Virginia Senate approves bill to shield student contact information

RICHMOND — After a political group obtained college students’ contact information and used it to send mass text messages for last year’s election, the Virginia Senate on Monday overwhelmingly approved a bill to protect student privacy.

House Bill 1 from Del. Tony Wilt, R-Rockingham, would stop college student directory information from being released under the Freedom of Information Act without consent of the student or parent if the student is under 18. After the legislation cleared the House of Delegates earlier this month, the Senate voted 38-2 to approve the bill.

The progressive group NextGen Virginia used Freedom of Information Act requests to get cellphone numbers from college students at public colleges across the state. With that information, the group sent mass text messages about voter registration, urging college students to vote in last year’s election. Read more…