Student and Applicant Record Policy

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					Student and Applicant Record Policy
1. Purpose
2. General Principles
3. Electronic Information and Networked Information
4. Information Contained in Student Records
5. Storage and Retention of Records
6. Access to Records and Disclosure of Information
    6.1. Public Access
    6.2. Student Access
    6.3. Faculty and Staff Access
    6.4. Student Government Access
    6.5. Legally Mandated Access
7. Period of Review
8. Summary

Feedback to University Registrar


1. Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to define the rights and obligations of students and of the University and its
officers in matters pertaining to student records and applications. This policy is presented in accordance
with The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, (herein after referred to as the "Act")
and should be read and interpreted within the context of the "Act". The Student and Applicant Record
Policy should guide the policies and practices of the Office of the University Registrar (OUR), and of
individual Faculties and Schools who are the primary and secondary custodians of data collected and
stored about all applicants, students, and former students in degree programs, and certain non-degree
programs, for the University. Campus services and affiliated student organizations that from time to
time, and for specific purposes, have access to components of student records must also adhere to this
policy.

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2. General Principles
All documentation submitted to the University in support of an application for admission, residence
accommodation or financial award, or any appeal or petition, becomes the property of the University.

The OUR acts as the official custodian of student information and strives, through systems, processes,
and education to ensure the security and privacy of personal information, within the context of any
institutional policies guiding the broader networked environment. The responsibility for engendering
the protection of privacy must be part of the University's culture and must be fostered by all. This
includes: the Deans, Directors, and Department Heads, who ultimately hold responsibility for
authorizing access to information for individuals within their Faculties, Schools, and Departments, and
those campus services and affiliated student organizations who for specific purposes occasionally have
limited access to student records.

The University is committed to taking every reasonable step to protect the confidentiality and privacy of
the information contained in the records of applicants, students, and former students. Unless compelled
to do so by law, or authorized by the student in writing, the University does not disclose the contents of
student records to any party outside the University unless it constitutes public information as defined
later in this policy statement. Within the University, faculty and staff members are given access to
information contained in student records on a NEED-TO-KNOW basis only, that is, if they require the
information in order to perform their official duties. Student governments may be given limited student
data by OUR for the purpose of communicating with students. Access to student records and disclosure
of information is more fully described in Section 6 of this policy statement.

A record of students' academic achievements at the University is preserved indefinitely (see Section 5
below). All other personal information contained in students' files may be disposed of when no longer
required 1 in accordance with Queen's University's Record Management Policy and in accordance with
the University's Student and Applicant Records' Retention and Disposition Schedules. 2

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3. Electronic Information and Networked Information
The increasing reliance upon the electronic collection, processing, and distribution of student and
applicant information presents new challenges for the protection of privacy. Distributed network access
to retrieve and manipulate data through new information systems, such as the student data warehouse 3
, may make traditional security restrictions for information access inappropriate. As a result, this
imposes a requirement of due diligence upon Deans, Department Heads, and Directors, who are
responsible for delegating authority to access student records. This responsibility for due diligence also
rests upon all authorized users, to ensure the appropriate use and protection of confidentiality of
student and applicant information. The OUR administers systems security for the Student Information
System (SIS) 4 and provides training and access to change or update electronic student or applicant
records, as directed by the head of the Faculty, School, or Department and approved or authorized by
the University Registrar.

1
    Queen’s University Record Management Policy
2
    Available from the University Registrar
3
 The student data warehouse is a database of student, applicant, course, and instructor records that has been
created from the Student Information System and the University Information System.
4
 Student Information System (SIS): Term used to describe the Office of the University Registrar's electronic system
used for student or applicant record administration.
The growing use and utility of electronic mail (e-mail) and the Internet for communication present some
unique opportunities and challenges. Faculty and staff must use electronic forms of communication with
sensitivity and due diligence for the protection of students. In all cases, concern for the protection of the
privacy of student and applicant information should take priority over administrative efficiency. To
encourage and facilitate electronic communication between instructors and their classes, and between
the University and students and applicants, secure e-mail distribution mechanisms (such as Listserv) may
be used for broadcast or other group communication. Student names and e-mail addresses may be
reviewed by the authorized owner of the class or group Listserv distribution list, with the only exception
being those who have requested "additional privacy" (see Section 6.1 below).

