A. Freedom of Access to Higher Education
Valley City State University makes clear in the Bulletin its expectations regarding the characteristics of students which it considers relevant to success in the university programs. No student is barred on the basis of race, sex, creed, color, or national origin from the university. The academic facilities and services of the university are open to all enrolled students, subject to departmental limitations.
B. In the Classroom
The professor in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression. Student performance is to be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.
- Protection of Freedom of Expression
Students are free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.
- Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation
Students have protection through orderly procedures as directed by the VP for Academic Affairs against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. At the same time, they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.
- Protecting Against Improper Disclosure
Information about students' views, beliefs, and political associations which the professors acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisors, and counselors is considered confidential. Protection against improper disclosure is a serious professional obligation. Judgment of ability and character may be provided under appropriate circumstances, normally with the knowledge of the student.
Student records maintained by the university fall into two general categories - - directory information and educational records. As custodian of student records in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the university assumes the trust and obligation to ensure full protection of student records which includes maintaining the confidentiality of education records. The administrative procedures outlined in this section are to be complied by university personnel who have or accumulate educational records which are in a personally identifiable form. The term 'student' in this Section means an eligible student under FERPA (a student at VCSU). Students may review a copy of FERPA and the regulations at the Office of Admission and Records.
2. Directory Information
A. Directory information is information concerning a student which may be released publicly. It includes the following: the student's name, home town (city,state), campus e-mail address, major field of study, class level, enrollment status, participation in officially recognized activities, weight and height of members of athletic teams, photographs, dates of enrollment, degrees and awards received and the most recent educational institution attended by the student.
B. A student may request that any or all of their directory information not be made public by contacting the Office of the Registrar between the first and tenth day of class in a term (or between the first and tenth day of class in a summer session). This request will remain in effect until the student makes a written request to remove the restriction.
3. Educational Records
A. Educational records are those records, files, documents, and other materials which contain information directly related to a student's academic progress, financial status, medical condition, etc., and are maintained by Valley City State University or a party acting on behalf of the university. Educational records include more than academic records. Educational records, with the exception of those designated as directory information (see Section 2), may not be released without the written consent of the student to any individual, agency, or organization other than the following authorized personnel:
- University personnel who have legitimate educational interest;
- Officials of other institutions in which the student intends to enroll, with the condition that the student be notified of the request in advance so as to have the opportunity for a hearing to challenge the record if so desired. The student is also entitled to a duplicate of the record which will be sent to the institution requesting the information;
- Parents of a dependent student as defined by Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954;
- Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General, the Secretary of Education, the administrative head of an educational agency, or state education authorities;
- Officials responsible for acting in conjunction with the student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid;
- Authorized individuals or organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the university for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering a predictive test; for administering student aid programs; and for improving instruction. These studies must be conducted in such a manner as will not permit the personal identification of students and their parents by persons other than representatives of the university or such organizations. This information is to be destroyed when it is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was collected. Authorization for such activities will come from the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
- Educational records, including but not limited to a student's academic transcript, may be released by an NDUS institution without prior written consent, provided the student has applied for admission to the second institution.
B. The disclosure of educational records to family members in response to subpoenas will be carried out as follows:
- University officials are expected to comply with judicial orders and subpoenas. Students affected by such action shall be notified of the university's intention to comply with court orders.
- Spouses or other family members of students may receive student record information when a written consent form is submitted.
- Records of former students, including deceased students, are confidential except that records of deceased former students may be released or disclosed at the request of a parent, personal representative, or other qualified representative of the student's estate, or pursuant to a court order to subpoena.
C. Upon written request, the university shall provide student access to a student's own educational records with the exception of:
- Financial aid records of the student's parents or guardian;
- Confidential letters of recommendation where the student has signed a waiver of right-of-access, or letters of recommendation written prior to January 1, 1975, providing such letters are used only for the purpose for which they were specifically intended.
D. Students may waive their access to records.
- A student may sign a waiver of right-of-access to confidential recommendations concerning admission, application for employment, and/or application for an honorary recognition. In such cases the student, upon request, shall be notified of the names of individuals making such confidential recommendations. These recommendations are to be used solely for the purpose for which they were intended;
- In the event a student refuses to sign a waiver of access, such an act may not be considered as a condition for admission, receipt of financial aid, or any other service or benefit from the university
4. Official Transcripts of Academic Records
A. The Registrar compiles, maintains, and administers official transcripts of records.
B. Each student's official transcript of record contains the following information:
- Name of student;
- Date of birth;
- Transfer credits, if any;
- Courses taken, hours completed, grades received, grading system, and grade point average;
- A statement indicating scholastic probation or academic honors, if any;
- Academic degree(s) granted by the university;
- Date of graduation from the university;
- Major(s) and Minor(s) earned;
C. The Office of the Registrar shall send, issue, or release a student's official transcript or record
- At the student's written request; or,
- In accordance with Section 3-A.
D. A transcript or record shall contain only the information described in Section 4-B and shall not be furnished in part or with information omitted.
E. A student who fails to pay a debt to the university may have his/her official transcript withheld until the debt is paid.
F. The Vice President for Student Affairs may withhold the issuance of an official transcript pending a hearing against a student who violates a rule or regulation of Valley City State University.
Sponsored by: Vice President for Student Affairs
Reviewed: Winter 1996
Reviewed: Winter 2004
Revised: Winter 2010
Revised Number: February 2010
Revised: December 2020