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Compliance and Ethics

Policies and Procedures

A variety of policies and procedures govern how matters are handled at The University of Southern Mississippi.  

Institutional Policies

See the institutional policies webpage

For other policies which are not applicable to the entire institution, please see individual department and unit websites.  Please note the policies listed below will be accessed through USM's PolicyStat policy management system. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to address discrimination against persons with disabilities.  Title II of the ADA provides that no individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, program, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity. The Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has primary responsibility for investigating Title II complaints. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public accommodations, such as schools, operated by private entities. The Civil Rights Division has primary responsibility for enforcing Title III as it relates to education.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits the exclusion, the denial of benefits, and discrimination by reason of disability in programs or activities receiving federal funds. OCR has primary responsibility for enforcing Section 504's provisions with respect to recipients of federal education funds.

The Office for Disability Accommodations (ODA) is Southern Miss's designated office to verify students' eligibility for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ODA works with eligible students on an individual basis in developing and coordinating plans for the provision of reasonable accommodations that are specific to their disabilities.

In accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act (1990), Southern Mississippi is committed to providing equal access for persons with disabilities and prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the admission or access

to,

or treatment or employment in programs or activities. ODA interacts with all offices and departments on campus to ensure that students with disabilities have full access to, and participation in, university activities. ODA strives to create a positive campus environment where students with disabilities are encouraged to pursue careers on the basis of personal interest and ability.

Related University Links

ODA Homepage

Procedures for Acquiring Accommodations

Helpful Third Party Links

ADA Homepage
Students with Disabilities Preparing for Post-Secondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities - U.S. Dept. of Education
Americans with Disabilities Act information - Catholic University

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, or FERPA, is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records.  The law applies to schools, including the University, that receive funds under an applicable program of the U. S. Department of Education.

The basic purpose of FERPA is to protect the privacy of students and to ensure that students have access to their own records. 

TERMS

FERPA defines a “student” as any individual who is or has been in attendance at an educational institution and regarding whom the institution maintains educational records.

“Educational records” are defined as those records that are directly related to the student and maintained by the University or by a party acting on behalf of the University. The term record includes, but is not limited to, grade reports, transcripts, personally identifiable information, and most disciplinary records.  The term record does not include records maintained by a law enforcement unit within an educational institution that was created by the unit for the purpose of law enforcement or records maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional maintained in connection with the treatment rendered to a student.

“Educational Records” do not include directory information relating to a student.  “Directory Information” means information contained in an educational record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.  The University has designated certain items as Directory Information that is subject to disclosure in accordance with FERPA.  See   www.usm.edu/registrar/directory-information.

“Disclosure”, under the law, is defined as permitting access to or the release, transfer, or other communication of personally identifiable information contained in education records by any means, including oral, written, or electronic means. 

STAFF AND FACULTY OBLIGATION

Staff and Faculty at the University must be aware of the protected status of student information.  As a general rule, information related to students must not be disclosed or provided by University employees to a third party unless the student consents to the release or FERPA specifically permits the release of the information without consent. 

ACCESS THE POLICY

The University’s FERPA Compliance Policy may be accessed in the Policystat policy management system by clicking on the following link and then searching for the FERPA policy:

Access the PolicyStat System at https://usm.policystat.com/

RIGHTS UNDER FERPA

FERPA affords individuals the opportunity to challenge or amend his/her educational record if inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy or other rights of the student.  The student may submit a written request to the Registrar’s Office that the record be amended or that FERPA violation to be investigated.  The written request should include the justification for the challenge or the specifics relating to the alleged FERPA violation.  The University Registrar’s Office is located in Kennard-Washington Hall, Room 110.

Within sixty (60) days of receipt of the written request, the University will inform the student as to whether the record will be amended or the finding relating to the alleged FERPA violation. 

If the decision on the student request or report of FERPA violation is negative, the student may submit a written request for a hearing and challenge the decision of the University relating to the record or alleged FERPA violation.  The hearing committee will inform the student of the date, place and time of the hearing.

