In a stunning new investigative report at The Des Moines Register, writer Clark Kauffman exposes the University of Iowa.
It seems when students apply for gun permits, the school is sharing private information such as grades and disciplinary records.
Register Investigation: University of Iowa gives private student data to Johnson sheriff
The University of Iowa has been quietly sharing federally protected student information with Johnson County law enforcement officials who handle gun permit applications — an arrangement that one national organization calls a “license to snoop.”
The information includes some data on classroom achievement that by law can’t be considered by sheriffs when processing permit-to-carry applications and are normally protected from disclosure by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Mark Braun, chief of staff for U of I President Sally Mason, said that in some cases the information speaks to a student’s perceived status as a “troublemaker,” but could also include information on failing grades or signs of depression or anger.
“This is incredibly alarming,” said Justin Dedecker, a graduate student who sought a gun permit in 2011. “How does my performance in class become an indicator of my mental stability?”
A Des Moines Register review of 2,000 pages of emails between Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek’s office and the university shows that:
• After being notified by the sheriff’s office that a student has applied for a permit to acquire or carry a gun, the university provides the sheriff’s office with information on the student’s academic failures and disciplinary issues. When a faculty or staff member applies for a permit, unspecified personnel information may be given to the sheriff’s office.
• The sheriff acknowledges that some of the information collected by the school probably “can’t be used” by his office, given the legal restrictions he faces when it comes to denying a permit to carry a weapon.
Register Investigation: University of Iowa gives private student data to Johnson sheriff (The Des Moines Register)