Privacy Rights of Students at Butler University
Under Section 438 of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“Act”), every Butler student is guaranteed certain rights involving both the student’s own access to specified educational records and the protection of personal information from unauthorized publication, release, or examination by others. The entire section, together with guidelines as published in the Federal Register, is available for examination in the Registration and Records Office. The following summary indicates how the act pertains specifically to students at Butler University.
- Every student officially enrolled at Butler is guaranteed the right to examine any education record relating directly to the student that is maintained by any office or agent of the University. A definition of “education record” together with the identification of certain types of records specifically excluded is provided in the Act. Records at Butler classified as education records under the guidelines, together with offices maintaining the records and University personnel authorized access to the records, are listed under the heading Education Records Maintained at Butler University.
- Any Butler student or former student seeking to examine any of the records identified under the heading mentioned in the above paragraph should complete and sign a request form available in the Registration and Records Office. An opportunity to examine the appropriate records, under the supervision of the Registration and Records Office or other authorized agent of the University, will be provided at the earliest time mutually convenient to the student and the Butler authority, but in no case later than 45 days after the date of the request. FERPA Inspect and Review Form
- If a student questions or challenges the content of any education record, the Butler official responsible for the record will explain or interpret it and will correct any demonstrable error. If the student feels that the record contains inaccurate, misleading or inappropriate information, but cannot convince the responsible official that it should be changed, an appeal can be made to the student’s dean, who will conduct a review and will render, in writing, the final decision as to the content of the record. (Please note that the Act does not provide for the student to contest the grade received in a course. The student may question whether the grade assigned has been accurately recorded but not whether the student was entitled to a grade higher than that recorded by the instructor.)
- If anything in the education record includes information on more than one student, a given student has the right to inspect and review, or to be informed of, only such part as related directly to that student.
- A student may not have access to any confidential letter or recommendation filed before January 1975 respecting admission, application for employment or receipt of an honor or honorary recognition. A student may waive the right to examine such letters or recommendations written subsequent to that date but retains the right to know the names of the persons whose letters or statements are in the record.
- Except as otherwise provided in 3 and 4 following, or through the written consent of the student, the University agrees not to release education records or personally identifiable information contained therein to anyone other than to Butler officials or faculty members who have been determined to have legitimate educational interests in such documents, and to such other persons or organizations as are identified in the act. A Butler official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a person serving on an official committee, such as a student conduct or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record if the faculty or staff member is
(a) performing a task that is specified in his/her position description or contract;
(b) performing a task related to a student’s education or to student conduct;
(c) providing a service or benefit related to the student or student’s family; or
(d) maintaining safety and security on campus.
If required to release records in compliance with student conduct order or subpoena, Butler will make a reasonable effort to ensure that the student has been notified before complying and in accordance with the Act.
- Butler will maintain a record of all persons other than authorized University personnel who have requested or obtained access to any student’s record, together with the reasons for their having requested such access. The student has the right to examine the list of persons who have had access to the files under the procedures detailed in the Section Right to Examine Records, 2.
- In order to compile and publish honors lists, programs, student directories, yearbooks, news releases, and similar publications that traditionally serve the best interest of the student, Butler has the right to release, for reasons deemed legitimate, the following information about any Butler student unless that student has requested, as provided in 3.
- The following information is designated as directory information. The University may share this information, unless the student prevents the release as described in paragraph three below: name; address; University electronic mail address; student ID photo; photographs of the student; telephone listing; date and place of birth; hometown; citizenship; family relationships; marital status; previous schools or training; academic year; dates of attendance and/or graduation; major field of study or academic specialty; instructors and courses; participation in sports and other officially recognized activities (including position, role, or function); membership in officially recognized honorary, professional, academic, or social organizations; academic honors or achievements (e.g., dean’s list, 4.00 list); special awards or recognitions received (e.g., scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, “outstanding student” awards); offices or honorary positions to which elected or appointed; eligibility for and performance records in athletics or other recognized forms of competition; height and weight of members of athletic teams; place and nature of employment; post-graduation plans; positions or achievements; hobbies, interests and community activities; publications or papers presented; title of honors or graduate thesis; and, for students seeking employment on job interviews, such additional information as has been furnished or cleared by the student with the understanding that it will be used in connection with applications or employment inquiries. Religious affiliation, if volunteered by the students, will be revealed to the Butler campus ministry and local churches.
- Any student wishing to prevent the release of directory information may do so by logging into My.Butler and completing the FERPA Academic and Directory Release on the task tile (available for a few weeks at the start of the academic year), or on the FERPA Release tile on the Student Homepage when it’s no longer available on the task tile. If a student makes such a request, the University has the option of either (a) withholding all information of the types specified and omitting the student’s name from any published list involving such information or (b) seeking the student’s written permission to release the information.
- Parent/Guardian: 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:
(a) the violation involved harm or threat of harm to persons or property;
(b) the violation involved an arrest in which the student was taken into custody;
(c) the violation resulted in the student being suspended from the University and/or dismissed from residence halls;
(d) 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;
(e) the student who committed the violation became physically ill and/or required medical intervention because of consumption of alcohol and/or drugs; and/or
(f) the violation involved the possession of drugs.
Nothing in these guidelines shall prevent University officials from notifying parents or guardians of a health or safety emergency, or when a student, under the age of 21, is involved in a group activity off campus, in which the students’ organization is found to have violated University policy with respect to the use and/or consumption of alcohol or drugs. Whenever possible, students will be informed that parental notification is planned in advance of their parents receiving the notice. The notification of parents is simply an act of notice and is not subject to appeal.
- Other Notification: The Vice President for Student Affairs or designee may disclose the name and a summary of the information regarding the final outcome of review if the student is found to have committed an act of violence.