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Student Consumer Rights and Responsibilities

Discipline
The University president has delegated the responsibility of discipline at the University to the Vice President for Student Affairs.  However, the President’s Office reserves the right to handle certain disciplinary matters involving the welfare and safety of the University. By Florida Statutes and Board of Governors’ rules, the President is the chief officer of the University and is responsible for establishing regulations governing student life.  The University Board of Trustees must approve the regulations. Student disciplinary grievances and/or appeals are handled in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct Regulation 2.012.  Refer to the University student handbook, the FANG.

Non-Academic and Non-Disciplinary Grievances

Non-academic and non-disciplinary grievances are handled in accordance with the procedures or established protocol of the area or unit in question.  An appeal of the area or unit’s decision on the grievance should be directed to the vice president of the division in which the area or unit is located.  The student may also seek the assistance of the University Ombudsperson who acts as a liaison between students and the University in resolving problems through referral and on-site service.

Academic Grievances
Each college, school and/or academic unit within the University has internal procedures for student grievances pertaining to academic matters.  The student is normally expected to follow the procedures established by the college or school in which the student is pursuing a course of study; however, academic grievances regarding a course grade must be filed with the college or school in which the course is offered.  The grievance procedures are available in the Office of the Dean of the respective school or college.

Due Process, Other Rights and Responsibilities
University Regulation 2.013 addresses the due process protections, other rights and responsibilities of students.  Please refer to the below regulation.

Regulation of Florida A&M University
2.013 Due Process, Other Rights and Responsibilities

(1)    The due process requirements contained below shall be applicable in all cases involving academic dishonesty and matters involving alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct.About its programs, its instructional
         laboratory and other physical facilities, and its faculty.

Due process as applied by the University and its schools and colleges shall include, as a minimum, the following:
(a)     The student shall be provided with written notice of the charges against him/her in sufficient detail and in sufficient time to prepare for a hearing before an appropriate committee or hearing body, as established
          by the University or its colleges, schools, or institutes, or before the appropriate University official;
(b)     The University or its colleges and schools shall establish a minimum number of days in advance of the hearing to present the written notice of charges, but in no case will this notice be less than three days,
          except in cases of emergency as specified below;
(c)     The Student shall be entitled to a prompt hearing before an appropriate committee or hearing body, as established by the University or its colleges, schools or institutes; or the student shall have the option to
         request adjudication of the matter by an appropriate official designated by the University or its colleges, schools or institutes;
(d)     The student and his/her advisor may inspect all of the evidence that will be presented against the student at least three (3) work days before the student disciplinary hearing. The University shall also have the
          right to inspect any information the student intends to use at least three (3) workdays before the student disciplinary hearing;
(e)     The student may present evidence on his/her own behalf;
(f)      The student may hear and question adverse witnesses;
(g)     The student shall not be forced to present testimony which would be self-incriminating; however, the university and/or its colleges and schools is not required to postpone the proceedings pending the outcome
          of any outside prosecution and a disciplinary penalty or sanction imposed under the university’s code of conduct is in addition to any penalty imposed by the courts for the criminal system;
(h)     The student may have an advisor of the student’s choice present at the hearing;
(i)      The decision of responsible or not responsible on the charges shall be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing;
(j)      The decisions of any committee or hearing body, or of any university official, shall be presented to the student in writing and within fourteen business days following the hearing;
(k)     The student may appeal the decision of any committee or hearing body or of any university official, within a period specified by the university or its colleges, schools or institutes in the written procedures, to the
         president or the president’s designee; and
(l)      The student’s status will remain unchanged pending the university’s final decision in the matter, except where the president or president’s designee determines that the safety, health or general welfare of the
         student or the university is involved. A student’s enrollment status may be changed only in cases where the president or president’s designee determines that an emergency exists, which affects the safety,
         health or general welfare of the student or other students or the university and/or its employees.
(m)    At the conclusion of the appeals process, the decision of the president or the president’s designee shall be final.

