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2004-2005 Undergraduate Catalog for Ohio University

Student Records Policy


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Ohio University's commitment to its educational mission and to the students and society it is obligated to serve demands that it maintain various records. No education records will be maintained that are not directly related to the basic purposes of the University. All policies and practices governing the collection, maintenance, review, and release of records will be based upon the principles of confidentiality and the student's right to privacy, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This policy shall govern the collection, maintenance, review, and release of student records on the Athens and regional campuses of Ohio University. A student is herein defined to mean any person for whom the University maintains education records or personally identifiable information, but does not include a person who has not been in attendance at the University or any of its regional campuses.



Types of Records

The University recognizes two general types of records: education records and unofficial records.


A   Education Records

Education records are those records which are directly related to a present or former student in any form (e.g., print, electronic, microfilm, etc.), which contain information directly related to a present or former student, and which are maintained by the University or by a person acting for the University. Education records shall be subject to the principles regarding collection, maintenance, review, and release which are described below.

Education records include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Admissions records maintained by the Office of Admissions, the College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Office of Graduate Student Services. The director of admissions, the dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, or the associate provost for graduate and research programs are the official custodians of these records;

  2. Academic records maintained by the dean of the student's college; academic departments; the Registrar's Office; and the Office of Lifelong Learning. The registrar, the deans of the colleges, or the chairpersons of the departments are the official custodians of these records;

  3. Disciplinary records maintained by the University Judiciaries. The director of Judiciaries is the official custodian of these records;

  4. Financial aid and student employment records maintained by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. The director of the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is the official custodian of these records;

  5. Placement records maintained by the Office of Career Services. The director of Career Services is the official custodian of these records;

  6. Housing records, including contract and lease agreements, maintained by the Housing Office. The director of Housing is the official custodian of these records;

  7. Financial records by offices which initiate, collect, and record fees assessed and paid;

  8. International student records. The director of International Student and Faculty Services is the custodian of these records;

  9. Any and all other records not specifically designated as unofficial records under subsection b., maintained by a University office or agency as essential to fulfilling the basic purpose and responsibility of the office or agency. The University official responsible for that office or agency is the official custodian of these records.


B   Unofficial Records

Unofficial records include:

  1. Records of institutional, supervisory, and administrative personnel, and faculty and educational personnel ancillary thereto which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof and which are not accessible by or revealed to any other person except a substitute. A substitute means an individual who performs on a temporary basis the duties of the individual who made the record and does not refer to an individual who permanently succeeds the maker of the records in his or her position;

  2. Records and documents of the Department of Campus Safety, provided that the records and documents are kept apart from the records described in subsection a. of this section, which are maintained solely for law enforcement purposes, and which are not available to persons other than law enforcement officials of the same jurisdiction or other University law enforcement personnel;

  3. In the case of persons who are employed by the University but who are not in attendance, records made and maintained in the normal course of business which are related exclusively to such person in his or her capacity as an employee and which are not available for use for any other purpose;

  4. Records which are created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional capacity, and which are created, maintained, or used only in connection with the provision of treatment to the student, and which are not available to anyone other than persons providing such treatment; provided, however, that such records can be personally reviewed upon written notice by the student, by a physician, or by other appropriate professional of the student's choice;

  5. Directory information -- the following information will be considered public or directory information, and may be published in a University publication:


Maintenance of Records

Education records shall be maintained only by University administrative personnel assigned responsibility for each of the types of records listed in the Types of Records section above. All University personnel involved in the handling and maintenance of education records shall be instructed concerning the confidential nature of such information and their responsibilities regarding it, pursuant to this policy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This instruction should be a part of each office's orientation procedure.


Persons Authorized to Place Materials in Records Files

Only the following qualified persons are permitted to place information in an education records file: personnel in the office or agency responsible for maintaining the files, and the individual student or others at the request of and, therefore, with the consent of the student.


Challenging or Removing File Contents

A student has the right to a formal hearing, pursuant to and in compliance with sections 99.20 through 99.22 of the Regulations to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, to challenge the content of such student's education records in order to ensure that the records are not inaccurate, miss-leading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of students, and to provide an opportunity for the correction or deletion of any such inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate data contained therein, and to insert into such records a written explanation respecting the content of such records.

However, the student shall first attempt to informally resolve his or her grievance through the department chair, dean of his or her college, or, in the case of other records, through the administrative officer responsible for maintaining the records. The office responsible for maintaining the records may charge a reasonable fee, but not more than $2 per page, for the reproduction of the records. The department chair, dean, or administrative officer, after careful review of the facts surrounding the challenge, shall inform the student, in writing and within five (5) days after the student presents the challenge, of his or her decision and any corrective action that will be taken.

If the student is dissatisfied with the results of his or her informal challenge through the department chair, dean, or administrative officer, he or she shall then file a formal complaint.


Student Access to Records

A student who is or has been in attendance at Ohio University shall have the right to inspect and review the contents of his or education records, subject only to reasonable arrangements concerning time, place, supervision, and cost of reproduction of the records, but in no case shall the time be more than thirty (30) days after a request has been made. Costs of each reproduction shall not be greater than $2 per page. Exceptions to this general right of review are:

a   Confidential financial records of the student's parents or any information contained therein;

b   Confidential letters and statements of recommendation, which were placed in the education records prior to January 1, 1975, as long as such letters or statements are not used for purposes other than those for which they were specifically intended, as determined by the administrative officer responsible for the office or agency where the record is kept;

c   Unauthorized access to computer/electronic files;

d   If the student has signed a waiver of the student's right of access under this section and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, confidential recommendations respecting admission to any educational agency or institution, respecting an application for employment, or respecting the receipt of an honor or honorary recognition.

