General Administration Policies
Policy Maintenance, Availability, Amendments, and Renewal
Responsibility for Maintenance: College Counsel
(Revised by President Sydow January 7, 2019)
I. Policy Statement
Personnel responsible for creating, updating, and distributing College policies must comply with the procedures described in this policy, which details the procedures for formulating, approving, issuing, and amending policies.
II. Reason for Policy
Richard Bland College requires regular maintenance of policies to ensure ongoing compliance with applicable laws, to facilitate optimal efficiency and effectiveness in fulfillment of mission and goals, and to promote a common understanding of the fundamental framework that guides our actions.
III. Applicability of the Policy
This policy applies to all policies included in the official Richard Bland College Policy Manual and available on the Richard Bland College website.
IV. Related Documents
Office of Institutional Research
The Compliance Manager will send out the inventory of current policies no later than March 1 each year. The RBC senior administrators are responsible for ensuring that policies in their areas of responsibility are included in the Policy Manual. If a policy already exists, then the senior administrator responsible for that policy shall ensure that the policy is kept updated. Senior administrators and other RBC leaders will work with the Compliance Manager to determine, in consultation with College Counsel, if any legal updates have impacted a policy or if new policies are appropriate. On or before May 1, each senior administrator shall send to the Compliance Manager final comments regarding revisions or additions to policies.
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Freedom of Information Act Policy (FOIA)
Responsibility for Maintenance: FOIA Officer
(Updated by President Sydow July 6, 2016 and July 1, 2018)
I. Policy Statement
Richard Bland College acknowledges the rights of requesters and the responsibility of the College under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
II. Reason for Policy
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located at § 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees. The purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires the law to be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.
III. Applicability of the Policy
This policy is to be understood and applied by the College’s FOIA Officer. This policy applies to any public records held by Richard Bland College.
IV. Related Documents
Office of the President
Public record: A public record is any writing or recording—regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format—that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees, or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies.
Requestor: Those who are entitled to inspection and copying of records under FOIA are limited to citizens of the Commonwealth, representatives of newspapers and magazines with circulation in the Commonwealth, and representatives of radio and television stations broadcasting in or into the Commonwealth.
Your FOIA Rights
- You have the right to request to inspect or receive copies of public records, or both.
- You have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance.
- If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in district or circuit court to compel compliance with FOIA. Alternatively, you may contact the FOIA Council for a nonbinding advisory opinion.
Making a Request for records from Richard Bland College
You may request records by U.S. Mail, fax, e-mail, in person, or over the phone. FOIA does not require that your request be in writing, nor do you need to specifically state that you are requesting records under FOIA. However, from a practical perspective, it may be helpful to both you and the person receiving your request to put your request in writing. This allows you to create a record of your request. It also gives RBC a clear statement of what records you are requesting, so that there is no misunderstanding over a verbal request. However, RBC cannot refuse to respond to your FOIA request if you elect to not put it in writing.
Your request must identify the records you are seeking with “reasonable specificity.” This is a common-sense standard. It does not refer to or limit the volume or number of records that you are requesting; instead, it requires that you be specific enough so that RBC can identify and locate the records that you are seeking.
Your request must ask for existing records or documents. FOIA gives you a right to inspect or copy records; it does not apply to a situation where you are asking general questions about the work of Richard Bland College, nor does it require Richard Bland College to create a record that does not exist.
You may receive electronic records in any format used by Richard Bland College in the regular course of business. For example, if you request records maintained in an Excel database, you may receive those records electronically, via e-mail, on a computer disk, or as a printed document.
Please cooperate with staff’s efforts to clarify the type of records you are seeking, or to attempt to reach a reasonable agreement about a response to a large request. Making a FOIA request is not an adversarial process, but RBC staff may need to discuss your request with you to ensure that we understand what records you are seeking.
To request records from Richard Bland College, you may direct your request to the FOIA Officer by email at email@example.com; by regular mail at 11301 Johnson Road, South Prince George, VA 23805; or by phone at 804.862.6221.
