Rights, Responsibilities, and Confidentiality/Release of Information Policies

Rights & Responsibilities of People with Disabilities Pertaining to Access at the University of Minnesota

Rights to:

  • an equitable opportunity to participate in and benefit from employment, courses, programs, services and activities offered through the University;
  • an equitable opportunity to work and to learn, and to receive reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids and services;
  • appropriate confidentiality of all information regarding their disability/health condition and to choose to whom, outside of the University, information about their disability will be disclosed, except as required/permitted by law;
  • information reasonably available in accessible formats.

Responsibilities to:

  • meet qualifications and maintain essential institutional standards for employment, courses, services and activities;
  • self-identify as an individual with a disability/health condition in a timely manner when an accommodation is needed, and seek information, counsel and assistance as necessary;
  • provide documentation from an appropriate professional which describes how the health condition or disability impacts their participation in employment, courses, programs, services or activities;
  • request their own accommodations, report any changes in access needs, and request any subsequent changes to accommodations;
  • additional supporting documentation may be requested by the DRC to be provided by the student to verify disability status and the need for the new accommodation. If a new accommodation is agreed upon, a revised accommodation letter will be generated for changes in accommodation;
  • abide by the University of Minnesota Code of Conduct (PDF) and  Board of Regents Student Conduct Code (PDF).

Rights & Responsibilities of the University of Minnesota Regarding Disability Access

Rights to:

  • evaluate faculty, staff and students, and identify and establish essential functions, abilities, skills and knowledge for their employment, courses, programs, services and activities;
  • request and receive, through the Disability Resource Center, current documentation that supports requests for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary services;
  • deny a request for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary services if the documentation demonstrates that they are not warranted or if the individual fails to provide appropriate documentation;
  • if the student’s requested accommodation is not found to be reasonable for one or more classes, the DRC will engage in an interactive process to determine an equally effective alternative reasonable accommodation;  
  • select among equally effective reasonable accommodations, adjustments and/or auxiliary services;
  • refuse an unreasonable accommodation, adjustment and/or auxiliary services or one that imposes an undue hardship or fundamental alteration on a program or activity at the University.

Responsibilities to:

  • provide information in accessible formats to faculty, staff, students and guests with disabilities in upon request;
  • ensure that employment, courses, programs, services and activities, when viewed in their entirety, are available and usable as broadly as possible;
  • provide or arrange reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments and/or auxiliary services in a timely manner for faculty, staff, students and guests with disabilities in employment, courses, programs, services, facilities and activities;
  • maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication, except as permitted/required by law.

Disability Resource Center Confidentiality and Release of Information Policies

The Disability Resource Center collects information to assist in determining reasonable accommodations for students and employees of the University of Minnesota and is committed to following legal guidance in maintaining and protecting the confidentiality of this information. The information may include biographical history, health or disability information, assessment data, grades, performance reviews, and case notes.  The intent of this document is to inform you of the Disability Resource Center’s policies with regard to confidentiality and the release of this information.  These policies incorporate relevant state and federal regulations, guidelines established by relevant professional associations, and the University Board of Regents' policies on managing personal information.

  1. Only Disability Resource Center staff has automatic access to files. Any information gathered to determine the existence of a disability and reasonable accommodations will be considered highly confidential and will be shared with others within the institution on a need-to-know basis only. For example, University faculty and staff do not need access to diagnostic information regarding an individual's health or disability condition. However, they may need to know an individual’s functional limitations and what accommodations are necessary/appropriate to meet the individual’s disability/health-related needs. All health/disability-related information will be sent to and filed with the Disability Resource Center in order to protect confidentiality by limiting access to that information.
  2. Information in files will not be released except in accordance with federal and state law, which require release in circumstances in which an individual:
  • states they intend to harm themselves 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 individual if they were 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.
  1. An individual’s file may be required to be released in response to a court order or subpoena.
  2. An individual may give written authorization for the release of information when they wish to share it with others.  Before giving such authorization, the individual should satisfy themselves that the information is necessary to share, that they understand the contents of the information being released, and that providing this information is in their best interest.
  3. The Disability Resource Center may charge a reasonable fee for costs incurred related to release of information.
  4. The Disability Resource Center will retain a copy of all information provided. 
  5. The Disability Resource Center may communicate or share health/disability information on a need-to-know basis as necessary to provide reasonable accommodations.