A student or a person applying for admission may waive his or her right of access to confidential statements described in subsection b. of this section, except that such waiver shall apply to recommendations only if the student is, upon request, notified of the names of all persons making confidential recommendations, and such recommendations are used solely for the purpose for which they were specifically intended. The student may revoke, in writing, the previous waiver of his or her right to access to confidential statements or recommendations. Such revocation shall only apply to confidential statements or recommendations placed in the record after the waiver has been revoked. Such waivers may not be required as a condition for admission to, receipt of financial aid from, or receipt of any other services or benefits from the University.


Release of Student Records

Student records at Ohio University are held in trust by the University for the mutual benefit of the student and the educational mission of the University. Therefore, except with the prior written consent of the student, or as otherwise stated below, no information in any student education record file may be released to any individuals or organization.

a   Recordkeeping personnel may have access to student education records according to the conditions stipulated in the Maintenance of Records section above.

b   Members of the faculty and staff and other persons demonstrating a legitimate educational interest may have access to student education records for internal educational purposes or for necessary administrative and statistical purposes only. The legitimate educational interest will be determined by the University official responsible for the particular student's education record. Legitimate educational interest is used here in its traditional and classical sense. It means that, in order to serve students and the University, careful, considerate, and responsible judgments must be made by professional people who are responsible and accountable for these judgments. The rights of grievance and appeal are available to the student through the responsible official.

c   Direct access to financial, medical, psychological, and placement files is limited to the professional and clerical staff responsible for those matters.

d   Directory information -- please refer to Category B, "Unofficial Records," subsection 5, above.

e   Direct access to disciplinary files is limited to the staff of the Office of Judiciaries and the Office of Legal Affairs, and the dean of students and his or her immediate staff. This section shall not be construed so as to prohibit the Office of Legal Affairs from advising appropriate University offices that demonstrate a legitimate educational interest in the facts and disposition of a particular disciplinary case, nor shall it be construed so as to prohibit the Office of Judiciaries from advising any person demonstrating a need to know as to whether a disciplinary file does or does not exist.

f   Medical and psychological information is legally confidential and privileged. It will not be released to anyone without the express written authorization of the individual involved. In such cases, the individual must designate what information is to be released and to whom that information is to be released.

g   Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections a-f of this section:

  1. Education records will be released on compliance with a judicial order, or pursuant to any lawfully issued subpoena, upon condition that the student is reasonably notified of all such orders or subpoenas in advance of the compliance therewith by the University.

  2. Records, or information from records containing personally identifiable information, may be made available to officials of other schools or school systems in which the student seeks or intends to enroll, upon condition that the student be notified of the transfer, receive a copy of the records if desired, and has an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of the record.

  3. Records or information from records containing personally identifiable information may be released in connection with a student's application for or receipt of financial aid.

  4. Records or information from records may be released to the parents of a dependent student, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. The University presumes for this purpose only that all students are independent. The parents of a student have the burden to show dependent status as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

  5. Records or information from records may be released to the categories of persons or institutions designated in Section 438(b)(1)(C), 438(b)(1)(E), and 439(b)(3) of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, and sections 99.30(a)(2), and 99.31 through 99.36 of the regulations thereto.

  6. Records or information from records may be released to organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational agencies or institutions for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests; administering student aid programs; and improving instruction, if such studies are conducted in such a manner as will not permit the personal identification of students and their parents by persons other than representatives of such organization, and such information will be destroyed when no longer needed for the purposes for which it was released.

  7. Records or information from records may be released to accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions.

  8. Records or information from records may be released to appropriate persons if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.

  9. The University officials responsible for implementing the Student Records Policy and ensuring compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 are the vice president for administration with the assistance of the dean of students and the director of legal affairs. The University ombudsman may examine all education records of a student upon authorization by the student or the director of legal affairs.


Record of Access

Each office shall keep with the education records of each student a record which will specifically indicate the legitimate interest that each such person, agency, or organization, other than other school officials and persons designated in the Release of Student Records section above, has in obtaining this information. Such record of access shall be available only to the student, the school official, and his or her assistants who are responsible for the custody of such records, and to persons or responsible organizations authorized to conduct an audit pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The record should include the name of the individual or agency requesting information, reason for the request, date of the request, and the disposition of the request. The office responsible for the records shall, upon a request in writing by the student, provide a copy of the records disclosed and charge the appropriate fees therefore. Education records or information there from shall be transferred to a third party only on the condition that such party will not permit any other party to have access to such information without the written consent of the student.


Retention of Records

Each recordkeeping office will establish and make available a reasonable and justifiable policy regarding the retention of records after the separation of the student from the University. Where legal statutes govern retention, such policies shall be in accordance with those statutes.


Holds on Release of Records

Unmet University financial obligations or pending disciplinary cases may result in a hold being placed on the release of student records. The office originating the hold must inform the student in writing that it has initiated such action. Copies of hold notices will be maintained by the originating office or agency and will serve as verification that written notification has been provided to the student.


Incorporation of Federal Law

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, and the regulations enacted in pursuance thereof, are hereby incorporated by reference into this policy, and to the extent that this policy conflicts with the law and/or regulations, the law and/or regulations shall take precedence.


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