(2)     Additional due process protections as may be provided by regulation or policy of the Board of Governors shall also be applicable to cases involving academic dishonesty or violations of the Student Code of Conduct as
          indicated by said regulation. Refer to Board of Governors Regulation 6C-6.0105(5).

(3)     All students enrolled at the university shall be accorded the basic rights as set forth below.
(a)     The right of respect for personal thoughts; the right of freedom from indignity of any type; the right to expect an education of the highest quality; and the right to make the best of one’s talents and time toward
          the objective which brought him/her to the University.
(b)     The right to inquire about and to recommend improvements in University policies, regulations and procedures through established protocol.
(c)     The right to participate in the self-governing process of student organizations pursuant to the procedures of the University and affected organizations.
(d)     The right to be represented on University-wide committees in accordance with University procedures.
(e)     The right of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as defined and governed by the constitutions of the United States and the State of Florida and the regulations of the University.
(f)      The right to participate in dialogue during public discussions that provide a diversity of opinions.
(g)     The right to join University clubs and organizations for educational, political, social, religious and cultural purposes in accordance with the guidelines, procedures and regulations of the University and the
          respective clubs and organizations.
(h)     The right of due process.
(i)      The right of freedom of press and media to publish and distribute materials in accordance with the constitutions of the United States and the State of Florida and the regulations of the University.
(4)     Florida A&M University encourages its students to help maintain a healthy academic climate where students can intellectually grow and develop as mature and responsible individuals. Concomitant with student rights are
         student responsibilities. These responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
(a)     The responsibility of making the most of their educational opportunities by attending classes and laboratory periods on regular basis and by completing all academic requirements, in a satisfactory manner, as
          stated in each course syllabus while taking advantage of the many opportunities provided in a University environment for all around personal growth, development, and maturation.
(b)     The responsibility of knowing and observing all published university policies, procedures and regulations (e.g. the General Catalog of the University and Student Handbook, etc.) as well as state and federal
          laws and requirements.
(c)     The responsibility of taking the initiative in exercising the democratic processes to include, but not be limited to, voting and performing community or volunteer services.
(d)     The responsibility of ensuring the orderly operation of the university through appropriate conduct in and out of the classroom.
(e)     The responsibility of assuming the consequences of one’s own actions and to avoid conduct detrimental in its effect upon fellow students and members of the university community.

Specific Authority 1001.74(4) FS. Law Implemented 1001.74(4) 1006.60, 1006.61, 1006.62FS.

History–New 10-1-75, Formerly 6C3-2.13, Amended 9-14-87,_Amended June 29, 2006.



Student Records Management Procedures

The Purpose
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, most often referred to as FERPA, deals specifically with the education records of students, affording them certain rights with respect to those records. For purposes of definition, education records are those records which are:

1)  Directly related to a student and
2)  Maintained by an institution or a party acting for the institution.

FERPA gives students who reach the age of 18 or who attend a post secondary institution the right to inspect and review their own education records. Furthermore, students have other rights, including the right to request amendment of records and to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from these records.

FERPA applies to the education records of persons who are or have been in attendance in post secondary institutions, including students in cooperative and correspondence study programs. FERPA does not apply to records of applicants for admission who are denied acceptance or, if accepted, do not attend an institution. Furthermore, rights are not given by FERPA to students enrolled in one component of an institution who seek to be admitted in another component of an institution.

The Policy
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) shall comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment) – 20 U.S.C. ~ 1232g – of 1974, which gives enrolled students the right to:
1)     Review and inspect their education records;
2)     Challenge and seek to amend education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading;
3)     Consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their educational records, except to the extent that FERPA allows disclosures without  consent; and
4)     Complain to the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged violations by FAMU of any such rights.

Pursuant to FERPA requirements, some personally identifiable student information, designated by law as “directory information,” may be released to third parties by FAMU without prior consent of a student unless the student files a written request with the FAMU Office of the Registrar to restrict directory information access.

