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:
B. Unofficial Records
Unofficial records include:
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, misleading, 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. Record-keeping 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. The following information will be considered public and may be published in a university publication: the student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, and other similar information. Relative to such public or directory information, the university shall give public notice of the categories of information which shall be considered public information, and shall allow a reasonable period of time after such notice has been given for a student to inform the university that all of the information designated should not be released without the student's prior consent.
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:
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 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 therefrom 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.