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Chapter 10: Privacy Rights of Students

Student Records (Buckley Amendment)

Faculty members must respect the privacy rights accorded students under the federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (the Buckley Amendment). This law affords students rights of access to their education records and generally prohibits the University from releasing or disclosing those records to third parties.

Education records protected under the Act include any personally identifiable student information, such as grades, exam scores, or student ID numbers. In compliance with the Act, the University does not disclose any such information from the education records of a student without that student’s written consent. One exception to the disclosure prohibition permits the University to make available “directory information” pertaining to students unless the students have previously requested the University not to make directory information available. Vanderbilt University has designated the following information as “directory information”: the student’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, date and place of birth, major field of study, school, classification, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, the weights and heights of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous education institution attended by the student, and other similar information.

The administrative officials of Vanderbilt University who have access to the education records of students include the Chancellor and other general officers of the University, the Deans of each school and college, the University Registrar, the Director of Financial Aid, the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Life, and the designees of each such official, for purposes reasonably believed to facilitate actions within such officers’ areas of responsibility. Members of the faculty and any others who instruct students as well as those who advise students, either formally or informally, will have access to student education records for purposes of facilitating their evaluation of student performance and assisting them in the guidance of students in matters such as the choice of a major and other academic areas of concentration, the choice of courses, and career guidance. Members of the faculty and others who instruct students will also have access to education records for the purpose of providing recommendations for students. Committees, groups, boards, and organizations, such as the Honor Councils, which are officially recognized by the University, will have access to student records for the purpose of carrying out their assigned responsibilities.