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Board of Regents Pleased With Supreme Court’s Krakauer Decision

photo courtesy of NBC Montana
Jon Krakauer

The day after the Montana Supreme Court returned the matter of confidential student records being released to a best-selling author to the Lewis and Clark District Court, Associate Commissioner of Higher Education Kevin McRae said the Board of Regents was pleased with the decision.

“We’re pleased that the Supreme Court confirmed the fact that the university system has no legal authorization at this time to release private student records to Mr. Krakauer,” McRae said. “We’re pleased because we’ve managed this situation right. The Supreme Court said the analysis at the District Court level is a more thoughtful analysis than the author thought.”

McRae said the university system was ready to provide the district court with all the records they desired to be examined in camera, that is that the judge would examine all records in private.

“The Supreme Court found that if the university system were to release records right now, it would be in violation of law,” McRae continued. “In fact, the most salient sentence written was ‘ in light of Krakauer’s request, for a specifically named student’s records, the commissioner could not have complied with the request without violating these laws’.”

McRae said the Supreme Court ordered the case back to district court, so it could perform the kind of in camera review that the university wanted.

“The court said that if we get a demand for records in this case for someone who was going to sell those records for profit in books, that there’s a balance that needs to be considered between the student’s privacy rights and the author’s demand for the records.”

McRea did not have a timeline of when the Lewis and Clark District Court would review the case.

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