University Archives

Records Manual: Confidential Records

Although state records law guarantees citizens' rights to public records, state and federal statutes and regulations affect the public's access to certain types of records.

 For instance, it generally exempts from disclosure several categories of records. Those exemptions that pertain to higher education may include medical records; confidential law enforcement investigatory records; intellectual property records; donor profile records.

The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) restricts public access to most student records and information without consent from the student. However, University officials who have a demonstrated need to know as part of their official duties may have access to relevant student records.

"Directory" information may be released without a student's consent. Directory information may include:

  • Student name
  • Current address (home and campus)
  • Telephone number (home and campus)
  • Class standing
  • Date and place of birth
  • Academic college
  • Major
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Dates of attendance
  • Date and type of degree
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Most recent previous educational institution attended

Students may request in writing to the Office of Registration and Records that all directory information be kept confidential. The restriction remains in effect until revoked by the student, even if the student leaves the University or graduates.

Records access and information disclosure are very complex issues. Consequently, this section should not be considered legal advice. When questions arise, there are several sources of guidance:

  • Refer questions about disclosure of and access to faculty personnel files to the office of the Provost, and staff personnel records and information to the Office of Human Resources.
  • Refer questions about access to student records to the Office of Registration and Records.
  • Other questions about record access should be referred to the University General Counsel's Office.