How to Respond When Federal or State Officials Seek Information Regarding Students

Guidance for Georgetown University Faculty and Staff

General Principles

  • You should not, and have no responsibility to, provide information to a federal or state official requesting information immediately on a phone call or during an in-person visit.  In almost all cases, the university will have at least three working days to respond.
  • FERPA protects the privacy of information contained in student education records. Information from those records may be shared outside of the university only with the written consent of the student or if an exception to FERPA’s consent requirement applies (e.g., health and safety emergency, employment records).
  • The Office of General Counsel and Office of the Registrar are available to help guide you through issues regarding student privacy and to respond to requests for information.

If you receive by mail a subpoena or letter from a court or a federal or state agency requesting information about a student

  • Call the Office of General Counsel at 202-687-6457.
  • Scan the document and email a copy to a staff member in the Office of General Counsel.  Include the date the document was received and how it was delivered in your email.
  • The Office of General Counsel will review the subpoena and work with the appropriate university administrators to respond to the subpoena.

If you receive a call or in-person visit from a federal or state official or other individual who is delivering a subpoena or requesting information about a student[1]

  • Inform the individual that Georgetown has protocols in place to make sure inquires are addressed in an appropriate and timely manner.  You should not, and have no responsibility to, provide information immediately upon their request.
  • If the individual is attempting to deliver a subpoena, inform the individual that only the Office of General Counsel is authorized to receive subpoenas on behalf of Georgetown and direct the individual to the Office of General Counsel, 202 Healy Hall.
  • If the individual is orally requesting information, ask the individual to send the request in writing on official agency letterhead to you.  Let them know that someone will follow-up after we have had a chance to review.
  • Write down the individual’s identifying information, including: Name, Badge Number, Title, Contact Information, Time of Visit/Call, Information they are seeking.
  • Contact the Office of General Counsel at 202-687-6457 and send that information to a staff member in the Office.  The Office of General Counsel will review the request and work with the appropriate administrators to determine how to respond.
  • If the official asks to speak with a university representative before leaving the premises, contact Jay Gruber, Chief of Police, GUPD at 202-687-4343.
[1]           Georgetown regularly receives inquiries from federal and state officials.  Examples include inquiries conducted for the purpose of security clearances for federal employees and routine site visits for individuals on H1B or OPT STEM status.  Following these guidelines will ensure Georgetown is responding appropriately to all requests.