Privacy Protocol

This letter was originally sent to all faculty and staff on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

Dear Colleagues,

Following up on President Pollack’s community-wide message, I am writing to remind all Cornell employees of the following measures in place to protect student and employee information from unauthorized disclosure.

As President Pollack stated in her message, Cornell will continue to vigilantly protect the privacy of confidential information and records from any unauthorized disclosure in accordance with FERPA and university policy. Any requests for access to confidential information are to be handled in accordance with University Policy 4.5 - Access to Student Information. Subpoenas and other judicial or governmental requests for student confidential records are to be handled in accordance with University Policy 4.13 - Acceptance of Legal Papers. If staff or faculty members receive requests from ICE or other agencies for such information or records, they should consult with the Office of the University Registrar (5-4232, or the Office of University Counsel (5-5124), the university offices responsible for Policies 4.5 and 4.13, before responding.
I also wish to reiterate that while Cornell representatives, including the Cornell University Police Department (CUPD), will comply with subpoenas and warrants to the extent required by law, it is neither the University’s practice nor expectation to function as an agent of the federal government regarding enforcement of federal immigration laws. This means that CUPD will not honor a civil immigration detainer request from a federal agent unless accompanied by a judicial warrant except in the narrow circumstances delineated in Tompkins County Resolution 2017-21. CUPD will not seek immigration status information of any individual in the course of its law enforcement activities unless required by law or necessary to investigate criminal activity. Cornell Police have always acted, and will continue to perform their duties, in a professional manner and in the spirit of rules established for officers in the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County.

I appreciate your attention to these important privacy protections. Thank you all for standing with our students and supporting them during this very stressful time. 


Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer