USA Patriot Act Policies

Approved by WPI's legal counsel on July 17, 2005

WPI's Policy on Requests for Personal Information about Faculty, Staff, and Students

Not everyone is authorized to respond on behalf of WPI to requests for personal information.

This Policy outlines how university faculty and staff whose position responsibilities do not cover providing this type of information should handle requests for personal information including requests under the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (the "USA PATRIOT Act" or "Act"). The Act covers four areas:

  • Privacy of Student Records
  • Information Technology
  • Subpoenas, Warrants, and Court Orders
  • Environmental Health & Safety

For more information, view the Provisions of the Act (PDF).

The Act amends the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (see WPI's FERPA Compliance Statement) to permit or require educational institutions to disclose education records to federal law enforcement officials without student consent or knowledge, in some circumstances. The Act also amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA).

In order for the university to meet the compliance requirements of the USA PATRIOT Act and its legal responsibilities to protect the privacy of and safeguard personal information, university employees will follow the following protocols in responding to requests for personal information (e.g., court orders, subpoenas, warrants, and written and oral requests for information):

If a request is received during normal business hours:

  1. Do not respond/produce any documents. Immediately contact one of the following designated university representatives in this order:
    1. University Compliance Officer (508-831-6919)
    2. Associate Provost for Academic Affairs (508-831-5514)
    3. Chief of Campus Police (508-831-5433)
    The university representative will then handle the matter in consultation with university legal counsel.
  2. Do not discuss or disclose ANY information regarding ANY legal request for information with anyone, including the person being investigated, except for one of the three above-named university designees. Federal law may make it a crime to notify the individual on whom information is sought.

If a request is received after normal business hours:

  1. Do not respond/produce any documents. Notify the requesting person that the matter will be referred to an authorized university representative for review during normal business hours.
  2. Do not discuss or disclose ANY information regarding ANY legal request for information with anyone, including the person being investigated, except for one of the three above-named university designees. Federal law may make it a crime to notify the individual on whom information is sought.

WPI's Policy on Student Employees' Response to Requests for Personal Information about Faculty, Staff, and Students

Student employees should not respond to requests for information other than as described in their job function.

If a request outside the job description is received:

  1. Do not respond or produce any documents. Refer the requestor to your supervisor.

    If your supervisor is not present, refer the requestor to campus police.
  2. Do not discuss or disclose ANY information regarding ANY request for information with anyone. In particular, federal law may make it a crime to notify The individual on whom information is sought.
 
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