All disabilities-related records and information are confidential; this information will only be disclosed to other faculty and staff on a need-to-know basis and will generally not be released without prior notification to the student. Professors will not be allowed to examine disabilities-related documentation for any student.
Faculty and staff are encouraged to be mindful of confidentiality during the accommodations process. It is the responsibility of the student to disclose specific information about his or her disability to the professor. Students are encouraged to discuss with professors how their disabilities affect performance in the classroom and how their accommodation needs can best be served.
The following suggestions are illustrative of how faculty may avoid breaching confidentiality or creating uncomfortable situations for a student with disabilities.
Faculty members should:
- Avoid making any statements or implications that a student with a disability is any different from the general student population.
- Make testing arrangements early rather than asking the student to come to the classroom and then leave with a test in hand.
- Arrange for testing in a quiet, private setting rather than in an open, public place.
- Maintain confidentiality when asking for a class note taker. They should convey that this service has been approved by the University for “another student in the class” without giving the name of the student(s) needing the notes.
- Do not ask the student for documentation other than that provided by Disabilities Resources.
- Discuss the student’s disability, needs, and accommodation in a private place.
- Look at the student as an individual without comparison to other students, even other students with disabilities.
- Hold students with disabilities to the same standards as the rest of the class. The idea of the law is to provide meaningful opportunity through reasonable accommodations—not to provide two different sets of requirements.