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Gordie Center

for Substance Abuse Prevention

Parental Notification Policy

The University strives to educate all students regarding the dangers associated with substance abuse and the improper or illegal use of alcohol or other drugs. In addition, the University intervenes to engage students who may commit alcohol or drug-related infractions or who demonstrate a pattern of substance abuse. In furtherance of its effort to engage students and their families regarding these issues, the University has adopted this Parental Notification Policy pertaining to the illegal or improper use of alcohol or other drugs.

Whenever the Office of the Dean of Students becomes aware that a University of Virginia student has been arrested for an alcohol- or drug-related violation, and the student is a dependent (for federal tax purposes), the Office of the Dean of Students will notify that student’s parent(s) or guardian(s). Violations that trigger notifications under this paragraph include, but are not limited to, driving under the influence, public drunkenness, underage possession of alcohol, and unauthorized possession of controlled substances (illegal drugs).

Furthermore, whenever the Office of the Dean of Students becomes aware that a University of Virginia student has engaged in a pattern of behavior or a severe incident involving the use of alcohol and/or drugs, and the student is a dependent (for federal tax purposes), the Office of the Dean of Students will notify that student’s parent(s) or guardian(s). Violations that trigger notifications under this paragraph include, but are not limited to, frequent or severe episodes of drug use, drunkenness, and/or binge drinking.

The University will make notifications under this policy unless, as determined by the University, family or other circumstances make such notifications incompatible with the student’s best interests. The University relies on the professional judgment of its faculty and administrators when assessing each student’s situation. Students whose family or other circumstances make notification under this policy inappropriate will be referred immediately to the University’s professional counseling resources.

When making a notification under this policy, time and circumstances permitting, a professional staff member in the Office of the Dean of Students ordinarily will encourage the student to make the initial call to their parent(s) or guardian(s).The staff member then will follow-up with a call directly to the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s).

A notification under this policy will be in addition to the intervention and education programs already offered to students when such infractions are brought to the University’s attention. Intervention may include one or more of the following: substance abuse assessment by a trained clinician; psychological assessment by a trained clinician; substance abuse counseling; enrollment in educational programs; and/or sanctions imposed for violations of the University’s Standards of Conduct.

A notification under this policy is authorized by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. 1232g (“FERPA”), which permits the disclosure of information from education records to parents of dependent students. The University reserves the right in its sole discretion to notify parents of alcohol or drug related incidents falling outside this policy to the extent permitted by FERPA or other applicable law.

Parental Notification Policy: Mental Health

In accordance with Virginia state law, Va. Code §23-9.2:3.C, the University of Virginia will notify a parent of any dependent student who receives mental health treatment at the University’s Department of Student Health/Counseling and Psychological Services (“CAPS”) when there exists a substantial likelihood that, as a result of mental illness, the student will, in the near future, (a) cause serious physical harm to himself or others as evidenced by recent behavior or any other relevant information or (b) suffer serious harm due to his lack of capacity to protect himself from harm or to provide for his basic human needs.

CAPS will inform the Dean of Students whenever notification is required in these instances. The Dean of Students or his/her designee will then notify the parent. The notification will typically include, at minimum, (a) a description of the student’s behaviors that merit the notification, and (b) the specific actions the University is taking to address the risks posed by the student’s behaviors.

Parental notification may be withheld in these instances if the student’s treating physician or treating clinical psychologist determines, in the exercise of his/her professional judgment, that notification would be reasonably likely to cause substantial harm to the student or another person.