SIU fails to redact names in sexual assault documents

By Kayli Plotner, @Kayplot

The university has apologized after personal information regarding sexual assault claims was not redacted in Freedom of Information Act documents.

In a September 2015 FOIA request obtained by the Daily Egyptian, SIU’s FOIA officer Rod Seivers failed to redact four full names, five partial names and one complete address out of 80 cases.

The FOIA request reads: “I am requesting a document that contains all reports of sexual assault in and around the SIU campus and Carbondale area during the past five years. I have no interest in the names of the persons involved, so redacting their personal and contact information is suggested. Rather I request that the document contain the time, date, specific geographic location and type of incident reported.”

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University spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith said the failure to redact was simply an error.

“It absolutely should not have happened,” she said. “Redacting documents is a human process, and we are very sorry it happened.”

MORE: SIU under U.S. Department of Education investigation for handling of sexual assault cases 

Several of the case documents are letters that were sent to the assailant and victim, and contain detailed descriptions of alleged sexual assaults.

Goldsmith said releasing the information was a violation of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and could lead to investigations by the U.S. Department of Education should those students whose names were not redacted wish to submit a complaint.

MORE: Basketball player’s sexual assault case prompted change in policyVictim’s choice leading reason for dropped sexual assault claims

The Daily Egyptian reached out to all four of the students whose full names were left unredacted. Two replied, one did not wish to comment. Another agreed to an interview, but later asked for the interview not to be used.

Kayli Plotner can be reached at 618-536-3325 or [email protected]

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