Information related to a student’s disability and accommodations is protected, as students are entitled to confidentiality of this information under the Americans with Disabilities Act. ODS treats all student information as confidential, so a student’s diagnosis or approval for accommodations is never shared with others on campus, nor will this information appear on the student’s transcript or diploma. Information submitted to ODS by students is housed in ODS and only ODS staff have access to this information.
It is the student’s decision whether to share disability-related information with instructors or staff. Instructors or staff who do not work in ODS do not have a legal right to knowledge of a student’s diagnosis. Students who wish to request accommodations in a particular course are responsible for sharing their accommodation notice with the instructor, but this notice does not contain information about the student’s diagnosis, only their accommodations. ODS cannot release any information to parents, instructors, staff, or other individuals without the student’s written permission. ODS will confirm a student’s registration and approved accommodations on a need-to-know basis.
Students are given an opportunity to sign a FERPA release indicating to whom the university can disclose information from the student’s educational record, and what types of information can be shared. However, because information regarding a student’s disability and eligibility for accommodations is held separately from the educational record, the university’s FERPA release does not apply to ODS. Students who wish to give permission for ODS to communicate with parents, instructors, staff, or other individuals may do so by signing the ODS Release of Information upon meeting with an Accommodations Specialist.
ODS does not disclose disability-related information or use of accommodations to employers or external organizations without the student’s permission. Students must complete a Release of Information if they wish to request copies of their documentation or release of confidential information.
A Note to Parents and Guardians:
It is important to understand that students are considered to be adults once they enroll in courses. Therefore, the onus for requesting and arranging accommodations, and communicating with ODS and instructors, rests solely with the student. It is necessary for students to learn self-advocacy and communication skills in order to successfully make inquiries or express concerns regarding accommodations. Parents and guardians are encouraged to help their student practice these skills and to allow the student to accept ownership of the accommodations process, rather than abdicating this responsibility to family members.