For a complete listing of all University policies related to student rights and responsibilities, please see www.uccs.edu/vcaf/policies. This website includes policies of the entire CU system as well as UCCS-specific policies.
Colorado Student Bill of Rights
The Colorado General Assembly implemented the Student Bill of Rights (C.R.S. 23-1-125) to assure that students enrolled in public institutions of higher education have the following rights:
- A quality general education experience that develops competencies in reading, writing, mathematics, technology, and critical thinking through an integrated arts and science experience;
- Students should be able to complete their associate of arts and associate of science degree programs in no more than 60 credit hours or their baccalaureate programs in no more than 120 credit hours unless there are additional degree requirements recognized by the Commission;
- A student can sign a two-year or four-year graduation agreement that formalizes a plan for that student to obtain a degree in two or four years, unless there are additional degree requirements recognized by the Commission;
- Students have a right to clear and concise information concerning which courses must be completed successfully to complete their degrees;
- Students have a right to know which courses are transferable among the state public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education;
- Students, upon completion of core general education courses, regardless of the delivery method, should have those courses satisfy the core course requirements of all Colorado public institutions of higher education;
- Students have a right to know if courses from one or more public higher education institutions satisfy the students’ degree requirements;
- A student’s credit for the completion of the core requirements and core courses shall not expire for ten years from the date of initial enrollment and shall be transferable.
Student Academic Ethics Code
Students shall observe complete honesty in all academic matters to include course requirements, classroom activities, research, and scholarship.
Violations of the Code include, but are not limited to, taking or attempting to take any of the following actions:
1. Committing the act of plagiarism - the use of distinctive ideas or words belonging to another person, without adequately acknowledging that person’s contribution. Plagiarism does not require an intention to plagiarize. If there is sufficient evidence of copying, use without acknowledgment, or submission of another’s work, plagiarism is committed, regardless of the student’s knowledge or lack thereof. Thus defined, plagiarism includes (but is not limited to) the following:
(a) Copying phrases and/or sentences from a source without putting the material in quotation marks and/or adequate acknowledgement of the source.
(b) Mosaic copying phrases and/or sentences from a source without putting the material in quotation marks and/or adequate acknowledgement of the source.
(c) Using a source’s ideas, opinions or theories without adequate acknowledgement of the source.
(d) Paraphrasing a source’s words, ideas, opinions, or theories without adequate acknowledgement of the source.
(e) Using a source’s facts, statistics, or illustrative material without adequate acknowledgement of the source.
(f) Submitting as one’s own work that is written or published by another author.
A source is an individual, team, or unnamed author of some published or publicly presented or written piece of work. Sources can include other students.
An author is the originator of some idea(s) or string of words, either a phrase or phrases or a sentence or sentences.
A piece of work is published if it is (a) a book by some commercial or private press; (b) an article in a journal or magazine or newspaper (c) a working or professional paper of some recognized organization; (d) the content of a website; or (e) other technological forms of archiving not covered by (a) - (d).
A piece of work is presented if it is: (a) a public oral presentation; (b) a radio/television/video/compact disc/digital video disc presentation; or (c) other technological forms of archiving not covered by (a) and (b).
A piece of work is written if it is available either as a hard copy or an electronic copy.
Acknowledgement of a source is providing correct bibliographical information, in an accepted disciplinary format, for phrases, sentences, ideas, opinions, theories, statistics, or illustrative material used from a source.
Adequate acknowledgment is acknowledgment for each phrase, sentence, idea, opinion, theory, statistic, or illustrative material used from a source. Acknowledging a source once in a paper (or paragraph) and subsequently copying, mosaic copying, using or paraphrasing from that source without subsequent acknowledgment is plagiarism.
Mosaic copying is copying in which certain words of some phrase and/or sentence from a source are changed in some way (deleted, replaced).
Paraphrasing a source is the act of replacing some or most words in a phrase and/or sentence from a source with synonyms for those words.
2. Using unauthorized materials or receiving unauthorized assistance during an examination or in connection with any work done for academic credit. Unauthorized materials include, but are not limited to, notes, textbooks, previous examinations, exhibits, experiments, papers or other supplementary items.
