Earlier this week a Democrat bill to exempt student directory information from open records laws (inspired by some partisan grandstanding during the election) was soundly defeated. Democrats claim that the use of student information obtained by a Republican-aligned marketing firm through an open records request was some assault on the privacy of students, despite no evidence (outside of Democrat theatrics) that students were inconvenienced in any meaningful way by the emails sent to them.
But now Democrats are looking to resurrect the issue in SB2360, the final amended language of which would only allow student directory information to be disclosed if the student opts-in.
There are a number of problems with the legislation.
First, its passage would reward Democrats for their patently partisan grandstanding on this issue during the election. They even went to the absurd process of filing a criminal complaint (their initial complaint made headlines, its utter rejection by prosecutors did not unfortunately). Democrats aren’t really motivated by concern over student privacy. I’ve actually asked their party leadership if they’ve ever requested student directory information and they’ve never responded. Rather, Democrats are motivated by a desire to wound Republicans.
That’s not justification for policy.
There’s also no clear evidence that there’s a problem here to be solved. Outside of the histrionics of certain Democrats and their mouthpieces in the media, the current openness of directory information doesn’t seem to have caused an issue.
Democrats are angry because Republican interests would dare to try to communicate with college students, one of the few solid Democrat constituencies in the state, but so what? These students are grownups. They can delete or unsubscribe from political missives in their email inboxes just like the rest of us.
I, for one, am growing a little tired of this endless push to infantilize college students.