding the student email addresses (original article here). This is the FOIA request that generated the censorship on behalf of the college, and their subsequent denial of censorship.
It appears COD is seeking to withhold records claiming the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits it, even though FERPA explicitly authorizes releasing the information.
The language reads: “Directory information includes, but is not limited to…” and then goes on to list student email addresses as directory information. COD claims they can decide what is and what is not directory information, contrary to the language written in the law.
My thoughts are that “includes, but is not limited to” means that the items listed, which include student email addresses, are directory information, and that a school can add to the listed items, but cannot take away from the listed items. To read it any other way would mean that a school could simply list nothing as directory information and thereby thwart FOIA and FERPA’s intentions.
The bottom line? The college must include all the items listed under FERPA as directory information – that is a mandate; and they may include additional items if they wish – the additional items are the optional ones.