FAMU has designated the following as directory information:
  • The name of a student who is in attendance or who has been in attendance
  • The local, home address of a present or former student)
  • The telephone number of a present or former student
  • Date and Place of Birth of a present or former student
  • The major field of study of a present or former student
  • Dates of attendance
  • Enrollment Status
  • Participation in Officially Recognized collegiate sports
  • Weight and height of athletes
  • Degrees and academic honor awards received and pertinent dates
  • Most recent educational institutions attended prior to FAMU
The following information is not considered directory information and may not be released or disclosed in any way (except to a school official with a legitimate interest, or to a third party with signed and dated consent from the student or former student):
  • Student Identification Number
  • Social Security Number
  • Ethnicity/Nationality
  • Gender   
An enrolled student may select Privacy (refuse to permit disclosure of “directory information’).  To do so, the student must notify the Office of the Registrar in writing if he/she refuses to permit the University to disclose such information.  The University will not release any further disclosures of directory information about the student without the student’s prior written consent except to the extent authorized by FERPA or other State or Federal laws.

All custodians of a student’s education records and all University employees/agents shall comply with FERPA and follow strict practice that information contained in a student’s education record is confidential and shall not be disclosed without the prior written consent of the student except as otherwise provided by FERPA.  FERPA exceptions are outlined in the policy and procedures herein.

Regarding the disposition of records held pertaining to a deceased student, in accordance with FERPA, it is the policy of FAMU that the privacy interests of an individual expire with that individual’s death.
FAMU publishes annually a notice of primary rights for enrolled students.

All University employees who manage or have direct or indirect access to student education records are held responsible for reading and understanding the policy.  Furthermore, all employees who manage or have direct or indirect access to student education records are responsible for following security practices established by the University, Colleges, or departments.

The University Registrar has been designated as the FERPA Compliance Officer for the University.  Further information about FAMU’s policy and procedures with respect to privacy of student records may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.

Location of Education Records
All information provided by a student to the University for the use in the educational process is considered part of the student’s education record.  Information may fall into one of the following categories:
  • Admission records are located in the Office of Admissions and Recruitment, Foote-Hilyer Administration Center, and the custodian of such records is the Director of Admissions and Recruitment, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Foote-Hilyer Administration Center, Suite G-9, Tallahassee, FL 32307.
  • Cumulative academic records are located in the Office of the Registrar, Foote-Hilyer Administration Center, and the custodian of such records is the University Registrar, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Foote-Hilyer Administration Center, Room 112, Tallahassee, FL  32307.
  • Financial aid records are located in the Office of Financial Aid, Foote-Hilyer Administration Center, and the custodian of such records is the Director of Financial Aid, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Foote-Hilyer Administration Center, Suite 101, Tallahassee, FL  32307.
  • Student financial records are located in the Office of Student Financial Services, Foote-Hilyer Administration Center, and the custodian of such records is the Director of Student Financial Services, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Suite G-7, Tallahassee, FL  32307.
  • Student placement records are located in the Career Center, Student Union Plaza and the custodian of such records is the Director, Career Center, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Student Union Plaza Suite 118, Tallahassee, FL  32307.
  • College-based testing records are located in the Counseling and Assessment Center, and the custodian of such records is the Director, Counseling and Assessment, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, University Counseling Center, Tallahassee, FL  32307.
  • College records are located in the college dean’s office and/or departmental offices of each college and in faculty offices at each college or department and the custodian of such records is the appropriate dean, department chairperson, professor, instructor or advisor.
  • Disciplinary records are located in the Office of Judicial Affairs, Student Union Plaza, and the custodian of such records is the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, 308 FHAC, Tallahassee, FL  32307.
  • Disability records are located in the Learning Development Evaluation Center, and the custodian of such records is the Director, LDEC, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical, Orr Drive, Suite 555, Tallahassee, FL  32307.
  • International student records are located in the Office of International Services, HFFM, and the custodian of such records is the Provost, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, 301 Foote-Hilyer Administration Center, Tallahassee, FL  32307.
Excluded Records
While most student records maintained by the University are considered to be education records, those listed below are specifically excluded:
  • Sole possession records or memory aids created and maintained for private use with limited access to anyone other than the creator;
  • University Police records maintained solely for law enforcement purposes;
  • University employment records for employment not dependent on student status and does not result in academic credit or a grade;
  • Records created by a medical or mental health professional to be used only for providing treatment to a student;
  • Alumni records if they contain only information related to an individual after the individual is no longer a student.
Legitimate Educational Interest
University officials shall have access to student education records for legitimate educational purposes when a need to know has been demonstrated by those officials who act in the student’s educational interest.  This includes faculty, administration, student employees, clerical and professional employees and other persons who manage student records information.  Any school official who needs information about a student in the course of performing instructional, supervisory, advisory or administrative duties has a legitimate educational interest.  

