Student Rights and Responsibilities
While no university may punish, forbid, heavily regulate, or restrict speech rights protected by the First Amendment, Texas A&M University-Central Texas aspires that its students will engage with members of the university community in a courteous, respectful, dignified, and academic manner. Each student shall have the right to participate in all areas and activities of the university, free from any form of discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, or veteran status in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. No university official or student, regardless of position or rank, shall violate these rights; any custom, tradition, or regulation in conflict will not be allowed to prevail. Students are expected at all times to recognize constituted authority, to conform to the ordinary rules of good conduct, to be truthful, to respect the rights of others, to protect private and public property, and to make the best of their time toward an education.
Principle of Equal Opportunity
A&M-Central Texas prohibits discrimination against individuals in its recruitment, hiring, training, and promotional processes on the basis of race, color, sex (except in rare occasions where sex is a bona fide occupational qualification), religion, age, national origin, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. Inquiries regarding faculty and staff compliance with this commitment may be directed to the Office of Human Resources, Warrior Hall, Room 424, (254) 519-8015 or the Title IX Coordinator, Warrior Hall Room 425I, (254) 519-5722, email@example.com.
Equal Educational Policy
In compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other applicable federal and state laws, A&M-Central Texas provides equal access to educational programs and activities without regard to race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. Questions regarding equal educational access may be directed to the Office of Human Resources, Warrior Hall, Room 424 (254) 519-8015 or the Title IX Coordinator, Warrior Hall Room 425I, (254) 519-5722, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Security Number Disclosure
Section 7(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S. Code §552a) requires that when any federal, state, or local government agency requests an individual to disclose his/her social security number (SSN), that individual must also be advised whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory or other authority the number is solicited, and for what purposes it will be used.
Accordingly, applicants for admission are advised that disclosure of the SSN is strongly recommended for admission as a student at A&M-Central Texas, in view of the practical administrative difficulties that would be encountered in maintaining adequate student records without continued use of the SSN. The SSN is used to verify the identity of the student; determine and record eligibility for student financial assistance, including loans, scholarships, grants, and allowances; determine and record eligibility for participation in Reserve Officers Training Corps programs; and other such related requirements that might arise. A&M-Central Texas has, for several years, consistently requested disclosure of the SSN on admissions application forms and other necessary student forms and documents. This is pursuant to statutes passed by the State of Texas and United States, regulations adopted by agencies of the State of Texas and United States, and by the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 - Official Notice to Students
Students' Education Records Policy for Texas A&M University-Central Texas
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended (FERPA), provides eligible students certain rights regarding their education records. An "eligible student" under FERPA is any student, regardless of their age, who attends or has attended a postsecondary institution. These rights are outlined in the Statement of Rights section below.
Statement of Rights
Texas A&M University-Central Texas encourages students to exercise all of their rights under FERPA (20 U.S.C. § 1232g). Operating under the premise that the educational process is a cooperative venture between a student and the university, we emphasize the following rights of eligible students:
- The right to inspect and review, with certain limited exceptions, the student's education records. A student must submit a written request to the appropriate A&M-Central Texas official identifying the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The appropriate A&M-Central Texas official will, within 45 days of receipt of the request for access, make arrangements for the student to inspect the record(s);
- The right to request the nondisclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) contained within the education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.
- A school official is a person or entity:
- employed by the university or the university system in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position;
- serving on a university governing body or duly authorized panel or committee; or
- employed by or under contract to the university to perform a special task, function, or service for the university.
- A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the information requested is necessary for that official to:
- perform appropriate tasks that are specified in his/her position description or in the performance of regularly assigned duties by a lawful supervisor;
- fulfill the terms of a contractual agreement;
- perform a task related to a student's education;
- perform a task related to the discipline of a student; or
- provide a service or benefit relating to the student or student's family, such as health care, financial aid, job placement, or former student-related activities.
- Disclosure to a school official having a legitimate educational interest does not constitute university authorization to transmit, share, or disclose any or all information received to third parties unless such disclosure is permitted or required by law.
- A school official is a person or entity:
- The right to request the amendment of their education records if the student believes the record is inaccurate or misleading. The student should submit a written request to the appropriate A&M-Central Texas official clearly identifying the part of the record the student wants changed and specifying why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the university decides to comply, the record will be amended, and the student notified, in writing, that the record has been amended. If the university decides not to comply, the student will be notified in writing of the decision and will be advised of the right to request a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate or misleading;
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education regarding alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name of the office that administers FERPA is the Family Policy Compliance Office.
