Trinity College is committed to protecting the personal privacy of members of the Trinity Community. Specific items of information about members of the Trinity Community, including current and former individual students, faculty, staff, parents, donors, and friends of the College, must be maintained for educational, research, and other institutional purposes. Recognizing that fact, it is Trinity College’s policy that such information be collected, maintained, and used by the College only for appropriate, necessary, and clearly defined purposes, and that such information be controlled and safeguarded in order to ensure the protection of personal privacy to the extent permitted by law. Personal information, other than directory information about students and standard personnel information about employees, is not to be released to anyone outside Trinity College without the permission of the individual, except in extraordinary circumstances permitted or required by law. The educational records of students are also subject to the privacy provisions of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
Individual offices may have even more restrictive policies about the disclosure of information for which they are stewards, and the rest of the College community must abide by these additional restrictions.
The offices collecting and having custody of information are immediately responsible for its protection; however, the ultimate protection comes from a community-wide awareness of the importance of privacy in our society and the many ways it can be eroded. Persons with responsibility for records containing personal information should exercise care to ensure accuracy and completeness. Safeguards should be provided to protect personal information against accidental or intentional misuse or improper disclosure within or outside Trinity College. All members of the Community with access to personal information have the responsibility to know what information can be released to whom and under what conditions, including knowing how to determine if a student has placed restrictions on his or her information that are more limited than the standard directory information.
When a member of the Trinity Community is asked by an office or individual at the College to provide information about himself or herself, that person should be informed of the purposes for which it will be used and the consequences, if any, of not supplying it. Such information should not be used or exchanged within the College for purposes other than those stated or legitimate purposes that would be reasonably expected, including those authorized by law.
Personal information, other than directory information about students and standard personnel information, should not be released to anyone outside Trinity College without the permission of the individual, except in extraordinary circumstances permitted or required by law. Directory information about students includes name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, enrollment status (full-, part-time, undergraduate, graduate), degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, and other similar information such as honors received. (see also Section III of the College Policy on the Confidentiality of Student Records, Faculty Records, and Guides to the College on Matters of Confidentiality, reprinted in the Student Handbook, pages 190-96). Under FERPA, students have the right to block the release of directory information without their prior consent, and all others in the College have the personal and collective responsibility to abide by the students’ indicated wishes. Standard personnel information comprises dates of Trinity employment, job classification or title, the department in which an individual is or was employed, and the Trinity telephone extension and campus addresses for current employees. Unless the employee indicates to the contrary, other members of the Trinity Community also have access to the employee’s home address, telephone number, and spouse’s name.
Federal and state laws give students and employees, respectively, the right to see certain records maintained about them. In accordance with such laws, and while respecting the privacy of others and the traditional confidentiality of faculty peer review and evaluation, an individual should be provided the means for seeing and obtaining copies of records about him or her maintained by the College, as well as for challenging their accuracy and completeness and the propriety of their use. Current College interpretation of state law is that faculty are entitled to see letters written by their department chairs, but not letters from external referees, students, or faculty colleagues within the College.
Additional Information on the College’s Policies
More complete information about the College’s privacy policies and regulations is in the College Policy on the Confidentiality of Student Records, Faculty Records, and Guides to the College on the Matter of Confidentiality. This policy is reprinted in the Student Handbook. Nothing in this brief summary should be interpreted as superseding this official policy statement.