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Northern State University
Disability Services Confidentiality at Northern

The Office of Disability Services is committed to ensuring that all information regarding a student is maintained as confidential as required or permitted by law. Any information collected is used for the benefit of the students. This information may include test data, grades, biographical history, disability information, performance reviews and case notes.
Guidelines about the treatment of such information have been adopted by the Office of Disability Services and are rigorously followed and shared with students. These guidelines incorporate state and federal regulations, guidelines established by professional associations, and relevant aspects of the Board of Regents’ policies found in Access to Student Information and Standards and Procedures: Relation to the Use of Human Subjects in Research.


No one has immediate access to student files at the Office of Disability Services except staff from that office. Any information regarding disability gained from medical examinations or appropriate post-admissions/hiring inquiry shall be considered confidential and shall be shared with others within the institution on a need-to-know basis only. Disability-related information is to be treated as medical information is treated. For example, University faculty and staff do not have a right or a need to access diagnostic or other information regarding a student's disability; they only need to know what accommodations are necessary or appropriate to meet the student's disability-related needs. If a student has requested an accommodation, the student will be informed as to what information is being provided to the faculty or staff regarding the request. To protect confidentiality by assuring limited access, all disability-related information must be filed with the Office of Disability Services. Information in files will not be released except in accordance with federal and state laws, which require release in the following circumstances if a student:


  • States he/she intends to harm himself/herself or another person(s).
  • Reports or describes any physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse of children or vulnerable adults within the last three years (this includes the occurrence of abuse or neglect to the student if he or she was under age 18 at the time of the abuse);
  • Reports the use of an illegal drug for non-medical purpose during pregnancy; or
  • Reports or describes sexual exploitation by counseling or health care professionals.



A student's file may be released pursuant to a court order or subpoena. A student may give written authorization for the release of information when she or he wishes to share it with others. Before giving such authorization, the student should understand the information being released, the purpose of the release, and to whom the information is being released. Information will not be released without consent unless it is required by federal or state law. The Office of Disability Services may charge a reasonable fee for costs incurred in connection with the copying of information. The Office of Disability Services will retain a copy of all information provided. If a student wishes to have a record expunged, he or she must make a written request to the director of Disability Services and he/she will decide whether it is necessary for the office to retain the record.