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Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Gulf Coast State College holds students and community of central importance. The College provides many opportunities for learning and offers a range of programs and services to help students become well-educated, productive citizens. The college is equally dedicated to collaborating with the community to help create or improve economic well-being and to offer the space of the College for social dialog, events of art and culture and other moments that enhance our quality of life.

In accordance with the College’s mission, the institution articulates rights and responsibilities that shall form the foundation of the social contract between the student and the institution. Basic to these rights and responsibilities are the students’ rights:

  • To be treated with respect and dignity
  • To be afforded due process in resolution of all conflicts with the College
  • To be provided counsel of a student advocate (Student Ombudsman) to assist in the resolution of such conflicts
  • To be afforded the protection of all rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America

As a member of the Gulf Coast State College community, students also are obligated to the following basic responsibilities:

  • To behave in a mature, responsible manner
  • To respect the rights, opinions and beliefs of other community members
  • To adhere to all established College policies and procedures

Student's Right to Know

Student Persistence Rules/Placement Rate of Vocational Completers: Information regarding graduation rates and placement are available as required by the Student Right to Know Act (Public Law 101-542) in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness on the Panama City Campus.

  1. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act afford students certain rights with respect to their educational records. These rights include:
    The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day Gulf Coast State College receives a request for access. Students would submit to the Registrar's Office written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar's Office the student shall be advised of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes is inaccurate. Students may ask Gulf Coast State College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the Registrar, clearly identify the part of the records they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. If Gulf Coast State College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the student shall be notified of the decision and advised as to his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by Gulf Coast State College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support staff position (including law enforcement personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom Gulf Coast State College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, degree conferral & transcript processing agent, document managing agent and placement sites for internship or similar student work/study opportunities); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks; consultants, volunteers or other outside parties to whom Gulf Coast State College has outsourced institutional services or functions that it would otherwise use employees to perform. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education records in order fulfill his or her professional responsibility. As allowed with FERPA guidelines, Gulf Coast State College may disclose education records without consent to officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Gulf Coast State College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office administers FERPA is:
    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-5901
  5. What conditions apply to disclosure of information in health and safety emergencies?
    1. Gulf Coast State College may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record to appropriate parties, including parents of an eligible student, in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
    2. Nothing in the 20 U.S.C. 1232g (b)(1)(l) and (h) or this part shall prevent Gulf Coast State College from:
      1. Including in the education records of a student appropriate information concerning disciplinary action taken against the student for conduct that posed a significant risk to the safety or well-being of that student, other students or other members of the school community;
      2. Disclosing appropriate information maintained under paragraph (b)(1) of this section to instructors and school officials within Gulf Coast State College who have been determined to have legitimate educational interests in the behavior of the student; or
      3. Disclosing appropriate information maintained under paragraph (b) (1) of this section to instructors and school officials in other schools who have been determined to have legitimate educational interests in the behavior of the student.
  6. In making a determination under paragraph (a) of the section, Gulf Coast State College may take into account the totality of the circumstances pertaining to a threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals. If Gulf Coast State College determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals, it may disclose information from education records to any person whose knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

At its discretion, Gulf Coast State College may provide Directory Information in accordance with the provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Directory Information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Designated Directory Information at Gulf Coast State College includes the following:

  • Student's name
  • Major field of study
  • Enrollment status
  • Participation in recognized activities and sports
  • Weight, height and photograph of athletic team members
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees, awards and previous schools attended

Students may withhold Directory Information by notifying the registrar in writing; please note that such withholding requests are binding for all information to all parties other than for those exceptions allowed under the Act. Students should consider all aspects of a Directory Hold prior to filing such a request.

Health or Safety Emergency (FERPA)

In an emergency, FERPA permits school officials to disclose without student consent education records, including personally identifiable information from those records, to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals. At such times, records and information may be released to appropriate parties such as law enforcement officials, public health officials, and trained medical personnel. See 34 CFR § 99.31(a) (10) and § 99.36. This exception to FERPA's general consent rule is limited to the period of the emergency and generally does not allow for a blanket release of personally identifiable information from a student's education records. In addition, the Department interprets FERPA to permit institutions to disclose information from education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
Gulf Coast State College does not discriminate against any person in its programs, activities, policies or procedures on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, marital status, religion, age, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. All questions or inquiries regarding compliance with laws relating to non-discrimination and all complaints regarding sexual misconduct or discrimination, may be directed to Lee Wood, Executive Director, Human Resources/Title II/504/Title IX Coordinator and Employment Equity Officer, Gulf Coast State College, 5230 W. US Highway 98, Panama City, FL 32401.