West Virginia University's Office of Accessibility Services is committed to ensuring that all information regarding students is maintained confidentially, as required by law.
All documentation submitted to OAS is kept separately from academic records and is considered private under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). WVU must comply with FERPA, which requires WVU to protect student educational records. More information about FERPA and WVU’s responsibilities can be found on WVU's FERPA site.
OAS collects certain information as part of the “interactive process” for reviewing, analyzing, and authorizing requests for student accommodations. Any information collected is used solely for the benefit of the student. Due to the nature of OAS’s sensitive responsibilities, this information may include psychoeducational or neuropsychological testing, grades, biographical history, Disability information, and case notes. This information is used by OAS to develop an accommodation plan to assist the student.
Because of the sensitive nature of this information, procedures for handling student information have been adopted by OAS and are rigorously followed by OAS staff.
This Confidentiality and Informed Consent page outlines student rights, regarding the protection of confidential information. The OAS policies and procedures regarding confidentiality and the release of student information are as follows:
- Student information obtained by OAS shall only be shared with other stakeholders within
the institution that have a legitimate educational interest. Only OAS staff has
immediate access to these files and records.
- In general, when providing for accommodations, WVU faculty and staff do not have a legitimate educational interest or a need to access information regarding a student's Disability. They only need to know what authorized academic accommodations or services are necessary and appropriate to meet the student's Disability-related needs. Absent a legitimate educational interest, this information will not be shared with other faculty and staff.
- There may be instances when OAS must share general information with other stakeholders on campus to facilitate accommodations in the classroom, residence halls, or transportation.
- Under normal circumstances, OAS will not disclose personally identifiable information
unless the student has provided written consent. However, certain exceptions
exist where OAS may disclose certain information without written consent, as
- If a student threatens to harm either themselves or someone else, OAS is obligated under the law to take whatever actions seem necessary to protect people from harm. This may include divulging confidential information to the appropriate authorities.
- If OAS has reason to believe that a student is abusing or neglecting a child, or if a student reports knowledge of an ongoing situation involving child abuse/neglect (including the occurrence of abuse or neglect to the student, if he or she is under the age of 18 at the time of the abuse), OAS is obligated by law to report this to the appropriate authorities.
- If OAS has reason to believe that a vulnerable adult is the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, or the possible victim of other crimes, OAS may report such information to the relevant county department or state official.
- A student's file may be released pursuant to a court order or subpoena.
- Please note: If you are involved in or anticipate litigation of any kind and inform the court of the services that you receive from OAS (thereby making your Disability an issue before the court), you may be waiving your right to keep your records confidential. You may wish to consult an attorney regarding such matters before you disclose that you have received services.
- Students may provide written authorization for the release of information when they
wish to share it with others. Before providing such authorization, students 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 federal or state law requires it.
- OAS may charge a reasonable fee for costs incurred in connection with the copying of student information.
- All student documentation is maintained in electronic format during a student’s time of study at WVU and deleted seven (7) years after the conclusion of the student’s time of study.
If you are concerned about your privacy rights or you feel that you have not been appropriately accommodated, please contact us.