You may also contact the FOIA Officer with questions you have concerning requesting records from Richard Bland College. In addition, the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA. The Council may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (804) 225-3056 or [toll free] 1-866-448-4100.
Richard Bland College’s Responsibilities in Responding to Your Request
Richard Bland College must respond to your request within five working days of receiving it. “Day One” is the working day after your request is received. The five-day period does not include weekends, holidays, or other days the College is closed.
The reason behind your request for public records from Richard Bland College is irrelevant, and you do not have to state why you want the records before we respond to your request. FOIA does, however, allow Richard Bland College to require you to provide your name and legal address.
FOIA requires that Richard Bland College make one of the following responses to your request within the five-day time period:
- We provide you with the records that you have requested in their entirety.
- We withhold all of the records that you have requested, because all of the records are subject to a specific statutory exemption. If all of the records are being withheld, we must send you a response in writing. That writing must identify the volume and subject matter of the records being withheld, and state the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows us to withhold the records.
- We provide some of the records that you have requested, but withhold other records. We cannot withhold an entire record if only a portion of it is subject to an exemption. In that instance, we may redact the portion of the record that may be withheld, and must provide you with the remainder of the record. We must provide you with a written response stating the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows portions of the requested records to be withheld.
- We inform you in writing that the requested records cannot be found or do not exist (we do not have the records you want). However, if we know that another public body has the requested records, we must include contact information for the other public body in our response to you.
- If it is practically impossible for Richard Bland College to respond to your request within the five-day period, we must state this in writing, explaining the conditions that make the response impossible. This will allow us seven additional working days to respond to your request, giving us a total of 12 working days to respond to your request.
If you make a request for a very large number of records, and we feel that we cannot provide the records to you within 12 working days without disrupting our other organizational responsibilities, we may petition the court for additional time to respond to your request. However, FOIA requires that we make a reasonable effort to reach an agreement with you concerning the production of the records before we go to court to ask for more time.
A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.
You may have to pay for the records that you request from Richard Bland College. FOIA allows us to charge for the actual costs of responding to FOIA requests. This would include items like staff time spent searching for the requested records, copying costs, or any other costs directly related to supplying the requested records. It cannot include general overhead costs.
If RBC estimates that it will cost more than $200 to respond to your request, RBC may require you to pay a deposit, not to exceed the amount of the estimate, before proceeding with your request. The five days that RBC has to respond to your request does not include the time between when RBC asks for a deposit and when you respond.
You may request that RBC estimate in advance the charges for supplying the records that you have requested. This will allow you to know about any costs upfront, or give you the opportunity to modify your request in an attempt to lower the estimated costs.
If you owe RBC money from a previous FOIA request that has remained unpaid for more than 30 days, RBC may require payment of the past-due bill before responding to your new FOIA request.
Commonly used exemptions
The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure. Federal law also requires certain records to be withheld. Richard Bland College commonly withholds records subject to the following exemptions:
- Personnel records (§ 2.2-3705.1 (1) of the Code of Virginia)
- Records subject to attorney-client privilege (§ 2.2-3705.1 (2)) or attorney work product (§ 2.2-3705.1 (3))
- Vendor proprietary information (§ 2.2-3705.1 (6))
- Records relating to the negotiation and award of a contract, prior to a contract being awarded (§ 2.2-3705.1 (12))
- Student records (Virginia Code §§ 2.2-3705.4, 1-287.1, and § 23.1-405 (C); The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; and 34 CFR Part 99)
VIII. Related Laws
Virginia Code §§ 2.2-3700 et seq. http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title2.2/chapter37/
Virginia Code §§ 2.2-3705.4, 22.1-287.1, and § 23.1-405 (C)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g
34 CFR Part 99
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Responsibility for Maintenance: Provost
I. Policy Statement
This policy governs the respective ownership rights of the College and its employees in copyrightable material produced within the scope of employment and student ownership rights.
