Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, September 22, 2019

SIUE departments accused of releasing man's private information; He asks for $50 million


By John Breslin | Jun 21, 2019

EDWARDSVILLE – Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is facing a federal privacy action from an individual who claims his private information was unlawfully released by two SIUE departments.

Bryan Harris of East St. Louis filed a statement of claim related to a civil action on June 13 in Madison County Circuit Court claiming SIUE violated the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). He is seeking $50 million in damages.

"Regarding your inquiry, the university has not been served with this suit, and thus has no comment at this time," Doug McIlhagga, SIUE's executive director of marketing and communications, told the Record.

Harris did not immediately respond to a request for further comment on the potential suit.

In his filing, which does not indicate that Harris is represented by an attorney, Harris wrote, "Private information was released within two departments, financial aid and campus police." 

It continued, "Both departments released sensitive information to students who carelessly circulated that information to other students, faculty, and neighboring communities."

Harris claims that repercussions included "emotional distress, harassment, intimidation, verbal and physical threats." 

The filing does not include any details on the type of information released and why Harris was subjected to intimidation and threats.

"Damages are estimated at $50 million." Harris wrote in the filing.

No additional information is included in the claim detailing exactly how the information was allegedly disseminated by the two departments. 

FERPA essentially protects the privacy of student education records and applies to all schools receiving federal funds.

Parents, and children when they reach 18, must give written permission for the release of information except under certain conditions and only to certain officials and organizations.

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Organizations in this Story

Madison County Circuit Court Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

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