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Right to Know and Other Legal Disclosures

Privacy Statement

Southern Methodist University respects your privacy and the privacy and security of the information you provide the University. The University makes every reasonable effort to ensure the confidentiality and security of that information within its system. The University does not intend to sell or disclose to entities outside the University your name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, or other information you provide.

The University collects information concerning your Internet connection and general information about your visit to its website to analyze trends, create summary statistics for determining technical design specifications, and monitor system performance. The collection of this information is intended to help the University deliver the best and most secure service possible. This information may only be released if legally mandated by law enforcement investigators, required by court proceedings, or necessary to internal investigations of violations of University rules and regulations.

The University will not sell information regarding the behavior, habits, or demographics of those who visit its website.

The University does not monitor the contents of e-mail sent to or from its servers. However, electronic logs of who sends and receives e-mail through its servers is maintained for short periods of time to analyze trends, create summary statistics for determining technical design specifications, and monitor system performance. In addition, the University backs up the contents of its servers, including e-mail, each day and archives the backup for a short period of time. The contents of logs and backups may be released only when required for law enforcement investigations, legal proceedings or internal investigations of violations of University rules and regulations.

The names and e-mail addresses of SMU students, faculty and staff are available in a searchable index. A member of the University community may have his or her name removed from the e-mail index by contacting the webmaster at webmaster@mail.smu.edu.

The University is bound by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regarding the release of student education records. A guide to understanding FERPA is available in the Dean of Student Life Office. The full text of the University’s policy with regard to FERPA follows this privacy statement.

The University does not use "cookies" to gain access to private information about you. However, the University may use cookies to enhance your browsing experience and to help track information you voluntarily provide.

If there are any questions or concerns about the University’s online privacy policy, the practices of the University’s website, or use of the website, please contact the Director of E-Marketing by e-mail at e-marketing@smu.edu or through regular mail at:

Director of E-Marketing
SMU Office of Public Affairs
P. O. Box 750177
Dallas, TX 75275


SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
POLICY NUMBER: 1.18

EFFECTIVE DATE: September 21, 1995

FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT ("FERPA") POLICY

The University is bound by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (the Buckley Amendment of 1974) ("FERPA"), regarding the release of student education records. A guide to understanding FERPA is available to students, faculty, and staff in the Dean of Student Life Office. A statement regarding FERPA and the availability of the University's Guidelines to FERPA will be published in the catalogs, the schedule of classes and other publications that include other University policies.

Under FERPA, students may inspect and review their education records, provided the records do not also contain information about other persons, by writing to the Department Chair or Vice President in the administrative area of the University responsible for maintaining those records. The definition of "educational records," and what is included and not included, is in the University's Guidelines to FERPA. Within a reasonable time, usually less than five (5) days, but no more than forty-five (45) days after such request, the University shall allow the student to review those records, and if requested, provide a copy of the records to the student. The University may charge a reasonable copying fee.

Personally identifiable information from student education records will not be released to third parties without the prior written consent of the student, with the exception of records required to be released by the University under the following circumstances:

  1. Under Court order or subpoena: The University will give ten (10) days' written notice to the student before releasing the required records so that the student may raise objection with the Court if desired.
  2. To other school employees, including faculty, who have a legitimate educational interest in the records and a bona fide need to know the information to carry out their assigned duties. Faculty shall have access to student education records when a student's academic progress is at issue. Deans shall have access to student education records in their Schools for proper administration of the Schools and their Departments. The Provost shall have access to student education records in order properly to administer the Schools and their academic programs. Other Vice Presidents shall have access to student education records in order properly to administer the educational functions of their respective areas. The Vice Presidents in areas where education records are maintained may establish written criteria for access to these records.
  3. To other institutions of higher education the student wishes to attend.
  4. To representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities for evaluation of education programs or investigation into compliance with federal laws and regulations.
  5. To other State and local officials or authorities if any State statute adopted before November 19, 1974 specifically requires disclosure to those officials and authorities.
  6. To determine eligibility for student financial aid, determine the amount of such aid, determine the conditions for such aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of student financial aid.
  7. To organizations conducting studies for educational agencies or institutions to develop, validate or administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction.
  8. To accrediting organizations to permit them to carry out their accrediting functions.
  9. To the parents of a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Code and the University's Undergraduate Bulletin.
  10. To those persons with a need to know in order to handle health or safety emergencies.
  11. To an alleged victim of any crime of violence, the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime.
  12. To persons seeking "directory information": name, local and permanent addresses, local and permanent telephone numbers, E-mail address, date of birth, academic program (school of record, degree objective, majors, minors and anticipated date of graduation), classifications, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of member of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, previous educational agency/institution attended, and number of hours enrolled for a current or past semester. A student may restrict the release of directory information by contacting the Registrar's office.

Whenever records are disclosed under any of the circumstances discussed above, a record of the disclosure will be maintained with the education records. Students may access the disclosure record as well.

The University permits students to request correction of education records by writing to the Vice President in the area where the records are maintained; to obtain a hearing held by the Vice President or a designate in the area where the records are maintained, if such request for correction is denied; and to add a statement to the record, if after a hearing, the request for correction continues to be denied. This policy does not permit students to contest the grade given to a student's performance in a course, for example, but it does intend that there be proceedings by which a student may challenge the accuracy of institutional records which record the grade that was actually assigned to the student.

Anyone needing assistance in interpreting or applying FERPA should contact the Office of Legal Affairs. Copies of this Policy are available upon request to students and/or parents through the Office of Legal Affairs.