The “work-for-hire” rule in the Copyright Act gives the College ownership of the copyrights to works produced by its employees within the scope of their employment. The College cedes copyright ownership to the author(s) of scholarly and academic works (such as journal articles, books, and papers) created by academic and research faculty who use generally available College resources. However, the College asserts its right of copyright ownership if significant College resources (including sponsor-provided funds) are used in the creation of such works, and: (a) the work generates royalty payments; or (b) the work is of commercial value that can be realized by College marketing efforts.
Use of the College’s name in connection with the commercialization of a faculty work must be approved in advance by the RBC President.
Even in cases where the College retains copyright ownership under this policy, it may cede such ownership to the work’s author(s) by written agreement signed by the RBC senior administrator (those personnel reporting directly to the President) with supervisory oversight over the employee(s) involved and approved by the RBC President.
The College retains a non-exclusive, royalty-free right under any and all circumstances to use for non-commercial purposes works produced by its employees while acting within the scope of their employment even if copyright ownership is ceded to the author or authors.
The College may assign its copyright ownership for purposes of commercialization to licensees, publishers, or other parties.
Sponsors and Contracts: When under the terms of a contract with the College a sponsor obtains copyright ownership in any copyrightable work that may result from the sponsored effort, that contract takes precedence over this policy. If the sponsor in the contract does not assert an ownership interest, copyright ownership is vested with the College as provided in this policy.
Grants: The College may vary the terms of this policy when it provides or administers a grant if it provides notice in, or at the time of, the grant application. In the absence of that notice, the following paragraphs generally will apply:
Ownership of intellectual property created under a grant from the College is the same as ownership of intellectual property not covered by a grant: i.e. it is described in this policy.
Ownership of intellectual property created under an outside grant that is administered by the College is not completely within the College’s control. Therefore, this policy governs unless in conflict with any term or condition of the grant. Whenever the granting agency retains ownership of intellectual property if the College does not elect to claim it, the College will elect to retain ownership and either keep it or transfer it to the employee according to the provisions of this policy.
Contracts: The College sometimes has copyrightable or patentable work performed on contract with third parties who are not employees or students. Rights in these situations are governed by a combination of federal and state law and the contract.
Consulting: Employees who perform consulting work for outside organizations do not act as College employees when they do so, and the terms of this policy are therefore inapplicable. Outside employment must be approved beforehand by the College, as specified in the Faculty Handbook and/or state policy.
Ownership of Intellectual Property (Students)
Students will own intellectual property resulting from their classroom assignments unless the intellectual property has been created as a result of employment with RBC, an administrative activity, or an assigned duty, or involved a significant use of general funds, in which case the College will own the intellectual property.
Students own any intellectual property resulting from their own initiative and not required by the College or a faculty member, such as a paper written for an essay contest.
II. Reason for Policy
The purpose of this policy is to define the ownership rights to copyrightable works of authorship and inventions which may be patented that are created by employees and students of Richard Bland College.
III. Applicability of the Policy
A. Applicability of the Policy – This policy applies to all employees and students of the College.
Definition of Terms in Statement:
- Administrative Activity – an activity that relates to the management or administrative functions of the College. Such activity is typically found in other organizations not involved with teaching or scholarship. Administrative activities include, for example, preparing budgets, developing policies and contracts, maintaining a personnel system, keeping inventories of equipment, developing long-range plans, and preparing brochures. Administrative activities also include activities that are not found outside of educational institutions but which support teaching and scholarship indirectly, such as preparing a database of student information, printing a catalogue of course descriptions, designing and constructing classrooms, or writing a patent and copyright policy. There is no hard and fast line between administrative activities and teaching or scholarship activities. The question is whether an activity is predominantly one or the other, not whether it is entirely one or the other.
