The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law that states: (a) that a written institutional policy must be established; and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students must be made available. The law provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education records.
Seattle Film Institute (SFI) accords all the rights under this law to students who are declared independent. No one outside of the institution shall be permitted access to—nor will the institution disclose any information from—a student’s educational records without his or her written consent. FERPA permits information to be released from education records without written consent of the student to the following officials and agencies:
With the exception of alcohol and drug violations, SFI does not release information from student education records to parents without the written consent of students.
FERPA permits the institution to release information concerning violent crimes and non-forcible sex offenses (statutory rape or incest) committed by its students. Victims of an alleged violent crime or non-forcible sex offense may be informed of the final results of university disciplinary hearings concerning the allegation. When a student is an alleged perpetrator of a violent crime or a non-forcible sex offense and the institution concludes with respect to that allegation that the student has violated university rules, the institution may release to the public the name of the student, the offense committed, and the sanction the institution imposes against the student.
FERPA further allows student education records to be released to individuals or organizations performing research on behalf of, or in cooperation with, the institute. When education records are released for research purposes, FERPA requires the institute and its research partners to implement procedures to safeguard their confidentiality. In addition, records released for research must be returned or destroyed when the research is completed, and research findings may not be presented in a manner that makes it possible to identify confidential data from an individual’s education record. SFI releases information from student education records to outside researchers only under the conditions specified by FERPA and only to those that agree in writing to safeguard the confidential information contained therein.
Within the SFI community, only those members (individually or collectively) acting in the student’s educational interest(s) are allowed access to student educational records. These members include personnel in offices defined by the institution, e.g., offices of Admissions, Career Services, Financial Aid and Registrar Services, along with specific academic personnel within their need-to-know limitations.
At its discretion, the institution may provide directory information in accordance with the FERPA provisions including: student name, current and permanent home address and telephone number, e-mail address, a photograph, date of birth, dates of attendance, class, major fields of study, previous institutions attended, awards and honors (including honor roll), and degrees conferred (including dates. Students may stipulate the withholding of their directory information by notifying the registrar in writing.
The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records, to challenge the content and accuracy of those records, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory and, if they believe the decisions of the hearing panel are unacceptable, to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files. The institute’s registrar has been designated by the institution to coordinate inspection and review procedures for student educational records, which include admission, personal, academic and placement records. Students wishing to review their educational records must make written requests to the registrar listing the item or items of interest. Only records covered by FERPA will be made available within forty-five (45) days of the request. Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions (e.g., a copy of the academic record for which a financial hold exists or a transcript of an original or source document which exists elsewhere).
Educational records do not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel, which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute; employment records that relate exclusively to individuals in their capacities as employees; and alumni or other post-attendance records. FERPA regulations apply only to records held for institutional use concerning students who enroll at the institute; they do not govern records of applicants who are denied admission or who choose not to attend the institute. Nor do they govern records kept by an institute official that are the sole possession of the maker and are not normally revealed to anyone else except a temporary substitute (e.g., temporary reminder notes).
Students may not inspect or review the following as outlined by FERPA: financial information submitted by their parents, confidential letters and recommendations associated with admission, employment or job placement, honors to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review, or education records containing information about more than one student, in which case the institution will permit access only to the part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student.
Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or are otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights, may discuss their problems informally with the registrar. If the decisions are in agreement with the student’s requests, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, the student will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended and they will then be informed by the registrar. Student requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the registrar, which, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such requests, will inform the student of the date, place and time of the hearing. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the student’s expense. The Director will appoint the panel, which will adjudicate such challenges.
The decision of the hearing panel will be final. It will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing and will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and state the reasons for the decision, and will be delivered to all parties concerned. The educational records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decision of the hearing panel, if the decision is in favor of the student. If the decision is unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place within his or her educational records comments on the information in the records, or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreement with the decision(s) of the hearing panel. The statement will be placed in the educational records and maintained as part of the student’s records. It will be released whenever the records in questions are disclosed.
