The beginning of the semester is an opportune time to briefly remind faculty and staff about general responsibilities under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act – FERPA – the federal law that protects the privacy of student education records from kindergarten through graduate school.
It is important that all of us have a working understanding of this law, as it affects every one of our students. The most salient point to keep in mind is this: Upon attendance at LMU, control of the FERPA consent process pertaining to an education record passes from the parents and/or guardians directly to the student.
The practical effects are:
- All community members have a role in protecting the confidentiality of student records. The security of student records is our foremost concern.
- Records may be disclosed with the consent of the student; if the disclosure meets one of the statutory exemptions; or if the disclosure is directory information and the student has not placed a hold on directory information.
- Students have a right of access to their records (but not necessarily the right to a copy of the record) and a right to request the correction of records that are inaccurate or misleading.
Any staff or faculty member who is asked about student records by any law enforcement agency should promptly refer the question to the Department of Public Safety. They are equipped to discreetly and efficiently coordinate with legal counsel to scrutinize the request. Additionally, should you happen to encounter any law enforcement on campus, other than Los Angeles Police Department personnel, please notify DPS immediately at 310.338.2893. Further information may be found by visiting the resources page on the DPS website.
Thomas Poon, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost