CU-Boulder Offers New Way To Protect Student Privacy

January 30, 1998

In response to student feedback, the University of Colorado at Boulder has developed a new “limited-privacy” option for students who don’t want their names and addresses released for use in directories or mass mailings.

Effective Feb. 2, students will be able to protect themselves from mass mailings while continuing to allow public access to certain kinds of information if they select the “limited-privacy” option for their records maintained by the campus.

Students have had a full privacy option for many years that, if selected, allowed no release of public information on individual students, but they and the university often found the designation too restrictive.

“We are pleased to offer this additional option as a service to students,” said William Haid, registrar. “Indeed, students have played an important role in planning and implementing the service.”

The limited-privacy designation prevents directory information from appearing in the campus Web Directory, campus directory assistance, residence hall or family housing directory assistance, or lists or labels of enrolled student names and addresses provided to off-campus requestors.

Students who have requested limited-privacy designations also will not receive general campus e-mail messages, such as event notices and on-campus advertisements. All students will continue to receive university-initiated e-mails containing information considered to be “vital,” such as registration instructions, emergency information and policy changes.

Release of student information is regulated under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Certain types of student information are considered public information and must be released upon request -- unless the student has requested a full privacy designation.

Such information, including data on students who have selected “limited privacy,” will continue to be released on an individual basis to requestors, but not in list form for directories or mass mailings.

Directory information includes name, address, telephone number, dates of attendance, registration status, class, major field of study, awards, honors, degrees conferred, photograph, past and present participation in sports and activities, height and weight of athletes, prior schools attended, and date and place of birth.

Any other types of information, such as grades, course schedule, and test scores, is not available under public access.

However, when a student requests the full privacy designation, no information about the student -- including acknowledgement of his or her presence at CU-Boulder -- may be released to anybody, such as prospective employers, financial lenders, and even students calling about their own records.

“Students told us they wanted a middle ground,” said Haid. “Some didn’t want wholesale release of their names and addresses for mass mailings nor did they want the hassles of total privacy restrictions. So we set to work developing a new concept -- the limited-privacy option.”

Students will continue to have the option of full privacy, if they wish, Haid said. When staff members are asked for information about students who have requested full privacy, callers are told, “There is no information available on this person.”

Students may request either privacy or limited-privacy designations for their university records by coming to the Office of the Registrar, Regent 105, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students must bring proper identification.

Both the full privacy and limited-privacy designations remain in effect until the student requests a change in the designation.

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