QUESTIONS

Questions about the policies and procedures relating to the University’s “Policy on Student Records” or about the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act of 1974 should be directed to:

Greg Pierce

University Registrar The University of Southern Mississippi 118 College Drive  #5006 Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001 Telephone Number: (601) 266-5006 Greg.PierceFREEMississippi

Individuals have the right to file a complaint with the U. S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy and Compliance Office U. S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202-4605 

Related Links:

http://www.usm.edu/registrar/southern-miss-and-ferpa-compliance-policy.php

http://www.usm.edu/registrar/directory-information.php

http://www.usm.edu/registrar/protecting-personal-information-and-education-records.php

http://www.usm.edu/registrar/release-information-parents-students.php

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html

FERPA QUESTIONS 

Are there any federal laws relating to student records?
What is the definition of a student’s educational record under FERPA?
What documents are not considered to be part of a student’s educational record?
When is a student’s consent not necessary before disclosing his or her educational record to a third party?
How may a student give consent to the release of his or her educational record to a third party?
May a faculty member discuss a student’s grades and academic progress with a student’s parent?
What should a faculty member do if a student asks for a reference to be provided to an employer or to another institution?
What is the process for disclosing a student’s own education records to the student?
What is the process for disclosing education records to others?
What is the process for disclosing education records pursuant to a subpoena or court order?
What recordkeeping requirements exist for requests and disclosures under FERPA?
Does FERPA protect the education records of former students?
Does FERPA protect the education records of deceased students?
What is the time frame for responding to a request for education records under FERPA?
May the University charge a fee for providing copies of education records?
May students give valid consent using an electronic signature?
What is directory information that may be released without consent?
What is directory information for a student who has left the University?
May a student request that directory information not be disclosed?
May the University release records relating to work study students?
Other than access, do students have other rights regarding their education records?

Are there any federal laws relating to student records?

Yes. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") of 1974, a federal statute, establishes rules and regulations regarding access to and disclosure of a student’s educational record. 

What is the definition of a student’s educational record under FERPA?

FERPA defines a student educational record to include all records maintained by the institution that directly relate to a current or former student. FERPA's broad definition includes any information recorded in any way including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm, and microfiche.

What documents are not considered to be part of a student’s educational record?

Documents that are not considered student records would include:

  • an administrator’s or faculty member’s own notes that are used only by that individual and are not shared with anyone else except as a temporary substitute;
  • records maintained by the institution’s law enforcement unit that were created by that unit for the purpose of law enforcement;
  • records that relate exclusively to the individual’s capacity as an employee (exception does not apply to employee as a result of status as a student worker);
  • medical, psychiatric, or psychological records that relate to a student’s treatment and are generally not available to anyone other than persons providing such treatment;
  • records containing only information about a student created or received after he or she is no longer a student at the institution and that are not directly related to his or her attendance at the University (e.g., alumni records); and
  • grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by a teacher. 

When is a student’s consent not necessary before disclosing his or her educational record to a third party?

Prior consent is not required to disclose information to the following:

  • other school officials within the institution with a legitimate educational interest;
  • organizations conducting services or functions on behalf of the institution (if certain criteria are satisfied); officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll (providing certain criteria are satisfied);
  • in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or received if the information is necessary for those purposes set forth in the law;
  • to organizations conducting studies on behalf of the University; accrediting organizations; the parents of a dependent student (as defined by the Internal Revenue Code);
  • a person who obtains a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena directing release of the information; appropriate individuals during a health or safety emergency;
  • a person requesting directory information; an alleged victim of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense committed by a student regarding the results of any disciplinary action;
  • and the parents of a student disciplined for certain drug or alcohol offenses if at the time of the disclosure the student is under 21 years of age. .

How may a student give consent to the release of his or her educational record to a third Party? 

Students may consent through an online form available on the Registrar’s website and designated as "Parent/Authorized User Portal".

The following link shows screenshots of what is seen in the portal. http://www.usm.edu/sites/default/files/groups/office-registrar/pdf/ferpa_parent_portal_documentation.pdf.

By completing such an authorization, the student grants the third party (which could be their parent), access fo the following academic and financial records and said access can be removed at any time:

  • academic class schedule
  • academic record
  • grades
  • admission status
  • financial aid
  • payments on student accounts (to view and make)
  • biographical information 
  • general academic information

By completing and submitting this form, a student gives permission for educational records and information to be disclosed to a parent, guardian, or other designated individual(s). Request for information should be directed to the relevant department, such as the Registrar’s Office, the Business Services Office, or the Office of Financial Aid. 

