Resolution


State of Alabama

Commission on Higher Education

Montgomery, Alabama

RESOLUTION

March 19, 1993

WHEREAS, the Code of Alabama, Title 16, Chapter 5 assigns the following responsibilities to the Commission on Higher Education: analyzing and evaluating the present and future needs and capabilities of postsecondary education; coordinating long-range planning for postsecondary education; and designing and establishing a state university and college information system to provide comprehensive, meaningful and timely information pertinent to the formulation of decisions and recommendations by the commission; and

WHEREAS, the advancement of technology, has made it possible to create a centralized, computerized data base of student record information which will allow for the dissemination of more timely information to assist in the implementation of the responsibilities outlined above; and

WHEREAS, in the document, "Investing in Alabama’s Future: Strategic Objectives for Higher Education," the Alabama Commission on Higher Education has called for the creation of a statewide student records data base; and

WHEREAS, the State of Alabama Senate Resolution 31. adopted April 23, 1991, directs the Alabama Commission on Higher Education to "proceed to establish (the) statewide computer data base to provide the legislature, the executive branch and the public with reports on students and their progress in higher education;" and

WHEREAS, the United State Congress passed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. which is designed to protect the privacy of a student's education records; and

WHEREAS, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 provides several exceptions under which student-identifiable information may be disclosed without consent to authorized agencies or organizations which are set out in Section 1232g(b)(l); and

WHEREAS, the Attorney General of the State of Alabama and the Office of General Counsel of the United States Department of Education in separate opinions have both determined that under the provisions outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and the Code of Alabama, Title 16. Chapter 5, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education is within its authority to collect information based on student records in order to fulfill its lawful duties;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that in the establishment of any statewide student records data base, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education commits to abide by all provisions relating to the disclosure of student record information as outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, United States Code, Section 1232(g). In particular, the commission commits that any studies conducted based on student records will be conducted in such a manner as will not permit the personal identification of students.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Alabama Commission on Higher Education will file all procedures relating to the collection and dissemination of student record information with the Alabama Administrative Procedure Division as required by the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Alabama Commission on Higher Education will not be considered the Office of Record for student data files, and that any request for information on an identified student will not be accepted by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education but will always be referred to the appropriate institutional Office of Record.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all employees of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education shall be made aware that it is their responsibility to maintain the privacy of student records and that failure on their part to follow established guidelines relating to the operation of the student record data base will result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal as well as possible legal action.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Alabama Commission on Higher Education agrees to accept legal liability for any unlawful disclosure of student records, which can be directly attributed solely to its own actions.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution become a part of the permanent records of the March 19, 1993, meeting of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.

 

Borden Morrow Chairman

Henry J. Hector Executive Director

 

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