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Tuesday, March 10, 2015
University Snoops in Rape Victims' Medical Files to Save Money on Litigation--Legally
By Selected News Articles @ 1:42 PM :: 5543 Views :: Higher Education, Law Enforcement

Why do universities want rape victims to report to a university administrator instead of the police?  Because doing so will steer victims into the university clinic system.  And why does that matter?  Read on ....

College Rape Case Shows A Key Limit To Medical Privacy Law

From National Public Radio, March 9, 2015 (excerpts)

...The unidentified student is suing the university for mishandling her assault. She says she was raped by three basketball players last year. The University of Oregon found the players responsible, and kicked them off the team and out of school.

But there was no court case. Nobody was found guilty of any crime. And it was only discovered later that one of the players had been suspended from a previous college team over allegations of sexual assault.

Those are some of the reasons the woman sued the university. Here's where the privacy issues surface:

The student suing the school got therapy at the university's health clinic. In preparing to defend itself against her complaint, the university got access to those records and sent them to its attorney.

Kelsey Jones, 21, is a student at the University of Oregon who works with the student-run Organization Against Sexual Assault. She says the case has shaken students' confidence in the mental health care they receive on campus; she, for one, won't seek care at the campus clinic.

"It's very concerning for a lot of people," Jones says. "It's ten times harder now to seek that help and feel safe and feel OK to share 100 percent of what you're feeling."

Two employees at the university's counseling center were also disturbed by the school's actions, and they fired off an open letter to the university community. One of the authors, therapist Jennifer Morlok, said her job was threatened and she felt the school was forcing her to violate her professional ethics....

The university administration would not talk on tape for this story. But in court papers, officials argued that since the student went to the school's health clinic, her health records belong to the school and therefore could be accessed. In addition, they argued that because the woman claimed emotional distress — a medical claim — the school was entitled to her medical records under a federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Steve McDonald, an attorney for the Rhode Island School Of Design and a FERPA specialist, says the nation's medical privacy law, known as HIPAA, doesn't apply in this case, and the school is within its rights.

"I would think, in almost any case anywhere in the country, in a fear and emotional distress claim, those records would be relevant, and you would get them through some process," McDonald says.

Under FERPA, at a health clinic run by a university or college, the school has a legal right to get access to student medical records — if they're relevant for a legal defense....

read ... College Rape Case Shows A Key Limit To Medical Privacy Law

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Rape Hype: California-based Shake Down Operation Targets UH-Manoa Admissions

From Hawaii News Now, January 30, 2015

A new, eye-opening ad campaign is attacking the University of Hawaii on social media and UH officials are concerned this could have a negative impact on applications.

The ads grab attention, saying "Applying to the University of Hawai'i, Manoa? You should know about its rape problem."

The campaign started Monday and focus on social media sites. The ads are paid for by a social justice movement (Sharpton-style shake down operation) called UltraViolet.

There are 10 schools being targeted, all are part of a federal investigation into the handling of sexual assaults on college campuses. There are more 80 schools altogether being investigated so how were these 10 chosen?  (Working hand-in-glove with the Obama administration?)

"We've targeted a number of other schools in previous runs," says Karin Roland of UltraViolet, "We were looking specifically at schools that have application deadlines on or after February 1st in this case." ...

"This idea that... it's less safe here than other campuses and young women are trying to enroll, it's a little bit troublesome thinking that they might not choose to come here based on something that has nothing to do with the facts," says Jennifer Rose, Gender Equity Expert at UH....

Both sides agree, more needs to be done to protect women, but UH doesn't like the group's tactics....

(Welcome to the brave new world of 'progressive' movements.  All social media with no actual humans involved.  UH must pay up or bow down and they'll go away.)

read ... Shake-Down

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UH considering "Yes means yes" consent policy to strengthen Title IX requirements

From Hawaii News Now, January 23, 2015

Officials say these changes aren't in response to the Department of Education Title IX audit that took place on campus last April, instead they say the proposed policies administration is considering have been in the works since early 2013 when the Violence Against Women Act was signed by President Obama.

Under the law, colleges and universities are now required to report all domestic and dating violence incidents along with stalking. It also affords additional rights to campus victims and mandates school policies to address and prevent campus sexual violence....

New preliminary numbers for 2014 show 7 reported sexual assaults at UH Manoa. There were 8 in 2013, 11 in 2012 and 12 in 2011.

Among new policy considerations awaiting administrators approval is a plan to include "affirmative consent" language in the student code of conduct handbook. The national trend defines consent not as waiting for a person to say "no," but rather seeking an explicit "yes" before engaging in any sexual activity.

"It's not just no means no, it means -- did you get a yes?" explained Meisenzahl. 

It's not clear how the policy will be enforced here in Hawai'i if it goes into effect, but a similar bill in California now requires universities to adopt an "affirmative consent" standard to be used when investigating sexual assault complaints on campus. Officials say alleged attackers can no longer claim reported victims "didn't say no"....

read ... Thanks, Obama

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