In addition to accessing the Registrar’s website in the manner described above, a “Student Consent for Release of Education Records” may be downloaded here.

May a faculty member discuss a student’s grades and academic progress with a student’s parent?

Generally, a parent is not automatically entitled to obtain access to a child’s educational records.  The rights that a parent had in the elementary and secondary school context are automatically transferred to a student once that student turns eighteen years of age or is attending a postsecondary educational institution.

An educational institution may exercise its own discretion and provide access to a parent of a college student if the child is a “dependent” under the Internal Revenue Code; however, an institution is not required to disclose information from the student’s educational record to the parents of a dependent student. To avoid determining dependency, it is usually easier for the student to complete a consent form authorizing the release of this information to a parent. 

What should a faculty member do if a student asks for a reference to be provided to an employer or to another institution?


  • The faculty member will need a release from the student if the faculty member is going to give an oral or written reference on behalf of a student that includes information derived from education records protected by FERPA.
  • Material that is often addressed in letters of recommendations (e.g., GPA, courses, class performance) is considered part of a student’s educational records. In such cases, written consent from the student should be obtained before providing a reference, and the consent should specify educational information to be shared. 
  • If the faculty member provides a generic written reference directly to the student for the student to disseminate, no release is required.
  • For a copy of letter of reference that you can have students sign, see https://www.usm.edu/faculty-development/resources.php 

What is the process for disclosing a student’s own education records to the student?

You should review the student’s files to identify information that the student is not entitled to receive and remove that information prior to releasing the records to the student.

In addition to containing records and information relating to the requesting student, some educational records contain personally identifiable information relating to other students. Information relating to other students should be redacted or removed prior to releasing the records. 

What is the process for disclosing education records to others?

Initially, you should determine if the requesting party may access the records either because the student has given his written consent or because consent is not necessary due to one of the limited circumstances described above. Upon a determination that release is appropriate, you should review the file for information which the requester is not entitled to receive and remove that information from the file. You should disclose the education records on the condition that the requester may not re-disclose the information to someone else without the written consent of the student. Finally, you should comply with all recordkeeping requirements for requests and disclosures. If you are not satisfied that you are familiar with the requirements of FERPA as such relates to the disclosure of educational records to others, you are encouraged to contact the Office of General Counsel for discussion and guidance before releasing such records.

What is the process for disclosing education records pursuant to a subpoena or court order?

After receiving a subpoena or court order for education records, record the time and manner of service (mail, personal service, or another manner) on the document.  After gathering information responsive to the subpoena or order that is within your control, review the material and remove information that the requester is not entitled to receive.  Thereafter, forward the subpoena or order together with responsive material to the Office of General Counsel via secure means (not via email).  The Office of General Counsel will notify the student of the subpoena or order, unless the subpoena directs otherwise, and afford the student sufficient time to go to court and contest the subpoena.  You should comply with all recordkeeping requirements concerning requests and disclosures.   For more information about subpoenas, see the Court Papers FAQ.

What recordkeeping requirements exist for requests and disclosures under FERPA?

FERPA requires that an educational institution maintain a record of each request for access to and each disclosure of personally identifiable information from the educational record of each student. The record, which should be maintained with the education records of the student, should include the parties who requested or received personally identifiable information from the education records and the legitimate interests the parties had in requesting or obtaining the information. These recordkeeping requirements do not apply when the request was from or the disclosure was to the following individuals: a parent or student, a school official with a legitimate educational interest, a third party with written consent from the student, court orders or subpoenas, or a party seeking directory information. 

Does FERPA protect the education records of former students?

Yes. FERPA protects the education records of former students. 

Does FERPA protect the education records of deceased students?

No. You may, however, require that the person requesting the deceased student’s records provide documentary proof that the student is, in fact, deceased. 

What is the time frame for responding to a request for education records under FERPA?

FERPA does not provide a specific time period for responding to a request; however, you should promptly respond to the request. However, if the information is sought through a subpoena, the University must provide the subject of the record sought sufficient time to contest the subpoena prior to releasing any information. If the release of educational records of a student  is sought by means of a subpoena or court order, the request should be forwarded to the Office of General Counsel for review. 