When communicating with students and applicants, e-mail often provides the most timely and efficient
medium for communication, but sensitive and confidential information should not normally be
communicated electronically. The medium is not considered, secure for the primary reason that it is not
always possible to know the source or destination of the communication to an electronic address. In all
cases, authorized University personnel must make a reasonable effort to correctly identify the requester
and/or recipient of the information and should attempt to ensure that the medium of communication is
secure and appropriate for the circumstances.

All students will be asked during the registration process if they want their e-mail addresses to be
included in printed and on-line or electronic directories. For those who respond positively, e-mail
addresses will be included in the information maintained in the student data warehouse, the "Who's
Where" 5 printed directory, and in public on-line e-mail directory services maintained by the University.

Again, it is noted that to facilitate electronic communication with students by authorized University
personnel, the Listserv e-mail distribution mechanism is available (as above Section 3).

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4. Information Contained in Student Records
A student's record may consist of all or some of the following:

(a) biographic information (name, address, e-mail address, telephone, date of birth, citizenship, next of
kin, social insurance number, student number, photograph, etc.);

(b) basis of admission (application, record of previous studies, letters of recommendation, test results,
etc.);

(c) enrolment information (programs of study, dates of attendance, courses taken);

(d) performance information (examination results, narrative evaluations, clinical evaluations,
distinctions, sanctions, degrees obtained);

5
    Alma Mater Society (AMS) publication; also see Section 6.4 of this document.
(e) results of petitions and appeals filed by the student;

(f) medical information relevant to a student's academic performance, and provided at the request, or
with the consent of the student; and

(g) financial information (charges, payments, awards, debts, etc.)

A student's electronic file includes biographic, academic, and financial information. This includes data
such as: name, address(es), student number, social insurance number, other biographic information,
basis of admission, degree program and concentration, courses enrolled, transferred credits, rulings,
grades, averages and ranks, tuition fees, debts, and scholarships and awards.

As a general principle, the University should collect no more information than it needs, namely, all
required student and applicant information, and the minimal amount of additional information required
to accomplish a legitimate institutional purpose. The University should be explicit about the purpose for
which information is gathered at the time of collection and request authorization to release certain
personal information externally where applicable.

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5. Storage and Retention of Records
(a) The University maintains student records in hard copy and electronic form.

(b) Electronic records contain all the information required to monitor the progress and performance of
students, produce periodic performance reports, and provide attestations of achievement and official
transcripts of academic records. They also form the basis of management information needed for the
operation of the University and for enrolment reports and statistical information required by
government agencies. All portions of a student's electronic record, which are needed to produce official
transcripts, are maintained indefinitely. As such a record is retained on a permanent basis; it must be
reviewed periodically, especially at times of upgrade or migration to a new system. Moreover,
metadata 6 pertaining to the system itself should be maintained, in hard copy form, in the Archives.

(c) Physical records are retained or disposed of according to the University's Student and Applicant
Records' Retention and Disposition Schedules. 7

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6
 Metadata, or "data on data", includes a system overview, program documentation, record layouts, code books,
and any other record that will ensure proper access to, and retrieval of, electronic information.
7
    Available from the University Registrar.
6. Access to Records and Disclosure of Information

6.1 Public Access
Personal information (as defined in Section 2 of the "Act") contained in the student record is disclosed
only under circumstances summarized in Sections 42 and 21 of the "Act". As follows:

Section 2:
      “Personal information” means recorded information about an identifiable individual, including,

      (a) information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual
      orientation or marital or family status of the individual,

      (b) information relating to the education or the medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or
      employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the
      individual has been involved,

      (c) any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual,

      (d) the address, telephone number, fingerprints or blood type of the individual,

      (e) the personal opinions or views of the individual except where they relate to another individual,

      (f) correspondence sent to an institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private
      or confidential nature, and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the contents of the
      original correspondence,

      (g) the views or opinions of another individual about the individual, and

      (h) the individual’s name where it appears with other personal information relating to the
      individual or where the disclosure of the name would reveal other personal information about the
      individual; (“renseignements personnels”)

Section 42(1):
      42. An institution shall not disclose personal information in its custody or under its control except,

      (a) in accordance with Part II;

      (b) where the person to whom the information relates has identified that information in particular
      and consented to its disclosure;

      (c) for the purpose for which it was obtained or compiled or for a consistent purpose;

      (d) where disclosure is made to an officer or employee of the institution who needs the record in
      the performance of his or her duties and where disclosure is necessary and proper in the discharge
      of the institution’s functions;
(e) for the purpose of complying with an Act of the Legislature or an Act of Parliament or a treaty,
agreement or arrangement thereunder;

