It is the College’s policy to treat the student as the person primarily privileged to authorize release of personal information. This policy reflects our philosophy that an important goal of undergraduate education is to continue the student’s development as an autonomous adult. The College encourages students to share information with their parents or legal guardians, but ultimately the decision of what information to share rests with the student. Hence, the vast majority of communications are directed to the student rather than to the parents/guardians. For example, grades are sent only to the student, unless the student gives written authorization to the registrar to send grades to a parent or guardian.
We recognize, however, that this commitment to fostering the development of the student must be balanced with the parents’ interest in the well-being and progress of their student in the College, and we recognize that there are times in which parental involvement can be in everyone’s best interests. Thus, while the general policy is to be protective of the student’s privacy, there are specific instances enumerated below in which a parent or legal guardian will be notified. In such instances, we believe it is appropriate for the student to inform her/his parent or guardian directly, so whenever possible we will allow time for students themselves to do so. However, in critical situations where prompt notification is prudent, a member of the dean’s staff will contact a parent or guardian as soon as possible.
1. Change of status imposed by the College
A change in the status of a student at the College may be imposed as a result of disciplinary action or unsatisfactory academic progress. If a student is placed on probation, suspended, or expelled, parents are notified. It should be noted that less severe instances of disciplinary or academic action may result in warnings to the student, of which parents are not formally notified.
2. Transport to a hospital in critical situations
Law prohibits health care professionals from disclosing medical information to the parent or guardian of a student without the student’s explicit consent. However, when a student needs to be transported to the hospital in a critical situation, the parent or guardian of the student will be notified. Following the general policy, when the situation permits, we will wait until the student her/himself has the opportunity to notify the parent or guardian or until the student gives explicit consent for a third party to do so.
The parent or guardian of the student will be notified if the student is placed under arrest while on College property and detained by law enforcement officials. Note that the College does not post bail for arrested students. If a student receives a citation for a summary offense for which they are not detained, e.g., underage drinking or disorderly conduct, the College generally will not notify the parent or guardian, but the police might choose to do so themselves. In addition, if a student is arrested away from the campus, the College generally will not become involved and so will not inform the parent or guardian, even if the incident comes to our attention.
4. Unexplained absence from campus
If it comes to the attention of College officials that a student is inexplicably absent from campus for a prolonged period, College officials may contact a parent or guardian in order to ascertain the whereabouts of the student. However, normally, College officials will first try to contact the student’s confidential contact of record to locate the student. Students are responsible for identifying their confidential contact in their online student record. The College cannot be responsible for a student’s failure to be in touch with her/his parents.
Note: The College reserves the right to notify a parent or guardian of a student for reasons other than those listed above, based on our judgment of what is in the best interests of the student and of the College. Individual deans may contact parents when their student is failing to make satisfactory progress or when alcohol or other illegal substances are involved.