Student disciplinary records are defined as educational records by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). As educational records, disciplinary records are not subject to release without written authorization by the student. However, under certain circumstances, FERPA and Ohio University's Students Records Policy (Policy 12.020) permit the University to release disciplinary records without written authorization by the student. These circumstances include without limitation, but are not limited to, the following:
- A parent or guardian may request access to a student's disciplinary records if the parent or guardian claims the student as a dependent according to the IRS tax code.
- Victims of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense may access the final results of the disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University with respect to that alleged crime or offense regardless of whether or not the University concludes that a violation was committed.
- Anyone may access the final results* of a disciplinary proceeding in which a student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and, with respect to the allegation made against him or her, that student is found to have committed a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
- Education records will be released in compliance with a judicial order, or pursuant to any lawfully issued subpoena, upon condition that the university makes a reasonable effort to notify the student of all such orders or subpoenas in advance of the compliance therewith by the university unless the court or issuing agency has ordered that the existence or the contents of the subpoena or the information furnished in response to the subpoena not be disclosed. In addition, if a student initiates legal action against the university, the university may, without a subpoena or court order, disclose to the court the student's education records that are relevant for the university to defend itself.
- Records or information from records containing personally identifiable information may be made available, upon request, to officials of other schools or school systems in which the student seeks or intends to enroll, upon condition that the student, upon request, receives a copy of the records and be given an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of the record.
- University officials demonstrating a legitimate educational interest may have access to student education records protected by FERPA. A university official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted to perform a service on behalf of the university; a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another university official in performing his or her tasks. A university official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
For more information, see https://www.ohio.edu/policy/12-020
*For purposes of this section, "final results" means the name of the student who committed the violation, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by the University against the student. The university will not disclose the name of any other student, including a victim or witness, without the prior written consent of the other student. Student disciplinary records are retained on file by the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility for seven years past the date of the last incident.
Notification of Academic Colleges
In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Ohio University's Student Records Policy (Policy 12.020), which provides for the University to share student records with members of the faculty and staff having a legitimate educational interest, the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility will notify the academic college in which a student is enrolled when the student is found in violation of an offense of the Student Code of Conduct. Informing academic colleges of students' progress as community members assists the colleges in their work with students.
Parental/Guardian Notification of Alcohol and Other Drug Offenses
In the Fall 1998, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that prohibited colleges and universities from releasing disciplinary records of students 18 years of age or older without their consent was amended. As a result, public colleges and universities were given the option of informing parents/guardians of alcohol and other drug offenses committed by their students who are under 21 years of age. This change in the law prompted Ohio University to study the issue.
After study and discussion with students, faculty, and administrators on campus, Ohio University decided to implement a parental/guardian notification program during the 1999-2000 academic year.
Details of Notification
When students under the age of 21 at the time of disclosure (with fewer than 60 semester credit hours earned) are found responsible either for a Code B or Code A alcohol or other drug offense, the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility will routinely notify students' parents/guardians in writing.
Written notification will detail the fact that the student has been found responsible for an alcohol or other drug offense and provide the specific disposition of the case. The notice will not include specific details of the offense(s) for which the student is found responsible, or the circumstances surrounding the offense(s). Parents/guardians interested in specific information concerning the outcome of their student's disciplinary case are encouraged to discuss the case with their student. If questions remain, parents/guardians are encouraged to contact the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility.
Where Will Notice Be Sent?
The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility will send written notice of students' substantiated alcohol and other drug offenses to parents/guardians at the permanent address provided to the Office of the Registrar. Because this address is provided to the Office of the Registrar by students, parents/guardians and students are encouraged to ensure that the permanent address on file is indeed the address to which parents want notices about alcohol and other drug offenses sent.
Note: The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility will not routinely notify parents/guardians when students are charged with allegations of misconduct. Parents/guardians interested in knowing when allegations of alcohol or other drug misconduct are brought against their students are encouraged to make arrangements with their students to have them disclose this information when they are notified in writing by the university of an allegation of misconduct.
Suggestions for Parents/Guardians Notified of Misconduct
Because parents/guardians play a critically important role in the lives of their college-aged students, parents/guardians can significantly influence their students' decisions concerning alcohol and other drugs. Listed below are some suggestions for parents/guardians notified of alcohol and other drug offenses:
- Discuss the details of the case involving your student, including specific offense(s), circumstances surrounding the offense, and disciplinary sanction imposed. Consult the Ohio University's student code of conduct for the specific university definition of the offense(s) and sanction imposed in your student's case. The code of conduct in its entirety can be found on-line on our website.
- Discuss with your student your expectations for appropriate future conduct.
- Reinforce the relationship between academic success and responsible conduct.
- Assess whether professional assistance is warranted to address your student's potential alcohol or other drug abuse problem. Counseling and Psychological Services can be contacted at (740) 593-1616.
- Contact the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility with any remaining questions concerning your student's conduct case either by calling (740) 593-2629 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.