Family Communication Philosophy
Effective February 2022
Student Affairs is committed to the development of the whole student and the core values of the Spartan Code. Additionally, student affairs staff utilize every interaction with a student to assist in the development of Spartan Ready® competencies. By empowering students to be proactive partners in their educational experience, students develop life skills, professional communication, critical thinking and interpersonal abilities.
Family members often communicate with the University on behalf of their student. They voice concerns and request response and assistance sometimes before their student has taken any steps to obtain information or resolve the matter on their own.
To empower students in developing Spartan Ready® competencies, these are the overarching principles guiding student affairs staff in their communication with parents and family members:
- Federal law requires The University of Tampa to disseminate a student’s personally identifiable information in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA protects the privacy of a student’s educational record and in most cases requires The University of Tampa to receive permission from the student to release information. For more information on FERPA and submitting FERPA releases, please visit the Office of the Registrar.
- If a FERPA release has not been submitted, student affairs staff may answer questions regarding University policies and procedures. Information regarding third parties will not be disclosed as outlined by FERPA.
- Students will serve as the primary contact to handle their own concerns and the decision makers for their educational experience. Students will be asked to relay information and decisions to their family members.
- Students should be the primary attendee for any meetings related to their educational experience. This can include, but is not limited to, student conduct meetings, internship advising meetings, room change inquiries, student mediation, student worker supervision or commencement and graduation inquiries.
- Students will be copied on any written communication in response to family members. Student affairs staff will share the next steps students should take to resolve their concern.
- Family members will be referred to the staff member and department best suited to answer their questions or concerns. That staff member will remain the person who communicates with the student and family to guide them through the process. Due to the complexity of some student issues, there may be times when families or students will need to be referred to multiple offices and either a coordinated response or more than one contact at the University will be provided to fully address the concern.
- When contacting student affairs staff members by email or phone, students and families will be required to provide details regarding the nature of their inquiry so they can be directed to the correct staff member. Responses may be delayed if students or families contact unrelated departments.
- Student affairs staff are available 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday-Friday (in the summer 8 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday) when the University is open to answer questions.
- In an event of an after-hours emergency, students and family members should contact Campus Safety at (813) 257-7777. Residential students may also contact the resident assistant(s) on duty for their residence hall. Additionally, students may utilize any of the following resources for support and to report incidents of concern: Campus Safety, Student Conduct public incident reporting form, Spartan SOS, Silent Witness, and Victim Advocate. Outside of emergency responses by Campus Safety or Residence Life staff, other concerns will be addressed during business hours.
- Students will receive emergency communications, and they are encouraged to discuss emergency situations with their family members. To stay informed and updated, family members are encouraged to enroll in UT web alerts, follow UT on social media and visit the University website frequently.
- Student workers have been trained to answer and respond to questions in many offices across Student Affairs. When students and families call the University, a trained student worker may answer. Referrals to professional staff members may occur when appropriate. Students are strongly encouraged to make phone calls or visit offices themselves rather than family members calling on their behalf.
- Social media pages not created by the University are not monitored by staff and are not official means of communication. Information on these pages may not be accurate, which has created confusion in the past. Please refer to the University website for accurate, up-to-date information.