Forms, Policies, & Guides

1007 - Responding to External Requests for Information

Subject: Responding to External Requests for Information

Section: U1007

Date: February 1, 2010


Purpose:

Provide guidelines for responding to external requests for University information and data.

Policy:

University offices and employees receiving requests for data and other information from individuals, agencies, groups, or other sources outside of the University shall use these procedures in responding to such requests.

Guidelines:

  1. All media inquiries seeking confidential University information (see Policy U601 Treatment of Confidential Information) or a statement from or by the University regarding any particular matter must be immediately referred to the University of Chicago News Office.
  2. All inquiries from attorneys seeking confidential University information or a statement from or by the University regarding any particular matter must be immediately referred to the University's Office of Legal Counsel.
  3. All inquiries from non-University law enforcement agencies must be immediately referred to the Chief of the University of Chicago Police Department.
  4. All inquiries from other government entities and outside agencies regarding University employees or others seeking confidential information must be immediately referred to the Human Resources for response or reference to the appropriate administrative office. Such entities and agencies include, but are not limited to:
    • government entities such as the FBI, Social Security Administration, Illinois Department of Employment Services (IDES), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR), National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office of Civil Rights (OCR);
    • police or other outside other law enforcement; and/or
    • credit bureaus, lending entities (e.g., banks, mortgage companies).
  5. Inquiries for employment verification requests should be referred to HR-Wage and Salary Administration (Records Office), which will respond as provided in the Policy U204 Reference and Background Checks.
  6. Student education records are governed by the Family educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and applicable University policy (see the University of Chicago Student Manual: University Policies & Regulations). FERPA-protected student education records must not be disclosed to third parties under any circumstances absent the express consent of the University student (or former student) or as authorized by the University's Office of Legal Counsel or the University's Registrar. Although FERPA also permits the University to disclose student directory information, no such information may be disclosed until the Office of the Registrar has confirmed that the student has not elected to block the disclosure of his or her directory information.
  7. Employee personnel information generally cannot be released to third parties without the consent of the employee. Offices and employees receiving a request for personnel information must contact the Human Resources or the Provost's Office, which will coordinate all such requests.
  8. Unauthorized disclosure of confidential information will result in serious disciplinary action, up to and including termination. [See Policy U703- Progressive Corrective Action.]
  9. Academic employees are free to respond to external requests regarding their research, scholarship, teaching and/or professional expertise.