Frequently Asked Questions
What Is FERPA and What Rights Do Students Have Under FERPA?
FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment. It has three purposes. First, it protects the privacy of student educational records. Second, it guarantees students the right to review educational records and to seek to amend those records. Finally, it gives students the right to limit disclosure of information from their records. The Act applies to all institutions that receive federal funding which includes RIT.
When is the student covered under FERPA?
An eligible student is defined as any matriculated individual who is currently attending or who formerly attended RIT. Applicants who are either refused admission or decline to matriculate do not fit the definition of eligible student and therefore are not covered under FERPA. A matriculated individual has passed the Add/Drop deadline of a term and therefore has a transcript record with RIT. Students gain FERPA rights when they turn 18 or enter a postsecondary institution at any age. This definition applies to all credit and non-credit students.
What educational records are covered by FERPA?
Educational records are defined as those records pertaining to the permanent academic records of the student, testing data, disciplinary records, and financial information. These records can be in any medium such as handwritten, print, tapes, film, or electronic. This category also covers all records maintained officially by RIT which do not come under the categories of Directory Information or Sole Possession Records.
What records are not covered by FERPA?
Records not covered by FERPA include the following:
- Sole Possession Records - These include personal notes or records retained by one individual for his or her own purposes. For example, an instructor’s personal notes do not fall under FERPA. These personal records can be shared with a substitute employee.
- Peer Graded Coursework –Are covered when the instructor collects them and leaves the classroom with them.
- Law Enforcement Records –Maintained and revealed only to law enforcement agencies.
- Employment Records – Related to non-work-study employment situations.
- Medical Records - Created by a health care professional and used only for the treatment of the student.
- Alumni Records – Records relating to alumni donations and activities with the alumni association but not related to educational, student life or other records during the time the student attended RIT.
- Any communication with a former student that is not directly related to the student’s academic record.
Who can access student information without consent?
- School officials with a legitimate educational interest. A school official is defined as any employee of RIT or agent of the employee. The information sought must be used within the context of official RIT business and not for purposes extraneous to the official’s area of responsibility or to RIT. Disclosure to a school official having a legitimate educational interest does not constitute authorization to transmit, share, or disclose any information received to a third party.
- Other schools to which a student is transferring or enrolled.
- Appropriate officials and parents of a student regardless of the student’s IRS dependent status if the college determines there is a significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals.
- Federal and state educational, audit/compliance or accreditation agencies and bodies.
- Parties presenting a judicial order or subpoena.
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student.
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school.
- State and local authorities within a juvenile justice system who are obeying a specific State law.
- The College when using directory information for college and educational purposes.
What are a parent’s rights under FERPA?
Under FERPA, parents have limited rights to eligible student information. All parents have the right to directory information unless the student has filed for non-disclosure. Parents of a child who is a legal dependent under IRS code may obtain non-directory information. Proof of dependency is required. Parents of a child who is not a legal dependent under IRS code may obtain protected information only by obtaining a signed consent from their child or a court order.
Parents should contact the RIT Office of the Registrar for further information or can go to www.ed.gov for FERPA related questions.
What are a student’s rights under FERPA?
All present and former students are guaranteed the following rights:
- Students have a right to know where educational records are kept.
- Students have a right to inspect their educational records with sufficient written notice to the Office of the Registrar.
- Students have the right to have records amended if necessary, by following institutional procedure to request changes.
- Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Education if they feel their rights are being violated.
- Students have the right to educational record confidentiality except where special provisions are made.
- Students have the right to prevent the disclosure of directory information.
What is “Directory Information”?
It is information that can be released without the student’s written consent. Each college, to some extent, can determine what information is classified as directory information. Directory Information is released only at the discretion of RIT or for educational purposes.
Directory Information at RIT includes:
- Name, Primary address, telephone number, dates of attendance, enrollment status (full time or part time), hometown, class year, previous institutions attended, program of study, awards, honors, degrees conferred, sports activities.
