Georgia Open Records Act and Georgia Open Meetings Act
Albany State University, as a public institution, is subject to the provisions of Georgia Open Records Act and the Georgia Open Meetings Act. Under the Georgia Open Meetings Act O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1 (a)(3)(A) (2012), certain meetings are open to the public. Under the Georgia Open Records Act O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 (2012), certain records are subject to public disclosure.
The Office of Legal Affairs is solely responsible for coordinating the University’s search, retrieval and disclosure of records pursuant to open records requests, subpoenas, and requests for production of records. Records that are considered public and subject to disclosure “means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, data, data fields, or similar material prepared and maintained or received by an agency or by a private person or entity in the performance of a service or function for or on behalf of an agency or when such documents have been transferred to a private person or entity by an agency for storage or future governmental use.” O.C.G.A. §50-18-70(b)(2).
ll requested records pursuant to the Georgia Open Meetings Act and the Georgia Open Records Act must be directed to Vanessa Tupper, Paralegal/Records Custodian in the Office of Legal Affairs at (229) 430-0577.
Questions about the Georgia Open Meetings Act and the Georgia Open Records Act should be directed to the Office of Legal Affairs at (229) 430-0577.
Albany State University Records Retention Policy
In in order to maintain compliance with federal and state law, including the Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. 50-18-90 et seq.), and to meet requirements of external entities, such as accrediting bodies, Albany State University establishes guidelines for the establishment of retention schedules, the duties of agencies with regards to records management and access to records.
All Albany State University faculty and staff shall maintain and preserve all University records and electronic documents in accordance with the Retention Schedule of the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents (BOR) and State of Georgia law.
The University shall follow the records retention schedule set forth by the BOR located at http://www.usg.edu/records_management/schedules/. Once records have met all required retention in accordance with the BOR retention schedule, destruction procedures are implemented.
To access the full ASU Records Retention Policy visit University Policies on the Office of Legal Affairs website.
Questions about Albany State University Records Retention Policy should be directed to the Office of Legal Affairs at (229) 430-0577.
Subpoenas, Court Orders, Search Warrants, and other Requests
Albany State University employees who receive a subpoena, court order, search warrant, or a request for documents under the Open Records Act must immediately contact the Office of Legal Affairs at (229) 430-0577. If the request is in writing, deliver a copy of the request to the Office of Legal Affairs immediately. Do not contact or discuss the subpoena, court order or search warrant with the issuing/serving party. The employee should also identify any documents (print or electronic) or other records in their possession that might be responsive to the request.
FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
In accordance with FERPA, Albany State University protects students’ rights to privacy. No one outside of the institution shall have access to, nor will the institution disclose any information from students’ education records, without the written consent of students, except: to authorized personnel within the institution, to officials of other institutions in which students seek to enroll, to persons or organizations providing students financial aid, to accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, to persons in compliance with a judicial order and to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. All of these exceptions are permitted under the Act.
ASU is fully committed to ensuring the privacy and protection of personal information of all students, including those enrolled in distance learning program, and does not share personal information gathered from distance education and/or on-campus/residential students. However, in some cases, the University may be compelled by the Open Records law to release information.
For more information on FERPA, please contact The Office of Legal Affairs at (229) 430-0577 or The Office of Academic Services & Registrar at 229-430-4638 (East Campus) or 229-317-6204 (West Campus).
HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191 is a federal law which provides protections for health care information and access. The law was passed by Congress to “improve portability and continuity of health insurance coverage in the group and individual markets, to combat waste, fraud, and abuse in health insurance and health care delivery, to promote the use of medical savings accounts, to improve access to long-term care services and coverage, to simplify the administration of health insurance, and for other purposes”.
Among its many benefits, HIPAA protects health care information from fraud and abuse by requiring data privacy, for those who receive health care services and security provisions for the safeguarding of medical information. In accordance with HIPAA, the University System of Georgia (USG) and Albany State University (ASU) protects student and employee health information privacy rights.
For more information on HIPAA, please contact The Office of Legal Affairs at (229) 430-0577.
For more information about Records Management & Requests, please contact The Office of Legal Affairs at (229) 430-0577.