May the University charge a fee for providing copies of education records?

The University may charge a fee for copies but not for employee time to search for or to retrieve the education records. 

May students give valid consent using an electronic signature?

The Department of Education has now recognized that educational institutions have moved into the digital age by amending its regulation implementing FERPA. No specific form of electronic signature is required. A signed and dated consent under FERPA now may include a record and signature in electronic form that (1) identifies and authenticates a particular person as the source of the consent; and (2) indicates the person’s approval of the information contained in the electronic consent. 

What is directory information that may be released without consent?

Directory information may include the following: the student’s name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, major field of study, classification, enrollment status, dates of attendance, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student. Each institution making public this information is required to give annual notice to its current students of the categories of information which it has designated as directory information. For the University’s most current designation of directory information and related information, please see http://www.usm.edu/registrar/directory-information

What is directory information for a student who has left the University?

FERPA allows an institution to disclose directory information (as it is defined when the request for the information is made) about former students without going through the notification process for those former students. 

May a student request that directory information not be disclosed?

Yes. A student may request that a school withhold his information by completing the appropriate form. The form is available in the registrar's office. 

May the University release records relating to work study students?

Records relating to work study students are considered educational records protected by FERPA. 

Other than access, do students have other rights regarding their education records?

Students have a right to challenge the content of their records and seek amendment of these records if they feel the records are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights. If they are dissatisfied with the results of their challenge, a student may request a hearing. After a hearing, if the educational institution decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of a student’s privacy rights, the educational institution shall amend the record accordingly and inform the student of the amendment.  If the educational institution decides that the information is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, it shall inform the student of the right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information in the record and stating why he disagrees with the decision. Students may not use this process to challenge a grade (except for clerical errors). Students also have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if they believe their rights under FERPA have been violated.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires that universities make available to current and prospective students important information concerning each institution’s academic programs, retention rates, graduation rates, crime reports, financial aid procedures and much more in an effort to ensure fairness and transparency for all higher education consumers. The University of Southern Mississippi Office of Financial Aid has developed a webpage to serve as the portal for obtaining consumer information about our institution. This data can be used as a resource to identify important university information such as our academic programs, retention rates, crime reports, financial aid procedures, and more: http://www.usm.edu/financial-aid/student-consumer-information-disclosures

Helpful Third Party Links

U.S. Department of Education HEOA
A President's Checklist - NAICU (PDF)
Department of Education August 13, 2008, Dear Colleague Letter

Section 807 of the Policies and By-laws of the IHL Board authorizes the institutions to develop intellectual properties and to participate in the income derived therein.

Intellectual property means any patentable materials, copyrighted materials, trademarks, software, and trade secrets, whether or not formal protection is sought. Each institution is hereby directed to develop policies consistent with Section 807 for the management of its unique intellectual properties in each institution’s unique environment.

Questions about the University intellectual property policies should be directed to the University’s Office of Technology Development.

 

  • Mississippi law (Miss. Code Ann. § 25-61-1) requires that public entities, including The University of Southern Mississippi, provide access to or copies of public records in response to a written request. Public records include books, records, papers, accounts, letters, maps, photographs, etc. possessed by the University and used in conducting public business. The law requires a public entity that receives public records request to comply with a written request within one day of the receipt unless the governing body for that public entity has adopted a written policy extending the time for compliance for up to, but not to exceed, seven working days. The University follows IHL Policy 301.0804, which guarantees responses to public records requests within seven working days.

    Despite the mandate for open disclosure of public records, there are a number of exceptions which would limit the disclosure.  For example, academic records, personnel files, and trade secrets are exempt from disclosure.  

    The Chief Communications Officer has been designated as the Public Records Officer for the University.  Therefore, all public records requests must be submitted to the Public Records Officer.  Any person contacting a University department in person, via telephone, or via e-mail to request access to any University records should be advised that all requests must be submitted to the Public Records Officer. Under no circumstances should a department grant or deny any request for access to records.

    In order to request public records from Southern Miss, all public records requests must be dated, signed by the requestor, and transmitted in one of the following ways to the University’s Public Records Officer:

    a.    personally delivered to the Office of University Communications, Hickman Hall (4th floor) on the Hattiesburg campus;
    b.    mailed to The University of Southern Mississippi, Office of University Communications, 118 College Drive #5016, Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001;  or 
    c.    emailed to the Office of University Communications at publicrecords@usm.edu.

