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Policies & Procedures


Confidentiality and Disclosure

(available in PDF format: Rights and Responsibilities/Confidentiality)

All students who request disability accommodations and services must submit disability documentation to SDS to support these requests. SDS recognizes the right of the student to determine who receives disability-related information and the right to confidentiality of this information.

Disclosure to appropriate faculty and staff of one’s status as a registered student with SDS is a necessary procedure to coordinate and administer requested accommodations. The degree of information that is required by university constituents regarding a student’s disability is directly related to the nature of the accommodations and services required.

When a student registers and formulates an accommodation plan with an SDS staff member, the student signs an agreement regarding accommodations and permission for SDS to discuss information related to the student’s educational and/or functional needs for the purpose of securing reasonable accommodations and academic access at Cornell University.

The accommodation process requires disclosure of the disability status of the student to faculty and staff in order to adapt courses, equipment or facilities to ensure equal access. The procedure for classroom accommodation requests involves the student taking an accommodation letter to the instructor from SDS with information that the student is registered with SDS and the recommended accommodations for the course. These letters disclose the presence of a disability but do not provide any specific information regarding the condition.

In certain situations, disclosure of specific information about the condition and how it affects the student in a course or program may be required to fulfill accommodation requests or help a professor understand the connection between the disability and an accommodation. Such disclosures would be agreed upon by the student and SDS.

Disability documentation is maintained in locked cabinets in SDS and on secure servers and is not part of a student’s permanent educational record. Documentation is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and will be released from your file in the following circumstances only:

  1. A court order
  2. Your written permission
  3. Within SDS for a legitimate educational reason

In accordance with Cornell policy, SDS files are shredded five years after graduation or date of last attendance.

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