3. Giving false or misleading information regarding an academic matter.
4. Copying information from another student during an examination.
5. Rendering unauthorized assistance to another student by knowingly permitting him or her to see or copy all or a portion of an examination or any work to be submitted for academic credit.
6. Obtaining prior knowledge of examination materials (including using copies of previous given examinations obtained from files maintained by various groups and organizations) in an unauthorized manner.
7. Selling or giving to another student unauthorized copies of any portion of an examination.
8. Using a commercially prepared paper or research project or submitting for academic credit any work completed by someone else.
9. Falsifying or attempting to falsify class attendance records for oneself, or for someone else, or having another falsify attendance records on your behalf.
10. Falsifying material relating to course registration or grades, either for oneself or for someone else.
11. Falsifying reasons why a student did not attend a required class or take a scheduled exam.
12. Taking an examination in place of another student.
13. Making unauthorized changes in any reported grade or on an official academic report form.
14. Falsifying scientific or other data submitted for academic credit.
15. Collaborating in an unauthorized manner with one or more other students on an examination or any work submitted for academic credit.
16. Using computing facilities or library resources in an academically dishonest manner.
17. Falsifying evidence in connection with an academic ethics violation investigation, hearing or appeal.
18. Attempting to intimidate a student, staff, or faculty member for the purpose of receiving an unearned grade or in an effort to prevent the reporting of an Academic Ethics Code violation.
19. Accessing or altering any academic record by any means without authorization.
20. Turning in same or similar work for multiple courses without permission from faculty to do such.
It is the responsibility of students to make sure they understand what types of conduct are authorized or unauthorized in each course.
Any member of the University community who has reason to believe that a Code violation has taken place should immediately report the circumstances to the faculty member of the course involved or to the chair (unit head) of the department where the course is offered.
Detailed instructions about reporting a suspected infraction; appealing an alleged infraction; and applying sanctions for infractions are outlined in the UCCS Student Academic Ethics Policy. The policy can be found here. Questions about the student academic ethics code should be addressed to the student’s college’s dean’s office.
Students are expected to attend all meetings of classes for which they are registered, including the first and last scheduled meetings and the final examination period. Instructors hold the right and responsibility to establish attendance policies for their courses. Each instructor must inform all classes in writing at the beginning of each semester concerning his/her attendance policies.
If attendance affects course grades, students must be provided with explicit written information concerning that fact no later than the end of the first week of classes. Such information shall be specific with regard to the penalty incurred for each absence and the means, if any, to compensate for the absence.
It is recognized that there may be certain situations where the student may not be permitted to make up the absence(s). Students participating in University-sanctioned activities should consult with instructors prior to registration, but no later than the end of the first week of classes, to determine the class attendance policy. At this time, the student should provide the instructor with a schedule of planned absences, preferably signed by the University official directing the activity, in order to allow the instructor to evaluate and advise the student on the possible impact of the planned absences. In this case, the instructor will consider absences due to participation in approved University activities, as outlined above, to be excused absences, on par with those due to other unavoidable circumstances such as illness.
Faculty judge the validity of student absences from class and may require documentation for excused absences. For classes requiring mandatory attendance incompatible with the number of planned absences, students will be advised to register, if possible, during a semester in which they will not be participating in the University-sanctioned activity. As with any academic issue, students may exercise their right to appeal adverse attendance decisions. Should the instructor and student be unable to agree on appropriate accommodation under this policy, either party shall have the right to request mediation from (in this order) the department chair, the academic dean, and the vice chancellor for academic affairs.
Colorado Rioting Act
No person who is convicted of a riot offense shall be enrolled in a state-supported institution of higher education for a period of twelve months following the date of conviction.
