Battling FERPA and cracking campus secrecy

  • Event: 2017 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Paula Lavigne of ESPN; Frank LoMonte of Brechner Center for Freedom of Information; Michael Vasquez of The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Date/Time: Thursday, Jun. 22 at 11:30am
  • Location: Grand Canyon 6
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

The session will discuss some of the methods colleges and universities use to withhold information about students, student athletes, criminal activity, business contracts, finances and other aspects of higher education, including the oft-cited FERPA student privacy law. It will address the differences in access between public and private institutions. And it will offer tools and ideas on how to use your sources, public records laws and other resources to get the information, documents and data you need.

Speaker Bios

  • Paula Lavigne has been an investigative reporter for ESPN since 2008, working for both digital and TV. She has a background in data journalism. Her work has been recognized with several awards including a Peabody, duPont and IRE's first sports investigation award. Prior to ESPN, she worked at newspapers in Dallas; Des Moines, Iowa; and Tacoma, Wash. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and Creighton University.   

  • Attorney Frank LoMonte teaches media law at the University of Florida, where he runs the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, a think-tank focused on developing innovative solutions to make civically essential information more accessible and actionable. LoMonte spent nearly a decade as national director of the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C., and is a former investigative reporter and political columnist. @franklomonte

  • Michael Vasquez is a senior investigative reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education. He was previously Politico's education editor. At The Miami Herald, his work included Higher-Ed Hustle, a year-long investigation of Florida’s for-profit college industry. The series led to the closure of Miami’s most politically-powerful for-profit college, the arrest of the school’s owner, and a change to state law that created stronger protections for students. @MrMikeVasquez

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