Confidentiality of Student Information
Maintaining Confidentiality of Student Disability Information
All disability-related information including documentation, accommodation letters, correspondence, and consultations are considered confidential and will be managed in accordance with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations. This includes electronic, paper, verbal, and any other types of communication.
In addition to fulfilling legal obligations, maintaining a high standard of confidentiality also serves to maintain an environment in which students with disabilities feel respected, safe, supported, and protected.
Breaches of confidentiality are taken very seriously by Rutgers. Unauthorized disclosures of student information must be documented and can result in the University being in non-compliance with federal regulations. Please contact the Office of Disability Services if there are any questions, issues, or concerns regarding maintaining confidentiality of information.
The Office of Disability Services offers the following guidelines for faculty, staff, and administrators to ensure that confidential student information is kept secure:
- All information that a student shares with a faculty member is to be used specifically for arranging reasonable accommodations for the course.
- Do not leave student disability information visible on your computer or in any printed format that others can see, and dispose of it securely at the end of the semester.
- Do not assume that students registered with the Office of Disability Services are aware of other students’ disability status. If sending emails to a group of students with disabilities, it is best to send the email to yourself and Blind copy (BCC) students so they are not privy to other student’s information, or better yet, send separate emails to each student.
- Refrain from discussing a student’s disability status and necessary accommodations within hearing range of fellow students, faculty, staff, or others who do not have an “educational need to know.”
- At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability. For example, do not announce in class that all students with disabilities who get extra time can leave the classroom now and take their test in another location. This would violate a student's confidentiality.
- Discuss Letters of Accommodation and logistics of implementing accommodations with students in private, not in front of others. Make yourself available by email, during office hours, or by appointment to discuss.
- Requesting specific information about a student’s disability is inappropriate. Requesting a letter from the student’s physician is inappropriate. The student should be referred to the Office of Disability Services which is the office that reviews and approves accommodation requests at every Rutgers University campus and location. The Letter of Accommodation is all that is needed to justify the accommodation.
- If questions arise about accommodations, faculty should contact the Office of Disability Services
- If a student voluntarily discloses the nature of their disability to you, even if it is obvious, do not disclose it to others.
- If a student tries to provide you with their primary disability documentation, refuse to read or accept it and refer the student to the Office of Disability Services.