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January 28, 2014

"Misusing privacy law to protect the powerful at UNC"

This is absolutely correct, both generally and applied to UNC.

But this is modern academia, where it’s not enough to debate people with opposing views.  They have to be crushed.

And what handier weapon to use against inconvenient speech than federal privacy law?  Before she knew it, Willingham’s approval to conduct her research was suspended. Why? Because she was using individual students’ names to correlate their test scores with their grades. The UNC Institutional Review Board,which regulates human subject research to protect student privacy, declared that it hadn’t approved her collection of student names, so the research had to be shut down, now.  it didn’t matter that “Willingham … thought she was following IRB rules because as the primary investigator she never released names to anyone” at least until a hostile UNC administrator demanded them. Just keeping the names in a file drawer was a violation, according to IRB administrators at UNC.

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