Third-Party Access

What About a Health or Safety Emergency?

The U.S. Department of Education made a conscious decision in 1988 to allow colleges to determine whether there is, in fact, a health or safety emergency that justifies disclosing non-directory information without the student's written consent. USD considers the following criteria in determining whether an emergency situation exists:

  • Is the emergency a serious threat to the health or safety of the student or other individual(s)?
  • Is the information to be disclosed necessary to meet the emergency?
  • Are the parties to whom the information is to be disclosed in a position to deal with the emergency?
  • Is time of the essence in dealing with the emergency?

Contact USD Public Safety for assistance in evaluating potential emergency situations.

Student's Authorization for Third-Party Access to His/Her Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits an educational institution from releasing confidential, non-directory information about a student without the student's consent. Under FERPA, a school is permitted to provide access to third parties authorized by a student, but the school is not required to do so. The school is required only to provide students access to their own education records.

A student can authorize faculty and staff to use their education records to write letters of recommendation or serve as professional references by completing the Authorization for Recommendations and References form. The student should give a copy of the form to each person asked to serve in this capacity. The authorization remains in effect until cancelled by the student.