A student who is enrolled in a state-supported institution of higher education and who is convicted of a riot offense shall be immediately suspended from the institution upon the institution’s notification of such conviction for a period of twelve months following the date of conviction; except that if a student has been suspended prior to the date of conviction by the state-supported institution of higher education for the same riot activity, the twelve month suspension shall run from the start of the suspension imposed by the institution. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a state-supported institution of higher education from implementing its own policies and procedures for disciplinary actions, in addition to the suspension regarding students involved in riots stipulated above (Colorado Revised Statues, 23-5-124).
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA deals specifically with the education records of students, affording them certain rights with respect to those records. For purposes of definition, education records are those records which are:
- Directly related to a student and maintained by an institution or a party acting for the institution.
FERPA gives students who reach the age of 18 or who attend a post-secondary institution the right to inspect and review their own education records. Furthermore, the right to request amendment of records and to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from these records shifts from the parent to the student at this time.
FERPA applies to the education records of persons who are or have been in attendance in post-secondary institutions, including students in cooperative and correspondence study programs, video conference, satellite, internet, or other electronic forms. FERPA does not apply to records of applicants for admission who are denied acceptance or, if accepted, do not attend an institution.
For more information regarding FERPA, contact the UCCS Office of the Registrar (firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-255-3361). Additional information can also be found on the U.S. Department of Education website.
Those records directly related to a student and maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution are considered education records. The term “education records” does not include the following:
- Records of instructional, supervisory, administrative, and certain educational information that is in the sole possession of the maker thereof, and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual except a substitute who performs on a temporary basis (as defined in the institutional personnel policy) the duties of the individual who made the records.
- Records maintained by a law enforcement unit of the educational agency or institution that were created by that law enforcement unit for the purpose of law enforcement.
- Records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution, which are made and maintained in the normal course of business, relate exclusively to individuals in their capacity as employees, and are not available for use for any other purpose. Records of individuals who are employed as a result of their status as students (for example, work study students) are education records.
- Records relating to a student which are:
- Created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional, acting in his/her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity.
- Used solely in connection with the provision of treatment to the student.
- Not disclosed to anyone other than individuals providing such treatment.
Definition of a University Official
Faculty, administration, UCCS police officials, student employees, clerical and professional employees, and other persons who manage student records information may access a student’s record if there is a legitimate educational concern or interest. Only relevant student information will be released.
This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers and other outside providers used by the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. These include the University of Colorado Foundation and the National Student Clearinghouse.
Legitimate Educational Interest
Legitimate educational interest means the demonstrated need to know by those officials of an institution who act in the student’s educational interest. Any school official who needs information about a student in the course of performing instructional, advisory, or administrative duties for the University of Colorado Colorado Springs has a legitimate educational interest.
What is “legitimate educational interest?
Under FERPA, a school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her University responsibility. This includes such purposes as:
- Performing appropriate tasks that are specified in her/his job description or by a contract agreement
- Performing a task related to a student’s education
- Performing a task related to the discipline of a student
- Providing services for the student or the student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid
What is NOT “legitimate educational interest”?
Legitimate educational interest does not convey inherent rights to any and all student information. The law distinguishes between educational interest, and personal or private interest; educational records are not to be accessed or used for personal reasons. Educational interest does not constitute authority to disclose information to a third party without the student’s written permission.
Current students may release their academic records to their parents, a prospective employer, insurance companies, etc., by submitting a written or electronic release request to the Office of the Registrar.
Option 1: Current students may submit an electronic request through the myUCCS Portal. Within the myUCCS Portal, under the Records and Registration drop-down, select FERPA Consent to Release.
Option 2: Students can submit a written request to the Office of the Registrar using the FERPA Authorization Form. Mailing FERPA Authorization forms to the Office of the Registrar is strongly discouraged to protect your privacy. The written request must:
- Specify the records to be released (transcripts, etc.).
- State the purpose of the disclosure.
- Identify the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made.
- Be signed and dated by the student.
Return (in person) to:
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Office of the Registrar
Main Hall 108
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
FERPA directory information is information contained in your education record that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Under current UCCS policy, the following information is designated as directory information:
- Student name. If provided, a preferred name will be used when there is not a documented business or legal reason to provide a student’s primary name. Students may select a diploma name for graduation and commencement materials.