    Additionally, the request must identify the specific information sought and include the name of the requestor, the address of the requestor, and the current contact information of the requestor.

    Requestors will be charged for the actual cost of searching for, reviewing and, if necessary, redacting exempt information from public records.  Likewise, requestors will be charged for photocopies of requested documents as well as actual costs of mailing, including the cost of the shipping container.  The University requires payment in advance via cash, check or money order, for all costs as noted above before providing copies or access to records.

    Questions related to public records at The University of Southern Mississippi should be directed to the Office of General Counsel at 601.266.4466. 

    Related Resources
    Mississippi Public Records Act

    Office of University Communications

    IHL Policy 301.0804

 
  • Injuries caused by the negligence of another or by another persons breach of some legal duty are generally referred to in legal terms as “torts”. Historically, the state and its agencies were protected from tort liability under the doctrine of sovereign immunity.
  • The state waived its sovereign immunity, however, for some tort claims when it adopted the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (“MTCA”). The MTCA limits the University’s liability for injuries caused by an act or omission of the University or its employees to $500,000.
  • The MTCA also protects the University employees from personal liability from the employee’s acts of negligence which occur during the course and scope of his or her employment. However, the protections and coverage afforded University employees under the MTCA do not include those acts occurring outside the course and scope of his or her employment including but not limited to conduct that constitutes fraud, malice, libel, slander, defamation, or any criminal offense. 
  • While an employee may be named as a defendant in an action against the University for an act by employee occurring in the scope and course of the employee’s employment, the University will provide the employee, in either state of the federal court, with legal representation at no cost to the employee.
  • A Tort Claims Certificate verifying that we are self-insured under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (MTCA) is available by emailing generalcounselFREEMississippi 

 

  • Members of the faculty and staff are permitted to engage in outside employment and consulting under certain conditions.  Permissible circumstances relating to outside employment and consulting are contained in IHL and University policies.
     
  • Pursuant to IHL Policy 801.08 OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT, members of the faculty and staff are permitted to engage in outside employment, provided permission is first obtained from the President and, provided further, that the President grants permission to engage in outside employment only after having first determined that such employment will not interfere in any manner with the institutional duties of the individual requesting such permission.  In addition, the policy prohibits University staff and faculty from engaging in a business or profession that would in any manner compete with a similar business or profession over which he or she would have direct supervision, inspection, or purchasing authority within the University or agency, such being a conflict of interest.
     
  • Likewise, University Faculty Handbook Policy 3.14 EXTERNAL EMPLOYMENT POLICY references the policy of the Board of Trustees and confirms that academic staff members may engage in employment outside the University after first obtaining the permission of the University President who must ascertain that the employment will not interfere with the University duties of the person requesting permission.
  • Retrieval No. 1007 of the University’s Employee Handbook also addresses the issue of outside employment.  For employees who wish to engage in outside employment, the policy requires employees to notify the Department of Human Resources and request an “Application for Permission to Engage in Outside Employment or Practice of Profession”.  The form may be accessed at:  
  •  The policy requires the approval of the President and prohibits faculty members from engaging in a business or profession which would result in a conflict of interest as described in the policy. A copy of the completed form is filed and maintained by the Department of Human Resources. 

 Outside Consulting by Staff Employees -Retrieval No. 1007 of the University’s Employee Handbook also addresses the issue of outside consulting by staff employees.  Pursuant to the policy, staff members who engage in consulting activities and who are paid a fee from an outside agency will be required to file an “Application for Permission to Engage in Outside Employment or Practice of Profession.”   The application must be filed and approved prior to participating in the activity.  All absences from work, during normal working hours, as a result of consulting, will be charged to the 12-month employee’s personal (vacation) leave.  Employees who do not have sufficient accrued personal leave to cover the absence will be required to report as leave-of-absence without pay for the period of time used in consulting.

