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Student Academic Services: FERPA

Student Academic Services Staff

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Seattle Pacific University is committed to meeting the provisions established in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the right of parents of dependent students and of students who are attending or have attended the University.

Section I: Definitions 
Section II: Annual Notification 
Section III: Types, Locations, and Custodians of Education Records 
Section IV: Disclosure of Educational Records to Student 

A. Procedure for Students to Inspect Their Own Education Records
B. Right of University to Refuse Access 
C. Refusal to Provide Copies 
D. Request for Copies

Section V: Disclosure of Education Records to Other Than the Student to Whom the Record Pertains

A. Disclosure of Education Records (to school officials and other authorized officials) 
B. Disclosure to Others 
C. Disclosure of Disciplinary Proceedings 
D. Record of Requests for Disclosure to Individuals Other Than the Student or University Officials
E. Directory Information 
F. Redisclosure of Information
G. Correction of Education Records

Approved by President's Staff: October 1992 Recent Revision Approved by President's Cabinet: March 11, 2002, Earlier Revisions: March 1996, May 1998.

Section I

Definitions

Student: Any person who attends or has attended Seattle Pacific University and for whom the University maintains education records.

Parent: Parent of a Seattle Pacific University student, including a natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian (see 
Disclosure to Others: Section V).

Third Parties: Non-University persons or entities.

University: Hereafter in this document a reference to Seattle Pacific University.

University Official : A University official is (i) a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position; (ii) a person serving on the board of trustees; (iii) a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or (iv) a volunteer or contractor outside of the University who performs an institutional service or function for which the University would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the University with respect to the use and maintenance of personally identifiable information from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another University official in performing his or her tasks.

Education Records: Any record (in handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tapes, film, microfilm, microfiche, or other medium) maintained by Seattle Pacific University or by a party acting for the University which is directly related to a student except:

  • A record kept in the sole possession of the individual who made the record, is used only as a personal memory aid and the information contained in the record has never been revealed or made available to any other person except the maker's temporary substitute.

  • An employment record of an individual whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual's employment.

  • Records maintained by the University's Health Services and Student Counseling Center if the records are used only for treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment.

  • Alumni records that contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at the University and the records do not relate to the person as a student.

  • Security Records of the Office of Safety and Security (“OSS”), which is the department responsible for maintaining the physical security and safety of the University. The term “Security Records” means those records, files, documents, and other materials that are created by OSS; created for a law enforcement purpose; and maintained by OSS (or otherwise exempt under the FERPA regulations as “records of a law enforcement unit”). See 34 CFR ยง99.8.

Deceased Student: All records held by the University and pertaining to a deceased individual no longer fall under FERPA regulations but become historical documents and are covered by the University's policy. Information may be released to survivors or other third parties upon written request and documented confirmation of the individual's death.

Alleged Perpetrator: A student who is alleged to have committed acts that would, if proven, constitute any of the offenses stated as crimes of violence or non-forcible sex offenses.

Disciplinary Proceedings Final Results: A decision or determination, made by the chief judicial officer, or designee or other entity, authorized to resolve disciplinary matters within the institution. The disclosure of final results must include only the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by the University against the student.

Sanction imposed: A description of the disciplinary action taken by the University, date of its imposition, and its duration.

Violation committed: An infringement upon the University's community standards and any essential findings supporting the University's conclusions that the violation was committed.

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Section II

Annual Notification

The University will notify currently enrolled students of their rights under FERPA by publishing a notice in the Undergraduate Catalog,Graduate Catalog, and primary continuing education publications. Degree-seeking students will receive a notice by mail each Autumn Quarter to notify students of their rights and how to obtain further information. 

The University will inform parents of undergraduate students of their basic rights under FERPA, including how to pursue their rights, by issuing a notice via mail each Autumn Quarter.

Note: This website includes details of the University's FERPA policy.

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Section III

Types, Locations, and Custodians of Education Records

 

Types of Record

Location

Record Custodian

Academic (e.g., transcript, transfer work, class schedule, degree requirements, probation, petitions, contracts, etc.)

Student Academic Services

University registrar

Academic Progress (e.g., requirements, major)

Each school's administrative office

School's dean

Leadership Honors, Disciplinary Files

Office of Student Life

Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of Students, Chief Judicial Officer

Financial Aid; Student Accounts

Student Financial Services

Director of student financial services

Placement

Center for Career and Calling

Career education staff

Student Payroll

Finance Office

Controller

OSS Records (other than Security Records)

Office of Safety and Security

Director of safety and security

Occasional (e.g., correspondence in office not listed above)

University registrar will collect such records, direct the student to location, or make available for inspection, and review.

University staff person who maintains such occasional records.



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Section IV

A. Procedure for Students to Inspect Their Education Records

To inspect or review an education record, a student must submit a written request to the record custodian or, in the case of occasional records, to the university registrar (see Location of Education Records). The student must sign the request; describe the specific records to be reviewed; and must set forth the name under which the student attended the University, the student’s social security number; and the student’s last date of attendance. Proper picture identification must be presented before the documents may be reviewed.

The record custodian, or the custodian’s designee, may waive the requirement for a written request. The record custodian or an appropriate designee will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and advise the student when and where the records will be available for inspection. Access will be given within 45 days or less after receipt of the written request. The University will respond to all reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the records.

B. Right of University to Refuse Access

The University reserves the right to refuse the inspection and review of certain records, including, but not limited to:

  • Financial records of the student’s parents.

  • Confidential letters and confidential statements of recommendation placed in education records of the student before January 1, 1975, as long as the statements are used only for the purposes for which they were specifically intended.

