Student Records

Confidentiality of Student Records

It is Wesleyan policy to keep the records of Wesleyan students confidential. Information about students is shared within the University only as needed for legitimate educational purposes. In order to qualify as legitimate and educational, an interest must be related in a clearly discernible way to the conduct of the normal business of the institution, or to the educational welfare of the individual student, or of other students. If the interest bears exclusively on the educational welfare of students other than the one whose record is sought, the director of institutional research should be consulted before access to the record is granted.

Wesleyan will not disclose educational records other than “directory information” (see following) about students to people outside the University without the student’s written consent unless the disclosure is

  1. compelled by law, a court of law, an emergency, or some other extraordinary circumstance;

  2. is in furtherance of a legitimate educational interest;

  3. is required by an accrediting agency;

  4. or otherwise specifically allowed by FERPA.

For instance, should it be impractical to obtain a student’s prior written consent, the University may nonetheless send a transcript to a school to which the student has applied for admission. Whenever exceptional action is called for and as appropriate, an effort will be made to notify the student as soon as possible. As described, one exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as attorney, data service provider, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or a person assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the federal regulations pertaining thereto, a record will be kept of requests from outside the University for personally identifiable non-directory information from a student’s record and of disclosures thereof that occur without the student’s consent. The record of access and disclosure will be available to the student for inspection. Such disclosures, whether made with or without the student’s consent, will contain a notice to the recipient that the information is being disclosed on condition that, except as allowed by the Act, it not be revealed by the recipient to any other party without the student’s consent. The disclosure, student notification, consent, and record keeping provisions of the Act are subject to exceptions provided for in the Act and other applicable law, including the USA Patriot Act. Per the USA Patriot Act, if a U.S. assistant attorney general, or similarly ranked federal official, obtains a court order relevant to a terrorist investigation, the law requires that an educational institution must turn over the requested records without the student’s consent and the institution cannot inform the student.

Directory Information

Disclosures of directory information may normally be made without the student’s consent. Directory information includes the student’s name, local address, local telephone number, home address, Wesleyan email address, photo images, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, height and weight of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, enrollment status, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student. A student who wishes to have directory information withheld must notify the Office of the Registrar in writing by the first day of classes. Note that the instruction to the Office of the Registrar should be made at the beginning of each academic year and is valid for that year only.

Parent/Family Notification Practices

FERPA regulations assign students the right to release information contained in their education records even when they are under the age of 18. Consistent with Wesleyan’s efforts to promote each student’s personal growth and autonomy, the University will not release information about a student’s education record to parents/guardians without the student’s consent, except as described in this policy. Wesleyan may notify parents/guardians of their student’s status in situations not specifically listed below if the circumstances warrant and with the approval of the vice president for student affairs.

Common examples of when Wesleyan will notify parents/guardians include:

Notice of a Student's Enrollment and Academic Standing

Wesleyan communicates only with students regarding their academic progress and performance unless a student specifically requests in writing to their class dean that such information be released to their parents/guardians. Students are encouraged to share information regarding their academic progress with their parents/guardians but are not mandated to do so.

However, a change of student status (e.g., when a student withdraws or is placed on academic probation, required resignation, academic separation, or a leave) constitutes a change in enrollment status and the class dean will typically notify parents/guardians with or without the student’s consent.

Notice of a Student's Disciplinary/Conduct Standing

Wesleyan expects each student to take responsibility for their actions. Each student must agree to abide by the Honor Code and Code of Non-Academic Conduct when they enroll in the University.

Wesleyan will communicate about disciplinary matters directly with the student, and parents/guardians will not be notified unless the student chooses to inform them. However, if a serious disciplinary case results in a change in the student’s enrollment status (e.g., probation, suspension, or dismissal), the dean of students office will typically ensure that communication has been made with the student’s parents or guardians. Consistent with Federal law, Wesleyan reserves the right to inform parents/guardians of all violations of campus regulations regarding the use or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Notice of a Student's Health/Welfare Standing

Information regarding a student’s health and/or psychological welfare is protected by strict policies that protect the student’s confidentiality. Students are encouraged to share information regarding their health and/or psychological welfare with their parents/ guardians but the University cannot share this type of information without the student’s informed consent (typically in writing).

Situations may arise in which a student is unable to give informed consent. If a student is transported to the hospital for a potentially life-threatening situation, the parents/guardians of the student will be notified by the class dean (or on-call dean if after hours).

If a student is deemed to present a direct threat of harm, Wesleyan may notify parents/guardians without the consent of the student. Wesleyan may also share information with parents/guardians where there is a pressing personal health or public health emergency.

 

Access by Students to Their Records

Students at Wesleyan may have access to most of the information about them in their records. The exceptions include letters of recommendation received on a confidential basis and led before January 1, 1975; letters of recommendation to which the student has specifically waived access; private records made by individuals within the institution, which are kept in their sole possession and shared only with a temporary substitute; records of Wesleyan’s Office of Public Safety; alumni records; financial information about parents; and employment information about students whose employment has not resulted from their status as students.

Except as noted in the preceding paragraph, students may inspect and review the education records maintained by the following offices:

Office of Admission • 70 Wyllys Avenue

The information about students in attendance at Wesleyan that has been collected by the Office of Admission during the admission process is transferred to the Deans’ Office when the student matriculates. The information that is transferred includes the secondary school record, standard test scores, letters of recommendation, information submitted by the student, and correspondence with the student.