Staff Employees Teaching Classes-Retrieval No. 1007 of the University’s Employee Handbook also addresses the issue of staff employees teaching classes.  The policy provides that staff employees who teach classes during their normal working hours and who receive additional compensation above their normal salary are required to charge such time to personal (vacation) leave.  The policy places the responsibility upon the director to ensure the employee complies with this policy.  In the event that the employee does not have sufficient accrued leave to cover the teaching time, the employee must report the time taken as leave without pay.

  • Information Security/Confidentiality
    • The University of Southern Mississippi values individuals’ privacy and actively seeks to preserve the privacy rights of those who share information with us. The University has adopted certain privacy policies and practices for any and all parts of Southern Miss where personally identifiable information (PII) in any format is created, received, maintained and transmitted. PII is considered sensitive information that can be used, either alone or in conjunction with other information, to identify a specific individual. Privacy and public records obligations of the University are governed by state and federal law.
      Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
    • The Southern Miss Information Privacy Statement categorizes PII as Moderately Sensitive and Highly Sensitive.  

       Moderately Sensitive information is that information which is generally available publicly and/or information that may have been provided by the individual.  This information is typically referred to as Directory Information.   The following items are included in Moderately Sensitive/Directory Information and are subject to public disclosure in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. 

      • Student's Name
      • Address
      • Telephone Number
      • E-mail Address
      • Major
      • Dates of Attendance
      • Classification
      • Degree(s) Earned
      • Previous Institutions Attended
      • Participation in Student Organizations
      • Participation in University recognized organization and activities
      • Weight and height of athletic team member
      • Honors and awards
      • Student's photo
      • Dean's/President's List 
         

Individuals may choose to “opt out” and request the university not release Directory Information. However, the consequences of an opt-out request should be considered before doing so. 

For example, if a student has opted out of Directory Information: 

  • Enrollment may not be verified to any outside source such as potential employers, colleges, universities or medical insurance companies. 
  • Information will not appear in any official university publications distributed to the public, such as a commencement program.  
  • Information will not be provided to the media when releasing academic recognition announcements (President's List or Dean's List). 

Highly Sensitive information is information that is not generally available publicly. This information may have been provided by you when you fill out a registration or other form. This information is generally stored and transmitted in encrypted format to minimize the possibility of unintended disclosure. This information in combination with Moderately Sensitive information can be used to specifically identify an individual and is never disclosed by the University without permission from the individual and/or a rigid agreement that extends the protection of the information from potential disclosure or an order from a court of competent jurisdiction. The following items are included in Highly Sensitive information:

1. Names and Numbers:

  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • Mother's maiden name
  • Official state-issued or U.S.-issued driver's license or identification number
  • Alien registration number
  • Government passport number
  • Employer or taxpayer identification number
  • Medicaid or food stamp account number
  • Bank account number
  • Credit or debit card number
  • Personal identification number or code assigned to the holder of a debit card by the issuer to permit the authorized electronic use of such card 

2. Unique biometric data  

such as fingerprint, voiceprint, retina or iris image or other unique physical representation 

3. Medical records 

4. Telecommunication identifying information or bulk records (SOAR, SOARFIN, email) 

5. Other number or information that can be used to access a person's financial resources

The Information Southern Miss Collects

When persons contact official Southern Miss components, certain client information may be collected. No information is collected unless it is deliberately provided by the individual (for example, by leaving their name and telephone number, by completing a University form, or by clicking a web-link to send Southern Miss an email). Examples of information persons might choose to give Southern Miss are listed below:  

  • Name, address, telephone number, and email address
  • Names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of family members and/or friends
  • Date of birth, ethnicity, gender, and country of origin
  • Height, weight, hair and eye color and blood type
  • Academic history, including schools attended, grades received and test scores
  • Financial profile, including income and assets
  • Employment history, including previous employers and duties
  • Credit or debit card and bank account information
  • Criminal history, including convictions, time served and probation status


The Way We Use Information 

As a general rule, Southern Miss maintains various types of records for individuals based on their association with the University. The University also analyzes aggregate information for resource management and planning purposes. Southern Miss reserves the right to use information details about individuals to investigate its resource management or security concerns. 

Personally identifiable information is used to accurately compile, store and retrieve an individual's records; to place and track individuals appropriately for academic purposes, and to award academic degrees and honors; to properly employ individuals and compensate them for their work; to correctly diagnose and medically treat individuals; to respond appropriately (or in a personalized format) to individuals' requests for services; and to improve the University's services and products. 

