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Students want MU to not be able to disclose their alcohol violations

March 08, 2000
By: Dan Shaw
State Capital Bureau
Links: SB 1077

JEFFERSON CITY - Colleges and universities have been given the power of parents, at least when it comes to drugs and alcohol.

"The university should not take on the role of parent," said Robert Johnson, lobbying members of the Senate Education Committee for a ban on parental notification of drug and alcohol violations. "We believe 18 year-olds are adults and should be treated as such."

Johnson voiced a number of objections, including a concern that students wouldn't seek help for drug-related problems because of fear their parents would learn.

The bill will face an uphill battle, Johnson said.

Under a 1974 federal law, it was illegal for schools to disclose information about students. Last year, however, Congress amended that law and left release of student information to the discretion of schools.

MU's policy was adopted last year and applies to students between 18 and 21.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Bill Clay, D-St. Louis, on behalf of Associated Students of the University of Missouri.

"Although I do not agree with everything in the bill, I felt it was an important issue and needed to be addressed," Clay said.

Kathleen Brown, a junior at MU, said she supports the bill because she feels most parents harbor no illusions of what occurs when their children go off to school.

"My parents would laugh at the university for wasting its money on the postage to send the records," Brown said.

MU lobbyist Jim Schneider said the university has not taken an official position on Clay's bill.

Johnson, speaking on behalf of the student lobby, said MU's policy would be acceptable if it included a provision exempting students not claimed as dependents on their parent's tax return.

More than half of the Committee seemed uneasy with tying the hands of parents.

"I think when we send our children to college we are still very concerned about them," said Betty Sims, R-St. Louis County. "After 18 years of caring for them we should be able to know what they are doing."