Ram's Eye View

West Chester University

West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383

Questions and Answers

Q: Are letters written by faculty members prior to January 1975, open to the student?
A: Yes, the "Pennsylvania Right to Know Law of 1957" provides access to those letters.

Q: Are cooperating teachers' and cooperating employers' ratings included in the student's file?
A: Yes, students have access to all ratings included in the student's file.

Q: May evaluations written prior to the present law be destroyed?
A: Yes, if the student has never asked to see the evaluation and it has never been distributed, it may be destroyed.
No, if the evaluation has been sent to a third party, it may not be destroyed.
No, if the student has requested at some time in the past to see the evaluation, even though it has not been sent out, the letter may not be destroyed.

Q: Must each department that keeps records maintain a "log" of those individuals who receive a record?
A: Yes, a review of a student's record must be recorded.

Q: What does the phrase "reasonable time" mean in the above section of "Disclosure of Student Records"?
A: Within two working days, insofar as work load will permit. In no case may this time period exceed 45 days.

Q: May a department have guidelines that are more restrictive than those outlined in the University policy?
A: No.

Q: May a student decide what is to be included in the Career Development Center Credential File?
A: No, a student has no right to determine its content. The student does have the right to submit a letter of rebuttal to negative information contained therein.

Q: What right do staff and faculty members have to see student credentials/files?
A: Members of the staff and faculty have the right to review student credentials within the scope of their responsibilities, provided that these credentials are not transferred to a third person.

Q: Does the Office of Admissions have a right to remove admissions credentials from the admissions files prior to turning the file over to the Office of the Registrar?
A: Admissions officers have the authority to remove material of temporary value such as that primarily related to the admission process.

Q: Must a separate file that a counselor keeps for his/her own records be available for student inspection (separate from regular counselor files)?
A: No, there is no such requirement as long as the file has never been transmitted to any other person.

Q: What records should be kept?
A: Only those records necessary for the efficient operation of a department should be kept.

Q: Will the University give information in person or over the phone to a third party who is not associated with the University?
A: Yes, directory information may be released, at the discretion of the University, unless the student has formally requested this information to be restricted. This request must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar during the first two weeks of the semester.

Q: Will students and parents be notified of this policy?
A: Yes, this is required by law. This notice is stated in the University Catalog.

Q: What constitutes a waiver?
A: A waiver under the "Family Rights and Privacy Act" and the "Pennsylvania Right to Know Law" represents a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent relinquishment of a student's right to review education records. The Federal Law allows waivers in three areas: admissions to any educational agency or institution, application for employment, and respecting the receipt of an honor or honorary recognition. Although special restrictions were imposed by the law in the area of waiver of access to certain admissions materials, a representative of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office has advised that all waivers, as a matter of policy, should be permitted only where the waiver is executed on a case-by-case basis with the knowledge of the Regional Legal Counsel. The University must be certain that the student knows precisely what right is being waived, understands the implication of such a waiver, and that the student's action is voluntary - that is, free of coercion by the University. This policy recommendation has been accepted by West Chester University.