Appendix 20: Access to Personnel Records

Synopsis of Academic Personnel Manual Section 160

I. Policy

 

The policy set forth in this section is intended to define the rights of individuals and entities to have access to academic personnel records. This policy is intended to protect academic employees from unwarranted invasion of their personal privacy, as well as to specify their rights of access to their own personnel records; and to make corrections, deletions, or additions to these records.

 

II. Access to Academic Personnel Records (APM 160-20)

 

A. Protection of the Individual’s Right to Privacy

 

University policy and state and federal laws recognize the individual’s rights to privacy, as well as the public’s right to know about the governance of public institutions.

 

The State of California Information Practices Act of 1977 guarantees certain legal rights to privacy by establishing strict limits to access to information about an individual which is maintained by a public entity, such as the University of California, whether that access is by a governmental agency, a private corporation, a member of the public, or an employee of the same public entity.

 

Under the California Public Records Act, records maintained by the University generally are public records and are subject to inspection by any person upon request unless specifically exempted under the law from disclosure. One of the exemptions includes records the disclosure of which would involve an unwarranted invasion of an individual’s personal privacy. The Faculty Code of Conduct (Part II.D.3.) as approved by the Assembly of the Academic Senate and incorporated into the official document, "University Policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline," initially adopted by The Regents in June, 1974 and subsequently amended, specifies that among types of unacceptable faculty conduct is "breach of established rules governing confidentiality in personnel procedures." This part of the Faculty Code recognizes the importance of the right to privacy of an individual undergoing a personnel review and of the right to privacy of persons who furnish, in confidence, evaluations of individuals under review.

B. Definition of Types of Information Maintained by the University about Academic Employees

  1. "Confidential Academic Review Records" are:
    1. a letter of evaluation or other statement pertaining to an individual received by the University with the understanding that the identity of the author of the letter or statement will be held in confidence to the extent permissible by law;
    2. a letter from the Chairperson (or equivalent officer) setting forth a personal recommendation in connection with an academic personnel action concerning the individual, such as an appointment, promotion, merit increase, appraisal, reappointment, non-reappointment, or terminal appointment;
    3. reports, recommendations, and other related documents from campus and departmentalad hoc committees concerning evaluations of the individual under applicable University criteria in connection with an academic personnel action, such as an appointment, promotion, merit increase, appraisal, reappointment, non-reappointment, or terminal appointment; and
    4. information placed in the review file by a department chair that provides reference to the scholarly credentials of individuals who have submitted letters of evaluation or their relationship to the candidate.
  2. "Non-Confidential Academic Review Records" are:
    1. a letter from the Chairperson (or equivalent officer) setting forth a departmental recommendation in connection with an academic personnel action concerning the individual, such as an appointment, promotion, merit increase, appraisal, reappointment, non-reappointment, or terminal appointment;
    2. reports, recommendations, and other related documents from administrative officers and standing personnel committees concerning evaluation of the individual under applicable University criteria in connection with an academic personnel action, such as an appointment, promotion, merit increase, appraisal, reappointment, non-reappointment, or terminal appointment.
  3. Confidential Information

    "Confidential Information" although generally not a part of an academic review file, is occasionally maintained by the University, and includes, but is not limited by law to, medical, psychological, or health care information about an individual.

  4. Non-Personal Academic Personnel Information

    "Non-Personal" academic personnel information is limited to that information which could not, in any reasonable way, reflect or convey anything detrimental to an individual’s rights, benefits, or privileges, such as:

    1. individual’s name;
    2. date of hire;
    3. current position title;
    4. current rate of pay;
    5. organizational unit assignment including office address and telephone number;
    6. full-time, part-time, or other employment status; and
    7. certain other employment information required to be released to the public as determined on a case-by-case basis by the General Counsel and the Senior Vice President--Academic Affairs.
  5. Personal Information

    "Personal" information is any information about an individual that is not defined as "Confidential" or "Non-Personal" and the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy of the individual.

 

C. Access by the Individual

 

  1. In any of the academic personnel records pertaining to an individual, including the individual’s personnel review file, all documents other than confidential academic review records as defined in APM-160-20-b(1) shall be accessible at reasonable times for inspection by the individual to whom the record pertains (including the right to receive the first copy of such material free, and subsequent copies at reasonable cost). Confidential academic review records shall be accessible, upon request, in redacted form as defined in APM-160-20-c(4). Access to confidential information as defined in APM-160-20-b(3) shall be in accord with legal requirements.
  2. During the departmental review of an academic personnel action, an individual’s opportunity to inspect all documents to be included in the personnel review file is governed by APM-220-80-d.
  3. In an ongoing personnel action, during the period between a departmental recommendation in a personnel action concerning the individual and the final administrative decision in that personnel action, access by the individual undergoing review to any letter of evaluation or report submitted by an individual, administrator, or committee shall be governed by APM-220-80-d, -e, -h, and -i.
  4. When an individual requests access to confidential academic review records (as defined in APM-160-20-b(1)), the records shall be subject to redaction as follows:
    1. for a letter of evaluation or statement from an individual evaluator, redaction shall consist of the removal of name, title, organizational/institutional affiliation, and relational information contained below the signature block of the letter of evaluation;
    2. for reports or recommendations of an ad hoc committee, redaction shall consist of the removal of the names of individual members of the committee;
    3. for information that references the scholarly credentials or relationship to the candidate of the authors of letters of evaluation, no access shall be provided to the individual;
    4. for confidential documents (including individual, departmental, and administrative letters, as well as committee reports and recommendations) placed in an academic personnel review file prior to September 1, 1992, campuses may either:
      1. redact such documents to remove the identifier’s such as name, title, date, and organizational/institutional affiliation, or any relational statement or comment that would serve to identify the author(s) of the document; or
      2. prepare a comprehensive summary.
  5. An individual’s rights to access "confidential" information about himself or herself referred to in APM-160-20-b(3) shall be in accordance with the legal requirements of the Information Practices Act of 1977.
  6. The provisions of APM-160-20-c(2), (3) and (4) apply only to the following academic personnel titles and title series: Professor, Professor in Residence, Acting Professor, Adjunct Professor, Visiting Professor, Clinical Professor, University Professor, Professor of Clinical (X), Agronomist, Astronomer, Lecturer, Lecturer with Potential Security of Employment, Lecturer with Security of Employment, Senior Lecturer, Senior Lecturer with Potential Security of Employment, Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment, Professional Research, Specialist, Cooperative Extension Specialist (Advisor), Supervisor of Physical Education, Librarian.