Directory Information at RIT does not include:
- Class attendance, student ID numbers, social security numbers, race/ethnicity/nationality, gender, financial status or information related thereto, grades/GPA, class list or schedule, disciplinary records.
What is the procedure for limiting the release of directory information?
You may request to have non-disclosure status. This will protect the release of the above listed directory information in addition to the already FERPA protected non-directory information. The student must complete a non-disclosure form in person at the Registrar’s Office. The signed non-disclosure form will remain in effect until the student changes it in person and in writing.
What information can be removed from an educational record before a student views it?
- Any information that pertains to another student.
- Financial records of the student’s parents.
- Some confidential letters and statements of recommendation under conditions described in FERPA section §99.12.
- Any document for which the student has signed a waiver of rights.
Title IX: Assuring Gender Equity In Education
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational programs or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” -From the preamble to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/tix_dis.html
What is Title IX?
Title IX was the first comprehensive federal law to prohibit sex discrimination against students and employees of educational institutions. Title IX benefits both males and females, and is at the heart of efforts to create gender equitable schools. The law requires educational institutions to maintain policies, practices and programs that do not discriminate against anyone based on sex. Under Title IX both males and females must receive fair and equal treatment in all educational programs and activities, including but not limited to:
- educational programs and activities
- course offerings and access
- employment assistance
- facilities and housing
- health and insurance benefits
- marital and parental status
- sexual harassment
What school levels are covered?
Title IX protects students, faculty and staff in federally funded education programs. Title IX applies to all elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities. It also applies to programs and activities affiliated with schools that receive federal funds (such as internships or coops, or school-to-work programs) and to federally funded education programs run by other entities such as correctional facilities, health care entities, unions and businesses.
The standard for compliance is one of quality rather than quantity. The actual amount of money spent on women's and men's programs may differ as long the quality of facilities and services for each program achieve parity. For example, equipment needed for men's football may cost more than equipment needed by women's field hockey. Title IX compliance is achieved as long as both teams are given equipment of comparable quality.
Everyone benefits from Title IX. Title IX prohibits institutions that receive federal funding from practicing or allowing gender discrimination in educational programs or activities. Because almost all schools receive federal funds, Title IX applies to nearly everyone.
Is there a penalty for noncompliance?
Yes. Violating Title IX can lead to loss of federal funds. Violations can also result in significant legal damages and attorneys’ fees.
Are male students protected?
Yes, both male and female students are protected from harassment regardless of who is committing the harassing behavior.
How does Title IX impact courses offered?
Institutions may not provide separate courses and activities based on sex and may not require or prohibit participation in these programs based on gender. Some exceptions to this, however, are allowed. For example, sex education and human sexuality courses at the elementary and secondary levels only may be (but are not required to be) offered separately. In addition, generally, while physical education classes may not be segregated, separation is permitted within activities that involve significant bodily contact, such as wrestling, boxing, rugby, ice hockey, football, basketball, and similar contact activities. In intramural sports, separate teams for each sex are permissible in contact sports, as well.
Does Title IX protect only students?
No. Title IX protects everyone from discrimination, including, students, parents, employees and vendors.
How are schools held accountable under Title IX?
When schools become aware that sexual harassment, including sexual misconduct or discrimination, has occurred, they must take immediate action to stop the harassment, hold all parties accountable and take steps to prevent future harassment.
How does Title IX relate to athletic programs?
Title IX requires that schools, which receive federal funding, provide equal opportunities for members of both sexes. It addresses the availability, quality and kind of benefits, and the opportunities and treatment that athletes receive. There are three basic aspects of Title IX that apply to athletics:
Participation: Title IX is not a quota system. Educational institutions have three options to demonstrate equity and fairness in athletic opportunities. Schools can show that they comply with Title IX if they can demonstrate any one of the following:
- Substantially proportionate athletic opportunities for male and female athletes;
- A history and continuing practice of expanding opportunities for the under-represented sex;
- Full and effective accommodation of the interests and abilities of the under-represented sex. Schools do not necessarily need to offer identical sports, yet they do need to provide an equal opportunity for females to play in sports of interest.
