My question involves education law in the State of: Texas
The faculty in my nursing program found a test bank in the printing lab. I received an email to meet with my professor. Went to my appointment with her this morning... They googled the test bank and found out they are commonly in .rtf format. So they went back and found out who the students were that printed .rtf files within 5 days prior to that. They did this based on our ID numbers, which we enter when printing, but which are not password protected. I denied, denied, denied.
Then I did research. They encourage us to use the webpage for our text for supplemental studying. Many of us print out the chapter outlines, which are in .rtf format. The file they said I printed was one of these outlines for an exam for a different class. I told my professor this and sent her the file and she said ok but the attributes are different..which I assume was file size/page number. I modify the margins to give myself room to take notes on. I don't have this original file. She hasn't gotten back to me yet.
Other students noticed this too and told her. She told some that that's fine but it's going to stay in our record with a note attached.
They have notified the "entire faculty" in our nursing program of our names. Is this a FERPA violation or even slander? I understand notifying my professors who I am currently taking, but the entire department? It seems like some kind of breech of privacy.
I was recently invited to join the honor society, but some of the staff thinks we should not be allowed to join now. I don't want to join now because I will be standing there being initiated with the staff initiating me thinking I'm not "honorable".
I should note that my school is in a small town and the faculty are all friends. We've had a previous problem with a professor and went to the chair and were scolded for doing so. Another professor involved (she's some sort of authority figure in the program, a coordinator) also spoke poorly about students by name to a fellow student in her place of employment. That student is not willing to come forward with this.
She also mentioned that those being suspected of cheating had their grades drop this past test because the professors stopped using the test bank. I pointed out to her that my grade remained the same and was, in fact, 10 points above the average. All she could say was "well, I didn't pull up your individual grade".
My school has no law services for students. I'm afraid to follow the hierarchy in my department, and I am also afraid to go to student affairs, but I know something needs to be done. I work hard and value my reputation. Can I do anything?