I am preparing my tenure-track faculty application materials for the current hiring cycle, and I'm thinking of replacing one of my reference writers with one of my PhD committee members (I'll call him Dr. Z). In addition to serving on my committee (I successfully defended my dissertation earlier this year), Dr. Z was a co-author on several journal/conference papers and a former instructor for several classes in which I did very well.
I sent an email to Dr. Z asking him if he would be willing to provide a letter of recommendation for me. His reply:
I have been informed that you have FERPA restrictions on your academic records. I cannot provide reference letters for you or speak on your behalf to any potential employers with FERPA restrictions in place.
When I first enrolled at my PhD-granting institution, I placed FERPA restrictions on my academic records. Specifically, I chose to have my directory information removed from my school's online directory. I'm not a control freak, but I do tend to take advantage of mechanisms which help to prevent any of my personal information (such as home address, etc.) falling into unknown hands.
I have no reason not to remove the FERPA restrictions, but I hate the thought of removing them under these circumstances. However, I also understand, and appreciate, anyone's right to provide (or not) a reference for whatever reason(s) they choose.
I am left wondering, though:
Is there a legitimate reason that someone in Dr. Z's position would have for wanting to see my academic records prior to providing a reference?
Edit — For what it's worth, I am seeking out reference writers, such as Dr. Z, who can speak to my research capabilities, not about how well I did in their class.