Records Release Policy

Title: System Record Release Policy
Effective Date: November, 2016
Responsible Official: Vice President for University Relations and Development
Responsible University Office: Advancement Services
Date of Last Review: October, 2022
Relates to: Faculty/Staff/Students

Statement of Purpose:

Case Western Reserve University Advancement Services maintains a database of biographical and gift/pledge information about university alumni and friends in accordance with the general needs and expectations of the University community. The information contained in this database is intended exclusively for purposes related to Case Western Reserve University’s programs.

It is the desire of Advancement Services to support the ongoing activities of Case Western Reserve University by aiding programs, communications, and events which bring together alumni, donors, and friends of the University. To provide the best possible service to those with legitimate needs for such information, and at the same time maintain the confidentiality of the information entrusted to us by our alumni, the following policies have been developed. These policies have been approved by the Executive Director of Advancement Services and will apply to every request for information.

Statement of Information Release Policies:

I. The following may request information from the Advance database:

A. University-affiliated organizations and alumni constituent groups, in support of approved activities (see list of approved activities below). Those organizations include but are not limited to:

  1. Case Western Reserve University Alumni Relations personnel
  2. Case Western Reserve University, University Relations personnel
  3. Administrative units of Case Western Reserve University
  4. Academic units of Case Western Reserve University
  5. Athletic units of Case Western Reserve University
  6. Central Administration
  7. Career Development Center(s)

In cases of dispute about whether an organization has a legitimate affiliation with the University, the final decision will rest with the Executive Director of Advancement Services.

B. Other colleges and universities seeking the location of alumni with degrees from both Case Western Reserve University and the requesting institution.

C. Law enforcement agencies and student loan agencies.

D. Agencies that assist Alumni & Development Systems in locating Case Western Reserve University's lost alumni (e.g., USPS Locator Service).

E. Upon establishing their status in our system by providing their social security number (in the case of alumni) or other identifying fact(s), individuals may request public information for an individual. Requests for public information must be made in writing, stating the reason for the requested information.

All requests from anyone else seeking information on another person will be forwarded to that person so that they can decide whether to contact the requestor. No information will be released for those records coded "No Contact Requested" indicating the alumnus or alumna has requested no University contact. All requests for information from members of the media must be referred to the Case Western Reserve University Office of Marketing and Communications or similar professional school office.

II. The following is information that may be released from the Advance database:

Information available for release is confined to "public information" which is limited to:

  1. Full name
  2. Mailing Address
  3. Degree(s) and date of degree(s) awarded by Case Western Reserve University
  4. School(s) from which degree(s) was/were granted with major field of study

"Public information" will be provided only to those requestors identified in I.A through I.E above.

Federal law severely restricts the amount of information that may be released on current students. No information on students will, therefore, be released based on data maintained by Advance. All requests for information on current students should be forwarded to the appropriate Registrar’s office.

Information provided to volunteer alumni constituent groups will be limited to those alumni who are affiliated with the requesting group.

III. The following statements specify the acceptable internal uses of information from the alumni database:

A. Advancement Services will make available information from its database for the support of approved, University-related activities. Approved activities include the following:

  1. Alumni relations
  2. Development
  3. Public relations
  4. Government relations
  5. School/department communications to alumni/constituents
  6. University-sanctioned research
  7. Continuing education programs
  8. Student recruitment

In cases of dispute about what constitutes an approved activity, the final decision will rest with the Executive Director of Advancement Services or his/her designee.

B. Information maintained by Advancement Services is not available for release for non-related commercial or political purposes.

C. If the information provided will result in the preparation of lists or directories that are to be published in book, magazine, newsletter or other forms for general distribution among alumni groups, prior to publication the release of data must be approved by the Executive Director of Advancement Services or his/her designee and each individual who might be included must be provided the opportunity to indicate in writing whether he/she wishes to be excluded.

D. Requestors of data from Advancement Services may contract the services of outside vendors (e.g., data processing consultants, direct mail firms, marketing and merchandise firms, alumni relations affinity partners, etc.) to process and/or distribute information obtained from Advance. In these cases:

  1. The vendor must agree to use the information only for the purpose intended by the University client. The sale or transfer of the information by the vendor is strictly prohibited and a contract with the vendor must be reviewed and approved by the University’s Attorney’s Office. Revised August 2008
  2. If the project in question results in the publication of directories or lists as identified in III.C. above, the procedures outlined in III.C. must be followed prior to publication.
  3. The vendor must ensure the prompt return of any University owned CDs or electronic files, or software provided in fulfillment of the contract.
  4. In all cases involving the use of outside vendors or contractors, the absolute confidentiality of the information provided from the alumni database is the responsibility of the requestor.

IV. Formats available for distribution of information.

Information may be obtained in the form of lists, electronic files such as Excel spreadsheets, CDs, and downloads by authorized university representatives in support of approved activities as noted in III.A of this document. It is the responsibility of the unit requesting information to maintain the absolute confidentiality of that information as specified in this policy statement. Requestors of data will not maintain separate “shadow” databases of any Advancement Services data in either electronic or hard copy format. They may keep, and use internally, temporary working copies of information generated directly from the central database according to university guidelines [].

For the general Alumni constituent group, the preferred source for dissemination of public information is the on-line Alumni Directory. Advancement Services understands that Alumni serving the University in a volunteer capacity may require more extensive information. Subject to the restrictions of FERPA, biographic information will be released to Alumni Volunteers or third-party vendors providing they 1.) read and sign this policy agreement indicating understanding of and agreement with this policy and 2.) they agree not to create any electronic list or local database of the requested data. The data is to be used solely for the purpose indicated by the Alumni Volunteer when requesting the information and is to be destroyed in a responsible manner once the purpose has been fulfilled.

At no time will gift/pledge data or data pertaining to the prospect management system be released to alumni, alumni volunteers, or other constituents outside of the university community without the express approval of the Executive Director of Advancement Services or his/her designee.

V. Compliance with the above policy.

Failure to abide by any of the policies stated within this document may result in denial of access to information contained in the Advance database. Request for re-instatement of access to this information must be approved by the Executive Director of Advancement Services or his/her designee and must include written assurance of future compliance with these policies.


"I the undersigned have read and understand the policies of Case Western Reserve University Advancement Services regarding the use of information provided from the Advance database. I agree to use the information provided only for the approved University program(s) as stated above. Furthermore, I understand that the use of the information for political or commercial purposes is strictly prohibited."




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