- Assigned duty – is narrower than “scope of employment,” and is an undertaking of a task or project as a result of a specific request or direction. A general obligation to do research, even if it results in a specific end product such as a vaccine, a published article, or a computer program, or to produce scholarly publications, is not a specific request or direction and hence is not an assigned duty. In contrast, an obligation to develop a vaccine or a request or direction to write an article or produce a computer program is a specific request or direction and is therefore an assigned duty.
- “College” means Richard Bland College of William & Mary.
- “Creator “means either an inventor in the context of patentable invention, or an author in the context of copyrightable works of authorship.
- Copyright – A form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works, whereby copyright owners may claim, for a limited time, certain exclusive rights to specified works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works and gives the copyright owner the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, sell, perform, display or prepare derivatives of the work, and to protect a copyright against infringement. Copyright protection does not extend to an idea, procedure, process, slogan, principle or discovery.
- Employee – Any individual employed by the College, including full- and part-time faculty, 12-month faculty, classified and operational employees, and professionals and professional faculty. Employee also includes: adjunct professors; visiting faculty; visiting scientists; and students who receive salaries or assistantships, or College work-study funds, stipends, or hourly wages while they are acting within the scope of their employment at the College.
- Intellectual Property – A collective term identifying College work that may be protected by copyrights, trade secrets protections, trademarks, and/or patents, irrespective of whether formal protection is sought.
- Significant College Resources – The use of College resources is “significant” when it entails substantial and dedicated use of College equipment, facilities, or personnel. The use of a computer in a faculty office, incidental supplies and occasional use of College personnel or shared facilities would typically not be considered significant use. In contrast, utilization of College laboratories or special instrumentation, dedicated assistance by College employees, special financial assistance, or extensive use of shared facilities would constitute significant use.
- Sponsor–Provided Resources – Funds and facilities provided by governmental, commercial, industrial, or other private organizations which are administered and controlled by the College shall be considered College resources.
Work–for–Hire Rule – The “work-for-hire” rule, defined in the Copyright Act, provides that when an employee produces a copyrightable work within the scope of employment, the copyright to that work belongs to the employer and not to the author.
A. Administrative Responsibilities: The Provost is responsible for the implementation and administration of this intellectual Property policy, with the concurrence of the RBC President, and will:
(1) promptly consider all notifications of intellectual property and determine the circumstances of creation to establish whether significant use of College facilities, personnel, and resources is involved;
(2) determine whether to apply for a patent or register a copyright on behalf of the College;
(3) determine whether the intellectual property in which the College holds an interest is marketable, and if so, take appropriate steps on behalf of the College for marketing the property, including transferring the College’s rights to the Richard Bland College Foundation or another entity, as authorized by law and this policy;
(4) distribute royalties as a result of the implementation of this policy;
(5) advise the creator in writing whenever the College does not claim ownership of intellectual property of which the creator has notified the College.
The RBC President may reassign the administrative responsibilities of administering this policy as he or she deems necessary.
B. Employee Responsibilities
Employees will promptly notify the Provost in writing of all intellectual property of marketable value that the College owns. Notifications will go through the appropriate administrative head to the Provost for the purpose of determining whether, and to what extent, the College has a proprietary interest in the material and determining the use of State general funds in its development. If more than one individual participated in the development, the notification should identify the percent of each participant’s interest and should be signed by all participants. The participants will furnish additional information and execute documents from time to time as the Provost may reasonably request.
Responsibility for timely and responsible notification of intellectual property rests with the creator. Notification forms will be available in the Provost. Guidance is available from the Provost on the steps to be taken to protect the interests of the creator and the College.
The Provost will so advise the creator in writing if the College claims no ownership of the intellectual property.
The determination of ownership will typically occur within thirty (30) days after the creator submits a completed notification to the Provost. The creator and all participants will cooperate in the application for a patent on the invention or in registering the copyright to the work, whether requested by the College or an agent or assignee of the College, such as the Richard Bland College Foundation. If at any point in the process the College decides that no further current action is desirable for intellectual property that the College owns, it will so notify the creator within thirty (30) days. In this case, the College may transfer full or limited ownership to the creator, or reserve ownership until a subsequent date.
