SSD respects the confidential nature of disability-related information. The University of Texas and SSD have an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of such documentation.
Access by University personnel to disability-related information housed in SSD is on a need-to-know basis and only for the purpose of assuring appropriate accommodations. Instructors are regularly apprised of the confidential nature of disability-related information shared with them. Accommodation letters prepared by SSD for instructors do not give specific diagnoses. Instead, the letters explain that the student has provided appropriate documentation of a disability and lists the approved academic accommodations for that student.
On a legitimate, educational need-to-know basis, SSD staff may discuss the impact or impairments caused by the disability and the corresponding accommodations approved with appropriate individuals on campus. Circumstances may include housing arrangements, academic accommodations, instructional strategies and resources or other circumstances specific to the individual.
The University of Texas and SSD are prohibited by law from releasing any disability-related records or personally identifying information to any entity outside The University including documentation provided to SSD by the student unless the student provides written permission or there is a court order. The University’s policy regarding student records may be found on the Web at: www.utexas.edu/student/registrar/catalogs/gi05-05/app/appc09.html. Entities outside The University include parents of students over the age of 18. A specific release of information must be signed and in the file giving staff permission to discuss student-specific information with parents.The student may request or approve the release of such information to persons or agencies outside The University by signing a Release of Information (available from SSD).
Texas Education Code, Chapter 51, Subchapters E-2 and E-3, requires reporting incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, or stalking committed by or against a person who was a student enrolled at or an employee of UT Austin at the time of the incident. However, SSD staff have been designated as confidential employees. This means that if we learn about any incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, or stalking, we are only required to report the type of incident reported and the date we learn about the incident to the UT Title IX office. We will not report any information that could identify you. This includes information contained in documentation or that may be disclosed to staff in person or in email or phone communication. SSD will always be happy to provide referrals for resources and support for survivors. For more information about our policies on sexual misconduct, please visit the General Information Catalog, Appendix D or the Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) 3-3031. Information related to incidents of sexual misconduct that is disclosed in documentation may be reported to the Title IX Office. Disability/diagnostic information will be kept in accordance with SSD’s Confidentiality Guidelines.
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