- Campus email address, subject to the limitation below.
- Dates of attendance.
- Previous educational institutions attended.
- School/college or division of enrollment.
- Majors, minors and field of study.
- Classification level (e.g., freshman, sophomore, graduate student).
- University-recognized honors and awards.
- Degree status (e.g., expected graduation date and/or conferral dates/terms).
- Enrollment status.
- Employment related to student status (e.g., teaching assistant, resident assistant or work-study) and dates positions held.
- Participation in officially recognized activities/sports, including height and weight of athletes.
- Photos and videos taken or maintained by the university.
Although these items are designated by the University of Colorado Colorado Springs as directory information, only a limited amount of this information is routinely disclosed by UCCS officials, and the University retains the discretion to refuse to disclose directory information if it believes such disclosure would be an infringement of your privacy rights. Disclosure of campus email addresses is limited to requestors who agree not to use the campus email addresses for solicitation.
FERPA directory information as used in this policy should not be confused with the directory information the University of Colorado Colorado Springs lists in online or printed student directories. In an effort to protect student privacy, UCCS student directories contain only a student’s name and email address.
Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of directory information under FERPA by completing a Directory Privacy Request form with Office of the Registrar (Main Hall 108).
UCCS may change the designation of directory information from time to time. You will be notified of changes through email publication.
Non-disclosure: Full Privacy and Limited Privacy Options
Students may ask the University not to publicly disclose directory information. Students wishing to place limited or full privacy on their educational record must contact the Office of the Registrar with photo identification to complete the written request.
Full Privacy Status
If you elect full privacy status, no information about you will be released to the general public unless one of the FERPA exceptions applies. This means that the University:
- Will not include information about you in the printed or online campus directory(s) or telephone directory assistance.
- Will not release your UCCS Lion One Card picture to any requestor. (However, your picture is included in photo class rosters.)
- Will not include your name and address in lists or labels requested by off-campus requestors.
- Will not acknowledge to any third party that you are or were in attendance at the University. University officials, employees, or others who receive external inquiries about you will respond, “We have no information about that individual.”
- Will not list you in commencement materials, including but not limited to commencement ceremony programs, press releases, or other graduation-related materials.
Limited Privacy Status
If you elect limited privacy status, only limited directory information will be released to the general public unless one of the FERPA exceptions applies. Compared to a student who has not elected any privacy status, a designation of limited privacy status:
- Will prevent the release of your name to off-campus requestors who desire lists or labels.
- Will prevent the release of your UCCS Lion One Card picture to any requestor. (However, your picture is included in photo class rosters.)
Exceptions to Student Consent for Release of Educational Records
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records-including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information-may be accessed without your consent.
First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution.
Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities.
In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
FERPA allows the institution the right to disclose student records or identifiable information without the student’s consent under the following circumstances:
- To authorized representatives for audit of federal- or state-supported programs and local authorities conducting an audit, evaluation, or enforcement of education programs.
- To University employees who are in the process of carrying out their specifically assigned educational or administrative responsibilities acting in the student’s educational interest, including contractors, consultants, volunteers, and other outside providers used by the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, including the University of Colorado Foundation and the National Student Clearinghouse.
- To Veteran’s Administration officials.
- To officials of other institutions in which a student seeks or intends to enroll; after transfer enrollment or admission, disability and other health records may be released in the event of an emergency in the need to protect the health and safety of a student or other persons under FERPA.
- To persons or organizations providing financial aid to students.
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs or to improve instruction, provided that individual identity of students is not made.
- To accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions.
- To parents of a student who have established that student’s status as a dependent according to Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Section 152; in connection with a health and safety emergency in connection with § 99.36; or the student is under 21 and has violated a federal, state, or local law or a policy of the University related to the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
- To persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the institution makes a reasonable attempt to notify the student in advance of compliance. NOTE: The institution is not required to notify the student if a federal grand jury subpoena, or any other subpoena issued for a law enforcement purpose, orders the institution not to disclose the existence or contents of the subpoena.