Gordon Career Center • Boger Hall (41 Wyllys Avenue)

Maintains career counseling records, and files of résumés and letters of recommendation. The director of the Gordon Career Center is responsible for the records.

Office of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) • Davison Health Center

Maintains records of mental health care. These records are not available within the University to other than the staff of the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services without the informed consent of the student. The director of counseling and psychological services has overall responsibility for these records, which are kept in a secured centralized location within the CAPS office.

Office of the Vice President for Student/Deans’ Office • North College

Maintains information on students’ academic activity. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Deans’ Office records also includes the following types of information: secondary school record; admission information; standard test scores; letters of recommendation; information submitted by the student; memoranda from faculty about the student; correspondence with the student; documentation of a student’s disability and any reasonable accommodations; and reports of action taken in regard to the student by the Community Standards Board, other standing or ad hoc University committees, and the deans. The vice president for student affairs is responsible for the records.

Office of Financial Aid • North College

Maintains a file of information submitted by students and their parents in regard to financial aid, a record of financial aid actions taken by Wesleyan and others, and the employment records of students receiving financial aid. The director of financial aid is responsible for the records.

Office of Graduate Student Services • Exley Science Center

The Office of Graduate Student Services maintains records of candidates for the degrees of doctor of philosophy and master of arts. The records include the following types of information:

  • information submitted for admission;

  • correspondence with the student and notes of meetings with the student;

  • reports of academic performance;

  • and forms certifying completion of requirements for the degree.

The director of graduate student services is responsible for the records.

Institutional Research • North College

Maintains records of the first-year student testing program and information from other University offices that is to be used for institutional research purposes. The director of institutional research is responsible for the records.

Office of International Student Services • North College

Maintains records related to a student’s immigration status and any supporting material needed for the U.S. government’s SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) documentation.

Office of the Registrar • North College

Maintains academic records of currently enrolled students. Maintains the Deans’ Office records of former students, except that upon graduation reports of disciplinary actions and other information not needed for the permanent record are destroyed. The registrar is responsible for the records.

Office of Residential Life North College

Maintains records of the housing history of undergraduate and graduate students and information gathered in connection with the selection of student staff members including letters of recommendation and staff evaluations. The director of residential life is responsible for the records.

Office of Student Accounts North College

Maintains documents, including correspondence, pertaining to financial transactions with students and their parents. The director of student accounts is responsible for the records.

Office of Continuing Studies • 74 Wyllys Avenue

Maintains academic and financial records for all active Continuing Studies students: Graduate Liberal Studies, ICPP, Community Scholars, and PreCollege at Wesleyan students. Also houses records of inactive Continuing Studies students and alumni prior to sending them to University Archives. The records may or may not include the following types of information: information submitted for admission, correspondence with the student, reports of academic performance, counseling notes, liability waivers, financial information submitted by the student, and letters of recommendation. The director of continuing studies is responsible for the records.

Academic Colleges, Departments, and Programs

(See the University Directory for locations)

Maintain records of graduate students enrolled in the department and undergraduates majoring in the college, department, or program. The records include the following types of information: academic performance reports; correspondence with the student; letters of recommendation; and reports of action taken in regard to a student by the college, department or program. The records are the responsibility of the director of the college, chair of the department, or chair of the program.

The Honor Board and Community Standards Board • North College

Maintain records of adjudicated cases. The dean of students is responsible for Honor Board and Community Standards Board records. Students have the right to inspect their records related to all board proceedings. Upon request, a student may view case materials in the Office of the Dean of Students.

Miscellaneous

Various ad hoc committees and groups maintain files of information about students in connection with such matters as the awarding of prizes and grants and students’ participation in special programs (foreign study, independent study, etc.). The chair of the committee or group is responsible for the record.

Information Technology Services • Exley Science Center

Information Technology Services (ITS) processes and stores information for many of the offices listed in this statement. The security of the information while it is held at ITS is the responsibility of the director of information technology services. Access to the information remains under the control of the responsible person in the office that forwarded the information to ITS.

Inspection of Records

Students have a right to inspect their educational records. To inspect a record, a student should make an appointment at the appropriate office. Students who, having inspected a record, wish to challenge its content because they believe it to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy rights, may submit the challenge informally to the person responsible for the record. If the results of the submission are not satisfactory to the student, he/she may ask the vice president for student affairs (undergraduates) or the vice president for academic affairs (graduate students) to review the challenge. If the decision of the dean or the vice president is not satisfactory to the student, he/she may submit the challenge in writing to the president, whose decision is final. A student who challenges a record also has a right to prepare a statement in support of the challenge that will remain a part of the challenged portion of the record as long as that portion is maintained. The conduct of the hearing will be in accordance with the constitution of the Wesleyan Judicial System and applicable federal regulations.

Students may obtain copies of material in their permanent records that pertain to them unless they have not paid all their University bills. The fees that will be charged for copies are $5 per official transcript of the academic record and not more than 10 cents per page of other material. Students have the right to inspect their records related to Community Standards Board proceedings. Upon request, a student may view case materials in the Office of the Dean of Students.

Complaints

Students who feel that their rights under the act have been abridged may le a complaint with The Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.

Definitions

“Information” means personally identifiable data that includes (a) the name of the student, the student’s parent or other family member; (b) the address of the student; (c) a personal identifier, such as the student’s Social Security number; (d) a list of personal characteristics that would make the student’s identity easily traceable; or (e) other information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable.

The use of the following terms in this policy statement conforms to the definitions in the federal regulations issued pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act: act, attendance, directory information, disclosure, education records, financial aid, parent, party, record, student.