Educational Records & Privacy

Records regarding a student's disciplinary record are considered confidential and are protected under one of the nation's strongest privacy protection laws, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and its related regulations, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g and 34 CFR Part 99, FERPA is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to student education records. The law applies to schools that receive funds under applicable programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Therefore, non-affiliated third parties (e.g., employers, government agencies, private contractors, parents, etc.) conducting background checks or requesting information about a student’s disciplinary history, will not receive information immediately or over the phone until our office verifies the authenticity of any release, the requester’s credentials, and a signed release of information is obtained from the student. 

The following guidelines are intended to:

  • Establish the rights and procedures for students to access and review their own records maintained by Community Standards.
  • Establish procedures authorizing Community Standards to release or disclose information to third parties.
  • Clarify the circumstances when Community Standards does not require prior consent before releasing records or disclosing information to third parties.
 
EXCEPTIONS TO PROHIBITION AGAINST DISCLOSURES
 

Under the guidelines of FERPA (as amended), Community Standards does not require prior consent: 

  • To comply with a federal or judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena 
  • To discretionarily release notification to a parent or legal guardian the first and every subsequent time a student under the age of 21 is found responsible for violating any law or university policy governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance  
  • To discretionarily release the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence to the alleged victim of that crime  
 
Schedule for retention & disposals
 

Community Standards complies with existing state and federal legal requirements and the University’s policy and schedule for record retention and disposal.  After the minimum retention period for a disciplinary record is reached, said record is disposed of unless it still serves a legal or operational purpose or has historic value. With respect to disciplinary educational records, Community Standards will adhere to the following schedule: 

  • Disciplinary records are subject to release according to the retention policies dictated by the controlling formal sanction. For students who have been sanctioned for more than one case, the most serious formal sanction is the controlling one. For students who have been issued their most serious formal sanction on more than one occasion, the most recent one is controlling. 

  • Disciplinary records that include the issuance of University Suspension and any sexual harassment investigation, including any responsibility determination, any required recording or transcript, as well as any sanctions imposed on the respondent, any remedies provided to the complainant; any appeal and its result; and all materials used to train adjudicators, with regard to sexual harassment, are retained for a period of seven years in adherence with recordkeeping requirements described under the Clery Act regulations, 24 CFR § 668.24(e)(92)(ii), the Title IX regulations described in 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(10), state law and relevant university policies. 

  • Disciplinary records that involve the issuance of University Dismissal is the sanction are retained permanently.

  • Typically, disciplinary records that include lesser sanctions than separation or do not result in findings of responsibility will be retained for a period of three years. 

  • Records of organizational misconduct, regardless of the outcome, will be retained for ten years.   

 
REQUESTS TO RELEASE RECORDS & DISCLOSURES
 

There are typically two types of requests for disciplinary histories that Community Standards receives: Dean Certifications (transfers, graduate and professional schools) and Background Checks. Typically, because our student conduct system is designed to be educational rather than punitive, it is our practice to comment on student conduct only if the student is actively suspended or has been expelled (see Dean Certification FAQ for more detailed information). If the individual and/or agency requesting the information needs all of the student’s conduct history, this must be clearly articulated in the request.

DISCLOSURE. Def: A disclosure means to permit access to or the release, transfer, or other communication of educational records and information, after a student's consent is obtained authorizing any such release. To the extent possible, Community Standards will work with the designated recipient to schedule a date and time to disclose information. At the discretion of Community Standards, and on a case-by-case basis, this may be done in-person, over the phone or in writing.

DISCLAIMER. Community Standards receives a substantial number of records requests and are typically working on  several processes at any given time during the calendar year. Responsibility rests with the individual submitting a request, to review and adhere to scheduled deadlines; Community Standards does not entertain requests for expedited processing.

    Students have the right to review their own educational records, in the presence of a designated university official and during regular business hours. Students are not entitled to review records that contain personal identifiable information of others. Therefore, if a request is approved, records will be redacted (e.g., crossed-out or blanked-out) in compliance with FERPA and general protections of privacy.


    Procedural Overview

    1. SUBMIT REQUEST. To facilitate the gathering and inspection of student records, all requests must be submitted in writing to the Community Standards via email at community.standards@unh.edu; neither requests to other University offices nor verbal requests will be honored and will typically only communicate with students through their UNH issued email address. Hard copies will not be provided unless a failure to provide copies prevents an eligible party from accessing the necessary information. 

    2. SCHEDULED REVIEW. Students will be notified of the date, time, and location of their appointment as soon as administratively possible and will be required to present appropriate identification before reviewing their records. At no time will original records be removed from the office. In extenuating circumstances, an expiring, secure electronic link may be shared for viewing purposes.  

