Student Access and Accommodation strives to protect the confidentiality of the students that we serve. All disability-related information including documentation, accommodation letters, correspondence, and consultations are considered confidential and are managed in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations and the guidelines set by the University
FERPA allows university officials to have access to student education records in which they have a "legitimate educational interest." A university official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review a student education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility on behalf of the university. Typically, faculty and staff outside of the Student Access and Accommodation office do not need to know a student's diagnosis. University officials need to know that the Student Access and Accommodation office has verified the disability and the student's right to reasonable accommodations. Faculty and staff outside of the Student Access and Accommodation office do not have direct access to student files.
If a student requests that their confidential information be release outside of the University, they will need to complete a release of information in order to do so. Persons outside of the University include parents, family members, treatment providers or other related parties.
Student Access and Accommodation 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 of study.
- Do not leave student disability information visible on your computer or in any printed format that others can see.
- 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."
- Do not assume that students registered with Student Access and Accommodation are aware of other students' disability status. Send separate emails to each student when arranging accommodations.
- At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability.
- Discuss Faculty Notification of Accommodation and logistics of implementing accommodations with student in private. Make yourself available by email, during office hours, or by appointment to discuss.
- Requesting specific information about a student's disability is inappropriate. The accommodation letter is all that is needed to justify the outlined accommodations.
- 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 disability related documentation, refuse to read or accept it and refer the student to the Student Access and Accommodation office. TCU has designated Student Access and Accommodation as the repository of all disability documentation for students with disabilities.
(Guidelines adapted from UCSF Student Disability Services)