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Hamilton College students are young adults who can and should make their own decisions. The College will, in most instances, direct communications to students with respect to academic, health, and advising matters. The College encourages students to share important information with their parents (references to parents herein shall include parents, legal guardians, and anyone else in a parental relation). In certain cases, the College may contact parents or others when in the judgment of the College such notification is in the best interest of the student. Consistent with applicable laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), Hamilton College has adopted the following policies regarding parental notification:
  1. Generally when a student is working with the Dean of Students (references to the Dean of Students shall include the Dean of Students, members of the Dean of Students Office, and her designee) regarding a matter (academic or non-academic), the College will encourage students to consult their parents.
  2. The College maintains a Students of Concern (SOC) team. At the time any student is referred to the SOC team, the SOC team will review whether parents should be notified and make a recommendation to the Dean of Students regarding parental notification.
  3. Prior to notifying a parent, the Dean of Students will inform the student and give the student a reasonable opportunity to initiate the contact, unless emergency circumstances preclude affording that opportunity.
  4. In cases in which a student has incurred a serious injury, the Dean of Students may notify the student’s parents; in any case in which a student is medically incapacitated, the Dean of Students will notify the student’s parents.
  5. The Dean of Students will disclose disciplinary sanctions to parents in accordance with the College’s policy with respect to Judicial Procedures. The Dean of Students will normally disclose to parents any pending disciplinary charge that may result in suspension or expulsion. The Dean of Students will disclose to parents any sanction involving four or more points or a separation from the College.
  6. Pursuant to the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, the College will not normally inform a student’s parents of their involvement as either a complainant or a respondent in a sexual misconduct complaint. The Dean of Students will advise parents of students involved in a sexual misconduct complaint when requested to do so by the student or pursuant to paragraphs 9 and 10. 
  7. Grades are normally reported only to students. The College’s Academic Regulations define the terms Academic Risk, Academic Probation, and Academic Warning. The Dean of Students may notify the parents of students who are considered to be at Academic Risk or who are placed on Academic Probation. Students who receive two Academic Warnings in the same semester are required under the Academic Regulations to consult with the Associate Dean of Students, who may make a recommendation to the Dean of Students regarding parental notification.
  8. The College will advise parents when a student is missing in accordance with the College’s plan for investigating a report of a missing student.
  9. The Dean of Students will notify parents of circumstances that pose an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of the student or another individual, unless the Dean of Students determines that the parents have been a contributing factor to the circumstances the student is experiencing or that notification of the parents may otherwise compromise the student’s health and safety.
  10. The Dean of Students may disclose information to parents when, in her judgment, she believes that parental notification is in the best interest of the student. Before making such notification, the Dean of Students may consider whether the parents have been a contributing factor to the difficulties the student is experiencing, and whether parental notification will compromise the student’s health and safety. Examples of situations that may warrant parental notification include:
  • In the event a student requests a medical leave of absence;
  • In the event a student exhibits significant mental health/emotional difficulties;
  • In the event a student is arrested and charged with criminal conduct;
  • In the event a student is unable to function independently such that there is reason to be concerned with the student’s health and safety, which may be evidenced by an unexplained failure to attend class or unexplained failure to complete academic work, or unexplained changes in the student’s eating and sleeping patterns.

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