- To persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of information, in fact, is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
- To an alleged victim of any crime of violence of the results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator. The information may only be given in respect to the crime committed.
- Schools may disclose personally identifiable information from education records to an outside contractor without prior written student consent if the outside contractor is a “party acting for” the institution and is performing a service which the institution would otherwise have to perform for itself (as in the case of the National Student Loan Clearinghouse for loan verification).
- To rpresentatives of the Department of Homeland Security or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for purposes of the coordinated interagency partnership regulating the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
- FERPA has been amended to permit educational agencies and institutions to disclose personally identifiable information from the student’s records to the Attorney General of the United States or to his designee in response to an ex parte order in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes, under the U.S. Patriot Act.
- To allow the return of an educational record, or information from an educational record, to the party identified as the provider or creator of the record.
- Information regarding a registered sex offender’s enrollment or employment status, or any changes of such. If the school determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health and safety to a student or other individuals, it may disclose information from educational records to appropriate parties.
Release of Disciplinary Information
FERPA governs access to a student’s disciplinary file. The student and/or those University officials who demonstrate a legitimate educational need for disciplinary information may have access to the student’s disciplinary file.
In addition, parent(s) may be notified if a student under 21 years of age is found responsible for a violation involving use or possession of alcohol and drugs.
The Campus Security Act permits higher education institutions to disclose to alleged victims of any crime of violence (murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft) the results of the conduct proceedings conducted by the institution against an alleged perpetrator with respect to such crime. The Campus Security Act also requires that both accused and the accuser be informed of campus conduct proceedings involving a sexual assault.
Additionally, the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 permit disclosure of the final results of disciplinary cases in which a student has been found responsible for a violation involving violence or for a sex offense.
Student Access to Student Records
Students have the right to access, amend, and control release of their education records as described below.
A student should submit a request to review their own education records in writing to the registrar, dean, chairperson of an academic department, or other official who maintains the records the student wishes to inspect. The request should identify, to the extent possible, the specific records the student desires to review by type, topic, date, or other criteria.
- The University official who has custody of the records will assemble the requested records and review them to determine whether they are eligible for access.
- If an education record includes information about more than one student, the student may review only their own information in that record. In this situation, the record custodian must redact the record before allowing the student to review it.
- Any questions about whether a record is eligible for review or how to properly redact an education record should be addressed with the Office of the Registrar.
- Before denying a student access to an education record, record custodians must consult with the Registrar, and should document in writing the reason for the denial.
The record custodian must respond to a request for access to education records within a reasonable period of time, but in no case more than forty-five (45) days after the request has been submitted to the appropriate custodian. If the records are not maintained by the record custodian to whom the request was submitted, the custodian should assist the student in identifying the custodian to whom the request should be addressed.
The record custodian will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
If not personally known to the record custodian, the record custodian must verify the student’s identity by inspection of photo identification or other appropriate documentation.
Third-Party Access to Student Records
At the post-secondary level, the right to inspect a student’s education records is limited solely to the student. Records may be released to a parent or other third party only under the following circumstances:
- Through the written consent of the student
- In compliance with a subpoena
- By submission of evidence that the parents declare the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form (IRS Code, Section 152). Parent Affidavit can be found in the UCCS Office of the Registrar in Main Hall 108.
- Under the alcohol and controlled substance exception or in connection with a health and safety emergency under the circumstances set forth in § 99.36 (if the student is under 21 years of age).
Amending Education Records
If a student believes information contained in their record(s) is inaccurate, misleading or violates privacy rights, a student may ask the University to amend the record(s). If the problem stems from a clerical or other error in processing, the student should contact the record custodian and follow the established process to effect the necessary corrections. Similarly, a student should pursue the grievance and/or appeal process if they have a concern about the appropriateness of a grade awarded or other academic determination. This procedure does not apply to students who desire to challenge a grade. Students who wish to challenge a grade should follow the academic grievance policy in their school or college. If the desired correction of processing errors is not accomplished through normal channels, or the requested amendment is not to correct processing errors or address substantive academic decisions, the student should follow the following procedure:
- The record custodian (Registrar) will review the amendment request and any related documentation submitted by the student. The record custodian may request additional information from the student if deemed necessary to make a determination.