A student who believes the adjudication of his or her challenge was unfair, or not in keeping with FERPA provisions, may request in writing assistance from the institute’s director (or designee). Students who believe their FERPA rights have been violated may also file complaints with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U. S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue S.W., Washington, DC 20202-4605 www.ed.gov/offices/OM/fpco.
Seattle Film Institute Code of Ethical Conduct
This Code of Ethical Conduct forms part of the Institute’s accountability framework and provides direction to you on a range of ethical issues that you may confront in your day-to-day work or study. Agreement to abide by this Code is an integral component of the Institute’s contract of employment with its employees. The Seattle Film Institute is committed to complying with all applicable laws and standards, promoting a culture of fair and ethical behavior, and encouraging the reporting of violations of the law and matters detrimental to the Institute or its reputation.
This Code of Ethical Conduct is not intended to address every situation, but to make each individual aware of the general scope of ethics and accountability expected from him or her as a member of the Seattle Film Institute community. There are existing Institute policies that address the principles expressed here and many, but not necessarily all can be found on the Seattle Film Institute policies web site.
This Code of Ethical Conduct is a statement of the ethical principles, values and behaviors expected of the board of directors, administration, staff, faculty, and students at the Seattle Film Institute.
The Institute fosters the values of openness, honesty, tolerance, fairness and responsibility in social and moral, as well as academic matters.
We are individually responsible to each other for exhibiting in our own actions the highest ethical standards and for avoiding any impropriety or appearance of improper behavior that might reflect negatively upon our community. We value highly the mutual support that assists us in behaving in ways that are ethically exemplary. In complex situations, ethical principles may be in conflict with each other—both may be legal and moral—and the chosen course of action may be difficult to determine. Thus, we at Seattle Film Institute openly discuss ethical matters, make ethical choices without prejudice, and show appreciation for ethical behavior. We seek to promote adherence to the codes of conduct included in Institute policies so that the Institute will be better able to achieve its educational mission.
Core Values and Principles
The identity of Seattle Film Institute as an institution is rooted in a set of core values from which flow broad principles that provide general guidelines for acting ethically in the often ambiguous realities of daily life. The standards of conduct articulated in Institute policies reflect the application of these core values and principles.
Equity and Justice
People are to be treated fairly – not discriminated against, abused or exploited. Justice is concerned with power sharing and preventing the abuse of power. In a just community all members can access opportunities that allow for their full participation locally within the Institute community, in the neighborhoods that surround us, and globally, for the just treatment of others and the natural world.
Respect for People
People should be treated as individuals with rights to be honored and defended. Respect empowers others to claim their rights and to achieve their potential. Respect for the rights of other people is the basis on which individuals become members of a community and accept their social responsibilities to behave with integrity.
Membership of a community means that individuals not only have rights but also duties and responsibilities to others to act openly and honestly. Demonstrating respect for persons requires, for example, dealing with disagreements by reasoned argument rather than by using language (words, style and tone) that have the effect of inappropriately attacking or demeaning the listener.
Personal Integrity and Professional Responsibility
The principle of taking personal and professional responsibility requires that all members of the Institute community act honestly and responsibly, holding ourselves accountable to others for our actions. And, not only that people avoid doing harm to others but that they exhibit courteous behavior upholding the standards expected of all members of the Institute community as part of achieving a common good. In so doing they are expected to protect the rights of others and respect the diversity of cultures and peoples. Those well-positioned to assert their rights have a reciprocal duty to exercise care towards those who depend on them for their well-being. This principle involves stewardship of assets, resources and the environment.
Pursuit of Knowledge
The members of the institute community strive to advance intellectual and creative inquiry and use the work of others responsibly in this endeavor. The university is committed to the maintenance and protection of academic freedom and freedom of speech which are essential to the pursuit of knowledge.
