Kentucky court rules against UK school newspaper on sexual assault coverage
- A Kentucky circuit court handed down a decision favoring the University of Kentucky in a lawsuit filed by its school newspaper, which accused the school of withholding records of an alleged sexual assault claim filed against a former professor by a student.
- The Kentucky Kernel plans to appeal the decision, which Judge Thomas L. Clark said was based upon prior court interpretation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. According to Clark, neither the student nor former professor had reasonable guarantees of privacy from the release of records, or any coverage created as a result.
- Observers from the Student Press Law Center objected to the decision, saying that privacy standards should not be up to the court, as it could set a precedent for other schools to withhold documents in similar cases.
As media culture begins a rapid descent into purgatory in the eyes of federal government and many in the public, cases like this may soon yield similar outcomes all over the country. But college leaders should not count on favorable court rulings as a factor in the investigation of sexual assault, or the consequences which could or should result for students and faculty members.
In the near future, students are likely to increase their pursuit of transparency and disclosure from campus leaders, as a reaction to the growing culture of secrecy and alternative facts they hear about on the news. This means that administrators have a higher standard of learning about, examining and disclosing actual facts about controversial issues, and working with student media to ensure they have the right information and right perspective on matters for more accurate reporting.
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