Student Privacy Rights & Confidentiality

The policies outlined in this section of the handbook provide safeguards and a more detailed understanding of student privacy and confidentiality which are prudently and objectively administered.

 

Student Conduct Records
Review of Student Conduct Records
Disciplinary Records and Clearance
Background Checks
Parental Notification Policy
Effect of Sanctions/Outcomes on Financial Aid 

Right to Privacy for Students Engaging in Off-Campus Educational Experiences
Right to Privacy for Students Living On-Campus
Criminal Investigations of College Policy Violations
Psychiatric Intervention Policy

Student Conduct Records

The Office of Student Conduct maintains a Student Conduct Record for all currently enrolled students. In addition, a student or former student’s record is maintained for seven (7) years post departure. A typical student file includes correspondence, records of informal and formal disciplinary action, and staff conference notes. These files are the working records of the professional student affairs staff and considered part of the student educational record. Their use is maintained in accordance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). You may view the College’s policies on maintaining academic records by reviewing the Hartwick College Catalog or clicking Hartwick-FERPA

Student Conduct Records are not available for general inspection by other College offices, faculty, students, parents, investigators, or other individuals except when authorized by the Vice President of Student Affairs, Dean of Student Life or their designee under the following conditions:

  • Information is needed in order to manage an emergency; or
  • The person needing information is in a position for counseling and/or assisting the student; or
  • Parents and/or guardians may be informed when a student is notified of a substance use policy violation and/or if there is a change in their status at the college. The following are examples of when a parent/guardian may be notified by the College:
    • Residence hall probation;
    • Disciplinary probation;
    • Removal from College housing;
    • Suspension, or expulsion from the College; or
    • If a student violates any of the College’s alcohol or drug policies.

Factors impacting the decision to notify include student age, type of situation, ability/inability of the student to provide consent, student status, and other similar information. Prior to such action, whenever reasonably possible, appropriate College personnel will be consulted to determine if notification is appropriate.

To serve the needs of the students and the College, Hartwick has designated the following information as directory information and will release this information, unless the student has submitted a request for non-disclosure:

  • Student Name
  • Student ID# (not SSN)
  • Student ID photo
  • Date and place of birth
  • address (local and permanent)
  • telephone number (local and permanent)
  • College e-mail address
  • Hartwick attendance dates
  • Hartwick degrees earned (with dates)
  • academic honors
  • major, minor, and degree objective
  • expected date of graduation
  • previous schools attended
  • enrollment status (class level)
  • currently enrolled (Y/N)
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports, including weight and height of athletes
  • Veteran status

No other information is disclosed without the written permission of the student. Students seeking transfer admission to another institution, admission to graduate programs, or who expect reference requests from prospective employers to be received by the Office of Student Conduct and Dean of Students, must authorize the release of this additional information by completing a Clearance Request Form denoting the person or agency the information is to be shared with. 

Review of Student Conduct Records

A student may review their record in conference with the Dean of Student Life or designee. If an apparent mistake is found, adjustment of the record may be conducted informally. A student has the right to place in their file a written explanation of any information contained in the file that the student believes to be misleading, inaccurate, or inappropriate.

In addition, a student may add to their file: letters, clippings, summaries of activities, or other significant information, which will assist College officials when called upon to complete a conduct verification and/or make recommendations on behalf of the student to other colleges, future employers, etc.

Students wishing to have personal letters of recommendation, a Dean’s Certification or Conduct Verification completed or initiated by the Dean of Students or specifically the Office of Student Conduct, please review the section on Disciplinary Records and Clearance. If information from your Student Conduct Record is to be referenced, the College must have a Clearance Request Form or a signed Release of Information on file denoting the person or agency the information is to be shared with. 

A student may review his/her own record in conference with the Dean of Student Life or designee. A student may not have or make copy, create an image or otherwise duplicate any documentation included as part of the student record, however a student may take handwritten notes. As the law defines under the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a student record is available for review by the individual. A procedural advisor, if identified as part of a conduct process, is afforded the right to review the file with the student. Once the process is complete, a procedural advisors viewing rights are concluded.

