Students with disabilities who apply for assistance through Disability Services on campus are required to provide medical, psychiatric and/or psychological documentation of their disabilities, including diagnoses, assessment tools used and their outcomes, and the potential effect of the disability and any applicable medications on their ability to meet the demands of a postsecondary environment. Students release that information specifically to the Director of Disability Services, and it is kept in a confidential file in the Director’s office.
Because of the sensitive and private nature of much of the documentation material provided and the counseling notes the Director keeps, and because interpretation of the medical, psychiatric and/or psychological records requires a certain level of expertise, it is the policy of the Disability Service office to maintain the student files at the highest level of confidentiality. Access to Disability Service student files is restricted to the Director and other Disability Service personnel as needed. In the event that the Director is absent or unavailable, a substitute will be named and have temporary access to the files.
Requests by faculty, staff, other College employees, students, community agencies, or any other interested persons to have access to the files will be granted only if the request is accompanied by the written permission (Link to Authorization for Release and Exchange of Information form) of the student, and will be viewed only in the presence of the Director. The written permission for access may be revoked at any time upon subsequent written request of the student. The Disability Service office is required to provide annually a list of ID numbers of students eligible for services to the Carl Perkins grant director for statistical purposes. For no reason will copies of documentation or other personal information included in the files be supplied to anyone, except where required by law.
Disclosure of disability-related information is strictly left to student discretion. Faculty or other interested persons inquiring about a student’s disability status or registration with this office will be referred back to the student.
Students must disclose the existence (not the nature) of a disability to an instructor when requesting accommodations for that class. Once an accommodation request is made, Disability Service personnel may discuss with the instructor how the disability affects the student in an academic setting, without disclosing the type of disability.
Once a faculty member has received an accommodation request, and therefore becomes aware of a student’s disability, s/he is bound by the same code of confidentiality as Disability Service personnel: the information may not be shared, verbally or in writing, with anyone else without the written permission of the student.
These policies are in place to protect the rights of the students as well as to create a comfortable and trustworthy environment in which students with disabilities can succeed to their utmost potential.
Information in student Disability Service files will be retained for five years after the student’s last semester at the College. Files of students who return after graduating or being unenrolled for a year or more and do not re-activate their files will be retained for 5 years after the last semester the student was served by the office. After that five year period, student Disability Service files will be destroyed. The Disability Service office will keep an electronic record of files that have been destroyed.