FACULTY RECORDS POLICY
The Oregon Legislature and the Board of Higher Education have recognized by law the importance of maintaining the faculty member's right to privacy in an educational environment. Southern Oregon University is now bound by law to carry out such policy. This policy is promulgated in accordance with ORS 351.065 and the Administrative Rules of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. The Administrative Rules of OSBHE and the ORS shall control in the event of any conflict with the SOU Faculty Records policy.
Limitation on Records to Be Maintained
Acting through its various divisions and departments, Southern Oregon University may maintain only such records as are demonstrably and substantially relevant to the educational, administrative, and research purposes of this institution.
(1) "Personal Records" means records containing information kept by the institution, division, or department concerning a faculty member and furnished by him or by others about him at his or at the institution's, division's, or department's request, including, but not limited to, information as to discipline, counseling, membership activity, other behavioral records, professional preparation and experience, professional performance (e.g. assignment and workload, quality of teaching, research, and service to the institution), personnel data relating to such matters as promotions, tenure, leaves, retirement credits and the like, and professional activities external to the institution, including, but not necessarily limited to, awards, recognition, research activities, travel.
(2) "Records of Academic Achievement" are reports of credits earned toward a degree or in post-doctoral work and/or certificate(s), diploma(s), license(s), degree(s) received and dates thereof.
(3) "Directory Information" is that information generally needed in locating a named faculty member, including information readily found in published documents.
Certain Information Not Required to Be Given by Faculty Members
No faculty member shall be required to give -- although the faculty member may voluntarily provide -- information as to race, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, political affiliation or preferences, except as required by state statute, federal law, or valid federal rules, regulations, or orders. In those instances in which the faculty member is asked for such self-designation for any purpose (including federal requests for information), the request shall state the purpose of the inquiry and shall inform the individual of the right to decline to respond. Except as the faculty member makes the foregoing information available, or except as required by state or federal law, rule, or regulation, there shall be no designation in faculty personnel record files as to the faculty member's race, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, or preferences.
Locations and Custody of Faculty Records
(1) The number of files relating to the evaluation of a faculty member shall be limited to three. One file of personal records relating to evaluation of the faculty member shall be kept by each of the following: President, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, and the appropriate academic dean or division or department in which the faculty member is employed. Faculty records pertaining to matters other than evaluation shall not be limited to the three files designated above.
(2) All records containing personal information about faculty members shall be kept in secured files.
(3) The head of each academic or administrative unit maintaining faculty records shall be responsible for maintaining the confidentiality and security of all faculty records within that unit in accordance with the provisions of these regulations.
Release and Access to Faculty Records
(1) Appropriate information about the faculty member may be released upon request and without the faculty member's consent. Such information shall be limited to the following:
(a) Directory information: the faculty member's full name, campus address and telephone number, home address, birthday (as distinguished from birthdate) and such other information as is readily found in published documents such as institutional directories and catalogs;
(b) Objective evidence of a faculty member's academic achievement, limited to information as to the number of credits earned toward a degree or in post-doctoral work, and certificate(s), diploma(s), license(s), degree(s) received and dates thereof;
(c) Salary information and the record of terms or conditions of employment.
(2) All other information contained in faculty records is considered confidential and may not be released to any person or agency without the faculty member's written consent. Exceptions to this policy are limited to the following:
(a) Records of a faculty member are available to University personnel who have a demonstrably legitimate need to review them in order to fulfill their official, professional responsibility with regard to the faculty member;
(b) Upon receipt of a subpoena or other court order or process seeking access to faculty records, the recipient unit head must take reasonable efforts to notify the faculty member (including sending a registered or certified letter to the address of record) and must notify the President or his designated representative prior to any institutional responses. The latter will determine whether or not appropriate University personnel should appear in court to test the validity of the subpoena or court order or process;
(c) The University President or his designated representative may release personal information contained in faculty records only when he determines that there is a clear and present danger to the safety of the faculty member or others and/or property and that disclosure of relevant personal information about the faculty member is essential in order to avoid or substantially minimize the danger. (The basis for such determination shall be provided to the faculty member in writing.) No such disclosure shall violate any evidentiary or testimonial privilege accorded by law.
Open Faculty Record Files
No regulation, rule, or order promulgated pursuant to this section shall deny to a faculty member full access to the member's personnel file or personal records kept by the board or its institutions, schools, or departments, except as follows:
(1) Letters and other information submitted in confidence to the board or its institutions, schools, or departments prior to July 1, 1975, shall be maintained in the files designated. However, if a faculty member requests access to those files, the anonymity of the contributor of letters and other information obtained prior to July 1, 1975, shall be protected. The full text shall be made available except that portions of the text which would serve to identify the contributor shall be excised by a faculty committee. Only the names of the contributors and the excised portions of the documents may be kept in a file other than the three prescribed by Section 5 of ORS 351.065.