After a student graduates, their student conduct record is maintained for a period of seven (7) years and then purged.

If a student leaves Hartwick prior to graduation, their student conduct records are retained minimally for seven (7) years, at which time the record is purged. During this seven-year period, the above policies concerning the use and release of information continue to apply.

For questions relating to Hartwick’s policies on the privacy of an academic record, better understanding the definition of an Educational Record, and/or Restricting the Release of Directory or Non-Directory Information, please refer to the College’s academic policies and procedures relating to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by clicking Hartwick-FERPA.

Disciplinary Records and Clearance

Colleges and universities can differ greatly in the student conduct issues that they consider “reportable” to outside agencies, potential employers, and graduate or professional programs. Thus, what the Student Conduct Office at Hartwick College reports as part of a student’s conduct record, may or may not be considered “reportable” under another institution’s policy.

The Student Conduct Office reports disciplinary action including pending cases and action(s) taken against a student that result in a finding of “Responsible” for a Hartwick College Policy violation by any hearing body. In addition, the College reports status outcomes that yield a modification to a student’s relationship of good standing, including: Housing Probation, Hartwick Probation, Housing Suspension Imposed/Deferred, College Suspension Imposed/Deferred, Housing Expulsion or College Expulsion. A finding of responsibility can include one or more of these status outcomes along with accompanied educational outcomes, restrictions, and restitution which are also reported.

Student disciplinary records are maintained separate and apart from all other student records. Conduct records will be maintained for seven (7) years after the date of graduation or last day of attendance. In cases where the final disposition is Expulsion, where there was a final disposition for a Title IX or Hazing violation, or a noteworthy crime of violence, the Student Conduct Office retains the student conduct record indefinitely.

Hartwick College students are encouraged to report any disciplinary action taken against them, whether reportable by the College or not when applying to outside agencies, potential employers, and graduate or professional programs. It should be noted that at times, the Student Conduct Office will be unable to verify a student’s self-disclosed conduct or data which is of a personal nature, as it does not meet the identified criteria.

A student’s disciplinary record may include: developmental conversations, sanctions/outcomes and recommendations issued by any hearing body or any College official, and shall be recorded in the Student Conduct Record. A student may review his/her own record in conference with the Dean of Student Life or designee. A student may not have or make copy, create an image or otherwise duplicate any documentation included as part of the student record, however a student may take handwritten notes. For additional information on this, please refer to the Review of Student Conduct Records section. For additional information on the maintenance and release of this information, you may also view the College’s policies on maintaining academic records by clicking Hartwick-FERPA

Students wishing to have personal letters of recommendation, a Landlord Reference, a Dean’s Certification or Conduct Verification completed or initiated by the Dean of Students or specifically the Office of Student Conduct, please review the section on Disciplinary Records and Clearance. If information from your Student Conduct Record is to be referenced, the College must have a Clearance Request Form or a signed Release of Information on file denoting the person or agency the information is to be shared with.

It will take approximately 5-7 business days to complete the Clearance Request. If you would like to pick up your Clearance Request, be sure to indicate that on your form. Please provide the name(s) and address(es) of the persons or agencies who should receive the Dean’s Certification.

Background Checks

Hartwick College also recognizes that certain organizations, institutions and agencies may require and conduct formal background checks and/or fingerprinting of a student or graduate of the college as a condition of their employment or placement in an internship, practicum, apprenticeship, service learning project, or student teaching assignment. Relating to the Student Conduct Record, please review the section on Disciplinary Records and Clearance. The College statement, with more detailed information about the sharing of information can be found in the Hartwick College Catalog.

Parental Notification Policy

When a student enrolls in Hartwick College, they become an “eligible student.” An eligible student is a student who is, or was, enrolled in an institution of higher education, regardless of their age or status with regard to parental dependency.  A student’s record belongs to them and them alone in accordance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and therefore a student must grant permission of disclosure, outside of those specifically identified under the Student Conduct Records section.  For additional information on this, you may also refer to the Review of Student Conduct Records section.   

