MU redacts name of treasurer's daughter in filings

By Steve Korris | Apr 9, 2010

HUNTINGTON – In what would seem like an exercise in futility, Marshall University redacted Emily Perdue's name 15 times in a court document to protect her privacy.

In a March 11 brief, the university sought to shield Perdue, daughter of state treasurer John Perdue, from involvement in another student's discrimination suit.

The other student, Alexandra Bertolotti, claims the university boosted Perdue's grades but refused to add a half point to hers.

She claims nursing instructor Sandra Prunty ridiculed her hearing impairment.

Bertolotti's lawyer, Mike Weikle of Ann Arbor, Mich., connected the cases last November in the wake of media reports on Perdue's grades.

"In sharp contrast to the substantial accommodations accorded the state treasurer's daughter, the plaintiff and her parent's several requests to the university regarding the outrageous statements made by Dr. Prunty and her refusal to offer any assistance to the plaintiff were impersonally denied," he wrote.

"Unlike the conveniences accorded the state treasurer's daughter, the plaintiff and her parents were not offered an opportunity to meet with Dr. Prunty and the dean of the nursing program," he wrote.

"The state treasurer's daughter suffers no physical handicap and no reasonable excuse for her failure to attend the classes or timely turn in the required course work has been reported," he wrote.

He requested admissions from university officials about their conduct with Perdue, and the officials objected.

"Student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act," Cheryl Connelly of Huntington wrote on March 11.

She objected to eight questions, writing "redacted" in place of a name 15 times.

She wrote that the information was not relevant.

"Accepting plaintiff's assertion for the sake of argument only, plaintiff contends that another student benefited from having parents with political influence," she wrote.

"Taken at face value, plaintiff's assertion does not make her claim any more or less likely," she wrote.

District Judge Robert Chambers presides over the case.

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