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    Policy on Information Requests Submitted to University of Dayton Department of Public Safety

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    PURPOSE

    The University of Dayton Police Department, housed within the University’s Department of Public Safety, frequently receives requests for information regarding the details of alleged campus crimes.  This document sets forth the University’s approach in responding to such information requests.   

    Scope

    Policy History

    Effective Date: ;

    Approval: , University President;

    Policy History: 

    Maintenance of Policy: Department of Public Safety and Office of Legal Affairs

    Definitions

    Clery Act:  The Clery Act, short for the “Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act” (and formerly known as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990) is a federal law that requires most colleges and universities (those participating in federal student financial aid programs) to maintain and disclose certain information about crimes occurring on and around their campuses.  20 U.S.C. § 1092(f). 

    FERPA:  FERPA, short for the “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974” (also referred to as the “Buckley Amendment” after its principal sponsor), is the federal law governing the privacy of student education records.  20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99.

    FOIA:   FOIA, short for the “Freedom of Information Act,” is the federal law granting rights to persons to access certain information from the federal government.  5 U.S.C. § 552, as amended by Public Law No. 104-231, 110 Stat. 3048.

    GLB Act:  GLB Act, short for “Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act of 1999,” requires financial institutions to safeguard sensitive data and explain their information-sharing practices to their customers.  Colleges and universities are subject to some of the provisions of GLB Act because they collect and maintain financial information about their students and others with whom they interact.  Pub. L. 106–102, 113 Stat. 1338.

    HIPAA:  HIPAA, short for the “Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996,” and the regulations promulgated under HIPAA, protect the privacy of an individual’s health information and govern the way certain health care providers and benefits plans collect, maintain, use and disclose protected health information.  Pub. L. Public 104-191, 110 Stat. 1936.

    Policy

    1.  Clery Act Requirements

    The Clery Act was enacted, among other reasons, to ensure that universities that participate in federal financial aid programs keep and disclose information about crime that occurs on and near their campuses.  In compliance with the Clery Act, the Department of Public Safety oversees the preparation of an annual report outlining reportable crime statistics and measures taken to protect the University of Dayton community; electronic notice is sent to all students, faculty, and staff of the availability of that report.  The Department of Public Safety also maintains a Daily Crime Log which is open to the public and provides information regarding recent crimes that have been reported within the university area. 

    2.  Ohio Public Records Act Requirements

    The Ohio Public Records Act provides for public access to state and local government records.  Certain private entities can be subject to the requirements of the Ohio Public Records Act if they are the “functional equivalent” of a public office.  Based on the factors analyzed by Ohio courts in determining whether a private entity taking on a public role is considered functionally equivalent to a public office, the University of Dayton Police Department is not the functional equivalent of a public office.  Accordingly, it is the University’s policy not to disclose crime information other than the disclosures required by the Clery Act and any other applicable law.

    3.  Freedom of Information Act Requirements

    The federal Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) applies only to agencies of the federal government.  As a private institution, the University of Dayton is not subject to FOIA’s disclosure requirements.

    4.  FERPA

    FERPA is designed to help protect the privacy of student educational records.  Crime records, however, are not considered to be “education records” under FERPA and, therefore, FERPA would not prevent the University from disclosing an incident report to local law enforcement authorities.  However, if the Department of Public Safety shares copies of its incident reports to other University offices, the shared copies in the possession of such other offices become subject to FERPA.  Accordingly, a request for a copy of an incident report residing in a University office other than the Department of Public Safety will be governed by FERPA’s requirements.  As one example, FERPA governs documentation used and developed in the course of administrative investigations conducted under the University of Dayton Standards of Behavior and Code of Conduct. 

    5.  Other Laws

    Other laws may be applicable to other documents kept by University offices, including GLB Act and HIPAA.  The University will abide by the requirements of such laws to the extent they become applicable to information that originates as an incident report.

    6.  Cooperation with Local Authorities

    Nothing in this policy is intended to hamper the University of Dayton’s cooperation with the Montgomery County Prosecutor, City of Dayton Police and other government entities regarding criminal investigations.  The Department of Public Safety will share records with such local government officials and entities as necessary to ensure they can bring criminal charges where warranted.  The sharing of such information by the University’s Department of Public Safety with such local government officials does not bind the University to share that information with others.  

    7.  A Release Does Not Establish Precedent

    In certain circumstances the University may choose, when permitted by law, to release certain information regarding alleged crimes on or near campus.  Such releases, however, will not bind the University to releasing similar information in the future.  Each request will be decided on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the factors noted above.

    Reference Documents

    1. O.R.C. §§ 149.011, 149.43
    2. Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f) 
    3. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g
    4. Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, as amended by Public Law No. 104-231, 110 Stat. 3048
    5. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act of 1999, Pub. L. 106–102, 113 Stat. 1338
    6. Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Pub. L. Public 104-191, 110 Stat. 1936
    7. University of Dayton Policy on Disclosure of Student Records