APSU Student Rights
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APSU Student Rights

This section of the APSU Student Handbook & Calendar includes important information about official campus rules, regulations, student rights, policies and guidelines that impact the academic and personal life of all APSU students. This listing may NOT include some regulations or policies that are unique to specific departments, programs, student organizations or student groups. However, this collection represents an attempt to provide students with a reference to these documents in one central location.

It is the responsibility of ALL students to read and become familiar with the expectations that Austin Peay State University has for every student. Failure to abide by these regulations and policies may result in formal disciplinary actions, as outlined in the “Code of Student Conduct.” To view a full policy list, visit www.apsu.edu/policy.

Notification of Rights Under FERPA

FERPA is the acronym for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Originally enacted in 1974 as part of a bill extending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, it has been amended over the years since. FERPA was enacted as a series of civil rights legislation, designed to assert and protect the rights of students and their parents. Its primary purpose was two-fold: to assure parents of students’ access to their education records and to protect such individuals’ rights to privacy by limiting the transferability of their records without their consent.

Yes. Austin Peay State University is permitted to disclose information from education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.

Yes. APSU is permitted to inform parents of students under the age of 21 of any violation of law or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

Austin Peay may disclose information from “law enforcement unit records” to anyone —including parents or federal, State, or local law enforcement authorities — without the consent of the eligible student. Many colleges and universities have their own campus security units, just as Austin Peay State University does. Records created and maintained by these units for law enforcement purposes are exempt from the privacy restrictions of FERPA and can be shared with anyone.

Under FERPA, schools may release any and all information to parents, without the consent of the eligible student, if the student is a dependent for tax purposes under the IRS rules or if the student voluntarily provides the University with a wavier providing parents access to educational records.

Nothing in FERPA prohibits a school official from sharing with parents information that is based on that official’s personal knowledge or observation and that is not based on information contained in an education record. Therefore, FERPA would not prohibit a professor or other school official from letting a parent know of his or her concern about the student based on his or her personal knowledge or observation.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a law passed by Congress intended to establish transaction, security, privacy and other standards to address concerns about the electronic exchange of health information. However, the HIPAA Privacy Rule excludes from its coverage those records that are protected by FERPA at school districts and postsecondary institutions that provide health or medical services for students. This is because Congress specifically addressed how education records should be protected under FERPA. For this reason, records that are protected by FERPA are not subject to the HIPAA Privacy Rule and may be shared with parents under the circumstances described above.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.

    Students should submit to the Registrar, dean, head of the academic department or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall refer the student to the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student deems inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading.

    They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

    One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting 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 responsibility. Upon request, the University discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Austin Peay State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

    The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20202.

Confidentiality and Privacy of Student Records

Directory information concerning students is treated as public information and is released to the public unless otherwise requested by the student. “Directory information” includes the following: the student’s name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, and degrees and awards received by a student. The University provides each student the opportunity to restrict disclosure of the designated directory information. The student will be given this opportunity at the beginning of each academic term. (Forms may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.)

A student’s right of access to his or her education records includes the right to inspect and review the content of such and obtain copies thereof at a reasonable cost within 45 days of requesting them. The right of access of a student does not include access to:

  1. Financial records of the parents of the student or any information contained therein;
  2. Confidential letters and statements or recommendations concerning admission, employment or the receipt of an honor, which were placed in the records prior to Jan. 1, 1975, or concerning which the student has signed a waiver of access;
  3. Administrative and educational personnel records ancillary thereto, which are in the sole possession of the maker thereof and which are not accessible to any person except a substitute;
  4. Records of law enforcement officials;
  5. Records relating exclusively to a person’s employment at the institution when the person is not in attendance as a student of the institution; and
  6. Records maintained by professional or paraprofessional health-related personnel which are made in connection with the provision of treatment of a student and not available to persons other than the health-related personnel. Information concerning educational records which is personally identifiable with a particular student, other than directory information, shall not be released to persons, agencies or organizations other than those hereinafter described unless:
    1. There is written consent from the student specifying the records to be released, the reason for the release and to whom the information is to be released, with a copy to the student, if requested, or
    2. Such information is furnished in compliance with a judicial order or a subpoena, provided that advance notice of the receipt of the order of subpoena shall be provided to the student prior to compliance if possible. Personally identifiable education records may be released to other school officials of the institution, including members of the faculty, who have legitimate educational interests.