A student is entitled to all the rights and protections given students under FERPA; however, information in student records may be provided to parents/legal guardians without the written consent of the student if the eligible student is a financial dependent of his or her parents/legal guardians as defined under Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
Under FERPA, A&M-Central Texas has established the following as directory information and may disclose the information without the student's written consent: student's name, address, email address, telephone number, dates of attendance, major field of study, classification, the most recent educational agency or institution attended, degrees, honors and awards received, weight and height of members of athletic teams, and participation in officially recognized activities and sports. Currently enrolled students wishing to withhold any or all directory information items may do so by completing the Information Release Restrictions Form and submitting it to the Registrar's Office. After this information is entered, a message block will appear on the monitor screen indicating that the student's records are confidential. “Confidential” will also appear in the top left-hand corner of the screen when that student’s records are accessed.
Once information has been published in a printed publication, it cannot be removed from that publication.
Only currently enrolled students are eligible to restrict directory information. Once a student has left the university, he/she can no longer set restrictions on directory information at the university. If a student restricts his/her directory information and leaves the university, the restriction continues until the student removes it.
Records Not Available Under FERPA
Students shall have access to all of their education records as maintained by the university with the exception of the following:
- A personal record kept by a university official which meets the following tests:
- it is in the personal possession of the individual who made it;
- information contained in it has never been revealed or made available to any other person except the maker's temporary substitute.
- An employment record which is used only in relation to a student's employment by the university, except where an individual in attendance at the university is employed as a result of his or her status as a student.
- Records relating to a student which are created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional, or paraprofessional capacity or assisting in that capacity, which are used in connection with providing treatment to a student are not disclosed to anyone other than the individuals providing the treatment.
- Financial records and statements of a student's parents/legal guardians.
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in the education records of a student prior to January 1, 1975.
- Confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in the education records of a student on or after January 1, 1975, if the student has waived his or her right to inspect and review the letters or statements.
- Records concerning admissions to an academic component of the university which the student has never attended.
Questions concerning FERPA may be referred to the Registrar at email@example.com or (254) 501-5857.
Certification for Dependency
Under provisions of FERPA, students enrolled in post-secondary educational institutions are deemed to “own” their education record from the first enrollment, regardless of the age of the student. Institutions may, but are not required to, grant access to certain non-directory information in a student's education record if the student is claimed as a dependent on his or her parent's/guardian's federal income tax return. Generally, non-directory information will not be released to a parent or guardian unless a Certification of Dependency Form is completed and signed by both the parent(s)/guardian(s) and the student and is brought to the Registrar's Office, Founder's Hall Room 108 or mailed to the Registrar's Office, 1001 Leadership Place, Killeen, TX, 76549. Until this form is filed, parents are not entitled to this information.
Penalties for Violating FERPA
The Family Policy Compliance Office reviews and investigates complaints of violations of FERPA. The penalty for violating FERPA is loss of all federal funding, including grants and financial aid.
If you witness or commit what you believe to be a possible FERPA violation, please notify the Compliance Officer immediately at 254-519-5722. The Compliance Officer will investigate the matter and determine what action, if any, should be taken. If you have any questions about FERPA compliance or the release of student information, please contact the Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-5857.
Texas Education Code (TEC) § 51.936(d) requires each university to publish in its university catalog a summary of the state hazing law. This requirement went into effect on May 30, 1995.
TEC § 51.936 requirement to publish a summary of Education Code Ch. 37, subchapter F. Hazing in the university catalog
The following is a summary of Chapter 37, subchapter F. (§§ 37.151-157) of the TEC, which prohibits hazing in Texas public or private high schools. TEC § 51.936 applies the prohibition on hazing as stated in Ch. 37 to institutions of higher education. This summary of Chapter 37 is provided as required by § 51.936(d).
Hazing is a criminal violation under Texas law. A person may be found guilty of criminal conduct for hazing, encouraging hazing, permitting hazing, or having knowledge of the planning of hazing incidents and failing to report in writing his/her knowledge to the Director of Student Affairs.
Both failing to report hazing and hazing that does not result in serious bodily injury are Class B misdemeanors. Hazing that results in serious bodily injury is a Class A misdemeanor. Hazing resulting in a death is a state jail felony. An organization found guilty of hazing may be fined $5,000 to $10,000 or, for incident causing personal injury or property damage, an amount double the loss or expenses incurred because of the hazing incident.
It is not a defense to prosecution that the person hazed consented to the hazing activity.
Any person reporting a specific hazing incident to the Director of Student Affairs or other appropriate institutional official is immune from civil and criminal liability unless the report is in bad faith or malicious.
This state law does not limit or affect an educational institution’s right to enforce its own penalties against hazing.
The Education Code defines hazing as “any intentional, knowing, or reckless act occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, by one person or acting with others, directed against a student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization.” The statute contains a list of conduct which constitutes hazing.