Parental Notification Policy
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. This federal privacy law, which permitted parents to have full access to their children’s education record on high school, significantly limits the access that parents may have to the education records of their students in college as the rights under FERPA transfer to the students once they attend a postsecondary institution – at any age.
The University’s policy on the privacy of student records is consistent with FERPA, and reflects our philosophy that the student conduct process serves the purpose to continue the student’s development as an autonomous adult. Therefore, our general policy is to treat the student as the person primarily privileged to authorize the release of their student record information.
We recognize, however, that parents/guardians are our partners in our mission to foster the development of students, their well-being and continued academic progress. Therefore, there are instances in which a parent or legal guardian, as permitted by FERPA, will be notified of matters concerning a student.
An exception to FERPA permits a college or university to let parents of students under the age of 21 know when the student has violated any law or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance. Accordingly, parents/guardians will be notified about a student’s involvement in an incident involving alcohol or a controlled substance when the following criteria are met:
- The student has been found responsible for violation the University’s alcohol and/or drug policies;
- The student is under the age of 21 at the time of the notification to the parent/guardian; and
- The student is placed on probation, suspended, or dismissed from the University. It should be noted that less severe instances of disciplinary action may result in warnings to the student, of which parents/guardians are normally not notified.
Parents/guardians will typically be notified in writing. If a parent/guardian is present at the student conduct proceeding, the University may not send a notification letter, as these circumstances meet the notification standard. The parental notification letter will be sent to the student’s permanent address on record upon completion of the disciplinary process.
For cases that do not involve alcohol and/or drugs, or when the student is at least 21 years of age, the University can only share information if a student has signed a release giving the University permission to share protected information. However, in all student conduct cases, we encourage students to discuss the situation with their families.
Students who are emancipated have the responsibility to provide the Office of Student Conduct with the necessary documentation prior to a finding of responsibility in order for parental notification not to occur. This is the sole responsibility of the student and a lack of appropriate notification from the student will result in the notification being sent to the permanent address of record.
Please contact the Office of Student Conduct if you have questions or concerns regarding the above information.