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A University Sued Its Own Student Newspaper And Won

A Kentucky judge has denied a student newspaper’s request to get ahold of documents related to claims that a professor sexually assaulted and harassed graduate students in a high-profile case that tested a federal privacy law.

In August, the University of Kentucky sued the school’s independent student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel, after the state’s attorney general ruled that the university must release documents related to an investigation into the allegations against entomology professor James Harwood.

In a decision Monday, Judge Thomas Clark, of Fayette County Circuit Court, agreed with the university that even releasing redacted records — without the names of victims or witnesses, or details of the alleged assaults or harassment, as the Kernel requested — would leave people involved vulnerable to identification, violating federal privacy laws for students.