Visit www.apsu.edu/policy for the Confidentiality of Student Records Policy.

Students’ Rights and Responsibilities

Anyone enrolling at Austin Peay State University is entitled to all rights granted to him/her by the Constitution of the United States and is entitled to the full protection of the law. Apart from those rights and duties enjoyed by nonstudents, enrollment in the University carries with it special privileges and imposes special responsibilities. The University has established regulations and certain due process procedures essential to an atmosphere of mutual respect which is sensitive to rights of all individuals.

These rights and responsibilities follow:

  1. Students have the right to enjoy the educational opportunities afforded by the University without discrimination because of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, disability, veterans status or national origin. (See University Affirmative Action Philosophy.)
  2. Students are entitled to the right of due process as provided and explained by the University’s Code of Student Conduct. (See APSU Code of Student Conduct.)
  3. Students are entitled to freedom from unreasonable search and/or seizure regarding their person, their residence and their personal property. (See University Search and Seizure Policy.)
  4. Students have a right to privacy, including the maintenance of confidential records in accordance with the provision of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as amended and as qualified by the Tennessee Public Records Act. (See APSU Policy on Confidentiality of Student Records.)
  5. Students have the right of access to campus crime statistics and graduation rates, as defined by the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, as amended. (See Inspecting and Copying Public Records Policy.)
  6. Students have the right to affiliate with officially registered student organizations if the membership requirements of those organizations have been met and the right to establish through official procedures additional student organizations of their choosing. (See APSU Policy on Student Organizations.)
  7. Students have the right to participate in University governance through the Student Government Association, student organizations and representation on University committees. (See Student Government Association Constitution and University Standing Committee Procedures.)
  8. Students have a right to peaceably assemble in accordance with federal, state, local and Austin Peay State University regulations. (See Student Non-Academic Grievance Committee Guidelines Policy.)
  9. Students have the right of access to the University campus and facilities. (See Use of Campus Property and Facilities.)
  10. Students have the right to expect:
    1. A campus environment conducive to learning and working that is free of any racial, sexual or other form of harassment;
    2. A drug-free University environment;
    3. Accurate information concerning institutional services, regulations, policies and procedures in published form;
    4. Sound and accurate academic advice, including such matters as courses required for graduation, course and program prerequisites and course sequence;
    5. Reasonable notice of any changes in academic requirements for programs and assurance that such changes will not be made in a way that unduly impedes the academic progress of a student already enrolled;
    6. Flexibility in course scheduling (by dropping and adding) or withdrawing within University guidelines;
    7. Information about the various types of financial assistance available;
    8. Freedom to evaluate courses, programs and services and provide input to appropriate segments of the campus administration; and
    9. Classes to meet as scheduled and course and program requirements clearly stated.

Student Role/Participation in Institutional Decision Making

Austin Peay State University recognizes that students should, and do, participate in institutional decision making. Through the advice of the Student Affairs staff and through Austin Peay State University policies, the University exercises responsibility in directing student activities and student organizations. The Student Government Association (SGA) is an active and vital organization that serves as a link between the student body and the administration. The SGA (of which all students are members) addresses student issues to the Administration on a regular basis and serves as a governing body through the executive officers, the SGA Senate and the Student Tribunal. The SGA president recommends student appointments for University standing committees, special committees and search and selection committees. These recommendations are made through the SGA adviser and the Vice President for Student Affairs to the President of the University. The student voice is an active component of the University’s decision-making process.