- Within a reasonable time after receipt of the written request, the record custodian will decide whether to amend the record as requested.
- If the record custodian grants the student’s request, the custodian shall amend the education record and inform the student in writing of the action taken.
- If the record custodian denies the student’s request, the custodian shall inform the student in writing of the decision and of their right to a hearing on the matter. Additional information about the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
Right to a Hearing If Change Request to Educational Record is Denied
- Within ninety (90) days of the date of the denial of their request by the record custodian, a student may request a hearing.
- The Registrar may serve as the hearing officer, or may appoint another individual to serve as hearing officer. The appointed hearing officer shall not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing. The hearing officer shall not review any matter regarding the appropriateness of official grades or other such academic determinations.
- The hearing shall be conducted according to the following procedures:
- The hearing officer shall give notice to all concerned parties of the date, place, and time of a hearing reasonably in advance. The hearing should be scheduled within a reasonable period of time following receipt of the petition.
- The hearing officer shall give the student an opportunity to present evidence relevant to the contested part of the education record. The student may have a representative present at the hearing, but that person cannot participate in the hearing.
- The hearing officer may receive any evidence and testimony, orally or in writing, relevant to the student’s challenge to the record content. The hearing officer shall not be bound by the rules of evidence applicable in courts of law, but may permit the introduction and receipt of evidence they determine is relevant.
- Within a reasonable period of time, the hearing officer shall issue a written decision based solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing. A copy of the decision, which must include a summary of the pertinent evidence, shall be provided to the student, to the record custodian, and to the Registrar. The decision of the hearing officer shall be the University’s final decision.
- If the Registrar acting as hearing officer, or an individual appointed by the Registrar to act as hearing officer, determines that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights, the Registrar should require the record custodian to make necessary amendments. The record custodian shall inform the student in writing when the amendment has been made.
- If the hearing officer determines that the information is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights, they shall inform the student in writing of the right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information in the record and/or stating why they disagree with the decision. The University must maintain the statement with the contested part of the record for as long as the record is maintained, and must disclose the statement whenever it discloses the portion of the record to which the statement relates.
Rights of Inactive Students
Students who have ceased attendance or have graduated from an institution of higher education have essentially the same FERPA rights as students currently attending the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, including the right to:
- Inspect their education records.
- Have a hearing to amend an education record.
- Have their education privacy protected by the institution.
- Have the institution honor the previously established opt-out request.
Once students leave the University, they do not have the right to request that a privacy code (non-disclosure) be placed on their records.
Concerns for Student Behavior, Health, and Safety
Across campuses nationwide, there continues to be a great deal of discussion related to the privacy of student records in relation to tragedies on college campuses. FERPA does permit university employees to disclose information about students who they perceive to be disruptive to the safety, health, or well-being of the campus community. FERPA also permits university employees to disclose information if they perceive the student to have a disturbing change in their normal behavior that generates concern for the safety of the student and campus community.
It is important for faculty and staff to understand that FERPA does not prohibit the disclosure of personal or classroom behavioral observations of students. FERPA allows us all the discretion to release this information under specified circumstances, and through proper channels, to appropriate personnel on campus.
What Are the “Specified Circumstances”?
FERPA allows the disclosure of information from the educational record, without the written consent of the student, under the following: “Persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of information, in fact, is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.” The Department of Education interprets FERPA to permit institutions to disclose information from education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
Some concerns have been expressed by faculty and staff on campus that they are reluctant to share any information with the appropriate personnel on campus if the student advised them, verbally or in writing, that they were seeing a mental health or other medical professional. Note that anything expressed verbally by a student is not part of the “educational record” and can be shared. If the student has advised a staff or faculty member of this in writing, it can still be shared with someone with “an educational need to know” as described by FERPA regulations, which would include those listed as the “appropriate personnel on campus” below.
