Maintaining Privacy 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. Please read this carefully, as there are instances that may necessitate student documentation being released without consent. This includes electronic, paper, verbal, and any other types of communication.

In addition to fulfilling legal obligations, maintaining a high standard of privacy also serves to maintain an environment in which students with disabilities feel respected, safe, supported, and protected.

Breaches of privacy are taken very seriously by UCSF. Unauthorized disclosures of student information must be documented and can result in the University being in non-compliance with federal regulations. Additionally, such disclosures may violate state privacy laws and may subject the university and the individual to liability. Please contact Student Disabilities Services if there are any questions, issues, or concerns regarding maintaining privacy of information.

Student 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 of study.

·       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 quarter.

·       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 Disabilities Services are aware of other students’ disability status. Blind copy (BCC) students so they are not privy to other student’s information, or better yet, send separate emails to each student.

·       At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability.

·       Discuss Accommodation Letters and logistics of implementing accommodations with students 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. Requesting a letter from the student’s physician is inappropriate. The Accommodation Letter is all that is needed to justify the accommodation.

·       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 Student Disabilities Services. UCSF has designated Student Disabilities Services as the repository of all disability documentation for students with disabilities.