Harvard to Lobby Against Bill That Would Open Student Files
A group of Harvard deans and administrators will meet today with a state representative and the state's secretary of education to voice dissatisfaction with a proposed bill in the State House of Representatives that would grant students at public and private schools and colleges access to all records kept on them in confidential files.
The proposed legislation, House Bill No. 3710, cleared the House education committee in April and currently awaits floor debate. It would allow students 18 years or older and parents of minors "to inspect academic, scholastic, or any other records of any kind or nature concerning each student which are kept or required to be kept."
The bill, proposed by Democratic State Rep. Lois G. Pines with the endorsement of Secretary of Education Joseph M. Cronin '56, adds state-supported colleges and all "private educational institutions" to the jurisdiction of the Student Records Bill of 1973, which opened up confidential records in all Massachusetts public schools.
Harvard's delegation to the State House meeting today will include Dean Whitlock, Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University, and Michael Brewer, President Bok's assistant on legislative affairs.
Harvard opposes the bill in its present form because it is "too broadly written," and will work to the detriment of students, Whitlock said yesterday.
Steiner said Harvard hopes to point out problems the bill would create in trying to stop possible abuse of confidential information. By opening access to a Harvard student's "house folder," which includes his admissions application and subsequent academic and disciplinary records, the value of letters of recommendation in the admissions process will be undermined, Steiner said.