Conversations with Students & Confidentiality
Guiding the conversation if/when a student discloses a disability:
There may be times when a student, feeling comfortable with a particular Faculty or Administrator, may disclose that they have a disability. A best practice in this situation is to let the student lead the conversation. The student should not be asked to divulge any information that is not shared voluntarily. If the student is requesting any academic accommodation or modification, that would not already be provided to all other students, they should be referred (in writing) to the Office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS).
In the event that you feel the information being shared by the student contains too much detail or you are uncomfortable with the conversation, it is appropriate to politely redirect the conversation. For example, a statement like the following could be used: “Thank you for sharing this with me, in order to make the best use of your time I want to ensure we are able to talk about the Office of Student Accessibility Services. I strongly encourage you to contact them; they are a valuable resource for students with disabilities on campus. I am going to send you their contact information in an email.”
University College Student Accessibility Services (SAS) and Delaware State University are extremely sensitive to the issue of confidentiality and are guided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Amendments Act (ADAAA), and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in protecting privacy rights. All student disability files are housed securely in SAS.
While SAS does communicate with Faculty and Administration in regards to a student’s request for accommodations and accommodation facilitation, it does not share confidential information without the expressed written consent of the student or, in the instance of a verifiable need to know. Similarly, Faculty and Administration should treat any disability information shared with them by a student as confidential and only discuss that information with the student and with Student Accessibility Services (SAS). In the event that a person feels they should share this information with others, it is encouraged that they consult with SAS before doing so.
It would never be appropriate to ask a student if they have a disability, treat them differently or isolate them from their peers because of their disability, or request more information about their disability.