Martin Kidston reports:
A Helena judge has granted author Jon Krakauer’s request to inspect documents he believes are on file with the Montana University System regarding the 2012 disciplinary hearing of University of Montana Grizzlies quarterback Jordan Johnson.
Helena District Court Judge Kathy Seeley granted Krakauer’s motion on Thursday and denied the commissioner of higher education’s request to keep the documents sealed, saying “the student” doesn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding the redacted records.
“The Court concludes that the merits of public disclosure outweigh the individual rights of the student in this case,” Seeley wrote, granting the commissioner’s office 21 days to make the documents available for inspection or copying.
Read more on Independent Record.
It sounds like the judge rejected any FERPA shield argument. The university says it will be consulting with the U.S. Dept. of Education’s lawyers. Because FERPA’s protections incorporate an exemption for court orders, I’m not sure why they’re claiming that compliance with a court order could lead to severe penalties such as loss of federal funding, but we’ll see….