Confidentiality

The Disability Services Office recognizes students’ right to confidentiality regarding disability-related information. Maintaining confidentiality is crucial not only in order to fulfill our legal obligations, but in order to create an environment where students feel respected, protected, and able to practice self-determination.  Students with disabilities may choose to share details of their disability with their faculty or staff with whom they interact. Faculty and staff are expected to treat this information with care and maintain confidentiality.

All disability-related information shared with the Disability Services Office, including documentation, accommodation letters, correspondence in any medium, and face-to-face meetings, is considered confidential and will be managed in accordance with all applicable RIT policies including, but not limited to, D15.0 Educational Records Policy (implementing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act “FERPA”, and RIT’s Privacy Policy C07.0.)

Guidance for Students

  • If current RIT students would like our office to be able to discuss their specific accommodation information with family members, they must complete and submit the FERPA Consent to Release Student Information form.
    • It is important to remember that current RIT students are free to choose whether or not to allow specific communication between the Disability Services Office and their family members. The Disability Services Office has no preference and is happy to support students requesting accommodations with or without family involvement. 
    • Please note that this form is specific to your interactions with the Disability Services Office and does not apply to any other RIT department.
  • The Disability Services Office will only share students’ disability-related information with RIT faculty and staff who have legitimate educational reasons to know the information.  Any information shared with RIT faculty or staff will be limited to that information which is directly related to and necessary for coordinating and facilitating accommodations.
  • The Disability Services Office will never share disability-related information with other students, with the exception of student employees who work for the Disability Services Office and agree to honor confidentiality as a condition of their employment.
  • Disability information may be disclosed to others in limited situations, including but not limited to in order to protect individuals in an emergency or to comply with law and/or University policies and procedures, including as part of a student conduct hearing. For a full list of these situations, please refer to University Policy D15.0.

Guidance for Faculty

  • Accommodation notification letters from the Disability Services Office are all that is needed to justify accommodations.
    • It is not appropriate for faculty to request specific information about a disability. 
    • It is not appropriate for faculty to ask a student why they have been approved for an accommodation.
    • It is not appropriate for faculty to request a letter from a student’s medical provider in order to implement an accommodation.
  • If a student voluntarily discloses their disability to a faculty member, they should not disclose it to others.
    • Any disability-related information a student shares with their faculty should be used specifically for facilitating accommodations.
    • Student disability information should not be left visible on computers or in any format others might encounter.
  • It is OK for faculty to reach out to students who have requested accommodations to ask questions as needed, even if the student has not instigated the conversation. Clear communication between students and faculty is key for the successful facilitation of accommodations. Faculty should make themselves available by email, during office hours, or by appointment to discuss accommodations with students.
  • Any discussions of disability or related accommodations should be held in a private environment that honors confidentiality.
  • If a student tries to provide faculty with disability documentation, faculty should refuse to accept or read it and should refer the student to the Disability Services Office.
  • At no point should faculty ever inform their class that a student has a disability or is receiving accommodations; and it is inappropriate to assume that students registered with the Disability Services Office are aware of other students’ disability status.

Disability Documentation Maintenance

The Disability Services Office stores all disability documentation electronically on secure servers. Paper copies of documentation are destroyed and securely disposed of once records have been converted to electronic format. Documentation is maintained for seven years from students’ graduation date or date of leave.

Virtual Meetings and Confidentiality

In order to protect students’ confidentiality while meeting and interacting online, the office utilizes Zoom for Healthcare, which has enhanced privacy features.