Student Confidentiality & Referring to Disability Services

Confidentiality of Student Information

It is important that a student's status as a student with a disability remains confidential. All information that a student shares with a faculty member is to be used specifically for arranging reasonable accommodations for the course of study. We recommend that students discuss Letters of Accommodation with faculty during office hours or by special appointment. At that time, arrangement of accommodations can be discussed in private. Here are a few guidelines to assist with maintaining confidentiality:

  • Do not leave student disability information visible on your computer or in any printed format that others can see. At the end of the semester dispose of it securely.
  • 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 students’ 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.

For more tips, please visit the Confidentiality of Student Information Page.

Referring a Student to Disability Services

It is a good idea to refer a student to the Office of Disability Services (ODS) if:

  • They have provided you with medical documentation.
  • They have requested an accommodation from you, but you have not received an official Letter of Accommodation from ODS.
  • They have disclosed to you that they have a disability, but you have not received an official Letter of Accommodation from ODS.

If a student is struggling in your class, and you are concerned, you can refer them to their campus ODS along with other campus specific resources, such as the Learning Centers. By referring the student to multiple support services, you are not implying any one reason that may be the cause of their struggles in your classroom, but instead offering them multiple ways of getting the support that is best for their needs.