Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students have certain rights regarding their education records.
1. A student has the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of their request.
Even though the law allows 45 days, at Williams, requests are normally honored at the time they are submitted. Students should submit their requests to the persons maintaining the records to which they wish access, e.g. the registrar, dean, department chair, or other appropriate officials.
2. A student has the right to request that corrections be made to their education records if they believe the records are inaccurate or misleading or otherwise in violation their privacy rights under FERPA.
Students should address such requests to the official responsible for the record and must clearly identify the parts of the record which they wish amended and why they believe them to be inaccurate or misleading.
If the official responsible for the record does not agree to amend the record as requested, Williams will notify the student of the decision and advise them of the right to a hearing and the procedures for initiating one.
3. A student has the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
One exception which permits disclosure without consent is to school officials with legitimate educational interests. For these purposes, a school official is a person employed by Williams in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position, including security and health personnel; a person or company with whom Williams has a contract such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, or educational researcher; a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee such as the disciplinary committee, or assisting another school official in performing their tasks.
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill their responsibility.
Williams also discloses educational records without prior consent upon request from another educational institution in which the student seeks or intends to enroll.
Williams may also disclose to parents and guardians of a student under the age of 21, without the student’s consent, information regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or any rule or policy of Williams, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
The law also allows Williams to make public, without prior consent of the student, the final results of the disciplinary proceedings conducted by Williams concerning an allegation of a crime of violence against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence, if the student is found to have violated Williams’ rules or policies with respect to that crime.
In addition, Williams may make public the following student “directory information” unless the student informs the registrar in writing by September 15 that their prior consent be required during that academic year:
- permanent and College addresses
- campus electronic mail address
- permanent, mobile, and campus telephone numbers
- date of birth
- major field
- extra-curricular activities
- height and weight of members of athletic teams
- dates of attendance
- degrees, honors, and awards
- other schools attended
Williams is very conservative in its use of this directory information and releases it outside the college community only when its release is deemed of benefit to students. Generally this information is not publicly available outside the Williams network, with the exception of the online directory. The directory lists name, class year, campus address and campus e-mails.
A student may opt to consider directory information confidential and it will be flagged as such in the student’s record. To elect this option, the student must inform the registrar in writing by September 15 that prior consent is required to release directory information, and should contact the Associate Registrar, [email protected], to discuss this request.
4. A student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Williams to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202–8520