The College does reserve the right to notify parents/guardians of certain situations as noted in the Student Conduct Records section.

Effect of Sanctions/Outcomes on Financial Aid

Students should be aware that under the provisions of some financial aid grants, their classification (as a result of a disciplinary sanction) may disqualify them from one or more sources of financial assistance. Students with questions regarding the details of their situation are urged to contact the Financial Aid Office. Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

Right to Privacy for Students Engaging in Off-Campus Educational Experiences

The College reserves the right to review a student’s conduct and behavioral history as it relates to their ability to successfully participate in educational experiences that will take them off of the main campus, and in some cases out of the country (i.e. student teaching, January term, study abroad, internships, etc.). The College office facilitating the experience would share a list of students who intend to participate in such programs with the Office of Student Conduct for review. A student’s record is not shared openly with the designated office. However, if it is determined by the Vice President for Student Affairs, Dean of Students or designee, that a student’s behavior could negatively impact their success, the success of others participating in the program, or there is a pending case that has not been fully processed that may result in a change in relationship with the College, the following may occur:

  • Specific information may be shared with appropriate College officials in order for the College to make a determination on whether a student can/should qualify to participate in the experience;
  • Based on the review of the student’s record, the Dean of Students may request a meeting with the student to better determine a student’s readiness; or
  • The Dean of Students may recommend that a student not be eligible to participate because the student’s status denotes they are not in good standing with the College. Generally, this means that a student’s status is identified as: Housing Probation, Hartwick Probation, Housing Suspension Imposed/Deferred, College Suspension Imposed/Deferred, Housing Expulsion or College Expulsion.

Right to Privacy for Students Living On Campus

The College reserves the reasonable right to enter a residence hall room in order to ensure proper maintenance, to provide for the protection, safety, and welfare of students and the College, and/or to investigate when reasonable cause exists to believe that a violation of residential life policy or College policies, procedures, rules, or regulations has occurred or is occurring.

Based upon the College’s need to enter a student room, every attempt will be made to abide by the following procedures when entering college owned housing:

Facilities Maintenance and Repair: College or Aramark personnel may enter a student’s room, when credited to a formal work order, to perform scheduled maintenance and/or to complete necessary repairs.

Health, Safety, and Recess Inspections: Periodic inspections are conducted during the year and at the end of the term by the Oneonta Fire Department, Building Codes Enforcement Department, Health Department, College insurance representatives, Campus Safety, Residential Life and Housing, and other College Officials acting in accordance with their duties for the purpose of protecting the health, safety, and security of the College facilities and community. These regular inspections will generally be announced in advance and, when practical, they will be conducted in the presence of the occupants and/or a member of the residential life and housing staff. During breaks and/or closing, students’ rooms are checked to be certain that lights are off, all items are unplugged, windows are closed and locked, blinds are closed and no apparent policy violations are evident. If a room inspection prompts reasonable cause to believe that College policies, procedures, rules, or regulations are being violated, the Dean of Student Life or designee may authorize a thorough search of the room.

Emergency Inspections: When there is reasonable cause to believe that there is imminent risk to the life, safety, health, or property of a student or that of the College, inspections may be made by any member of the residential life and housing staff, campus safety, student affairs, building code enforcement, or Aramark staff without prior notice in order to take whatever corrective action is necessary or initiate emergency response as appropriate. Under these circumstances, a written report setting forth the nature of the emergency and the action taken will be submitted to the Dean of Student Life or designee.

Searches by Civil Authorities Pursuant with a Search Warrant: In the event a search warrant is issued by a civil authority for a residence hall or part thereof, campus safety personnel will accompany the authorities executing the search warrant solely to facilitate entry into the identified areas.

