Oregon University Uses Student’s Mental Health Records in Court
Employees and students are upset after Oregon University used the mental health records of a student who is suing the school in court to defend itself.
Oregon University is facing criticism after using the mental health records of a student who was suing the school in court.
The unidentified student is suing the university for mishandling her sexual assault after the school found three basketball players responsible for raping her but failed to involve authorities. The student has also received therapy at university clinics, and now the school is using those health records to defend itself against the lawsuit, according to npr.org.
Oregon is now taking heat from student activists and employees who feel the school’s use of mental health records violates student’s privacy. Kelsey Jones, a student at Oregon who works with the Organization Against Sexual Assault, said the case has damaged students’ confidence in the university’s mental health care. Two counseling center employees at Oregon wrote in an open letter to the university that they were disturbed by the use of the records, with one saying she felt the school was forcing her to violate her professional ethics.
The university says that because the unidentified woman claimed emotional distress it has a right to access her medical records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA. FERPA states that the school has a right to access student medical records from a university health clinic if they’re relevant for a legal defense.