Again, the bottom line to recall: FERPA does not prohibit disclosure of personal observations to appropriate campus personnel about students of concern. You do not have to determine if this is an emergency that will be considered a threat of health or safety. You can consult with other appropriate personnel on campus for additional perspective, suggestions, resources, referral, or assistance.
Who Are the “Appropriate Personnel on Campus”?
There are a variety of personnel on campus who can be of assistance depending on the situation. For example, the Dean of Students office is a central resource for assistance especially when you are unsure of who to contact.
The Counseling Center has licensed professional staff members who are available during business hours to consult with you about students of concern.
These two confidential offices are available for phone consultation to you or to meet with you if you want to bring a group of staff or faculty together to problem-solve about a particularly complex student situation. Or they can refer you to other appropriate resources.
Finally, in an urgent situation, never hesitate to call UCCS Police.
Some faculty members think they should not reveal the name of the student and should keep the consultation anonymous. However, this is key information for the consulting party, as that professional may already have some information about the student of concern that should be included to formulate the best way to proceed. Some of these professionals may already have had contact with the individual, and you may be providing key information that the professional would need to know to be effective. Licensed mental health professionals have strict confidentiality laws to follow that restrict their ability to inform you. However, FERPA allows you great discretion in informing the mental health professional of your own professional observations, as well as allows you to share information about a student with a person who has an “educational need to know.”
In conclusion, it is important for all of us to understand that FERPA does not prevent you from contacting others on the UCCS Campus if you have concerns about the behaviors of a student on this campus. However, only those who are identified as the “appropriate personnel on campus” should be contacting the parents or other relatives of students. These trained individuals are most knowledgeable in human behavior, and can best determine if further concern is warranted.
Disposal of Student Educational Records (CU Records Retention Policy)
Information about individuals should be retained only so long as it is valid and useful. Those responsible for academic information have an obligation to destroy information when conditions under which it was collected no longer prevail.
Any document containing personally identifiable information must be disposed of properly through some means of confidential disposal.
The CU Records Retention Policy establishes the principles and processes for the retention and disposal of University records, outlines the roles and responsibilities associated with this process, and provides records retention schedules for the University.
For more information, visit the Office of Policy and Efficiency. If you need information on confidential disposal, you can call the Office of the Registrar at 719-255-3361.
Penalties for Violating FERPA Regulations
The Office of the Chief Privacy Officer of the Department of Education reviews and investigates complaints of violations of FERPA. If the Office finds that there has been a failure to comply with FERPA, it will notify the institution about the corrections that need to be made to bring the institution into compliance. The Office will establish a reasonable period of time for the institution to voluntarily accomplish the specified changes. If the Office finds that, after this reasonable period of time, an institution has failed to comply with FERPA and determines that compliance cannot be secured by any means, it can, among other options, direct that no federal funds under its administrative control (financial aid, education grants, etc.) be made available to that institution.
Office of Institutional Equity (OIE)
Main Hall, Room 201
Laura Emmot, Equity Officer; Interim Director of Institutional Equity, email@example.com
Amanda Allee, Dean of Students; Interim Title IX Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
UCCS is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working, and living environment. UCCS does not allow discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation, or political philosophy in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities. In pursuit of these goals, the University will not tolerate acts of sexual misconduct, Protected Class discrimination or harassment, or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. Individuals who violate the UCCS Policy on Discrimination and Harassment, the University of Colorado Sexual Misconduct, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking Policy, or the University of Colorado Conflict of Interest in Cases of Amorous Relationships Policy will be disciplined or subjected to corrective action, up to and including termination, suspension, or expulsion.
As a place of work and study, UCCS must be free of sexual misconduct. The CU Sexual Misconduct, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking Policy prohibits sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, sexual harassment (hostile environment and quid pro quo), and related retaliation. This prohibition applies to all students, faculty, staff, contractors, patients, volunteers, affiliated entities, and other third parties, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity. OIE conducts investigations/resolutions in these areas and can provide many other related types of assistance to students and employees.