The foundations of ethical behavior at Seattle Film Institute are a commitment to respecting the rights and dignity of all persons and a commitment to discharging our obligations to others in a fair and honest manner. Each person in the Seattle Film Institute community plays an important role in keeping these commitments by demonstrating integrity and respect in his or her daily activities and in the performance of their responsibilities. This Code of Ethical Conduct establishes a statement of principles to guide the activities of the entire community including the board of directors, administration, faculty, staff, and students. The policies in the Code of Ethical Conduct do not and cannot cover every possible situation but are meant to illustrate the broad
spectrum of activities, many of which are complex, in which ethical concerns may arise at the Seattle Film Institute.
The highest standards of academic honesty characterize the learning, research, scholarly and creative activities in which members of the Seattle Film Institute community are engaged. Dishonest activities include presenting the work of others as one's own, fabricating data, cheating on examinations and sabotaging the work of others.
Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity
Seattle Film Institute safeguards the rights and welfare of those who participate in research, including studies using surveys or interviews and any research involving children or others who are vulnerable.
Hiring and Admissions Practices
The Institute takes affirmative steps and makes good faith efforts toward achieving non-discrimination and equality of opportunity in employment and in academic and non-academic programs. These practices include, for example, student admissions and employee recruitment, compensation and benefits. The employment of relatives within the Institute is monitored in order to minimize potential conflicts of interest.
The members of the Seattle Film Institute community place a high value on relationships built on reason, mutual trust, respect, dignity and equality. Harassment of any sort is not tolerated, including such behaviors as violence, intimidation, sexual advances, exploitation and derogatory conduct that reflect bias. In relationships where there is unequal power, such as those between faculty and their students, the person in the position of authority is obligated to avoid potential conflicts of interest, abuse of power, sexual or romantic relationships, or exploitation of any type of those they supervise, teach, coach or advise.
The work of many at Seattle Film Institute requires knowledge of sensitive, privileged information involving students' academic, psychological or disciplinary records, salaries of employees and records regarding the Institute's finances or business planning. Confidentiality by those with such knowledge is essential and contributes to the mutual trust and respect that characterize Seattle Film Institute.
Conflicts of Interest and Commitment
Situations may arise that make it difficult for us to act in the best interests of the Institute. All of us are obligated to avoid placing ourselves in any positions or situations in which there may be a conflict, or the appearance thereof, between personal interests and our duty to Seattle Film Institute. Areas of potential conflict include the use of confidential information, institutional purchases not subject to competitive bids, the acceptance of gifts and, under certain conditions, outside employment.
Admissions and Recruitment
All those engaged in admissions or recruitment activities are obligated to communicate current and accurate information and every employee shall be transparent in the communication of that information. All statements made to students or prospective students, either in person or through marketing, promotional material, or other communications must be accurate and designed to not leave any false or misleading impressions with respect to the institution, its program offerings, services provided, personnel or the career opportunities for graduates.
All financial matters, including cash receipts, contracts, purchase orders and reimbursements for travel and entertainment expenses are transacted according to policies that have been established so that the Institute upholds the laws and the principles underlying them.
Use of University Resources
Institute services, staff time, supplies, equipment and travel budgets are used solely for Institute-related business and not for the personal advantage of an individual.
Impact on the Environment
Seattle Film Institute seeks to protect the natural environment by appropriately using and recycling resources and by avoiding conditions that may result in creating environmental hazards.
Information systems are used in accordance with all laws and are not used for commercial purposes or non-Institute, personal or solicitous activities. Computer programs, electronic mail, voice mail and electronic files are presumed to be private and confidential unless misuse is suspected. Loopholes in security systems should not be used to damage information systems, obtain extra resources or gain access to systems without authorization.
Members of the Seattle Film Institute community value their reputation for behaving ethically and therefore reflect before acting, especially in complex situations. Simple questions such as the following offer guidance in deciding if an act is consistent with the Institute's core values:
• How would my action appear to others at Seattle Film Institute?
• Could it harm Seattle Film Institute’s reputation?
• Is it ethical and legal?
