New Cases and Developments

NACUA's Legal Resources staff summarizes current higher education cases and developments and provides the full text of selected cases to members. New cases and developments are archived here for up to 12 months.  Cases provided by Fastcase, Inc.

Selected Topics: Investigations
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External Investigations; Investigations; Enforcement of Non-Discrimination Laws; Discrimination, Accommodation, & Diversity

Internal Memorandum from the Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights on Conducting Systemic Investigations (June 15, 2017)

Internal memorandum from the Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights to Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regional directors on conducting investigations for alleged violations of civil rights laws. The memorandum instructs regional officers on how to determine the scope of an investigation. In contrast to the existing “one size fits all” approach to complaint investigations, regional officers will now determine the scope of such investigations on a case-by-case basis, taking into account “the type and scope of evidence that is necessary to support a legally sound investigation and determination, with the understanding that all OCR investigations are to be framed in their scope by the allegations of each particular complaint.” Additionally, regional officers will no longer follow the rule requiring them to obtain three years of past complaint data in order to assess an institution’s compliance. 

FERPA; Students; Sexual Misconduct – Employment; Internal Investigations; Investigations; Sexual Misconduct & Other Campus Violence

University of Kentucky v. Kernal Press, Inc. (Ky. Cir. Ct. Jan. 23, 2017)

The Kentucky Kernal, the student newspaper at the University of Kentucky, filed a request for information pursuant to the Kentucky Open Records Act in which the newspaper requested copies of university records relevant to a sexual misconduct investigation.  The University declined to turn over records that contained personally identifiable student information pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Subsequently, the state Attorney General ordered the University to release the requested documents. The Court reversed the Attorney General’s ruling, holding that the investigation documents at issue constituted protected education records under FERPA, since they related to student witnesses, and that the documents could not be reasonably redacted to protect the privacy rights of the students involved.