  • Confidential letters and confidential statements placed in the student’s education record after January 1, 1975, if the student has waived his or her right to inspect and review those letters and statements and those letters and statements are related to the student’s admission, application for employment, or receipt of an honor or honorary recognition.

  • Documents excluded from the FERPA definition of education records (such as those listed in Section I).

C. Refusal to Provide Copies

The University reserves the right not to provide copies of transcripts it has received from other education institutions. It also reserves the right to deny copies of the University transcripts if the student has an unpaid financial obligation to the University.

D. Request for Copies

If circumstances effectively prevent the parent or student from exercising the right to inspect and review the student’s education records, then copies of the specific education record requested will be mailed to the student or other arrangements for inspection and review will be made.

The student must pay all copying expenses in advance of the release of the record. Official copies of the University’s transcript for the student shall be provided at the fee set forth in the University’s current Catalogs. All other copies shall be made at a cost of $0.25 per page copied.

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Section V

Disclosure of Education Records to Other Than the Student to Whom the Record Pertains

A. Disclosure of Education Records to University Officials

The University will disclose information from a student’s education records to University officials, including instructors, who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. A University official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:

  • Performing a task or service that is specified in the official’s position description or contract or is otherwise required to fulfill the official's professional responsibilities for the University.

  • Performing an instructional task directly related to the student’s education.

  • Performing a task related to the discipline of a student.

  • Performing as a faculty advisor, graduate program director or school dean (this pertains strictly to access to the student’s academic records).

  • Providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, including, but not limited to, health care, counseling, job placement, financial aid, or health and safety emergency.

B. Disclosure to Others

Seattle Pacific University will disclose information from a student’s education records to other than University officials, only with a signed, written consent of the student specifying the records to be disclosed, to whom the disclosure is to be made and the purpose for the disclosure.

The University is permitted to disclose the information to the following without the prior written consent of the student:

  • To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll.

  • To certain authorized government representatives.

  • In connection with the student’s financial aid request or award, if the information is necessary for certain purposes set forth in the regulations.

  • To organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the University.

  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting function.

  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena, once the University has made a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance.

  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.

  • To the parents of a student, claimed as dependent for income tax purposes, as defined in section 152 of Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

  • To the representatives of the attorney general for law enforcement purposes.

C. Disclosure of Disciplinary Proceedings

The University may disclose the final results of a disciplinary proceeding:

  • To the victim of an alleged crime of violence regardless of whether the institution concludes a violation has occurred.

  • To any party, only if the University determines that the student committed a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and violated University rules or policies with respect to the allegations.

  • To the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of a student under 21 years of age if the University determines that the student has violated University, federal, state, or local laws related to the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

  • The disclosure of a disciplinary proceeding’s final results includes only the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by the University against the student.

The University may not disclose the name of any other student, including a witness or victim, without the prior written consent of the other students.

Only perpetrators found responsible after October 7, 1998, are liable to having the final outcome of their hearing disclosed. Disciplinary records prior to October 7, 1998, are education records and protected from disclosure by FERPA.

D. Record of Requests for Disclosure to Individuals Other Than the Student or University Officials

A record will be maintained of all requests for access to and disclosures of information from the education records of each student except as stated below. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be disclosed and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information.

The student or parent of a dependent student as stipulated above may review the record.

A record of disclosure need not be kept of disclosures to the student, a University official with legitimate educational interests, a party with written consent from the student, a party seeking directory information or a party seeking or receiving the records as directed by law enforcement subpoena.

E. Directory Information

Directory information is information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. The University designates that directory iInformation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Student’s name, mailing address and telephone number

  • Email address

  • Photograph

  • Date and place of birth

  • Major field of study

  • Date of attendance

  • Full-time or part-time status

  • Degrees, awards, and honors received

  • Dates degrees conferred

  • Class standing

  • High school attended

  • Most recent previous educational institution attended by the student

  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports; and weight and height of athletic team members

Directory information may be released without prior written approval unless the student submits written notification to the University requesting confidentiality of educational records.

F. Redisclosure of Information

The University may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record only on the condition that the party to whom the information is disclosed will not disclose the information to any other party without the prior written consent of the student.

The party may make further disclosures of the information on behalf of the University if the disclosure fulfills the requirements outlined in section V.B and the University has complied with the record keeping requirements outlined in section V.D.

G. Correction of Education Records

Students have the right to ask to have education records corrected that they believe are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student. The following are the procedures for correcting the records:

  • The student must request an informal discussion of the questionable item with the record custodian, who may comply or may decide not to comply.

  • If the result of the informal discussion is not satisfactory to the student, and the student still wishes to have the record corrected, the student must submit a written request for a change in the education record. This written request must state why the education record is inaccurate, misleading, or violates the privacy or other rights of the student. This request must be given to the vice president of the area or designee to which the record correction belongs. The area vice president or designee shall then request a written statement from the records custodian that explains why the request for the change in the education record was denied at the informal stage.

  • After a review the area vice president or designee will notify the student whether or not the University will comply with the change. If not, the area vice president or designee will notify the student of the right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s rights.

  • Upon receiving a written request for a hearing, the area vice president or designee shall arrange for a hearing and notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, time, and place of the hearing.

  • A hearing officer who is a disinterested party will conduct the hearing; however, the hearing officer may be an official of the University. The president shall appoint the hearing officer. The student will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student’s education records. The student may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney.

  • The University will prepare a written decision based on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.

  • If the University’s decision is that the challenged information is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student, the record will be amended accordingly and the student will be notified in writing by the area vice president or designee of the amendment.

  • If the University’s decision is that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s right of privacy, the area vice president or designee will inform the student of the right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information and/or a statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision. This statement will be maintained as part of the education record as long as that record is maintained, and the statement will be disclosed whenever the record custodian discloses the portion of the record to which the statement relates.

 

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