C. Protection and Commercialization
Nothing in this policy requires the College to sell, license, or use any intellectual property. The Provost and the President must approve institutional agreements between the College and any outside patent management firm. The President will determine whether the agreement is in the College’s best interest.
D. Distribution of Royalties
Generally, the creator(s) and the College will share the gross royalties that are received from intellectual properties for which the College obtains a patent or holds a copyright. The creator will receive 50% of the gross royalties received on the first $10,000, then 20% of the gross royalties received over $10,000 and up to $100,000, and 10% thereafter of the gross royalties that exceed $100,000. Under special circumstances the creator or the College may propose an alternate arrangement.
The royalties to the College will be used to fund faculty development, general research, and intellectual property development expenses unless the Board of Visitors or the President directs otherwise.
Individual grants or contracts for sponsored research with a granting agency may specify a different assignment of patent or copyright ownership or a different distribution of royalties.
E. Appeal of Action by the Provost.
A creator who claims to be adversely affected by an action of the Provost may appeal in writing within ten (10) calendar days of notification of the action to the RBC President. Grounds for appeal include an alleged failure of the Provost to comply with this Intellectual Property Policy.
The creator will submit his or her appeal to the President and demonstrate that the creator has made a reasonable effort to resolve his or her complaint with the Provost as a preliminary matter. Proceedings will be informal, and all parties will have adequate notice and opportunity to be heard.
After considering all relevant information, the President will decide the merit of the creator’s grievance and advise the Provost and the creator of his or her decision. Review of appeals will take no longer than thirty (30) days from the date they are filed unless both parties mutually agree upon an extension or if additional time is authorized by the President for cause.
F. Reporting Requirements
The Provost shall be responsible for compiling information and submitting reports to external bodies as required by law or applicable policy.
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Student Records and FERPA
Responsibility for Maintenance: Director of Records and Registration
(Updated by President Sydow July 1, 2018)
I. Policy Statement
The College protects the privacy of student records and provides students with access to their own records in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), a federal law which requires that a written institutional policy be established and that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The law provides a student the right to inspect and review information contained in his/her education record, to challenge the contents of the education record, and to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory. The student may submit explanatory statements for inclusion in the files if the student feels the decision of the hearing panel to be unacceptable.
The law provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education records. Richard Bland College accords all the rights under the law to students in attendance at the College.
- Right to Inspect and Review: Students have the right to inspect and review their own education records within 45 days after the day the College receives a request for access. Education records available for inspection include, but are not limited to admissions, personal, academic, and financial files, as well as academic and placement records. Refer to the definition of Education Records in Section VI for more information. Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions (e.g., copy of the academic record for which a financial hold exists, or a transcript of an original or source document that exists elsewhere need not be provided).
- Right to Request Amendment: If a student believes that information contained in the student’s education record is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise violates the student’s right to privacy, the student may request that the College amend the record(s). Initial requests for amendment of an education record should be made to the College Director of Records and Registration and may be resolved informally. If the College Director of Records and Registration decides not to amend the records as requested, the student will be notified of the right to request a formal hearing. Procedures for both informal and formal resolution of a request for amendment are outlined below in Section VII.
- Rights Concerning Disclosure: Students have the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information from their education records except to the extent that FERPA or superseding law authorizes disclosure without consent of the student. Consent to disclose education records must be written, signed, and dated. Valid written consent also must specify the records that may be disclosed, the purpose for which they may be disclosed, and the persons or class of persons to whom the information may be disclosed.
Disclosure of Student Education Records without Consent
In general, the College will not disclose personally identifiable information from education records without prior written consent of the student. The College may disclose an education record or information from an education record when all personally identifiable information has been redacted, such that a reasonable person in the College community without special knowledge of the relevant circumstances would not be able to identify the student from the record. FERPA also permits disclosure of education records without consent in the following circumstances:
- Disclosures to school officials with legitimate educational interests. In general, such disclosures include those made to members of the Faculty or personnel in the Office of Records and Registration, the Office of the Provost, the Financial Aid Office, the Office of Student Success, Office of Residence Life, the Office of the President, and other College personnel as necessary for them in the exercise of their official duties. (See Section VI for the definition of school official.)
