Buckley and Pell Suggest Clarifications in Files Bill
Senators James L. Buckley (R-N.Y.) and Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) agreed yesterday to co-sponsor a series of amendments intended to clarify ambiguities in the language of the student files law.
The proposal will provide for letters of recommendation written before a specified date under the promise of confidentiality to remain confidential, Steben Wexler, chief counsel for the Senate Subcommittee on Education, said yesterday. December 31, 1974, will probably be the designated date, he added.
Jean Froehlich, associate counsel for the subcommittee, said yesterday that under the suggested revisions writers of recommendations would have to be forewarned of the lack of confidentiality.
She added that the Buckley-Pell changes would allow students to waive their right to view their records, permitting confidential letters to be retained in the files.
Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel for the University, said last night, "I'm obviously pleased that we're finally going to be getting some legislation." However, he added, "we've still got some waiting and seeing to do."
The proposal will also explicitly give parents the right to see the grades of children they are supporting through college, Wexler said.
Under the new clarification, however, the same right will not be extended to parents of students who are self-supporting, Wexler said.
Wexler, who attended the morning meeting of the two senators, said the proposal is not an attempt to nullify any portion of the files law, also called the Buckley amendment.
The senators' efforts attempt only to "make clear" certain ambiguous passages in the controversial law and "work on the language," he said.
Froehlich said the senators will jointly sponsor amendments on the Senate floor, hopefully as soon as next week. Buckley is acting in his capacity as sponsor of the original files law and Pell as chairman of the relevant subcommittee, the Senate Subcommittee on Education.
The precise amendments have not yet been drafted and they must still go through the entire legislative process in Washington before enactment.