Entry to or Inspection of Student Rooms: If there is reasonable cause to believe that there is an imminent risk and/or College policies, procedures, rules, or regulations are being violated, the Dean of Student Life or designee may authorize entry into a student’s room for purpose of inspection. Such inspections are considered a reasonable exercise of the College’s responsibility to maintain discipline and a healthy and safe educational atmosphere. When practical, the inspection will be conducted in the presence of the occupants of the room. These types of inspections may also be conducted in recognized Greek houses when deemed appropriate.

Confiscation of Items or Property: During the course of any inspection, if any item/property is observed which is unlawful or in violation of College policies, procedures, rules or regulations, the item/property may be confiscated. The decision to confiscate items/property is made on the basis of common sense, property value, and the likelihood of rapid disposal. A notice of confiscation will be left behind identifying confiscated items. Confiscated items/property will be turned over to residential life and housing staff, campus safety or to other appropriate student affairs staff, and a report will be sent to the Dean of Student Life for review. Confiscated property may be returned if deemed appropriate, however the timing of an items return may be dependent upon a number of factors including but not limited to, when a student is scheduled to return home. In addition, some items confiscated that are in violation of College policies, procedures, rules, or regulations, may not be returned and will be disposed of accordingly; finally, any item confiscated that is deemed in violation of the law will not be returned.

Criminal Investigations of College Policy Violations

Properties of Hartwick College are not a haven from the law. The institution will support all investigations of alleged criminal activity. In the case of violent felony, the College reserves the right to take such action as necessary for campus safety and College function. The Vice President for Student Affairs or designee will collaborate with community police agencies or other external constituencies as allowed under current law and minimally on an annual basis. The College reserves the right to conduct its own investigation and take appropriate action under its student conduct system. Additionally, the Oneonta Police Department, State Police, or other law enforcement officials will work collaboratively with Hartwick College to investigate the disappearance of a student. College protocols for this are detailed in the Hartwick College Crisis Management Plan, available for review at the Office of Student Affairs.

Psychiatric Intervention Policy

Hartwick College recognizes that in some cases a student’s ability to function on campus may be impaired as a result of psychiatric issue(s). In instances where a student is a danger to self or others, unable to meet basic expectations, or is extremely disruptive to the normal operation of the College, the institution reserves the right to take immediate action to protect the individual and/or to ensure the campus is not adversely affected.

In situations where suspected serious psychiatric issue(s) arise, the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee will convene all relevant personnel to document the seriousness of the situation. Family contact may be initiated if believed it would be in the best interest of the student.

Once the situation has been reviewed and documented, the following courses of action may be taken:

Mandated Off-Campus Assessment: The student will be required to complete a comprehensive assessment with an off-campus treatment provider within 72 hours. As a condition of continued enrollment, the student will be required to comply with all recommendations of the assessment. The student will be responsible for all costs associated with the assessment and recommendations. A student required to complete an assessment and recommendations may be barred from being on campus and attending classes until such time that the assessment and recommendations are completed. Results of the assessment must be provided to the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee. No refund of tuition or housing costs will be provided.

Removal from College Housing: In situations where it is believed that the student’s level of functioning is extremely impaired, or it is extremely disruptive to the normal operation of the College, the student may be removed from College housing. This action can be short term (e.g. until a formal assessment is completed) or for a longer duration, depending on individual circumstances. No refund of housing costs will be provided. 

Emergency Withdrawal: In extreme situations, the institution reserves the right to immediately withdraw a student from the College. Such action will be taken only when a student demonstrates the inability to continue as a student or presents an immediate danger to self or others. Such action will be the responsibility of the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee in consultation with other members of the College professional staff. An emergency withdrawal is similar to a medical withdrawal in terms of potential refunds, withdrawals from class and incompletes. Please consult the Hartwick College Catalog for details on these issues.

Disciplinary Action: Although the primary purpose of this policy is to address and support the psychiatric needs of students, often the behaviors exhibited may also be violations of College policy. The institution reserves the right to adjudicate such violations through the normal adjudicating bodies of the College. Determination will be made by the Dean of Student Life or designee.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at (607) 431-4501 with any question about our student conduct record reporting policies.

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