Exceptions to Student Consent for Release of Records
All custodians of a student’s education records and other University employees/agents may not disclose student information to third parties without the student’s prior written consent except as provided in this section:
  • Under the following circumstances, University officials may make disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records without the consent of the student:
a)      To officials of another college or university where the student seeks or intends to enroll on the condition that the insitution makes a reasonable effort to inform the student of the disclosure unless the student 
          initiates the transfer.
b)       To certain federal and state officials who require information in order to audit or enforce legal conditions related to programs at the University supported by federal or state funds.
c)       To parties who provide or may provide financial aid to the student.
d)       To an individual or organization under written contract with the University or FLDOE for the purpose of conducting a study on the University’s behalf for the development of tests, the administration of student
          aid, or the improvement of instruction.
e)       To an outside contractor who is a “party acting on behalf of the University and is performing a service which the University would otherwise have to perform for itself.”
f)        To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
g)       To parents of an enrolled student if the parents claim the student as a dependent under the Internal Revenue code of 1954.  Tthe University will exercise this option only on the condition that the evidence of
          such dependency is furnished to the University Registrar.
h)       To comply with a lawfully issued subpoena or judicial order of a court of competent jurisdiction.  The University will make reasonable effort to notify the student before the disclosure – unless otherwise noted
           by the judicial document.
i)         The result of a disciplinary proceeding may be released to the victim on the student’s crime of violence.
j)         To comply with an ex parte order from the Office of the Attorney General (or designee).
k)        To state or local officials in compliance with state laws adapted prior to November 19, 1974.
  • University officials are authorized to make necessary disclosures from student education records without the prior consent of the student in a health or safety emergency if the University official deems:
a)      The disclosure to be warranted by the seriousness of the threat to the safety or health of the student or other persons; or
b)      The information disclosed is necessary and needed to meet the emergency; and
c)      Time is an important and limiting factor in dealing with the emergency.
All requests for disclosure under the above circumstances, where the University may disclose personally identifiable information without the student’s prior consent to third parties other than its own officials, will be referred to the University Registrar or the appropriate records custodian.

Parental Access
At the post secondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect a student’s education records.  The right to inspect is limited solely to the student.  Records may be released to parents only under the following circumstances:
a) Through the written consent of the student
b) In compliance with a subpoena,
By submission of evidence that the parent declares the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form (IRS Code of 1954).

Written Consent
  • University officials may not disclose personally identifiable information contained in a student’s education record except directory information or under the circumstances listed above, except with the student’s prior written consent.  Written consent must include the following:
a)       A specification of the information the student consents to be disclosed
b)      The person or organization or the class of persons or organizations to whom the disclosure may be made; and
c)      The purpose of the disclosure
d)      The student’s signature and date (within the last calendar year) of the consent.
  • The student may obtain a copy of any records the University disclosed pursuant to the student’s prior written consent.
The University will not release information contained in a student’s education records, except directory information, to any third parties except its own officials, unless those third parties agree in writing that they will not redisclose the information without the student’s
prior written consent.