(f) where disclosure is by a law enforcement institution,

      (i) to a law enforcement agency in a foreign country under an arrangement, a written
      agreement or treaty or legislative authority, or

      (ii) to another law enforcement agency in Canada ;

(g) where disclosure is to an institution or a law enforcement agency in Canada to aid an
investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding or from which a law
enforcement proceeding is likely to result;

(h) in compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual if upon disclosure
notification thereof is mailed to the last known address of the individual to whom the information
relates;

(i) in compassionate circumstances, to facilitate contact with the next of kin or a friend of an
individual who is injured, ill or deceased;

(j) to a member of the Legislative Assembly who has been authorized by a constituent to whom the
information relates to make an inquiry on the constituent’s behalf or, where the constituent is
incapacitated, has been authorized by the next of kin or legal representative of the constituent;

(k) to a member of the bargaining agent who has been authorized by an employee to whom the
information relates to make an inquiry on the employee’s behalf or, where the employee
is incapacitated, has been authorized by the next-of-kin or legal representative of the employee;

(l) to the responsible minister;

(m) to the Information and Privacy Commissioner; and

Note: Effective June 10, 2006, clause (m) is amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 2005, chapter 28,
Schedule F, subsection 6 (1) by striking out “and” at the end. See: 2005, c. 28, Sched. F, ss. 6 (1),
9 (2).

(n) to the Government of Canada in order to facilitate the auditing of shared cost programs. R.S.O.
1990, c. F.31, s. 42.

Note: Effective June 10, 2006, section 42 is amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 2005, chapter 28,
Schedule F, subsection 6 (1) by adding “and” at the end of clause (n) and by adding the following
clause:

(o) subject to subsection (2), an educational institution may disclose personal information in its
alumni records for the purpose of its own fundraising activities if,
            (i) the educational institution and the person to whom the information is disclosed have
            entered into a written agreement that satisfies the requirements of subsection (3), and

            (ii) the personal information is reasonably necessary for the fundraising activities.

Section 21(2)
      (2) A head, in determining whether a disclosure of personal information constitutes an unjustified
      invasion of personal privacy, shall consider all the relevant circumstances, including whether,

      (a) the disclosure is desirable for the purpose of subjecting the activities of the Government of
      Ontario and its agencies to public scrutiny;

      (b) access to the personal information may promote public health and safety;

      (c) access to the personal information will promote informed choice in the purchase of goods and
      services;

      (d) the personal information is relevant to a fair determination of rights affecting the person who
      made the request;

      (e) the individual to whom the information relates will be exposed unfairly to pecuniary or other
      harm;

      (f) the personal information is highly sensitive;

      (g) the personal information is unlikely to be accurate or reliable;

      (h) the personal information has been supplied by the individual to whom the information relates
      in confidence; and

      (i) the disclosure may unfairly damage the reputation of any person referred to in the
      record. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, s. 21 (2).

Section 21(3):
      Presumed invasion of privacy

      (3) A disclosure of personal information is presumed to constitute an unjustified invasion of
      personal privacy where the personal information,

      (a) relates to a medical, psychiatric or psychological history, diagnosis, condition, treatment or
      evaluation;

      (b) was compiled and is identifiable as part of an investigation into a possible violation of law,
      except to the extent that disclosure is necessary to prosecute the violation or to continue the
      investigation;
      (c) relates to eligibility for social service or welfare benefits or to the determination of benefit
      levels;

      (d) relates to employment or educational history;

      (e) was obtained on a tax return or gathered for the purpose of collecting a tax;

      (f) describes an individual’s finances, income, assets, liabilities, net worth, bank balances, financial
      history or activities, or creditworthiness;

      (g) consists of personal recommendations or evaluations, character references or personnel
      evaluations; or

      (h) indicates the individual’s racial or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or religious or political
      beliefs or associations. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, s. 21 (3).

Section 21(4):
      (4) Despite subsection (3), a disclosure does not constitute an unjustified invasion of personal
      privacy if it,

      (a) discloses the classification, salary range and benefits, or employment responsibilities of an
      individual who is or was an officer or employee of an institution or a member of the staff of a
      minister;

      (b) discloses financial or other details of a contract for personal services between an individual and
      an institution; or

      (c) discloses details of a licence or permit or a similar discretionary financial benefit conferred on
      an individual by an institution or a head under circumstances where,

             (i) the individual represents 1 per cent or more of all persons and organizations in Ontario
             receiving a similar benefit, and

             (ii) the value of the benefit to the individual represents 1 per cent or more of the total value
             of similar benefits provided to other persons and organizations in Ontario. R.S.O. 1990,
             c. F.31, s. 21 (4).

