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Statement from The University of Texas System on lawsuit filed by Regent Hall
University of Texas System Chancellor William H. McRaven was notified that Regent Wallace Hall has filed a lawsuit against him, as the System’s chief executive officer. Hall claims that he has been wrongly denied access to records necessary to carry out his duties as a Regent.
Chancellor McRaven believes that a Regent’s access to information is not above the law, and that the laws protecting health information (HIPAA), student academic information (FERPA) and other information made confidential by law must be followed. If however, a regent can show adequate reason for why access to personal information is needed, and that by providing personal information the UT System is not in violation of the law, then the Chancellor can grant access. In fact, Chancellor McRaven has, on numerous occasions, offered Regent Hall all the material he has requested with the exception of a student’s personal information, and Hall has been receiving portions of that information for several weeks following the System’s view of documents.
“Where federal or state law makes confidential information that relates to a specific individual, whether it is private health information or an individual student’s protected information, it is our duty to ensure that we strictly comply with those confidentiality requirements,” said Chancellor McRaven. “I regret that Regent Hall believes the lawsuit is necessary or appropriate, but I am confident that my actions are in compliance not only with what the law requires, but also with what is in the best interest of our students, patients, and employees across the UT System.”
Board Chairman Paul Foster and Vice Chairmen Steve Hicks and Jeff Hildebrand all said that the decision at an April 8, 2015, Board of Regents meeting to grant Regent Hall access to records was subject to federal law and the application of FERPA by the System’s Office of the General Counsel. The chairman and vice chairmen announced their full support of Chancellor McRaven's decision to comply with privacy laws.