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Cockburn Education

Michael Cohen’s amazingly pointless letters to Trump’s universities

Universities can’t share academic records without the permission of the student

February 27, 2019

5:32 PM

27 February 2019

5:32 PM

Of all the slightly dubious documents Michael Cohen supplied with his opening statement today, one stood out to Cockburn: the threatening letters the lawyer had sent to Trump’s old schools and colleges.

Cohen sent legal missives to Fordham University and the University of Pennsylvania, warning there would be dire consequences if they were to release Trump’s academic records. ‘The release or disclosure [of academic records] in any form…is expressly prohibited by law, with any violation thereof exposing the subject educational institution to both criminal and civil liability…The criminality will result in jail time,’ the lawyer wrote to Fordham.

Cockburn couldn’t help but wonder: why bother? It’s far from standard practice for colleges to release the grades of their students, no matter how important they go on to be.

Trump’s alma mater, Fordham, seems to agree. In an email, a spokesperson described the school’s interactions with the Trump inner circle:

‘The University received a call from someone on the Trump campaign as now-President Trump was gearing up for his run.  We told the caller that Fordham is bound by federal law, and that we could not/would not reveal/share any records (as we would not reveal any student records) with anyone except Mr Trump himself, or any recipient he designated, in writing.

‘Fordham received a follow-up letter from one of Mr Trump’s attorneys summarizing the call and reminding us that they would take action against the University if we did, in fact, release Mr Trump’s records.

‘Our stance remains the same: we obey federal law and don’t release student records to anyone but the student/graduate or anyone that the student designates, in writing.’

It’s a similar story at the prestigious Ivy League school Penn, where three of Donald Trump’s five children have been (put your money on Barron selecting it now).

A rather stoic spokesperson told Cockburn: ‘We do not comment on student records.’

As universities never release the results of individual students, you have to wonder what the point of Cohen’s letter-writing campaign was. Or about the mental state of the person who ordered it.

If you do happen to stumble over a copy of Trump’s academic records, though, do send it to cockburn@spectator.co.uk for safekeeping…

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