Message on Law Enforcement Requests for Information
Attention: Faculty and Staff
In response to the events of September 11th, 2001, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, which is designed to strengthen the ability of the federal government to gather and share information that may be helpful in combating terrorism. Title II of the Act dramatically broadens the power of the government to acquire information through Internet Service Providers, telephone system operators and cable operators. These requests may include formal requests for the preservation of information, subpoenas, search warrants and various types of court orders. There are no exceptions in the Act for institutions of higher education, and the provisions of the Act may come into play because of the presence of both sophisticated technology and foreign nationals at colleges and universities.
The Act amends the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 ("FERPA"), also known as the Buckley Amendment. FERPA allows students access to their own educational records and protects the privacy of those records by restricting the College's ability to disclose them without student consent. The Patriot Act amendments change the law to make it legally permissible for colleges and universities to provide certain types of information from student records without student consent in response to law enforcement requests.
If you receive a court order, search warrant, subpoena, or other request for information, pertaining to the College or its faculty, staff or students, from a local, state or federal law enforcement official, you should contact the Vice President for Finance and Administration before responding, so that he can review the request.