Section 21(5): Refusal to confirm or deny existence of record
      (5) A head may refuse to confirm or deny the existence of a record if disclosure of the record would
      constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, s. 21 (5).

The University will disclose a minimum of information about students who have graduated, which is
considered to be public information, as follows:

(a) degrees obtained and dates conferred,

and in most circumstances,
(b) scholarships and the dates awarded.

Whether a student is currently registered is not considered to be public information, and may not be
disclosed except in accordance with Section 42 of the "Act".

Students may request additional privacy for reasons of personal security, for example, if they are being,
or are in fear of being, threatened or harassed. All such requests should be directed to the Associate
University Registrar, Student Records and Services, and may be supported by the student's academic
dean or the Dean of Student Affairs. Students' electronic records on the Student Information System
(SIS) will be marked with an "additional privacy" flag, and their name and address fields will be
concealed, limiting even authorized use. In those instances where a faculty or staff member needs to
know the concealed name to perform official duties, he/she may contact the Associate University
Registrar, Student Records and Services.

The minimum of public information disclosed, as described in this document (Section 6.1 a, b above),
will not be released for those students who have their records marked with an "additional privacy" flag.
In addition, the "additional privacy" flag will be included in place of personal information in the student
data warehouse, again limiting even authorized use.

Students with an "additional privacy" flag will continue to be included in class or group Listserv e-mail
distribution lists. However, their names and e-mail addresses will be concealed from the authorized
user.

In accordance with the "Act", the student number is considered confidential personal information (the
"Act" Section 2, c), the disclosure of which constitutes an unjustified invasion of personal privacy (the
"Act" Section 42). Student numbers and PINs 8 , for example, should not normally be released over the
telephone to students 9, unless written authorization to do so is provided. For the purposes of
communication and expediency in classes, a four-digit identifier may be used in place of the confidential
student number. This can be achieved by dropping the first two digits and the last digit from the student
number; in most cases, this should provide a unique identifier. Grades and evaluative comments are also
confidential, and instructors should develop a process for returning graded material that does not
jeopardize this confidentiality.

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6.2 Student Access
(a) Students normally have the right to inspect documents contained in their own record; however, the
University may refuse to disclose personal information pursuant to Section 49 of the "Act", which

8
 A "PIN", or Personal Identification Number, is assigned to all students at the time of their first pre-registration,
and, in conjunction with their student number, is required for students to access QCARD (Queen's Computerized
Academic and Registration Database).
9
    In other words, students should "self identify" their own student number.
includes an exemption for "evaluative or opinion material" such as confidential evaluations and letters
of reference supplied to the University. As follows:

Section 49:
      49. A head may refuse to disclose to the individual to whom the information relates personal
      information,

      (a) where section 12, 13, 14, 14.1, 14.2, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 or 22 would apply to the disclosure
      of that personal information;

      (b) where the disclosure would constitute an unjustified invasion of another individual’s personal
      privacy;

      (c) that is evaluative or opinion material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability,
      eligibility or qualifications for employment or for the awarding of government contracts and other
      benefits where the disclosure would reveal the identity of a source who furnished information to
      the institution in circumstances where it may reasonably have been assumed that the identity of
      the source would be held in confidence;

      Note: Effective June 10, 2006, clause (c) is repealed by the Statutes of Ontario, 2005, chapter 28,
      Schedule F, section 7 and the following substituted:

      (c) that is evaluative or opinion material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability,
      eligibility or qualifications for the awarding of government contracts and other benefits where the
      disclosure would reveal the identity of a source who furnished information to the institution in
      circumstances where it may reasonably have been assumed that the identity of the source would
      be held in confidence;

      (c.1) if the information is supplied explicitly or implicitly in confidence and is evaluative or opinion
      material compiled solely for the purpose of,

             (i) assessing the teaching materials or research of an employee of an educational institution
             or of a person associated with an educational institution,

             (ii) determining suitability, eligibility or qualifications for admission to an academic program
             of an educational institution, or

             (iii) determining suitability for an honour or award to recognize outstanding achievement or
             distinguished service;

      See: 2005, c. 28, Sched. F, ss. 7, 9 (2).

