Code of Student Conduct
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Code of Student Conduct

Students’ rights and responsibilities, information privacy and FERPA

What is the Code of Student Conduct?

The Code of Student Conduct provides students with a comprehensive document that explains the rights and responsibilities of students who enroll at Austin Peay State University. Anyone who enrolls at APSU is entitled to all rights granted to him/her by the Constitution of the United States and is entitled to the full protection of the law. Apart from those rights and duties enjoyed by non-students, enrollment in the University carries with it special privileges and imposes special responsibilities. The University has established regulations and certain due process procedures essential to an atmosphere of mutual respect that is sensitive to rights of all individuals.

Where can I find a listing of the rules and regulations of Austin Peay State University?

The Code of Student Conduct can be found in the Student Handbook and Calendar, which is distributed at the beginning of the fall semester. Additionally, a complete listing can be found at

What if I have other questions?

You are always welcome to visit the Office of Student Affairs for any question or concern or contact the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Gregory R. Singleton or Director of Student Conduct/Case Management Jo Baldwin, at 931-221-7341.

What is FERPA?

FERPA is the acronym for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Originally enacted in 1974 as part of a bill extending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, it has been amended over the years. FERPA was enacted as a series of civil rights legislation, designed to assert and protect the rights of students and their parents. Its primary purpose was two-fold: to assure parents of students’ access to their education records and to protect such individuals’ rights to privacy by limiting the transferability of their records without their consent.

Can a school disclose information to parents in a health or safety emergency?

Yes. Austin Peay State University is permitted to disclose information from education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.

Can parents be informed about students’ violation of alcohol and controlled substance rules?

Yes. APSU is permitted to inform parents of students younger than the age of 21 of any violation of law or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or any other drug.

Can a school disclose law enforcement unit records to parents and the public?

Austin Peay may disclose information from “law enforcement unit records” to anyone — including parents or federal, state or local law enforcement authorities — without the consent of the eligible student. Many colleges and universities have their own campus security units, just as Austin Peay State University does. Records created and maintained by these units for law enforcement purposes are exempt from the privacy restrictions of FERPA and can be shared with anyone.

When may a school disclose information to parents of dependent students?

Under FERPA, schools may release any and all information to parents, without the consent of the eligible student, if the student is a dependent for tax purposes under the IRS rules or if the student voluntarily provides the University with a waiver providing parents access to educational records.

Can school officials share their observations of students with parents?

Nothing in FERPA prohibits a school official from sharing with parents information that is based on that official’s personal knowledge or observation and that is not based on information contained in an education record. Therefore, FERPA would not prohibit a professor or other school official from letting a parent know of his or her concern about the student based on his or her personal knowledge or observation.

How does HIPAA apply to students’ education records?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a law passed by Congress intended to establish transaction, security, privacy and other standards to address concerns about the electronic exchange of health information.

However, the HIPAA Privacy Rule excludes from its coverage those records that are protected by FERPA at school districts and postsecondary institutions that provide health or medical services for students. This is because Congress specifically addressed how education records should be protected under FERPA. For this reason, records that are protected by FERPA are not subject to the HIPAA Privacy Rule and may be shared with parents under the circumstances described above.