Category Archives: Legal Issues


Obama Proposes Bill to Protect Student Data, but Not in Higher Education

The abundance of data being collected on students has been celebrated as an opportunity to “personalize” education. But privacy advocates have long warned that digital paper trails might leave today’s students exposed if their personal information fell into the wrong hands.

The White House announced on Monday that it would be taking up the cause of student privacy, pushing legislation that would “prevent companies from selling student data to third parties for purposes unrelated to the educati…


Ga. State’s Loss in ‘E-Reserves’ Case Might Actually Be a Win for Librarians

In May 2012 fair-use advocates celebrated a federal judge’s decision in a high-profile copyright case. The ruling was seen as a decisive victory for Georgia State University, whose librarians wanted to be able to make freely available as much copyrighted material as possible to students via its electronic reserve system.

On Friday a federal appeals court ended that celebration by reversing the judge’s decision and sending the “e-reserves” case back to the lower court for further action.

At a gla…


How Universities Turn Slogans Into Cash

If you want to sell a T-shirt that says “Bring the Juice”—and who among us hasn’t?—you’ll have to clear it with Robert P. Cleveland.

Mr. Cleveland is director of trademark and licensing at Ohio State University, which has owned the trademark on “Bring the Juice” since 2012, along with several dozen other words and phrases.

The Chronicle just published a poem composed entirely of college-owned trademarks. I wrote it after combing through the federal trademark database to see if I could make a lis…


For Bill on Disabled Access to Online Teaching Materials, the Devil’s in the Details

As smart classrooms become the norm on more campuses and online courses proliferate, some observers worry that the digital revolution will leave students with disabilities behind. But a bill under consideration in the U.S. Congress, the Technology, Equality, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (HR 3505), would deal with that concern by creating accessibility guidelines for electronic materials used or assigned by college professors and administrators.

While the bill, known as t…


Emailed in Error, UVa Law School’s Student GPA Spreadsheet Spreads Fast

Think of it as an unintended ethics test for future lawyers.

The administrator at the University of Virginia’s School of Law who oversees the school’s judicial-clerkship program, Ruth Payne, accidentally sent the wrong document on Wednesday to an email list for students seeking clerkships. Instead of details about how to get hired in Maryland, she attached a spreadsheet with details about all 155 students currently seeking clerkships. The spreadsheet included each student’s grade-point average, …


QuickWire: Lawsuit Is Filed in Arizona Data-Breach Case

A lawsuit has been filed against the Maricopa County Community College District, in Arizona, over a data breach that exposed the personal information of 2.4 million people dating back three decades.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, alleges that college officials failed to protect personal information by not mitigating a data breach in 2011, which then gave way to a more significant breach in 2013. The suit, which seeks $2,500 in damages for each potential plaintiff, was first report…