Additional Guidelines for Faculty
  • The posting of grades by the student’s name, institutional student identification number or social security number is not allowed.  Grades cannot be posted via paper source or electronic source unless the instructors and others who post grades use a system that ensures FERPA requirements are met.
  • Prohibition on disclosure of personally identifiable information from an education record of a student applies to any kind of nondirectory information. Examples include performance in class, grades, attitude, motivation, abilities and background that are conveyed in writing, in person or over the phone to third parties.      

Challenge of Contents of Education Records
Florida A&M University provides any student with an opportunity to challenge and amend the contents of his/her education records which the student considers to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights. Challenge requests must be submitted to the University Registrar.
   
Protocol for Records Storage and Disposal
Once University officials who are designated custodians of student records have established the following protocol for ensuring that student records being collected, accessed, stored, printed, destroyed or otherwise used are physically secure from unauthorized access.

Each person using electronic systems to access records must have a unique account with a password assigned for his/her own use.  The account name and passwords used to access these systems must not be written down, told to others, or made available in any way for use by other persons.  Account holders must change their passwords frequently.

Computers used to access electronic records systems must not be left unattended.  Computers located in public areas must be positioned so that visitors cannot view.

Printers must not be publicly accessible and must be attended so that printed materials cannot be seen or taken by authorized persons.  To reduce this risk, printed materials must be retrieved from the printer promptly.
Printed or copies of records stored on electronic media must be kept in locked drawers or cabinets when not being used.  Records being used must be returned to locked storage areas overnight.  Central filing systems must be secured behind locked doors when they are not attended.

Printed records must be shredded prior to recycling.  Copies of records stored on electronic media, such as computer hard drives, CD-ROM, or diskette must be permanently deleted from these media before the media is disposed of.  If this is not possible, the media itself should be destroyed and made unusable prior to its disposal.

Definition of Terms


Student – An individual for whom the educational institution maintains records.  The term refers to a person who is or in the past has received academic credit from the University.  “Student” does not include an individual who is or has been enrolled in non-credit, Continual Learning programs.

Enrolled Student – For the purpose of this document, this term refers to a student who has satisfied all the institution’s requirements for attendance in course offered for academic credit at the institution and is statistically represented in federal, state and/or local reports maintained by the educational institution.

Education Records (Academic Records)
– Any records maintained by the University and employees/agents of the University which contain personally identifiable information directly related to a student record, and used herein, includes any information or data recorded in any medium, including but not limited to handwriting, print, magnetic tapes and disks, film, microfilm and microfiche.

Student Records – Any information or data collected, recorded, or maintained in any medium (e.g., handwriting, print, tapes, films, files, microfilm, microfiche, and any other form of electronic data storage).

Directory Information – Information contained in an education record of a student that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.  Items that can never be identified as directory information are a student’s social security number, citizenship, gender, religious preference, grades and GPA.

Personally Identifiable Information – Data or information which includes:

  • The name of the student, the student’s parents, or other family members;
  • The student’s addresses;
  • A personal identifier such as a social security number or any generated student number; or
  • A list of personal characteristics or other information that would allow the student’s identity to be traced.

School Officials (University Officials) – Those members of an institution who act in the student’s educational interest within the limitations of their “need to know.”  Officials may include faculty, administration, clerical, and professional employees and other persons, including student employees or agents, who manage student education record information.

The University has also defined a school official to be any person currently serving as:

  • A member of the Florida Board of Governors (FBOG);
  • As a temporary substitute for a staff member or faculty member at FAMU for the period of his/her performance as a substitute member; and
  • A member of the FBOG or under contract to the University to perform a special administrative task.  Such persons shall be considered to be school officials for the period of their performance as an employee or contractor.