The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, is a federal law which states that a written institutional policy with respect to student records must be established and that a statement of adopted policy procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available annually. The law provides that the University will maintain confidentiality of student records. The general requirements of this law with respect to student discipline records are covered in the information that follows.
Any student has the right to inspect her/his own student conduct file. The information contained therein will be made available to the student by the Associate Dean of Students upon written request. After a request is received, a copy of the file (excluding other student’s personal information) will be made available within 72 hours of receiving the written request. No one outside the institution shall have access to the student’s records nor will Buena Vista University disclose any information from these records without the written consent of the student except in those cases permitted by FERPA. Students are advised that employers and graduate schools may request information on disciplinary standing. It is the student’s right to deny access. Only when a signed permission form is presented to the Associate Dean of Students will any information be made available. Within the University community, only those members individually or collectively, acting in the student’s educational interest, are allowed access to records. It shall be the responsibility of the Associate Dean of Students to provide an explanation in writing if necessary, as to the nature and severity of any violation in which the student in question has been sanctioned when an authorized inquiry to inspect the record of any student is made.
When a student is found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, a student conduct file is created. This file contains all the information pertinent to the disciplinary process in which the student has been involved. Each subsequent time a student is found responsible for violations, her/his record is used in determining sanctions. The records of any student contained in the disciplinary file shall be maintained by the Associate Dean of Students until three (3) years following graduation of the student from the University at which time it will be destroyed. In the case where the student either withdraws or is dismissed / expelled, the student’s file will be maintained permanently and may have a notation of “Withdrawn” (for withdrawal and suspension) or “Dismissal” may become a part of the student’s academic record.
Under normal circumstances, a student is not allowed to withdraw with a disciplinary action currently pending. Where, for good cause, a student is allowed to withdraw, the University may maintain a continuing interest in a final resolution and the matter is not automatically rendered moot.
A disciplinary record may be expunged and/or a transcript notation removed for good cause by the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students. A “Petition to Expunge” shall be submitted in writing by the Student Petitioner to the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students. Factors to be considered shall include the following:
Disclosure of Adjudication Outcome Policy
The University may disclose the final results of a student conduct conference/hearing (specifically the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by the University against the student) only to the Respondent and the Complainant or other individual who is the victim of the alleged violation in cases where the facts alleged constitute a crime of violence or non-forcible sexual offense (in accordance with FERPA).
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records — including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information — may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.