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US won’t allow release of bomb suspect’s college records

The US Department of Education has denied a request by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to release student records of accused Boston ­Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, saying that doing so would violate federal privacy law.

“It appears that the academic and financial records that have been requested would be protected by [federal law] and that the university may not ­release them without the consent of the student,” a department official wrote.

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Under pressure from news organizations to release the college records of Tsarnaev, who was a sophomore at the public university, and three former classmates charged in connection to the bombings, university officials asked federal education officials last week to determine whether federal privacy law could be waived in the case.

“We recognize our obligation to be good stewards of public ­resources,” said university chancellor Divina ­Grossman. “It is important that we do all that we can to learn from this experience by ­being honest with ourselves and as transparent as possible under the law.”

The university has denied ­requests for information about ­Tsarnaev’s grades and financial aid amid reports that he had failed several classes and owed the school more than $20,000.

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Grossman also announced that an independent task force would review university policies in light of the arrests, includ­ing financial and academic requirements.

In a statement, the university said it “will continue to be transparent with the public while complying with federal and state law.”

Peter Schworm can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globepete.
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