    Community Standards oversees the Campus Clearance Check process, which is designed for faculty and staff to determine eligibility when students wish to participate in university-approved academic and co-curricular activities, hold positions with certain offices and/or organizations (e.g., Resident Assistants, Orientation Leaders, Student Senate, Peer Educators, etc.) and must be in good behavioral standing. This process may also be appropriate for volunteer opportunities that involve interacting with vulnerable populations.


    Procedural Overview

    1. OBTAIN STUDENTS PERMISSION. Faculty and staff must first inform and obtain permission from students explicitly authorizing the release of their disciplinary information from Community Standards.

    2. SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION. A copy of the application or relevant documentation, specifying the nature of the activity or program must be submitted with the request; copies will be retained for the current academic year.

    3. SUBMIT REQUEST. Complete the  CAMPUS CLEARANCE CHECk form and submit your request to our office for processing. 

    4. TIMELINE. Campus Clearance Checks are typically completed within five to seven business days from the date the request is submitted. In cases where a campus office or department submits multiple requests or a single clearance check contains a substantial amount of student names, completion times will be based on the number of records submitted and may take longer to complete; please plan accordingly.

    5. DISCLOSURE. Community Standards will process clearance checks and confirm whether or not a student is in good standing; no specific details about a student’s disciplinary history will be released. The status good standing includes a requirement that all matters pending before Community Standards have been fully and finally resolved including, but not limited to full satisfaction of any conduct sanctions imposed (e.g., educational, reflective, and restorative assignments or activities) and/or an active status (e.g., probationary status, deferred suspension status) has been lifted. A written summary will be prepared and sent to the specified recipient. 

    If a student intends to transfer to another educational, is applying for admission to graduate and professional (e.g., law, veterinary, medical) schools, specialized programs and state bar associations, a brief summary of a student’s disciplinary history may be requested as a condition for admission. 

    On occasion, a Dean’s Certification will require both the student’s disciplinary and academic history. In those cases, Community Standards will consult with the Dean's office from the appropriate academic college. Community Standards will complete the standard form provided or prepare a summary statement of the student’s disciplinary history if no form is available. Summary statements are not considered letters of recommendation and after processing, completed forms or statements are sent directly to the entity, not to student. 


    Procedural Overview

    If you are a current or former student: 

    1. COMPLETE AND SUBMIT RELEASE. The  student must provide us with a completed and signed dean certification form(s) well in advance of the deadline. Incomplete requests/forms will not be processed. In lieu of a form, you can provide a letter that must include the following:

    • A signed Release of Information  form. 
    • Your full name as it was while you were a student at the University of New Hampshire
    • Your student ID number and date of birth
    • Your current mailing address and phone number
    • The names and addresses of the schools or institutions to which you want your disciplinary history sent to. If there is an associated email address, please provide that information in addition to physical address.

    2. SUBMIT REQUEST TO RELEASE RECORDS. Request should be submitted to community.standards@unh.edu.

    3. TIMELINE. Requests from current and former students should be submitted at least one month before a recipient entity’s deadline. Summary statements require at least 7 to 10 business days to complete. Priority will be given to those students who timely submit and in the order received. Multiple requests and phone calls for the same information causes delays; please place accordingly.

    Disclaimer. In cases where an administrative hold has been placed on a student’s account, students may request an appointment to view their records but requests to release records and/or information to a third party may not be permitted until the hold has been properly removed.

    Government agencies conducting background checks will receive the entire student conduct history. If the individual and/or agency requesting the information needs all of the student’s conduct history, this must be clearly articulated in the request.

    For background checks, if you are with a government agency or if you are a private contractor:

    • We will not be able to provide you with information immediately. Results will not be the same business day and could take at least a week.
    • Whether you notify us of your request via telephone, fax, postal mail, or by visiting our office in person, you need to choose one method of obtaining this information and remain consistent. For example, if you must make personal contact with our office, do not also fax or call our office. Multiple requests for the same information causes delays.


    Procedural Overview

    1. REQUEST SUBMISSION.  You will need to leave your paperwork/forms with Community Standards along with your business card. Results will not be the same business day and could take at least a week. Relevant documentation and a stamped envelope for report can be sent via postal mail to:

      University of New Hampshire
      Community Standards, Hitchcock Hall
      5 Quad Way
      Durham, NH 03824

    Community Standards will not discuss specifics of a student's disciplinary history without first obtaining a signed release from the student, authorizing a designated official from our office to disclose their information.  Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to speak with their student ahead of time. Please refer to the Community Standards website for relevant policies and general information.


    A subpoena is a writ issued by a court or authorized individual (as defined by state law) that compels the University to provide access to student disciplinary records. When a subpoena is received, and the University plans to comply with the request, the University will notify students who are named in the documents being provided. This notification is for the purpose of informing the student that a lawful request for a record in which they are named has been received and that the University plans to comply.