In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (commonly referred to as FERPA, or the "Buckley Amendment,") Mount Union has adopted the following policies and procedures to protect the privacy of educational records. Students will be notified of their FERPA rights annually by publication in the Mount Union Catalogue and on the University's web site.
Mount Union uses the following definitions in this policy:
Student: any person who attends or has attended the University.
Education records: any record in whatever form (handwritten, taped, print, film or other medium) which is maintained by the University and is directly related to a student, with the following exceptions:
- personal records kept by a University staff member if the record is not revealed to others and is kept in the sole possession of the staff member;
- student employment records that relate exclusively to the student in the capacity of an employee;
- records maintained separately from educational records solely for law enforcement agencies of the same jurisdiction;
- counseling records maintained by the University Chaplain or the University Counselor;
- medical records maintained by the University solely for treatment and made available only to those persons providing treatment; and
- Office of Alumni Activities records.
Rights Under FERPA
A student shall have the right, and parents of a dependent student may have the right, to do the following:
- Inspect and review the student's education records;
- Request that the student's education records be amended to ensure the records are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of a student's privacy or other rights;
- Consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent;
- File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning the failure of the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA; and
- Obtain a copy of the University's student records policy from the Office of the Registrar.
Procedure to Inspect Education Records
Students may inspect and review their education records upon request to the appropriate record custodian(s). Students must submit a written request that identifies as precisely as possible the record(s) the student wishes to inspect.
Access will be provided within 45 days of the written request. Information contained in educational records will be fully explained and interpreted to students by University personnel assigned to, and designated by, the appropriate office.
Student records are maintained in the following offices:
- admissions and academic records in the Office of the Registrar;
- financial aid records in the Office of Student Financial Services;
- financial records in the Office of Business Affairs;
- progress and advising records in the departmental offices and faculty offices;
- disability-related records in Office of Student Accessibility Services;
- counseling records in the Office of the Chaplain and Counseling Services;
- academic dishonesty records in the Office of Academic Affairs;
- disciplinary and student conduct records in the Office of Student Affairs.
Right of the University to Refuse Access
The University reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect the following information:
- the financial statement of the student's parents;
- letters of recommendation for which the student has waived his or her right of access;
- records of applicants who were neither admitted to nor attended Mount Union;
- records containing information about more than one student, in which case the University will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student; and
- records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of educational records.
Right to Challenge Information in Records
Students have the right to challenge the content of their education records if they consider the information contained therein to be inaccurate, misleading, or inappropriate. This includes an opportunity to amend the records or insert written explanations by the student into such records. The student may not initiate a FERPA challenge of a grade awarded unless it was inaccurately recorded; in such cases the correct grade will be recorded.
Procedures for Hearings to Challenge Records
Students wishing to challenge the content of their education records must submit, in writing to the appropriate office, a request for a hearing which includes the specific information in question and the reasons for the challenge.
Hearings will be conducted by a University official who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. Students will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the reasons for the challenge. The hearing officer will render a decision in writing, within a reasonable period of time, noting the reason and summarizing all evidence presented.
If the hearing results are in favor of the student, the record shall be amended. Should the request be denied, an appeal may be made, in writing, and submitted to the Office of the Registrar within 10 days of the student's notification by the hearing officer. The appeal shall be heard by an Appeals Board of three disinterested senior University officials. The board will render a decision, in writing, within a reasonable period of time.
Should the appeal decision be in favor of the student, the record shall be amended accordingly. Should the appeal be denied, the student may choose to place a statement with the record commenting on the accuracy of the information in the record and/or setting forth any basis for inaccuracy. As long as the student's record is maintained by the University, when disclosed to an authorized party, the record will always include the student's statement and the board's decision.
Disclosure of Education Records
The University will disclose "non-directory" information contained in a student's educational record only with written consent of the student, with the following exceptions:
- to school officials, including teachers, who have a legitimate educational interest in the record;
- to officials of another school in which the student seeks or intends to enroll;
- to federal, state and local agencies and authorities as provided under law;
- to the parents of an eligible student if the student is claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes;
- accrediting organizations;
- to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- emergencies affecting the health or safety of the student or other persons; and
- as otherwise permitted by FERPA.
- Any student who wishes to authorize release of his or her grades to one or both parents should
- complete a disclosure form in the Office of the Registrar.
Disclosure of directory information normally may be made without the student's consent. Directory information includes the student's name; school and permanent addresses; school, permanent and cellular telephone numbers; school mail box address; school email address; date and place of birth; majors and minors; dates of attendance; enrollment status; class level; degree(s) received and dates of conferral; honors and awards earned; previous institutions attended; weight and height of athletes; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; and photograph.
A student who wishes to have all directory information withheld must submit an 'Authorization to Withhold Directory Information' form to Office of the Registrar. The hold will become effective the first day of class in the next regular semester (Fall or Spring). Once filed, this request becomes a permanent part of the student's record until the student instructs the Office of the Registrar in writing to have the request removed. Because the University's computer system is unable to put a "hold" on selective directory information, all directory information will be placed on hold, or all directory information except name and email address will be placed on hold. Moreover, this request does not restrict the release of this information to individuals and agencies listed in "Disclosure of Education Records" above.