Tuesday, February 01, 2005

University students and privacy

I get to spend a fair amount of time at Halifax's many universities. One thing that I've noticed is that students appear to be getting younger (and I don't think it's just that I'm getting older!) and university is an extension of high school. It's not just students, though; it's also the parents. Many parents try to keep tabs on their kids and remain very active in their lives to the point of calling professors and administrators, looking for information on what their kids are up to. They don't take kindly to being told that they don't have any right to information without their kid's consent. In Nova Scotia, student information is protected by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. In the US, there's the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

Today's Daily Mississippian has an article on FERPA, as it's known:

The Daily Mississippian - Privacy laws exist for all UM students:

"Some students when entering college are still pressured by parents who try to control their academic affairs by invading privacy which is a violation of Federal privacy laws.

The privacy of students is a top priority for the university's administration and is protected by federal law, administrators said. Student's academic records are private and can only be released with permission from the student.

"First and foremost, we try to be sensitive to the student's privacy," said Provost Carolyn Staton. "We follow federal laws."

Student privacy is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Under this act, a student must give the school permission to release any information deemed private by the act. The only information freely available is directory information, such as dates of enrollment or honors and awards received...."

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