• What does my conscience tell me?
• Should I check before acting?
In instances where policies appear ambiguous or questions arise about personal responsibility in adhering to this Code of Ethical Conduct, clarification can be sought from staff and administration, supervisors, directors, or the office responsible for the policy in question.
Reporting an Alleged Violation
All members of the board of directors, faculty, administrators, staff and students have an obligation to bring suspected violations to the attention of appropriate supervisory personnel in a responsible manner. Generally the first person to be informed should be either one's immediate supervisor in the case of employees, or the director of the Institute office concerned. In those instances in which the immediate supervisor is involved in the alleged violation, the report should be made to the person at the next highest supervisory level.
When a conflict arises between a staff member’s or student’s self-interest and duty to the Institute, the issue should be disclosed to an appropriate official of the Institute. Wherever feasible the staff member or student should not play a role in decision-making that might be associated with that issue.
The process for reporting suspected violations of specific policies, such as sexual harassment, is usually explained as part of the policy itself.
The Business Office should be contacted in instances of financial irregularity. Complaints about financial matters, such as accounting, internal accounting controls and audits, and about other matters relating to the conduct of business, such as relationships with vendors and government officials, may be submitted confidentially and/or anonymously.
The Seattle Film Institute community expects that those who report violations in good faith and in an appropriate manner, whether or not further investigation substantiates the claim, will be free from retaliation in any form. The identity of complainants will be protected, within legal limits, and those who retaliate against them will be disciplined.
Enforcing Ethical Standards
All reported violations will be investigated promptly in accordance with procedures detailed in the relevant policy. Those accused are not assumed to be responsible for the reported behavior until the appropriate process has reached a conclusion. Fundamental fairness is accorded to all individuals.
Refraining from Abuse of This Code
No one will falsely report misconduct of any sort by another individual for the purpose of discrediting or otherwise harming the reputation of that individual. Any complainant guilty of such abuse will be subject to disciplinary action.
All members of the Seattle Film Institute community are responsible for conducting Institute-related activities ethically and for making the Seattle Film Institute a place known by the excellent character of all associated with it. Those in supervisory positions have the dual responsibilities of encouraging ethical behavior as well as dealing appropriately with suspected violations reported to them.
The board of directors, faculty, administrators and staff are influential models for Seattle Film Institute students.
The Seattle Film Institute, as an educational institution values equality of opportunity, human dignity, and racial/ethnic and cultural diversity. Accordingly, SFI prohibits and will not engage in discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, disability or any other factor prohibited by law.
Further, SFI will continue to take affirmative steps to support and advance these values consistent with SFI’s mission. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in SFI programs and activities. This is a commitment made by SFI and is in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
The Seattle Film Institute is committed to providing an environment that is free of discrimination and unlawful harassment.
Actions, words, jokes, or comments based on an individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or any other legally protected characteristic will not be tolerated. Harassment can take many forms, and can include slurs, comments, jokes, innuendoes, unwelcome compliments, pictures, cartoons, pranks and/or other verbal or physical conduct which create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
Sexual harassment occurs when the types of verbal and physical conduct described above are sexual in nature or directed at a person because of his/her gender. The sexual harassment prohibited by this policy includes “same sex” sexual harassment, meaning harassment of a man by a man or a woman by a woman. Anyone reasonably believed by the Seattle Film Institute to be engaging in sexual or other unlawful harassment will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination from the Institute.
In the educational setting within SFI, there exists latitude for a faculty member’s professional judgment in determining the appropriate content and presentation of academic material. Academic curriculum and pedagogical goals that serve legitimate and reasonable educational purposes do not, in and of themselves, constitute sexual harassment or other unlawful discrimination. Those participating in the educational setting bear a responsibility to balance their professional academic responsibilities and academic freedoms with a consideration of the reasonable sensitivities of other participants.
Nothing contained in this policy shall be construed to limit the legitimate and reasonable academic responsibilities and academic freedoms of SFI’s professional educators.