Parents FAQs Regarding Student Conduct Matters
How can I learn how my student is doing?
The best approach is to ask your son or daughter directly.
Communicating with young adults isn't always easy. They may not be
as forthcoming as we would like. The college years, however, are a
period of remarkable growth and maturation. The ability and
willingness of students to share information and insights usually
grows, especially as they acquire the confidence that comes with
assuming greater responsibility for their own lives.
Does the University have any written policy about
information from student records that can be shared with
Yes. Like other colleges and universities across the country,
Butler University is subject to a federal law called the Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also called "FERPA" or the
"Buckley Amendment"). FERPA sets privacy standards for student
educational records and requires institutions to publish a
compliance statement, including a statement of related
Where can I find out more information about
FERPA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education. The
Department maintains a FERPA website.
What records does FERPA cover?
The privacy protection FERPA gives to students is very broad. With
limited exceptions, the FERPA regulations gives privacy protection
to all student "education records." Education records are defined
as "[t]hose records that are directly related to a student and
[are] [m]aintained by an educational agency or institution or by a
party acting for the agency or institution." Examples of student
records entitled to FERPA privacy protection are grade reports,
transcripts, and most disciplinary files.
What does it mean to say a record is "protected" by
Unless personally identifiable information from a student's
education record falls under a specified exception, the information
cannot be released to third parties (including parents) without
signed and dated written consent from the student.
What are the exceptions to FERPA's
There's a detailed list of exceptions in the FERPA regulations.
Perhaps the most important exception allows "disclosure [of
information in student education records] to the parents of a
dependent student, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal
Revenue Code of 1986" (Part 99.31 (a) (8)).
I had easy access to my student's school records. Why
don't I have the same access to records kept by the
Under FERPA, the access rights that parents and legal guardians
had in the elementary and secondary school setting are transferred
to students, once a student has turned eighteen, or is attending
any post-secondary educational institution.
I've seen press reports about a new FERPA provision
allowing notice to parents when a student violates drug or alcohol
laws. What position has the University taken on this
FERPA regulations authorizes - but does not require - disclosure
to parents of "the student's violation of any Federal, State, or
local law, or of any rule or policy of the institution, governing
the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if--(A)
The institution determines that the student has committed a conduct
violation with respect to that use or possession; and (B) The
student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure to the
The vice president for student affairs or designee has the
authority to notify parents or guardians when students under the
age of 21 are found to have committed violations of University
policies related to the possession, use, or distribution of alcohol
or drugs. The notification is permissive and at the discretion of
the University. The notification of parents is indicated when: (1)
the violation involved harm or threat of harm to persons or
property; (2) the violation involved an arrest in which the student
was taken into custody; (3) the violation resulted in the student
being suspended from the University and/or dismissed from residence
halls; (4) the student has shown a pattern of violations - even if
they are minor. Two or more violations associated with alcohol use
would be reasonable cause for notice; (5) the student who committed
the violation became physically ill and/or required medical
intervention because of consumption of alcohol and/or drugs; and/or
(6) the violation involved the possession of drugs.