Chris Hawley and Matt Apuzzo of Associated report:
With its whitewashed bell tower, groomed lawns and Georgian-style buildings, Brooklyn College looks like a slice of Colonial Virginia dropped into modern-day New York City. But for years New York police have feared this bucolic setting might hide a sinister secret: the beginnings of a Muslim terrorist cell.
Investigators have been infiltrating Muslim student groups at Brooklyn College and other schools in the city, monitoring their Internet activity and placing undercover agents in their ranks, police documents obtained by The Associated Press show. Legal experts say the operation may have broken a 19-year-old pact with the colleges and violated U.S. privacy laws, jeopardizing millions of dollars in federal research money and student aid.
Read more of their chilling coverage on Chicago Tribune.
If the college has been cooperating with investigators and turning over student records, I do hope that there is a FERPA complaint made and that the U.S. Department of Education cuts off all federal funding to the college. Such cutoffs of funding are rare. I remember them being used in the 1960’s and 1970’s over desegregation and discrimination, but those were not FERPA issues, and courts have already held that FERPA did not confer an individual right to sue for violations. So what would happen here? Could the government cut off funding if they found sufficient evidence of violating FERPA? I think they could, although they would certainly be under tremendous pressure by law enforcement (and the colleges) not to. One of the arguments would undoubtedly be that by cutting off funding, the students who need financial assistance would be hurt and might lose educational opportunities. But surveilling Muslim students, if the allegations in the news report are true, is unacceptable and the colleges should not be cooperating with it.