      (d) that is medical information where the disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the
      mental or physical health of the individual;
       (e) that is a correctional record where the disclosure could reasonably be expected to reveal
       information supplied in confidence; or

       (f) that is a research or statistical record. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31, s. 49; 2001, c. 28, s. 22 (4); 2002,
       c. 2, ss. 15 (4), 19 (7); 2002, c. 18, Sched. K, s. 10.

(b) Students have the right to request that erroneous information contained in their record be
corrected, and that recipients of any incorrect information be advised of the correction. According to
Section 47(2)(b)of the "Act", a student may "require that a statement of disagreement be attached to
the information reflecting any correction that was requested but not made".

(c) Registered students have direct access to their electronic record via QCARD (Queen's Computerized
Academic and Registration Database) which contains biographic, academic and financial information.
Students wishing to inspect their physical record should make an appointment with an authorized
official of the Faculty or School where the record is kept. Student numbers and PIN's will not normally be
released over the telephone to students, unless written authorization to do so is provided.

(d) Upon formal request to the Office of the University Registrar and payment of a fee, students whose
fee account shows no outstanding balance may obtain an official transcript of their record of studies at
the University or have copies thereof sent to a third party. Official transcripts will be complete and
unabridged. (Transcripts show the scholarships granted, programs of study followed, courses taken,
results obtained, and degrees awarded. They may also contain the student's overall standing, promotion
comments, disciplinary rulings, and information on awards of distinction.)

(e) Students will not be allowed access to official documents from other institutions, nor will official
documents from other universities be released or redirected.

(f) Students only may have access to information about their academic records or financial accounts
with the University (i.e., no academic or financial information will be released to a third party, including
parents and guardians, without the student's written authorization).

(g) Students with a debt to the University may be sanctioned 10 under Senate policy and denied access to
personal information such as marks, official transcripts, and diplomas, until such time as the debt is
completely discharged.

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10
  Sanctioned Debt - "Any student with an overdue debt with the University will not be permitted to register or to
receive examination results, official transcripts, or marks reports until the outstanding account is settled in full or
until an acceptable arrangement for settling the account is made by the department(s) concerned. In no case will a
diploma be released to a student with an outstanding debt with the University."
6.3 Faculty and Staff Access
Faculty and staff members of the University are given access to information contained in student
records if they NEED TO KNOW the information in order to perform their official duties. As a general
rule, only employees involved in some aspect of academic administration or student affairs are given
access to the contents of student records (see the "Act", Section 42(d)).

For example, individual instructors are not normally entitled to see any part of a student's record not
directly related to her/his specific course, including past academic performance and letters of reference.

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6.4 Student Government Access
Students become members of the Alma Mater Society (AMS) or the Society of Professional and
Graduate Students (SPGS) when they pay student activity fees. Students may opt out of certain fees,
which denies them access to specific services/activities. The OUR may provide the student government
with labels or lists for the purposes of communicating with students or identifying eligibility for some
services.

The AMS publishes, usually annually, a student directory called the "Who's Where", for distribution on
campus only. The "Who's Where" directory lists the names, e-mail addresses, degree program and year,
and certain address information for all registered students who wish to be included. Students are asked
during the registration process if they want to be included and specifically what information may be
published. By default, students are not included unless they specifically authorize disclosure. Students
desiring additional privacy beyond blocking publication of the above information in the "Who's Where"
student directory are directed to speak to the Associate University Registrar, Student Records & Services
(see Section 6.1 above).

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6.5 Legally Mandated Access
Specified records or portions thereof may be provided: 1) to persons or agencies pursuant to a court
order, summons, or subpoena directing the University to release information; 2) to the Ministry of
Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities in connection with enrolment audits;
3) to Statistics Canada for national surveys; or, 4) in accordance with the requirements of duly
constituted professional licensing and certification bodies; and, 5) in accordance with Section 42 (1) of
the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

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7. Period of Review
This Student and Applicant Record Policy will stand effective as of September 1, 1998. The OUR will
annually review the information contained herein, with particular consideration of its continued
accuracy and implementation.
Feedback concerning this document may be directed to the Office of the University Registrar, Attention:
Student and Applicant Record Policy, or via e-mail at ourweb@queensu.ca.

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8. Summary
The philosophy of the Office of the University Registrar, acting as the primary custodian of student
information, is to provide appropriate access to information while protecting the confidentiality of
student and applicant records. For circumstances where this document is silent, or where there may be
a discrepancy or a dispute, The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, will always apply.

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