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Confidential Information

Clark Atlanta University
Code of Conduct



Confidential Information

CAU is committed to protecting the privacy of its employees, both during and after their service at the University. CAU only releases valid and pertinent information to appropriate requests. Examples of confidential data include: social security numbers, individual health information, credit card data, financial information, student grades, University and personal financial information.

Q: I received a phone call from a woman asking whether I would send her copies of correspondence our office had sent to an individual donor. Should I make the copies and send them to her?

A: No, individuals verbally contacting you with such a request should be advised to submit their requests in writing to the Office of Institutional Advancement.

Q: While typing some employment records, I came across information on a friend of mine. Can I discuss this information with her?

A: No, you may not disclose that you saw the information on her employment application.

Social Security Numbers

CAU is actively phasing out the use of social security numbers as a unique identifier, and will use the social security number only when necessary to fulfill legal requirements.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA/Buckley Amendment)

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student records. FERPA gives parents certain rights to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are referred to as "eligible students."

Under FERPA, students have the right to inspect and review their educational records, amend educational records when appropriate and have control over disclosure of information from the records.

Schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them.

For more information on FERPA, please see section 2.17 of the Faculty Handbook.

Q: If a student indicates that he or she does not want any information disclosed by the University, how should the University respond?

A: The student must notify the University in writing within ten (10) calendar days of the beginning of classes for the fall term. This request must be filed annually.

Accurate Document Creation and Retention

The University's books, records and internal reports, as well as documents and reports filed with governmental agencies, must always be prepared accurately and reliably so that an accurate record of the University's transactions is presented. Any deliberate falsification of documents is strictly prohibited. You should report any falsification of records or similar violations to your supervisor and/or the Office of General Counsel.

When litigation or an investigation is pending, relevant records must not be destroyed. Any selective destruction of a document to avoid its being seen by a government official or other party is most likely unlawful and could lead to criminal prosecution. If you are concerned about any document, you should discuss it with the Office of General Counsel.

Q: Our department is very short on space. We have many boxes of files that we're ready to get rid of. Can we go ahead and toss them?

A: No. CAU has a formal retention schedule that should be followed by everyone. There are procedures that must be followed for destroying most types of records. Contact your supervisor for more information.

Q: I have over 1000 messages in my Outbox of my e-mail account. I'd like to clean it out, but I'm afraid I might violate policy. Is e-mail subject to the Records Retention policy?

A: Yes, e-mail is subject to records retention, but this does not mean you have to keep all of your e-mail. The retention of a document (or message) depends on the content and authorship of the document-not on whether it is in paper or electronic form. Internal memos, announcements, and informational items that you receive may be deleted as soon as they have served their purpose of informing you. If you are the author of documents or receive business e-mails from outside customers or business partners, you may have an obligation to retain certain messages. Discuss your particular record-retention needs with your supervisor.

Use and Protection of University Property

Employees must respect and protect University property. CAU property of any kind, such as equipment (including office equipment), facilities, materials and supplies, should be used only for conducting University business. Employees are permitted to use office equipment for personal purposes as long as such use is limited and reasonable. University property should not be removed from CAU premises unless approved in writing in advance. University property may not be sold, loaned, given away or otherwise disposed of without authorization.