If true, why isn’t this information being reported by the news media?

Samantha Watkins of the College Fix reports.

Department of Education helps schools hide their sexual-assault investigations

Agency’s previous interaction with University of Montana led to controversial harassment ‘blueprint’

Even as the Department of Education hammers colleges to be more transparent in their handling of sexual-assault allegations, it’s helping schools to legally hide their investigations from public scrutiny.

That’s because the agency takes a broad view of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), arguing that the student-privacy law shields “disciplinary records” from disclosure – including how schools have treated students accused of sexual assault.

The department laid out its views in a Montana Supreme Court case over whether the state has to turn over disciplinary records involving a University of Montana quarterback whom the school found responsible for sexual assault in 2012, according to Inside Higher Ed.

The university court decided the quarterback would be expelled, but after he appealed to the state commissioner of higher education, he was suspended instead.

Journalist Jon Krakauer is seeking the records from the commissioner for a book he’s writing about student athletes and sexual assault, saying the accused student’s identity is widely known and the records are a “matter of public interest and safety,” overriding FERPA.

Though the commissioner lost the case in a lower court, the Department of Education is defending Montana’s FERPA reasoning now that the state’s highest court is hearing the appeal, saying Montana could lose federal funding if it turns over the records.

Harassment is whatever you find ‘unwelcome’

The department hasn’t always been so friendly to the University of Montana when it comes to sexual-assault proceedings.

In a widely derided letter in May 2013, the departments of Education and Justice resolved their case against the university for its handling of sexual-assault and sexual-harassment allegations.

That letter, called a “blueprint” that every college should follow, said that “sexual harassment should be more broadly defined as ‘any unwelcome conduct of sexual nature’” including “verbal conduct,” meaning speech.