To all Faculty and Staff who access student records: read the following and consider your responsibility regarding our students' right to privacy.
All faculty, adjunct faculty and staff that use, access, create or store student information are required under FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) to protect our students' right to privacy. There have been numerous suits and issues raised on the question of students' records and privacy in recent history, so I would like to give you a few guidelines.
While most of you have the educational right to view and access academic history, student files and other student information, this access comes with the responsibility to protect those students' records and information. We must remember that grades are private information and only the student (and eligible parents) are allowed to view this information. Generally, students must give written permission to allow us to share grades with anyone who is not part of the student's educational interest.
Social Security and CSU student I.D. numbers are private information. If you post grades anywhere in public view, you must not use these numbers. Many faculty have students select numbers, or they assign random numbers to post grades. They should also be in a random order.
Graded papers should be given to students in class or left with administrative staff to keep in the department office for pick-up. Leaving papers outside your office for students to go through is not protecting our students' privacy.
As advisors, or administrative staff, many of you have access to transcripts (CSU and other schools), credit evaluations, high school and standardized exam records. Most of us share some of this information between departments using memorandums and emails. These are to be kept private as well. Keep all students' information from view when you are not working with them, whether on paper or on your computer screen. Students should not see private information of other students. Likewise, be careful what you write regarding students in memorandums and emails. Students have the right to review such educational records as part of their records.
Another important reminder is to think about what you place in your everyday trash. Any document that contains private personally identifiable information should not be placed in a regular trash container. Special shred boxes or other containers should be kept in your office or department to collect these documents until they can be properly collected and destroyed.