Scholarships: The total amount of athletic aid must be substantially proportionate to the ratio of female and male athletes.
Additional athletic program components: Title IX also mandates equal treatment in the provision of:
- Coaching staff
- Game and practice times
- Medical and training facilities
- Recruitment opportunities
- Travel per diem allowances
- Locker rooms
- Practice and competitive facilities
- Tutoring opportunities
Who enforces Title IX?
The Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education is charged with enforcing the civil rights and regulations in education. The OCR is staffed by a group of attorneys, investigators and support personnel working as case resolution teams from each of the agency’s twelve enforcement divisions. Each OCR division is charged with investigating and resolving cases of alleged illegal discrimination.
How do you report a Title IX Violation?
Reports of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or sexual violence can also be made to the university’s Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators: www.rit.edu/titleix
In addition, concerns may also be reported to any of the following external agencies:
- Office of Civil Rights (see http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html.)
What RIT policies are in place to ensure that Title IX violations do not occur?
The following options may be used to address any discrimination issue, including Title IX:
- Compliance Policy & Code of Ethical Conduct (C0.0) http://www.rit.edu/academicaffairs/policiesmanual/sectionC/C0.html
- Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment (C6.0) http://www.rit.edu/~w-policy/sectionC/C6.html
- RIT Student Conduct Process (D18.0) http://www.rit.edu/~w-policy/sectionD/D18.html
- D.19.0 Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy- Title IX
What are some available resources at RIT for individuals who may be victims of sexual misconduct, harassment or discrimination?
RIT Counseling Center
475-2261 (V) or 475-6897 (TTY)
RIT Public Safety
475-2853 (V) or 475-6654 (TTY)
The Center for Women and Gender/CARES Program
RIT Center for Student Conduct
RIT Human Resources
RIT Advocacy Program
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Showing Movies on Campus
Can movies be shown on campus?
The Federal Copyright Act governs how copyrighted materials, such as movies, may be used publicly. This legal copyright compliance requirement applies to colleges, universities, etc. regardless of whether the institution is commercial or non-profit.
A license is required for all public performances. If a movie, regardless of whether you own it or have rented it, is shown in a place that is open to the public or any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family or its social acquaintances are gathered, it is considered a public performance. RIT may have already obtained permission to use certain video Copyrighted Works. Inquiries regarding RIT permissions should be directed to the Director of the Center for Campus Life.
Do we need a license even if we don’t charge admission?
Yes. A license is required for all public performances regardless of whether or not admission is charged.
Who can grant a license for a public performance?
The movie studios that own copyrights, and their agents, are the only parties who are authorized to license sites such as colleges and universities. RIT may have already obtained permission to use a particular movie, so inquiries regarding video Copyrighted Works that RIT may have obtained permission to use should be directed to the Director of the Center for Campus Life.
What can happen if we show a copyright work that we did not obtain a license?
If you violate copyright law by conducting an unauthorized public performance, you can be prosecuted by the Motion Picture Association of America and its member companies.
Is a not-for-profit organization such as RIT allowed to hold raffles?
Raffles are games of chance as defined by the law and therefore are governed by, and must be conducted in accordance with, all rules and regulations specified under state and local laws. New York law allows not-for-profit organizations to conduct raffles and Henrietta Town law requires that certain raffles conducted in the Town of Henrietta be licensed.
In order to determine if a raffle must be licensed, RIT requires that every raffle be approved by the RIT Office of Legal Affairs or the Assistant Vice President, Compliance & Ethics before any tickets are sold. Certain RIT departments may require additional approvals, as well.
When is a license required from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to conduct a Raffle?
If the proceeds (money collected) from a single raffle are more than $5000 or the total proceeds of all raffles conducted at RIT within a calendar year are more than $20,000, licensing will be required.
Who is permitted to sell raffle tickets?
Members of the on-campus organization approved to conduct a raffle by the Office of Legal Affairs or the Assistant Vice President, Compliance & Ethics.
