Information about students at the university level is considered confidential, including disability information. The ODS can release information within the university on a need-to-know basis, but cannot release information to individuals outside the university-including to parents-without written consent. The Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA) is the law that governs the confidentiality of educational records. The Cleveland State Registrar’s office has a Summary of FERPA and how it protects student information.
When I register with Disability Services, who knows I have a disability?
A student can register with our office and if a student does not request accommodations our office would be the only ones who know that the student has a disability. ODS only disclosed a student as being registered with our office when there is a request by the student for accommodations and there are campus stakeholders like faculty that have a need to know that a student is registered with us. Staff from our office are also on campus committees like the Care Team which handles sensitive student issues and crises. It might be helpful for our staff on that committee to disclose that a student is registered with our office when the committee is directing students to resources that can assist them.
Who has access to my documentation or disability related information?
The office of Disability Services only shares your disability related information with campus stakeholders with a need to know. That does not include faculty or academic advisors. No campus stakeholder outside of the Office of Disability services should ask you to provide disability related information to receive an academic accommodation. Determination of disability for students is the responsibility solely of the Office of Disability Services at Cleveland State.
The only documentation that faculty can request of you is the Faculty Notification Letter from Disability Services or if to prove related reasons a note from your doctor about duration and times of absence related appointments or hospitalizations. Those communications need not disclose diagnosis of the condition causing disability.
Can I request copies of my documentation or disability related information?
It is not uncommon that students request copies of documentation from ODS to provide to other institutions of higher education, outside testing agencies to request accommodations, to include when submitting petition requests, or to keep for a student’s personal records. To obtain copies of documentation students must come in to ODS with their CSUID or provide a signed consent form for sending the information to outside agencies upon request.
Where is my documentation kept?
We keep all documentation in our locked file cabinets in our file storage room in our office. Only ODS Staff has access to this storage room.
We also keep digitized copies of students’ documentation in the students profile in our information system. The documentation in this system is only accessible by Disability Services Staff and is hosted on a server which meets the rigorous security standards of Cleveland State and the state of Ohio.
Can I talk with Disability Services about my child who is a student at Cleveland State?
Because of FERPA we cannot disclose information about a student’s performance or activities with a student’s parents. We require the student’s signed consent to talk about them with anyone outside of the university. It is the student’s right to decide if we talk with anyone outside of the employment of CSU.
If you feel this channel of conversation would be necessary, please talk with your student about signing a FERPA Release Form for ODS to release information to you. We need this form on file with our office to talk with you outside of the student's presence. However, if you believe there is something we should know about your student (additional disability information, concerns you may have) you can always feel free to call and let one of our staff know. We can't guarantee how that information will be used, but it is often helpful for us if we know there might be a problem or concern.