Confidentiality & Disclosure

A primary function of a disability services office is to serve as a confidential resource so that students do not have to make repeated disclosures of sensitive, personal information to individual faculty when seeking academic accommodations. We also view a person's condition and/or disability status as part of their identity and we strive honor their control over what they choose to disclose. If a student has chosen not to notify an instructor of their eligibility for accommodations via the FNL the DRC is limited in discussing that student's status.

In order to maintain privacy the FNL does not specify a condition or diagnosis. The documentation DRC receives also includes sensitive personal information and it will be not be forwarded or distributed without the student's permission. Faculty should refrain from inquiries that compel a student to disclose their condition or diagnosis.

When discussing a student with an instructor, DRC staff will frame their discussion around an impairment or academic impact of the condition or how a certain accommodation may address a functional barrier. That attempts to strike a balance between an instructor's educational right to know and a person's right to privacy. If more in-depth discussion of a student's condition is required in order to facilitate accommodations DRC staff will seek the student's permission to share more specific information.

Anyone involved with the instruction or administration of a course or program, including instructors, non-instructional department staff (ADAs, advisers, etc.), and student employees should limit their disclosures of a student's status or accommodations to those with a legitimate educational need to know.