Reminder - It is unlawful for persons eighteen years of age or younger to purchase raffle tickets, sell raffle tickets or conduct or assist in the administration of a raffle drawing.
The Raffle Rules and Approval Process document states that Raffle tickets should have a number of specific pieces of information printed on their face. Can we just purchase rolls of tickets from an office or party supply store?
If the raffle prize drawing will take place on the same date and location where the ticket is sold then yes, this style ticket is acceptable, however, the same rules, disclosure and notification requirements (noted below) apply. Since the winner must not be required to be present at the drawing, make sure you have obtained contact information for notification purposes.
If the sale of tickets will occurr in advance of the date the raffle drawing will take place, you cannot use the rolled tickets and you must create a ticket specific to your raffle; the following items MUST be printed on their face:
(i) Name (and identification number, if applicable*) of the authorized organization;
(ii) The location(s), date(s) and time(s) of the drawing(s);
(iii) The consecutively printed serial number of the ticket;
(iv) The price of the ticket;
(v) A list of the prizes offered;
(vi) The statement: "Ticket holders need not be present to win."
(vii) Each ticket stub or receipt shall reflect the name, address and telephone
number of the ticket purchaser, and the consecutively printed serial number of the ticket.
What is the difference between a prize drawing and a raffle?
If you are awarding a prize by randomly selecting the winner from entries/tickets where there was no purchase necessary in order to get that entry/ticket, than this is a prize drawing and not subject to the Raffle Approval Process.
If you are selling tickets in which a prize is awarded on the basis of chance as a result of drawing from among those tickets sold at a uniform price, this would constitute a raffle and must have prior approval pursuant to RIT’s Raffle Approval Process.
If participants have paid admission or an entrance fee, can I give them a “free” ticket to the raffle with their paid admission?
No. This does not constitute a raffle under the law and falls under the category of a lottery, specifically an unlawful gambling scheme. If you intend to select winners from randomly drawn tickets, those tickets must be sold in accordance with all rules and regulations specified under state and local laws and have prior approval pursuant to RIT’s Raffle Approval Process.
Are “50/50” or “split-pot” raffles legal?
Are there types of prizes that may not be used in a raffle?
The following items may not be offered as prizes: alcohol, real estate, security bonds, shares of stock or evidence of debt.
How far in advance from the date of the raffle drawing may an organization sell raffle tickets?
Raffle tickets may not be sold more than 180 days before the drawing. The winner must not be required to be present at the drawing.
Are there any days that a raffle cannot be conducted?
Raffles may not be held on Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
Personal Legal Matters for Students
The Center for Campus Life has retained a private attorney to assist students with their personal legal matters. To schedule an appointment with this attorney or to get more information about this service, please contact the Student Government Office at: (585) 475-2204 or go to: http://www.rit.edu/sg/services.php.
Personal Legal Matters for Employees
The Office of Legal Affairs will not provide legal advice to any individual members of the RIT community relative to personal legal issues. For assistance with such matters, please consult one of these services for help:
Hyatt Legal Services
RIT offers employees an opportunity to participate in MetLife's Hyatt Legal Plan, a leading provider of group legal services. Hyatt Legal Plan is now available at over 300 organizations in the U.S. and provides legal services to over a million plan participants.
If you do not currently participate in the Hyatt Legal Plan and would like more information, please see: http://finweb.rit.edu/humanresources/benefits/supplemental/grouplegalplan.html
If you are a participant in the Hyatt Legal Plan and need assistance, please go to: https://info.legalplans.com/Home/
If you want to contact Hyatt Legal Services by telephone, please call: (800) 821-6400/voice or (800) 821-5955/TTY.
Service representatives are available Eastern time as follows:
Monday: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Tuesday - Thursday: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Monroe County Bar Association
Lawyer Referral Service - http://www.mcba.org/Public/Referral/
How to Choose a Lawyer - http://www.mcba.org/Public/Howtochoose/
New York State Bar Association
Referral Service: (800) 342-3661