- Disclosures of directory information. At its discretion, the College may provide directory information in accordance with the provisions of FERPA except as indicted below. Students may withhold directory information from disclosure by notifying the Director of Records and Registration in writing within two weeks after the first day of class for each term. (See Section VI for the definition of directory information.) Pursuant to state law, a student’s address, telephone number, and email address shall be considered directory information, but the College must receive prior written affirmative consent from the student prior to disclosing the information to others, including other students. The Student Information Release form must be signed by a student authorizing release of this information in order for the College to provide such information to anyone except as otherwise authorized by FERPA and state law.
- Disclosures to a Transfer Institution. The College may make disclosures of students’ education records to another educational institution where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student already is enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
- Disclosure to the student him/herself.
- Disclosures to parents of dependent students. The College may disclose personally identifiable information from education records to parents of a student considered a dependent for federal income tax purposes. The College may not presume tax dependency and musts obtain either a copy of the parents’ most recent tax return (financial information may be redacted) or an acknowledgment from the student that the student is in fact a dependent. This exception generally is not available for international students, whose parents generally do not file U.S. tax returns.
- Disclosures made in connection with a health or safety emergency. The College may disclose personally identifiable information to appropriate parties if the disclosure is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
- Disclosures to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
- Disclosure to a court in connection with a lawsuit. If the student brings a lawsuit against the College, the College may disclose information from education records that is relevant to the action and does not relate to other students not involved in the lawsuit.
- Disclosure to parents of a student who has violated drug and alcohol rules. The College may disclose information from education records to parents of a student, who is under 21 at the time of the disclosure, if that information relates to the College’s determination that the student has violated the College’s rules regarding drugs or alcohol.
- Disclosure of the “final results” of a disciplinary proceeding. If the College determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of College policy or rules, then the College may disclose the final results of the disciplinary proceeding to the public. The final results are limited to the name of the student, the basic nature of the violation the student was found to have committed, and a description and the duration of any sanction the College imposed against the student.
- Disclosure to a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense. The College may disclose the final results of a disciplinary hearing to such a victim and may make such disclosure regardless of the outcome of the proceeding. The final results are limited to the name of the student, the basic nature of the violation the student was found to have committed, and a description and the duration of any sanction the College imposed against the student.
- Disclosure in connection with financial aid that the student has applied for or received. The College may make disclosures in connection with financial aid if the disclosure is for the purpose of determining the student’s eligibility for, the amount of, the conditions for the aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
- Disclosure to authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the College’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of personally identifiable information to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.
- Disclosures to accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
- Disclosures to organizations conducting studies for education institutions to develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; administer student aid programs; or improve instruction. Disclosures to these organizations are permitted if the studies are conducted in a manner that prevents personal identification of parents and students by anyone other than representatives of the organizations, the information is destroyed when no longer needed for purposes of the studies, and the institution enters into a written agreement with the organization specifically limiting its use of the information in these ways.
- Disclosures concerning sex offenders. The College may make certain disclosures that consist of information provided to the institution pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (commonly known as the Wetterling Act).
II. Reason for Policy
FERPA is designed to protect the confidentiality of the records that educational institutions maintain on their students, give students access to those records, and assure the accuracy of those records. This policy has been established to inform students of their rights under FERPA; to inform employees, student workers, third party contractors, and volunteers of Richard Bland College’s obligations under FERPA; and to describe the circumstances under which the College may disclose student education records.
III. Applicability of the Policy
This policy applies to all Richard Bland College students and former students and must be followed by all Richard Bland College employees.
