Parental Notification Policy

The University of Pennsylvania is a large, diverse, coeducational, urban academic community. It offers tremendous freedom to the individual and expects that each member of the University community will act in a responsible manner. The University does not take on a parental role in relation to its students but rather assumes that students are young adults who can make their own decisions and take basic responsibility for their own lives. Thus, most communication from the University is directed to the student. The University has adopted the following policy regarding parental notification:

A. In cases involving serious injury and in emergency situations, the University may notify the parents or guardians of a student. Further, in such situations, the University will notify the individual(s) designated by the student.

B. In an emergency situation in which rape has been committed, the victim will be asked whether notification of others should occur. All rape cases are handled according to special procedures developed by the Department of Public Safety, described in the Safer Living guide distributed to all students.

C. The Office of the Vice Provost for University Life (VPUL) may disclose to the parents or legal guardians of a student under the age of 21 information regarding the student's violation of any University policy governing the use or possession of alcohol or drugs when any of the following circumstances are present:

  1. The student has had previous, significant drug- or alcohol-related violations;
  2. The student has committed a violation which was accompanied by other serious misconduct involving personal injury to him- or herself, others, or damage to property; or the student's violation could result in a separation either from the University or from the College Houses.
  3. A student whose parents or guardians are to be notified under any of these circumstances will be informed before such notification occurs and given an opportunity to initiate contact with his or her parents.

D. In other than emergency situations and situations involving notification regarding alcohol or drug violations, a decision to notify parents or guardians about a student's activities will be made by the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life, or another senior student affairs officer, after consultation with the student's school office, if appropriate. Other offices, such as Counseling and Psychological Services, also may be consulted as appropriate. Examples of these other situations which may warrant parental notification include medical leaves of absence, emotional difficulties, and missing persons.

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 15, December 14, 1999