Protected Class Discrimination and Harassment
Discrimination is conduct that deprives an individual of a benefit of employment or educational opportunity on the basis of that person’s Protected Class. Protected Class harassment is conduct, based upon an individual’s Protected Class, which interferes with that person’s work, academic performance, or participation in University programs or activities, or creates a hostile working or learning environment. Protected Classes include race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation, or political philosophy.
Any crime should be reported to the UCCS Police Department at (719) 255-3111. The OIE encourages individuals who experience prohibited conduct to report the matter to the OIE as soon as possible. All responsible employees who have information on sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, stalking, protected class discrimination and harassment, or related retaliation must promptly report it to OIE. A responsible employee is anyone who (1) has the authority to hire, promote, discipline, evaluate, grade, formally advise or direct faculty, staff, or students; (2) has the authority to take action to redress prohibited conduct; or (3) has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students to the Director of Institutional Equity or designee. This includes but is not limited to faculty, teaching assistants, resident advisors, coaches, and program directors.
For more information on the services OIE provides, or to make a report please visit the OIE website at: https://equity.uccs.edu/
Standards of Conduct
UCCS has established a Student Code of Conduct to maintain the general welfare of the University community. The University strives to make the campus a place of study, work, and residence where people are treated with civility, respect, and courtesy. Admission to the University carries with it the expectation that students will be responsible members of the campus community. This includes respecting the personal safety and individual rights of all in the University community, acting in accordance with accepted standards of social behavior, and abiding by the regulations of the University and the laws of the city, state, and nation. The Code of Conduct clearly states the University’s expectations for student behavior.
Students are expected to become familiar with these standards and fully understand their responsibility as University community members.
The Code of Conduct applies to all students at UCCS, regardless of designation, program, or residence. These regulations apply primarily to misconduct on University premises; however, off-campus violations that may impact the University’s mission fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Dean of Students and may lead to disciplinary action. Students may be held accountable to both civil and criminal authorities as well as to the University, by breaking a law that also violates the University standards. Disciplinary action by the University will not be subject to challenge or postponement on the grounds that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed, reduced, or are pending in any state or federal judicial system. In addition, the University can pursue disciplinary action if a student violates a standard of conduct and then withdraws from the University.
Standards of conduct help promote a safe and civilized campus environment. All students enrolled at UCCS are required to abide by these standards, or they will be subject to discipline. An attempt to commit an act prohibited by these standards, or attempts to aid, abet, or incite others to commit acts prohibited by these standards, are subject to discipline to the same extent as a completed act. Similar standards of conduct apply to other members of the University community - faculty, staff, and visitors.
Prohibited acts are enumerated at www.uccs.edu/dos/student-conduct.html. Allegations of any violations should be directed to the Office of the Dean of Students for resolution.
Any member of the University community may file a written complaint with the Office of the Dean of Students alleging that a student has violated the Code of Conduct. The complaint must include a statement of the facts describing the alleged violation. The Office will not accept anonymous complaints. The Office may also initiate charges. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Office decides whether there is substance to the complaint; whether the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct; and whether disciplinary proceedings should occur. In order to make this determination, the Office may need to gather additional information about the incident.
Rights and Responsibilities
The Code of Conduct document details the rights and responsibilities of students accused of misconduct as well as victims of alleged student misconduct.
Questions regarding behavioral or conduct issues should be directed to the Office of the Dean of Students, (719) 255-3091 or email@example.com .
The University has established systematic procedures for students who believe that inappropriate decisions have been made that affect them. Academic issues (for example, graduation requirements or course grades) should be addressed to the office of the dean of the appropriate school/college. Appeals of administrative actions (for example, financial aid awards or parking tickets) should be directed to the office who made that decision. There is a one-year statute of limitations on appeals concerning financial matters.
Office of the Registrar
Main Hall 108
If your legal residence is in El Paso County, you can vote in the upcoming election! To be eligible to register you must meet the following criteria:
- be 18 years of age or older at the time of the next election
- are a United States citizen
- have resided in Colorado 22 days immediately before the election in which you intend to vote
- are not serving a sentence of confinement, detention, or parole for a felony conviction