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Annual Notification of Rights Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Syracuse University fully complies with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and its implementing regulations, each as amended (collectively, “FERPA”), and with guidelines recommended by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. FERPA gives students certain rights with respect to their education records.  These rights include:

I. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records.

Students should submit to the University Registrar (106 Steele Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1120) a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University Registrar will make arrangements for access, excluding records and documents considered exceptions or to which a student has waived his or her right of access, and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.  Access will be provided within a reasonable time, not to exceed 45 days after the Registrar’s receipt of the student’s request.

II. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading, or in violation of the student’s privacy rights.

Students who wish to ask the University to amend a record  should obtain a Request to Amend or Remove Education Records form from the Registrar’s Office and clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of their rights of privacy. Note that this does not include a right to contest grades or other substantive matters accurately reflected in the records.  Thus, this procedure may not be used to change a grade in a record unless the grade assigned was inaccurately recorded.

If the University decides not to amend the record as requested, the University will notify the student in writing of the decision and of the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.   Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when he or she is notified of the right to a hearing.  If the hearing results in a final determination not to amend the record, the student is permitted to place a statement with the record commenting on the contested information, stating his or her disagreement with the decision not to amend the record, or both.

III. The right to provide written consent before the University  discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

A student has the right to consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in his or her education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.  Set forth below is information about some of the circumstances in which FERPA authorizes such disclosures.  The University reserves the right to make disclosures of information from education records without a student’s consent in these and other circumstances in which such disclosures are permitted by FERPA.  

A.            The University may disclose education records without a student's prior written consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests.  

A school official is:

  1. a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research or support staff position;
  2. a person or company with whom the University has contracted  (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent);
  3. a person serving on the Board of Trustees; 
  4. a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks; or
  5. a person volunteering or otherwise performing services for the University.

A school official has a “legitimate educational interest” when he, she, or it has a need to access student education records for the purpose of performing an appropriate educational, research, administrative or other function for the University. 

B. The University may disclose education records without consent to officials of another university, college or school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, or is already enrolled, for purposes of the student’s enrollment or transfer.

C. The University may disclose education records without consent to parents of a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Service, when proof of dependency has been provided. A “parent” is a parent, guardian, or someone acting as a parent who meets the IRS standard. (Note: Students should refer to their individual school/college policies concerning parental notification of information regarding academic misconduct and/or academic performance.)

D. The University may disclose education records without consent to appropriate parties in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

IV. The right to prevent disclosure of personally identifiable information that Syracuse University has designated as “Directory Information.”

Unless a student has followed the steps described below, the University may disclose “directory information” without consent in accordance with the provisions of FERPA. Directory information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Syracuse University considers the following to be directory information:

Name*
Current address and phone number
Permanent address and phone number
SU email address*

Academic awards and honors
Athletic participation
Class/level*
Dates of attendance
Degree(s) earned and date(s)
Full/part-time status
Majors(s)/degree program(s)
Photograph or other visual image
Prior postsecondary institutions attended
SU ID number
SU school/college(s)* 

* Asterisked items are displayed in the University’s online directory

Students may block the public disclosure of directory information (in whole or in part) by filing a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form with the Office of the Registrar, 106 Steele Hall. Requests may be filed at any time, and remain in effectpermanently (including after departure from the University) until removed, in writing, by the student. The Registrar’s Office will provide information about additional steps that must be taken by students who wish to prevent release of information regarding athletic participation and announcements of academic achievements to their hometown newspaper(s).

Filing of a Request to Prevent Disclosure will also prevent information from loading to Blackboard, an online course management system used in many SU classes, and may make a student ineligible for SUmail, SU's student e-mail system. For such students who are required to use Blackboard for one or more classes,  the Registrar’s Office will provide information about the additional steps that must be taken. Instead of SUmail, those who file a Request to Prevent Disclosure that includes their SU e-mail address will be provided an official SU e-mail account in the University's administrative e-mail system.

Students should carefully consider the consequences of a decision to prevent disclosure of Directory Information. Regardless of the effect upon students, the University assumes no liability as a result of honoring instructions that such information be withheld.

V. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Syracuse University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Any student who has reason to believe that the University is not complying with FERPA should inform the University Registrar in writing. The Registrar shall promptly review all such allegations and initiate appropriate actions.  In addition, students have the right to file complaints with the United States Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  Complaints may be submitted in writing to: 

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington DC 20202-5920
Phone: 1-800-872-5327

For additional information about the University’s FERPA policy, see http://supolicies.syr.edu/ethics/ferpa.htm  . Questions about FERPA, students’ privacy rights, and compliance procedures may be directed to the Office of the Registrar, 106 Steele Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1120, 315 443-2422.

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Related Policy:  Computer Law ( from item VII of  SU Computing and Electronic Communications Policy)

Under Article 156 of the New York State Penal Code, criminal sanctions are imposed for offenses involving computers, software, and computer data. The offenses include unauthorized use of the computer, computer trespass, computer tampering, and unlawful duplication or possession of computer-related material. Improper or unauthorized access to, or release or manipulation of, any student record in such form is included in such offenses. All computers, software, data, business records, and student records of the University in any form, electronic or paper, belong to the institution. Any person committing an offense with respect to them may be subject personally to criminal sanctions and other liability. Federal laws may also apply to some circumstances.