Confidentiality

Many staff and faculty members handle a variety of proprietary and private information concerning colleagues, students, alumni, donors, or others associated with the university, as well as confidential information regarding university business. This material may include payroll figures, personal data such as employee home addresses, donor files, or student records. It is the responsibility of all WPI employees to respect the highest level of privacy for their colleagues and other members of the WPI community. Disclosure and discussion of confidential information obtained from university or department records, either during or after employment with WPI, is impermissible unless such disclosure is a normal requirement of an employee's position and has been so authorized. If an employee is unsure about the appropriateness of disclosing certain information, he or she should consult with a supervisor, department head, Human Resources, or the General Counsel.

In the course of employment, certain employees will have access to confidential information related to research. This sometimes includes information related to WPI-owned intellectual property or information belonging to a research sponsor for which the university has agreed to maintain confidentiality. It may also include confidential information related to research

subjects. Employees will be expected to respect the confidential nature of such information and not to disclose it in any manner unless specifically authorized by the principal investigator of the research project.


Questions and Answers:

Q.  I received a call from another WPI employee requesting the home addresses, phone numbers and/or personal e-mail addresses of several staff members in my office. Should I release this information?
A. Employees expect the university to exercise great discretion in sharing personal information, and their privacy should therefore be respected. An employee's home address, phone number, and/or personal e-mail addresses should not be released without his/her consent, unless a case of emergency - a medical crisis, for instance - warrants this action.

Q.  My supervisor is identified as the financial manager on a number of budget accounts. I maintain the account and budget records for our department and have been requested by a coworker to provide information regarding a particular transaction affecting one of the accounts. Should I share this information?
A.  No. Only the financial manager for that account should answer questions regarding transactions. You should refer the coworker to your supervisor, who can best decide whether or not to provide the answer.

Q.  As part of my job as a faculty member and academic advisor, I am often required to meet with our department’s students and discuss their grades. Should this information be treated confidentially?
A.  Yes. Grades are considered confidential information, so care should be taken to make certain that a student's grade information is released only to him or her.

 
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