 

Document

Type of
Record

Accessibility
by Candidate

Solicited and unsolicited letters of evaluation

Confidential

Redact letterhead and
signature block

List of scholarly credentials of the authors of letters of evaluation

Confidential

No access

Department ad hoc committee report

Confidential

Redact committee
member names *

Chair’s letter setting
forth the faculty
meeting and vote

Non-Confidential

Non-redacted copy

Chair’s confidential
letter stating personal opinion

Confidential

- -

Dean’s Statement

Non-Confidential

Non-redacted copy

Provost’s Statement

Non-Confidential

Non-redacted copy

Campus ad hoc review committee report

Confidential

Redact committee member names

Council on Academic Personnel report

Non-Confidential

Non-redacted copy

 

* provided that departmental practice is to keep the membership of the committee confidential

D. Access by Third Parties to "Confidential" and "Personal" Information

  1. Access by University Officers and Employees

    Access by University officers and employees to confidential, academic review records, non-confidential academic review records, "confidential" information or "personal" information as defined in APM–160-20-b(1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) shall be strictly limited to those officers and employees who need such access in the performance of their officially assigned duties, provided that such access is related to the purpose for which the information was acquired.

  2. Access by the Committee on Privilege and Tenure

    The Committee on Privilege and Tenure may request access to academic personnel records, including confidential academic review records, non-confidential academic review records, and "confidential" and "personal", information to the extent necessary to permit thorough consideration of cases brought before it. The Chancellor shall provide to the Committee access to all such academic personnel records requested by the Committee, including confidential documents. Confidential documents provided to the Committee are subject to the provisions regarding maintenance of confidentiality set forth in APM–160-20-a and APM-160-20-b. In considering a specific case, in conducting ahearing on a specific case, and in making its report and recommendations, the Committee shall not disclose to the individual or to any other persons, other than to University employees with an official need to know, the identities of persons who have supplied confidential academic review records or "personal" information included in the individual’s academic personnel records. (The Privilege and Tenure Committee’s jurisdiction and procedures are described by Academic Senate Bylaws 195 and 335 and do not extend to evaluation of academic qualifications or professional competence.)

  3. Access by Governmental Agencies

    Governmental agencies shall have access to confidential academic review records and "confidential" and "personal" information when required by state or federal law. The Senior Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs and Administration shall jointly issue procedural guidance for such access as needed.

  4. Access by the Public and Non-Governmental Entities

    Members of the public, and non-governmental entities shall not have access to confidential academic review records, or non-confidential academic review records, "confidential" or "personal" information, except as required by law.

E. Access to "Non-Personal" Information

"Non-Personal" information is public information and is available upon request to any person or entity without limitation.

F. Opportunity to Request Corrections or Deletions in Academic Personnel Records and to Make Additions to Such Records (APM 160-30)

  1. An individual may address to the Chancellor, or other appropriate administrative officer, a written request:
    1. that a statement of fact in an academic personnel record pertaining to the individual be corrected;
    2. that a statement by the individual in response to material in an academic personnel record pertaining to the individual be included in that record; and/or
    3. that specific material be deleted from such a record because that material is improperly included in the record and because neither correction nor responsive statement will adequately deal with the impropriety.

      Within a reasonable time period not to exceed 30 calendar days, the Chancellor, or other appropriate administrative officer, shall determine whether a requested correction in a statement of fact or a requested deletion will be made. The individual shall, in any event, have the right to have inserted in the appropriate record any statement the individual wishes in response to or commenting upon the challenged material.

  2. Material included in the personnel review file of an individual shall not be deleted from academic personnel records pertaining to the individual pursuant to the preceding subsection unless the appropriate administrative officer has first solicited the advice of the Committee on Academic Personnel or equivalent Committee.
  3. If an individual has requested access to academic personnel records pertaining to the individual, material shall not be deleted from such records without the consent of the individual other than in accordance with the provisions of APM-160-0 and 160-20.
  4. If material is deleted from academic personnel records in accordance with the preceding subsections, care shall be taken to ensure that the same material is also deleted from copies of those records in all locations where such copies are maintained.

 


Revised 10/13/99

Web page updated 7/22/03