At Kenyon College we are committed to helping students take responsibility for their education and learning, and we want them to enhance their abilities for self-reflection, self-reliance and self-direction. We expect students to make their own decisions and manage their lives, owning their own successes and failures. In general, we support this philosophy by communicating directly with the student about their academic, co-curricular, and social standing. At the same time, we recognize that parents and guardians have a legitimate and abiding interest in their student's progress, especially in understanding when he or she may be failing to meet the Colleges academic and social expectataions.
Federal law protects the confidentiality of student records and specifies those limited situations in which information from educational records may be given out without a student's prior consent. The law permits Kenyon College, at its discretion, to disclose information without a student's consent to parents or guardians of a dependent student. Kenyon regards its students as responsible adults, however, capable of managing their own lives and seeking guidance when necessary. Thus Kenyon's policy is that disclosure of information to parents except in "extraordinary circumstances" is limited to information concerning a student's official status respecting the College.
Parents are therefore notified in the following situations:
- when a student withdraws from the College for any reason;
- when a student has been placed on Conditional Enrollment or when the student's academic standing is at issue; and
- when a student has been placed either on disciplinary probation or has been found responsible for multiple offenses of the student code of conduct
- The College expects students themselves to notify parents when they take or cancel a leave of absence.
The cases in which Kenyon would, in "extraordinary circumstances," notify parents or guardians cannot in the nature of things be completely enumerated or described; but it is, for example, the belief of Kenyon College that a serious injury to a student, or a violent crime committed upon a student, are sufficiently grave occurrences as to constitute "extraordinary circumstances." Kenyon College, therefore, as a matter of general policy, notifies parents of such events. In addition, the College may judge that parents should be notified concerning the existence of serious concerns or threats to a student's health, either physical or emotional. Although in most such instances students will be encouraged themselves to inform their parents, the College reserves the right to notify parents directly and/or to ensure that parents have been satisfactorily informed.
Kenyon College recognizes that under special circumstances notification of parents might be undesirable or inappropriate. In such cases, the dean of students and/or the dean for academic advising will usually discuss the matter carefully with the student, review the situation with other professionals, as appropriate and decide whether or not it is in the student's best interest that parental notification take place.