Student Records and Confidentiality
Any information regarding a student other than what is called “directory information” is considered, by law, classified and may not be released to a third party without the written consent of the student. This policy means that the Registrar’s Office must have a written request for a transcript to be sent out and that a professor does not have an automatic right of access to a student’s transcript, academic record, or permanent file. If the professor is determined to have “legitimate educational interest” in the record, an exception can be made. In most cases, a staff member of the Registrar’s Office will ask why the record is needed. The request may be denied if, in the opinion of the staff member, the rationale for the request is not sound.
On the other hand, a professor may inspect the record and file of an advisee or a student in the professor’s class in order to determine why the student is performing poorly. A professor may also review the record of a student in order to help prepare recommendations that have been requested by the student. Most of these records are available online on the Web for Faculty via BannerWeb. Requests for additional information about students should be made to the Registrar’s Office following the guidelines stated above.
Many advisors maintain a file for each of their advisees containing information regarding the advisee, including grades (midterm and final), copies of petitions, probation or suspension letters, and readmission letters. This folder may be maintained while the student is enrolled, but it should be discarded or destroyed when the student graduates or withdraws from the College. If the student changes advisors, the folder should be forwarded in person to the new advisor.
Again, this folder is confidential and should be treated according to the same guidelines as those stated above for the permanent record maintained in the Registrar’s Office. According to federal laws, the student may have access to any information kept in such a folder maintained by the advisor.
Any information of this type should be treated as confidential and should be kept in a secure place, being released to or discussed with only the student involved. In the same way, information available online should also be treated as confidential as it is covered by the federal law dealing with confidential records (commonly known as FERPA). (See the Privacy Act in the Student Handbook, for the Rhodes policy in relation to the federal legislation in this area.)