IV. Related Documents
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99)
- Virginia Code § 22.1-287.1
- Virginia Code § 23.1-405 (C)
- Student Information Release Form
Office of Records and Registration
Director of Records and Registration
“Attendance” includes but is not limited to attendance in person or by paper correspondence, videoconference, satellite, internet, or other electronic information and telecommunications technologies for students who are not physically present in the classroom. The College defines, in accordance with FERPA, the first day of class as the date when a student is first considered to be “in attendance.”
“Directory Information” means information that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed, including, but not limited to:
- Student name
- Address, telephone number, email address (requires student’s affirmative consent pursuant to state law to be disclosed)
- Date and place of birth
- Major field of study; grade level
- Enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate, full-time or part-time)
- Dates of attendance
- Degrees and awards received
- The most recent previous education agency or institution attended by the student
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Height and weight of members of athletic teams
“Education Records” means those records that are directly related to a student and maintained by the College or an agent for the College. Records may include documents, files, or other media in electronic or tangible form. Education Records do not include sole possession records, law enforcement records, certain employment records, treatment records, alumni records, or peer grades. For a full list of what the definition of education records specifically excludes, see title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 99.3.
“School Official” means a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including but not limited to the Department of Campus Safety and Police personnel, College Counsel, and health staff); a person serving on the Board of Visitors; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the College who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of personally identifiable information from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College.
Requests for Inspection and Review:
The law provides a student the right to inspect and review information contained in his/her education record, to challenge the contents of the education record, and to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory. The student may submit explanatory statements for inclusion in the files if the student feels the decision of the hearing panel to be unacceptable. The Director of Records and Registration at Richard Bland College has been designated by the institution as the individual responsible for coordinating the inspection and review procedures for student educational records. These records include admissions, personal, academic, and financial files, as well as academic and placement records. Students wishing to review their education records must make written requests to the Director of Records and Registration listing the item or items of interest. Only records covered by the Act will be made available within forty-five days of the request. Students may have copies made of their records upon receipt by RBC of $0.15 per page within certain exceptions (e.g., copy of the academic record for which a financial hold exists, or a transcript of an original or source document that exists elsewhere need not be provided). Education records do not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel who are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute, records of the Department of Campus Safety and Police, student health records, employment records, or alumni records. Physicians designated by the student may review health records.
Students may not inspect the following as outlined by the Act:
- Financial information submitted by their parents;
- Confidential letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment, or job placement honors to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review; and
- Records containing information about more than one student.
In such cases, the institution will permit access only to that part of the record that pertains to the inquiring student.
Requests for Amendment and Right to a Hearing:
A student who believes an educational record contains information that is inaccurate or misleading or is otherwise in violation of privacy or other rights may discuss the problem informally with the Director of Records and Registration. If the Director of Records and Registration agrees with the student’s request, the appropriate record will be amended. If not, the student will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the record will not be amended, and the student will be informed by the Office of Records and Registration of the right to a formal hearing. A student request for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Provost who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such request, will inform the student of the date, place, and the time of the hearing. A student may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearing by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys at the student’s expense. The hearing panel that will adjudicate such challenges will be the Provost, the Chief Development Officer, and the Chair of the Student Affairs Committee.
The decision of the hearing panel will be final, and will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. Notification will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions. The decision will be delivered to all parties concerned. Education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decision of the hearing panel if the decision is in favor of the student. If the decision is unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place in the education records statements commenting on the information in the records, or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing panel. The statements will be maintained as part of the student’s record and released whenever the record in question is disclosed. Students who believe the adjudication of their challenges was unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the Act may submit written requests to the President of the College for assistance. Students who believe their rights have been abridged also may file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education, Family Policy Compliance Office, 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20202-8520, concerning the alleged failures of Richard Bland College to comply with the Act. Revisions and clarifications will be published as the law and RBC’s policy warrants.
Copies of the College’s policy and procedures are available to students (and authorized parents of students) upon request at the Office of Records and Registration.
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