(2) Confidential letters and other information submitted to or solicited after July 1, 1975, by the board or its institutions, schools or departments prior to the employment of a prospective employee are exempt from the provisions of this section. However, if a prospective employee is employed by the board or its institutions, schools, or departments, the confidential pre-employment materials shall be placed in the three authorized files. If a faculty member requests access to the member's files, the anonymity of the contributor of confidential pre-employment letters and other pre-employment information shall be protected. The full text shall be made available, except that portions of the text which would serve to identify the contributor shall be excised and retained in a file other than the three designated in Section 5 of ORS 351.065.
Post-Employment Evaluative Materials
After July 1, 1975, the board, its institutions, schools, or departments when evaluating its employed faculty members shall not solicit nor accept letters, documents, or other materials, given orally or in written form, from individuals or groups who wish their identity kept anonymous or the information they provide kept confidential.
Access to and Correction of Records
(1) The personal file shall be only open to the faculty member and to those officials of the institution who have demonstrable need of such access in fulfilling their official professional duties.
(2) All evaluative materials or other records originated or utilized by the president, deans, or department heads, or by personnel review committees at the department, division, or University level in reviewing a faculty member, shall be available upon a single request to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, to the subject faculty member at a reasonable place and time. A faculty member may make copies of materials in the files.
(3) Each faculty member shall be given a copy of his or her periodic regular written evaluation made by the administrative officer (department or divisional head or dean of the unit in those instances in which the dean is the evaluating administrator). The evaluation given to the faculty member shall contain or have attached to it a statement informing the faculty member that he or she may discuss the evaluative statement with the evaluating administrator. A copy of the evaluative statement, duly signed by the faculty member signifying that he or she has been given a copy thereof, shall be placed in the faculty member's personal record file.
(4) A faculty member shall be entitled to submit, for placement in the three files, evidence rebutting, correcting, amplifying or explaining any document contained therein and other material which the member believes might be of assistance in the evaluation process.
Any evaluation received by telephone shall be documented in each of the faculty member's files by means of a written summary of the conversation with the names of the conversants identified.
Classroom survey evaluation by students of a faculty member's classroom or laboratory performance shall be anonymous. The record of tabulated reports shall be placed in the department or division files. All survey instruments used to obtain evaluation data shall be returned to the faculty members.
Information on Categories of Staff
A faculty member who feels he has been adversely affected by personnel action or lack thereof may request from the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost objective or quantitative information contained in the files which are limited as to access concerning the personnel actions affecting categories of faculty members. The request shall be granted where such actions appear to have relevance to the case of the faculty member making the request for information. Evaluative statements concerning individual faculty members shall not be released except with the consent of the faculty members concerned. The request for information shall be in writing containing a summary of the adverse decision, statement of need for the information, and the specific information requested.
Availability of Faculty Records for Research Purposes
Information about academic staff members for research purposes may be provided, contingent upon the existence of adequate provisions to conceal from the person(s) doing the research, the identity of the individual academic staff members whose personal data or information are being included in the research. If the confidentiality of faculty personal records would be jeopardized in any way by the release of information for research purposes, the written consent of the academic staff member must be obtained prior to the release of information. All such requests for information must be submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.
Permanence, Duplication, and Disposal of Faculty Records
(1) The individual faculty member's record shall be maintained only for the minimum period of time required to serve the basic official functions of the office which generates and maintains it. It should then be disposed of in a manner such as to protect its confidentiality.
(2) The permanent retention of faculty records shall be limited to those which the institutional executive or the State Archivist shall determine to be of long-range value to the individual faculty member, to the institution, or to the public. (ORS 351.065 provides that access to personal records more than 25 years old may not be limited.)
(3) Duplication of permanent faculty records shall be kept to a minimum. (A log shall be kept in each file of every duplication of faculty records.) Such duplicated permanent records as are made shall be destroyed in the same manner as temporary records, as provided for in section (4) of this rule.
(4) All duplicate copies of permanent faculty records and all temporary faculty records shall be maintained for a minimum period of three years after a faculty member departs from the University. Such records shall thereafter be destroyed as soon as they are no longer needed and may not be retained in any event for more than seven (7) years after a faculty member's appointment is terminated by the University.