Approved Executive Committee of the Senate E-2011-2012.25
Note: In this policy, the term student refers to graduate and undergraduate students, unless otherwise indicated.
1. This policy defines the rights and obligations of students and of the University and its officers in matters pertaining to student records.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES (undergraduate and graduate students)
2. The University of Ottawa Act, 1965 authorizes the University to gather information for activities revolving around its programs, including recruitment, admission, registration, advancement, degree-granting and administration. By applying for admission to the University of Ottawa, and/or by registering in programs or courses at the University, students accept the University’s right to collect pertinent personal information for the purposes of and those consistent with the assessment of the students’ qualifications for entry, establishing a record of their performance in programs and courses, providing the basis for awards and government funding, and assisting the University in the academic and financial administration of its affairs.
3. Students also agree that all documentation they submit to the University in support of an application for admission, housing or financial aid, or for any appeal or petition, becomes the property of the University.
4. The University is committed to taking every reasonable step to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the information contained in the student record (paper or electronic). Also consult Policy 117 on Information Classification and Handling and Procedure 21-1 EDP Security. Except for circumstances set out in this policy, the University cannot disclose the contents of student records to any party, including the immediate family and groups outside the University, without first obtaining the student's written consent.
INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE STUDENT RECORD (paper or electronic)
5. The student record contains both paper and electronic documents. A student record contains information required for the student’s academic progress and standing and to produce transcripts of marks, reports on and letters attesting to the student’s studies or academic standing. Student records also form the basis of the University’s operations and for the production of enrollment reports and statistical information required by government agencies. Student records may contain the information listed below, though this is not an exhaustive list:
i) personal information (for example, name, address, telephone, date of birth, nationality, next of kin)
ii) basis of admission (for example, application, record of previous studies, letters of recommendation, test results)
iii) offer of admission and, if applicable, response to the offer (the University accepts as proof a decision received via Internet)
iv) all documents submitted to meet admission, registration or advanced-standing requirements.
i) all documents or correspondence, paper or electronic (for example, academic changes, letters of permission, requests for exemption) that can modify the student record
ii) enrollment and performance information (programs of studies, examination results, letter of appeal, narrative evaluations, distinctions, sanctions, degrees obtained)
iii) financial information (for example, charges, payments, awards)
iv) any document confirming legal status or a change of status; legal status documents are kept in the Office of the Registrar or at the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FGPS)
v) all requests or changes submitted by a student must be written, faxed or emailed from the student’s uOttawa email address (telephone requests are not allowed)
vi) documents on all actions taken on a student file at the student’s or the University’s request.
C) Other relevant documents
i) letters and forms signed by the student
ii) photos of the student taken to produce his or her student card
iii) supporting documents provided by or at the request of the student (for example, record of previous studies, letters of reference or medical certificates)
iv) documents pertaining to the student’s studies or to the evaluation of the student’s work at the University, which cannot be easily recorded in electronic form (for example, thesis evaluations)
iv) other documentation the academic unit considers relevant to the student’s studies.
STORAGE AND RETENTION OF RECORDS
6.The University maintains student records in paper and/or in electronic format.. Documents contained in the student record are kept for as long as the student is enrolled at the University and in accordance with the University of Ottawa Records Retention Schedule published by the University’s Archives. No corrections can be made to the official transcript after the periods mentioned in the Records Retention Schedule. The University keeps indefinitely all portions of a student’s electronic record that are needed to produce an official transcript and only the electronic record of the official transcript is kept.
7. The student record is stored electronically or, if it is in paper format, is kept in the faculty or academic unit in which the student is enrolled. The paper student record of a graduate student is stored at the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and in the applicable academic unit. For special students (not seeking a degree), the University keeps only signed forms pertaining to registration, for a period of two years.
ACCESS TO RECORDS AND DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION
8. The University considers the following as information it maintains for the purpose of making it available to the public:
a) degrees conferred by the University to an individual and the conferral date(s), and
b) the name of a recipient of a University scholarship, award, honor or other prize.
Except as described above, other information in the student record is provided strictly to the student to whom the information relates according to this policy and to applicable access–to- information and protection-of-privacy laws, or with the written consent of the student in question.
9. Students have the right to inspect all information contained in their own record, subject to applicable access–to-information and protection-of-privacy laws and with the exception of evaluations and letters of reference supplied to the University, with the understanding that they be kept confidential.
10. Students also have the right to request that erroneous information in their record be corrected, and that recipients of information found to be in error be advised of the correction.
11. Students wishing to inspect their record must make an appointment with an authorized official of the faculty or academic unit where the record is kept.
12. Upon written request to the Office of the Registrar, students whose account shows no outstanding balance may obtain an official transcript of their record of studies at the University or have copies of the record sent to a third party.
13. Only the Office of the Registrar is authorized to produce official transcripts. All official transcripts are complete and unabridged. The Office of the Registrar does not produce partial transcripts.
14. Transcripts issued directly to students bear the note "Issued to student."
15. Official documents from other institutions are not released or redirected.
16. Staff members, authorized representatives and consultants of the University are given access to information in the student record if they need the information to perform their duties or if such access is necessary and appropriate in the discharge of the University’s functions.
17. The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) and the Graduate Students’ Association (GSAED), as well as constituent organizations authorized by them, may obtain listings of students with names, uOttawa email addresses and telephone numbers to be able to provide services to their membership. Listings are provided by the Office of the Registrar upon written request signed by an authorized officer of the SFUO or the GSAED, with the understanding that the information will not be disclosed to third parties and will not be used for solicitation or commercial purposes.
Legally mandated access
18. The University may disclose the student record or portions of it to persons or agencies where required by applicable access-to-information and protection-of-privacy laws, by other applicable legislation, or by a court order, summons or subpoena directing the University to release information. The University may also release information to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities or to other government bodies for funding purposes, for statistical analyses, for enrollment audits or in accordance with the requirements of duly constituted professional licensing and certification bodies.
19. The University may release essential and appropriate information in a student record for emergencies affecting the health or safety of an individual or in a situation relating to an injury, illness or death to ease contact with the spouse, a close family relative or a friend.
PROTECTION OF RECORDS
20. Protection of the student record against damage, loss or unauthorized access is the responsibility of the officer designated by the dean or by director of the academic unit in which the records are kept and maintained. The student record must be kept in secured servers, in locked offices and in locked filing cabinets when not in use. Only authorized personnel may have access to the area in which student records are stored.
21. Control of access to electronic records is the responsibility of the Office of the Registrar, which, as guardian of the University’s electronic student records, ensures that only duly authorized employees needing the information in connection with their official duties are given permission to inspect, add, change or delete items in student records.
22. The Student Information System (SIS) custodian must protect electronic records against loss or destruction through regular data back-up procedures and through the storage of backed-up data in secure locations.
23. Employees who have been given access to electronic records must observe established security measures, such as frequently changing their password, not sharing a computer account with another person, not leaving a logged-on terminal unattended and always locking away input documents. Employees must refrain from inspecting information not relevant to their duties and are allowed to perform only those record transactions that their superior and the Office of the Registrar have authorized.
24. No exception may be made to this policy without the written permission of the Registrar.
Revised on September 19, 2011
(Office of the Vice-President, Academic and Provost)