University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 2000-2001 Undergraduate Catalog

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The 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. A student is defined as an individual who is (or has been) in attendance and for whom the university maintains education records. All rights under FERPA apply to the student. Education records are defined as all records maintained by the University about a student. There are six exceptions:

The law provides to the student the following rights:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Office of the Assistant Chancellor for Student Affairs a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Assistant Chancellor will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Office of the Assistant Chancellor for Student Affairs, the office shall advise the student of the University official(s) to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request an amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University official to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of the right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. School officials have a legitimate educational interest if the officials need to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel or health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent or the National Student Loan Clearinghouse); a person serving on the Board of Regents; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting other school officials in performing their tasks.

    Under the act, prior written consent must be obtained before information may be disclosed to third parties unless they are exempted from this provision. These exceptions include:

    The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater designates the following student information as public or "Directory Information". This information , which may be disclosed by the institution for any purpose at its descretion, includes:

    Name, home/local addresses and telephone numbers, dates or attendance (including credits carried), classification, major/degree program, degrees conferred (including dates), previous institution(s) attended, awards, academic honors, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities, and physical factors (height and weight of athletes).

    Students may withhold disclosure of information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. To withhold disclosure, written notification must be received in the Office of the Registrar two days prior to the first day of classes at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Forms requesting the withholding of information are available in the Registrar's Office, and the request is effective for the academic year.

    The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of categories of information indicates individual approval of disclosure.

    Student records and files are available for review by the student in accordance with the Act. Students may request a hearing regarding any alleged inaccurate, misleading, or inappropriate information contained in their records. Also, a portion of the student ID number may be used to post final grades. Students may withhold Directory information from third parties by notifying the Registrar in writing prior to the first day of classes for the fall semester and the request must be filed annually. A request for non-disclosure received after the fall semester begins will be honored by the University for the remainder of the academic year.

  4. FERPA allows the release of education records without the consent of the student or his or her parents to authorized representatives of the attorney general for law enforcement purposes.
  5. FERPA permits disclosure to an alleged victim of either a crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense of the final results of any disciplinary action taken against an alleged perpertrator.
  6. UW-Whitewater has the discretion to disclose the final results of any disciplinary proceeding undertaken against a student who is an alleged perpertrator of a crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense if, as a result of that disciplinary proceeding, The University has determined that the student in fact committed the crime or offense. However, the definition of "final results" is limited solely to the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by The University on that student. Only where a victim or witness has provided written consent may the University disclose the name of that student.
  7. UW-Whitewater may disclose to a student's parent or legal guardian information regarding any drug or alcohol violation (whether pursuant to federal, state, or local law or institutional policy) where the student is under 21 and the University has determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation.
  8. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC, 20202-4605.

    Revisions and clarifications to FERPA will be published as experience with the law and the university's policies warrant.

Registrar's Office - UW-Whitewater
For comments:
Last revised on March 10, 2000 by WDT