Under Mississippi's Public Records Law, most records in our possession are subject to inspection by or disclosure to members of the public upon their request. Information must be retained according to applicable federal and state laws and must be available for inspection, unless otherwise exempt from the public records law.  

Southern Miss uses the information individuals provide about themselves or about someone else when placing a request for service only to complete that order or request. To enhance the educational experience the University does share this data with third parties, within the requirements of state and federal statutes, with the approval of the University President. 

Southern Miss generally uses return addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses only to answer the communications received. Such addresses are generally not used for any other purpose and by University and state policy is not shared with outside parties, except in accordance with Public Record Laws.

Commitment To Data Security

The University of Southern Miss is dedicated to preventing unauthorized information access, maintaining information accuracy, and ensuring the appropriate use of information. We strive to put in place appropriate physical, electronic and managerial safeguards to secure the information we collect in all formats: on paper, electronically and verbally. These security practices are consistent with the policies of the University and with the laws and regulatory practices of the state of Mississippi and multiple federal agencies.

Related Resources
iTech - http://www.usm.edu/itech 

 

Political Activity- As noted in IHL Policy 801.11, participation by employees of the Mississippi institutions of higher learning in various community and public affairs is expected.  However, it is also expected that time given to such activities will not interfere with the regular duties of an employee. Indeed, political activities by a University employee will not be prohibited at such times as the employee would not be ordinarily required to render services to the institution or if the employee elects to take and the University grants a leave of absence without pay.    

With regard to political activity, University employees may do the following:

  • Vote on candidates and political issues without the interference of any kind
    Make campaign contributions to candidates or parties (provided they are made voluntarily), but they may not advise fellow employees to make such contributions
    Express their personal opinions privately, openly, or in public meeting on political issues and candidates.

University employees may not do the following: 

  • Use the influence of their official positions
    Put pressure upon anyone to persuade him or her to make a contribution to a campaign
    Advise anyone where to trade or not to trade as a political maneuver 

The following are some general guidelines with regard to political activities by University employees:

  • Political activities should be conducted on an employee’s own personal time and with the employee’s own resources. 
  • University employees, property, equipment, supplies, or other resources (telephones, mail service, photocopiers, computers, stationery, labels, envelopes) must not be utilized in any way to advance or attempt to advance the cause of any political candidate, political party, etc. 
  • An employee should not state or imply, orally or in writing, that the employee is speaking on behalf of the University on a political or electoral issue.
  • EXAMPLE: Stationery bearing the letterhead of the University or any of its components should never be used in any correspondence, advertising, or any other manner that indicates or implies endorsement of any candidate.

While employees are free to affix bumper stickers to their personal autos, no such stickers or displays may be attached to a University vehicle.


Related Resources

USM Employee Handbook, Retrieval No. 1007 Outside Employment or Consulting

IHL Policy § 801.11 Political Activities

USM Faculty Handbook § 7.6 Political Activities

Purpose:

The University developed a records retention policy to ensure access to past, present and future public records and preserve vital information generated by the University. This policy is designed for the following reasons:

to protect the corporate and institutional memory of the University’s activities by caring for University records from their creation through the preservation of other disposition;

 to provide economy and efficiency by relieving the University’s offices and departments of the cost and burden of maintaining valueless records; and

to comply with the applicable federal law and state law, in particular, Miss. Code Ann. § 25-59-1 et seq., and the related rules and procedures of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) and the State Records Committee. Records should be retained, transferred, destroyed or otherwise disposed of as indicated on a records retention schedule.

A schedule for each University department shall identify all groups of records in an office or department and specify the length of time each type of University record shall be retained. The retention period for each record will reflect the legal, administrative, fiscal and historical value of the information in the record. Each record schedule shall be prepared by or submitted through the University libraries and submitted for approval through the State Records Committee and MDAH prior to implementation by the University department.

Additional Information:

For additional information, please review the Information on Records Retention page. 

Questions: For questions about records specific to offices and departments that are not listed on the General Records Retention Schedules (or for any other questions), please contact Jessica Clark, Records Management Specialist:Phone: 601-266-5776; Email: j.m.clarkFREEMississippi 

Find out more by reviewing the Court Papers page.

 

 

 

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