Disclosure Information for Students Registered with Services for Students with Disabilities
Services for Students with Disabilities (SSWD) is committed to ensuring all information and communication pertaining to a student's disability remains confidential as required or permitted by law. This document is designed to assist students, parents, faculty and staff understand what is and is not considered confidential information, who has access to SSWD records, and disclosure and mandatory reporting obligations.
Rules Regarding Protected Information
Information such as registration with the SSWD, documentation, and diagnosis is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) confidentiality standards. Under the ADA, your diagnosis and documentation are considered confidential information. Being registered with the SSWD will not become part of your permanent student records. Your degree and transcript will not reflect your affiliation with our office.
In addition, SSWD operates under the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA). Under FERPA, all Loyola University Chicago (LUC) employees are required to keep student information confidential from people who are not employed at LUC. This includes family members, employers, friends, or any other person who is not affiliated with LUC.
If you believe someone improperly accessed or disclosed your information, please let us know right away and we will investigate your concerns. You may also contact LUC Ethics Reporting Hotline at 885.603.6988
Disclosure of Protected Information
In order to determine eligibility for services, SSWD does require that students disclose their diagnosis and provide supporting documentation. As part of new student intake documentation, an Authorization for Release of Information form is included. Information can only be disclosed to those authorized by the student. If at any time a student believes someone outside SSWD is trying to get information about your diagnosis and the student prefers not to answer, refer the person to the SSWD. SSWD will then work with the person on the information that they are eligible to know.
SSWD will not disclose your diagnosis to anyone without a written release from you. Your documentation and records with SSWD are secure and kept within our office. SSWD’s online system is also set up to protect your information. Only SSWD staff have access to confidential information that may be entered in the system or is kept in our paper files.
Students’ registration with SSWD will only be disclosed to LUC faculty and staff who have been established as "need-to-know." The student is in charge of whether an instructor is notified of eligibility for accommodations.
If a student is not interested in an instructor knowing that they are registered with the SSWD, a student can choose not to provide the instructor with an accommodation letter. It is important to know that the instructor is not obligated to accommodate a student if they do not receive the accommodation letter. However, should a student wish to receive accommodations in a particular course, that instructor has a "need-to-know":
- Registration status with SSWD
- Approved accommodations
Before disclosing confidential information to other LUC faculty, staff, or departments, we will establish whether the information the person is requesting falls under "need-to-know."
How to Request Copies of SSWD Student Files
Students have the right to request copies of documents in their SSWD file. Please note that SSWD cannot fax, email, or give the documents to a third party. If a student wants copies, they can come to the SSWD office with a photo ID (LUC ID, state ID or driver’s license, passport, etc.) and request them. If the student is out of state, SSWD can mail copies to the current address in LUC’s system. You can update this address at any time. Additionally, SSWD can send files to LUC student email accounts via Loyola Secure Transfer.
There are occasions when SSWD will disclose confidential information without a written release. All SSWD and LUC staff are mandatory reporters. Staff may need to disclose confidential information under the following circumstances:
- Student talks about harm to self, someone else, or potential harm to a vulnerable person, such as a child.
- Student talks about harassment or discrimination on the part of LUC faculty, staff, or students.
- Student talks about certain types of assault, whether the assault occurred on campus or off-campus, and whether it occurred recently or in the past.
- If a medical emergency occurs in the SSWD office, staff will give the emergency responders relevant information.
- If students file a lawsuit against LUC, SSWD may be required to turn over a copy of records to the LUC attorneys.
If SSWD staff believe a student is at risk of harem to self or others, the University protocol for contacting Loyola University’s Behavioral Concerns Team (BCT) will be followed. In such cases, information believed to be relevant to the current behavioral concern will be disclosed.