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FAQs

Responding to subpoenas, warrants or other external requests for information

What if I am called for jury duty?

How do I request copies of my student educational records?

What is "Electronic Discovery" and how does it affect me?

Why should I be concerned about the disposal of Personal Information?

What should I do if I receive what appears to be an official request for information by e-mail?

 

What if I am called for jury duty?

The Office of General Counsel generally is unable to assist employees in requesting exemption from jury duty. Recent changes to Indiana law allow for excuse or deferral from jury duty under certain circuimstances. The relevant Indiana Code provision can be found at IC 33-28-5-18. If you desire to seek exemption from jury duty, we recommend that you contact the relevant court directly. The University's policy on honoring jury duty and related obligations may be found here.

 

How do I request copies of my student educational records?

If you desire to obtain copies of any part of your student educational records, consistent with your rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), you may submit this form to the Office of General Counsel.

 

What is "Electronic Discovery" and how does it affect me?

What is electronic discovery? Once a lawsuit is filed, the parties engage in a process called “discovery” wherein they exchange information. Though a Complaint initiates the lawsuit, there is a period of time prior to the filing of a Complaint in which the parties anticipate litigation. Once litigation is anticipated, each party is responsible for preserving all potentially relevant evidence within its custody or control. The University is prohibited from altering, deleting or otherwise modifying any such information or data. This requirement necessarily includes both paper documents and information created and preserved electronically. In order to comply with the court imposed rules, a “litigation hold” is sent by the Office of General Counsel to all persons who might have relevant paper and electronic data.

What information does the litigation hold give me? Upon receipt of a litigation hold notice from the Office of General Counsel, you will be advised as to who is making a claim against the University, the nature of the claim and what information may be relevant that you will need to preserve. You will be asked to preserve any hard copies of documents under your control and to identify all relevant paper files. Paper files are then gathered and delivered to the Office of General Counsel. 

Where will I need to look for electronic information? The University’s computer systems include all workstations, laptops, network servers, removable media (memory stick, CD Rom, floppy disks, and other similar devices), handheld devices (Palm Pilot, Treos, Blackberry & other similar devices), voicemail and back up tapes. If you use your home computer or any of these devices in any way for work purposes, such as checking e-mail or keeping back up information on that computer, the “litigation hold” will apply to that computer as well. Therefore, in order to make certain that the University has preserved ALL relevant data, you will be provided questionnaire asking you to list information such as where you store information, what backup procedures you take and whether your assistants or aides might also have information relevant to the litigation. 

What will I have to do with my electronic information? To comply with the electronic discovery rules, you will be asked to retain all relevant files stored on the computer systems described above and all relevant e-mail (contained in your Outlook, Eudora or ND Webmail Inbox and Folders or any other e-mail format). The information must be preserved in its original electronic form, so that all information contained within it, whether visible or not, is also available for inspection – i.e., it is not sufficient to make a hard copy of electronic communications. To ensure that no electronic information is inadvertently deleted, you will be asked to suspend deletion, overwriting, or any other destruction of electronic information that is under your control. Any e-mail “janitorial” functions, such as automatic deletion of email after a certain number of days, must be disabled. With every litigation hold, OIT representatives and your local system administrators will be given notice and will be available to assist with the suspension of deletion of electronic information. Additionally, OIT will gather electronically held information and assist in making regular backups of data. 

What happens next? After all information is gathered, the university attorneys will then make a determination, based upon the information requested by opposing counsel, as to what is relevant and non-privileged and what will be produced to the court and opposing counsel.

 

Why should I be concerned about disposal of Personal Information?

What is Personal Information, and what does disposal mean? “Personal information” is defined specifically as an unencrypted or unredacted Social Security number, or an individual’s name combined with at least one of either (i) a driver's license number, (ii) a state identification card number, (iii) a credit card number, or (iv) a financial account number or debit card number (along with a corresponding code that would permit access to the account). The term “dispose of” means discarding or abandoning personal information in an area accessible to the public, including placing the personal information in a container for trash collection. 

What does “redacted” mean? The Indiana Code provides specific requirements pertaining to redaction of personal information. Personal information is considered “redacted” if it has been altered or truncated so that no more than five digits of a SSN or four digits of a driver’s license, State ID, or account number are accessible.

Why is disposal of Personal Information significant to me? Under Indiana law, it is an infraction to dispose of unencrypted, unredacted Personal Information without shredding, incinerating, mutilating, erasing, or otherwise rendering the information illegible or unusable. The severity of the infraction is dependent on the number of individuals involved and whether similar infractions have been committed in the past. It is important to note that the statute applies to individuals and corporations alike, and it does not make a distinction concerning applicability to an employer as opposed to an individual employee with respect to improper disposal. Accordingly, it is in everyone’s best interest to pay close attention to the handling of personal information. While this practice has been and continues to be part of the normal course of operation of the University and should not present any radical changes, it is imperative that all University departments examine their information handling and record disposal procedures and make all personnel who handle personal information aware of these changes. Special attention should be given to working copies of information that may not be considered a permanent record and that might be disposed of without much thought. 

What should I do if I have questions about disposing Personal Information? If your department has not already done so, it is advisable to contact the University’s Archives in order to properly manage your record retention and disposition procedures. The Office of General Counsel is also available to help with questions concerning the applicability of this law to the University’s processes.

 

What should I do if I receive what appears to be an official request for information by e-mail?

Do government agencies request personal information by unsolicited email? You should be aware that government agencies, banks, or other institutions generally do not contact individuals seeking private personal information (such as social security number, credit card number, or bank account information) unless you have an existing relationship with the institution and have consented to share this sort of information electronically. 

What is "phishing"? Your email inbox is frequently assaulted by a variety of junk mail, spam, and other unwanted litter. Although the University uses a sophisticated filter system to reduce the amount of spam that we receive, it is still not uncommon to receive communications that appear to be official, for instance from a federal agency such as the IRS, requesting private information of some sort. Generally speaking, such unsolicited communications, known as “phishing” attempts, are schemes to gain information that can later be used for identity theft or other fraudulent purposes.

What should I do if I receive e-mail that I think may be "phishing"? If in the course of your work for the University you receive what would appear to be official requests for information by electronic mail, before taking any action (including following links provided in such email), you should consult the University’s guidelines for responding to subpoenas, warrants, and other external requests for University records, documents, information, or materials, located at:

http://generalcounsel.nd.edu/team-practices/subpoenas/

You should also contact the Office of General Counsel for guidance.

 

How do I request a copy of the University's publicly available IRS Form 990? Please contact Jessica Jackson-McLain at 574-631-5170 or jjacks17@nd.edu.