Faculty Handbook D195
Approved by the President 4/93 Amended 3/20/96
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, students have the right to inspect and review most education records maintained about them by the University of New Mexico, and, in many cases, decide if a third person can obtain information from them. Nine categories of information, however, are public (or directory information) unless a student asks that some or all of that information be withheld. It is the policy of the University to comply fully and fairly with the provisions of the Act, Federal Regulations and this policy.
2.0 Limitations on Access to Student Records
No one inside or outside the University shall have access to, nor will the contents of students’ education records be disclosed without the written consent of the students except as provided by the Act and Regulations. Exceptions in the Act and Regulations include but are not limited to the following: personnel within the institution determined by the institution to have a legitimate educational interest, officials of other institutions in which students seek to enroll or are enrolled, persons or organizations providing student financial aid, accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, persons in compliance with judicial orders and persons in an emergency when necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
3.0 Students’ Right of Access to Review Their Records
A student has the right to inspect and review all education records about him or her except:
(1) personal notes (available only to writer or substitute) of University staff and faculty,
(2) certain student employment records,
(3) counseling records used solely for treatment,
(4) certain records of the University Police,
(5) parents’ financial records,
(6) confidential letters and statements of recommendation placed in the records before January 1, 1975, and
(7) confidential letters and statements of recommendation for admission, employment, or honorary recognition placed in the records after January 1, 1975, which students have waived the right to inspect and review.
4.0 Informing Students of Their Rights
This policy will be published in the UNM Pathfinder or its successor.
5.0 Location of Student Records
Student records are not maintained in a central location. Instead, these records are maintained by each office with which a student has contact while enrolled at the University. A partial list of places where educational records are maintained by various University offices is listed below.
6.0 Records Excluded from the Definition "Education" or "Student" Records
The following categories of records are not included in the term "education records" or "student records" under the Act:
6.1. Records of instructional, supervisory, administrative and certain educational personnel which are in the sole possession of the maker and are not revealed to any other individual (except a substitute who performs on a temporary basis the duties of the person who made the record).
6.2. Records of the University Police. These records are maintained and created by the University Police Department for the purpose of law enforcement. Their disclosure is subject to rules and regulations of the University Police, consistent with applicable law.
6.3. Records relating to individuals who are employed by the University which are made and maintained in the normal course of business, relate exclusively to individuals in their capacity as employees and are not available for use for any other purpose. However, it should be noted that records of individuals in attendance at the University who are employed as a result of their status as students are education records and as such may be inspected by the student.
6.4. Records which contain only information about a person after that person is no longer a student at the institution, e.g., information gathered on the accomplishments of alumni.
7.0 Review Policies and Procedures
Requests to inspect and review records must be made, in writing, to the office that keeps the records. Although it is the University’s policy that requests to inspect records be honored as promptly as possible, the offices have up to 45 days to honor such requests.
It is the policy of the University to provide the student upon request with photocopies of her or his records where that will help the student in inspection and review of the records unless: (1) the record to be copied is an examination, in which case permission of the faculty member is necessary, or (2) where a student’s record is being withheld because of an outstanding financial obligation to the University.
Fees for photocopies of materials in the records are the same as University offices charge for photocopies of other materials. At its option, an office may furnish copies at no charge, or take the materials to a copy/duplicating center on campus, where the current rate for cash work will be charged.
8.0 Release Policies and Procedures, University Employees and Agents
The University will not disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s education record without the student’s written consent, except when it is permitted by the Act and Regulations. As permitted by the Act and Regulations, information will be disclosed without the student’s consent to University officials with a legitimate educational interest. These officials or their agents, and their interests, include:
8.1. Any University employee who needs the information to fulfill job responsibilities.
8.2. University collection agents only for the purposes of collecting debts owed to the University.
8.3. Legal counsel advising or representing the University.
8.4. National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Mountain West Athletic Conference only for the purposes of conforming to eligibility rules for athletic competition.
8.5. Contractors, such as data processing, only for the purposes of performing work under contract for the University.
8.6. Honorary societies, and other chartered student organizations, only for determining membership eligibility/requirements, when the societies and/or organizations do not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sex, sexual preference, ancestry, or medical condition.
8.7. University researchers, including students doing research under supervision of a faculty member, if there are safeguards to protect the security of personally identifiable data and if it will not be possible to ascertain the identity of any student in any dissemination of the data or research results.
8.8. Officials of cooperating universities in which the student is enrolled.
9.0 Release to Alleged Victims of Crimes of Violence
The results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University in response to allegations of a crime of violence allegedly committed by a student, shall be disclosed upon request to the alleged victim(s) of such crime of violence.
10.0 Directory or Public Information Categories
The University, in accord with the Act, has designated categories of information about students as "directory information" which is public unless a student asks to have any or all of it withheld. These categories are:
A student wishing to keep confidential the "directory information" listed above should file a written request with the Registration Center. This request may be submitted in person, by mail or fax. Once a confidential privacy flag has been place on a student’s record the directory/public information will not be released to individuals, companies or third party entities outside the University of New Mexico. The confidential privacy flag will not automatically be removed upon graduation from the University of New Mexico. If you have requested a confidential privacy flag, your name will not appear in the University of New Mexico Commencement Program.
The removal of the confidential privacy flag may be requested in person and in writing by fax or mail. The address is Records & Registration, MSC11 6325, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001. The fax number is (505) 277-6809. The following information is needed to process the request by fax or mail: student name, social security number and signature.
11.0 Requests for Disclosure
University offices will maintain a record of disclosures and requests for disclosure of personally identifiable information from a student's record except when the request for disclosure is directory information, pursuant to the student's consent, or is to a school official described in this policy. It is the policy of the University to permit the student to inspect this record of disclosures and requests for disclosure pertaining to his or her records. All disclosures (except for disclosures to the student or disclosures of directory information) shall be made on the condition that the information shall not be further disclosed without the student's consent.
12.0 Right to Challenge Information in Student Records
It is the policy of the University that a student may challenge any information in his or her education records which he or she believes to be inaccurate, misleading or in violation of privacy. This right does not extend to reviewing grades unless the grade assigned by a professor was inaccurately recorded in the records. A student may also insert a statement in the records explaining any such material from his or her point of view. If a student wishes to challenge information in the file, he or she must make a written request for a hearing to the dean, director, or chairperson of the office which maintains the record. In most cases, the decision of the dean, director or chairperson will be final. However, a student may appeal in writing to the Associate Provost or the Vice President for Health Sciences or their designee, as the case may be, who will review the decision only if a significant question of policy or compliance with the law appears to be raised by the case.
13.0 Waiver of Rights Not Required
It is the policy of the University that students not be required to waive their rights under the Act before receiving University services or benefits.
14.0 Assistance with Problems or Questions about Compliance
a. If a student has questions about the provisions of the Act, he or she may contact the Office of the Registrar.
b. If a student believes that the University has not complied with the Act, he or she should direct comments concerning this to the Office of the Registrar.
c. If a student believes that the University has not complied with the Act, written complaints may be filed with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA), U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, D.C. 20202-4605, telephone (202) 732-1807.
d. The Registrar shall either resolve the issue, or shall refer it to the appropriate University body for resolution.
e. Copies of and information about the Rights and Privacy Act are available in the Records and Registration Office, Student Support and Services Center.