Rights and Roles

The DRC is committed to providing support to all parties involved in the accommodations process so that students with disabilities are ensured to have equal access to education and are able to reach their full potential. In order for us to be successful in this endeavor, it’s important that everyone understand these roles and responsibilities in order to create a collaborative and successful partnership between the DRC, Faculty and Students with disabilities.

We hope that the information provided on this page will help understand the DRC’s mission and goals, and that it will assist in navigating the process of accessing services and accommodations through the DRC. For any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the DRC directly for assistance.

Student Rights and Roles

Student Role:

Students with a disability are entitled to reasonable accommodations per the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. With these rights come responsibilities. In order to ensure students receive their accommodations, carefully review the student’s rights and responsibilities:

Student Rights

  • Confidentiality: Student has right to request accommodations without disclosing diagnosis to faculty. Avoid inadvertent disclosure of DRC status to other students. 
  • Right not to disclose medical documentation concerning disability to faculty or instructors. 
  • Right to timely and reasonable accommodations and adjustments, environmental modifications and changes in policy in all university environments.
  • Right to file a complaint if accommodations are not provided in a timely manner.
  • Right to timely response to accommodation requests, including early provision to DRC of printed materials as needed for conversion to alternative formats and to videos for captioning.
  • When a disability-related crisis or hospitalization interferes with scheduled testing or class attendance, DRC and faculty must consider accommodating requests even when they occur without advance notice.

Student Responsibilities

  • Voluntary disclosure of any disability that could impact student’s education to DRC.
  • Voluntarily identify disability-related needs to DRC.
  • Fully participate in the accommodations process. Exercise due diligence to make the process work.  
  • Provide documentation to DRC. 
  • Advise DRC staff if there are problems with the services provided or within the classroom setting.  
  • Formally request and provide notice of needed accommodations and services in a timely manner.
  • Be qualified: Attend class and maintain the academic standards set by the college and department. Abide by all policies and procedures established for all students. Meet the behavioral expectations set for all program participants.
  • Students with disabilities must meet all essential academic standards required of all students. Failure to meet the standards due to disability is still a failure. 
  • Institutions may discipline students for misconduct even if the misconduct relates to the student’s disability

Student Confidentiality Notice

DRC Students have a right to confidentiality, which includes both their disability diagnosis and also their affiliation with DRC. This information can only be shared as necessary to ensure equal access to their courses and accommodations. Faculty should take steps to protect the DRC status of their students whenever possible, for example, not open copying DRC students in an email. 

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Faculty Rights and Roles

Faculty Role

If a student gives a faculty member a Letter of Accommodation, faculty are responsible for providing the testing and classroom accommodations listed. If faculty have questions or concerns about a particular accommodation that has been authorized, contact the student’s DRC Coordinator whose name is printed on the LOA letter.

Faculty Rights

  • Expect accurate and timely information from DRC.  
  • Expect ongoing communication and support from DRC regarding accommodations and student needs.
  • Do not have to provide retroactive accommodations. 
  • Faculty do not need to fundamentally alter the objectives of their course and can raise any concerns regarding accommodations with DRC. DRC will engage in an interactive process with faculty to determine if requested accommodations are reasonable or if alternate accommodations are needed. 

Faculty Responsibilities:

  • Ensure that the accommodations determined and approved by the DRC are provided to the student in a timely and responsive manner. 
  • Raise any concerns with accommodations with DRC Coordinator in a timely manner and participate in an interactive communication process
  • Faculty are primarily responsible for exam accommodations.
  • Speak to DRC about any concerns with accommodations, not with the student.
  • Respect the confidentiality of students with disabilities; for example, do not open copy disabled students 
  • Ensure that all materials posted in open websites are accessible including documents, media, and videos.
  • Use classroom technologies (in person and online) that have been checked and approved for disability access.
  • Provide needed materials and information to DRC Services including syllabi, course materials, etc. in a timely way. 

Legal Obligation

There are two federal laws that protect students with disabilities that protects them from discrimination and ensure they have equal access to all aspects of university life.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA): “prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.” “A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity.”
  • Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States… shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance… Program or activity is defined as… a college, university, or other post-secondary institution, or a public system of higher education.”

The DRC works as a compliance office to make sure:

  • Students with disabilities must meet the same admission standards as other students.
  • Once admitted, students are entitled to the same rights to all programs, facilities, and technology including websites and instructional technology.
  • Students are eligible to receive reasonable accommodations that relate to their disability.
  • Students have the right to confidentiality regarding disability-related information.

What This Means for Faculty

Because our University receives federal funding, we are required by law to provide access to students with disabilities. Thus, if a student cannot access their learning environment or participate meaningfully, our University is subject to an OCR (Office of Civil Rights) complaint which may result in a lawsuit. 

Ultimately, the accessibility of each individual course is the responsibility of the instructor (e.g. making textbooks, class handouts, PowerPoints, and videos accessible). 

For any questions about legal obligations and responsibilities please contact us

Faculty Confidentiality Notice

Being mindful of a student’s right to confidentiality during the accommodations process, faculty and staff members can comply with federal law and avoid creating uncomfortable situations for a student with disabilities. All disability-related information is protected by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines, including:

  • disability-related records and documentation, including students’ official DRC Academic Access (AA) Letters
  • a student’s affiliation with the DRC
  • a student’s disability status
  • a student’s accommodations

Best Practices for Keeping Confidentiality for Faculty

  • Be welcoming to students with disabilities in the class. Encourage students to come to office hours or to make an appointment, so that they can discuss their disability-related accommodations. Not only does this allow for a meaningful dialogue about how the student’s disability affects them academically, and how their accommodations can best be implemented, but it also ensures the student’s anonymity.
  • AA Letters do not reveal a student’s disability diagnosis. Instead, the form explains that the student has documentation on file in the DRC which confirms her or his disability and a need for individually determined, reasonable accommodation. Professors are not allowed to examine disability-related documentation for any student, nor is it appropriate to ask the student for their documentation or their diagnosis.
  • Ask the student, “How can I help you with these accommodations in my class?” not, “What is your disability?”
  • Remember that disclosing a disability is a choice, not a requirement, and privacy is a major consideration.
  • AA Letters are official, disability-related documents and must be kept secure and confidential. Share the information in AA Letters only on a “need to know” basis, for example, with a TA or Department Manager in order to facilitate a testing accommodation.
  • After meeting with the student, keep the AA Letter in a secure location. Do not, for example, leave the letter out on a desk where others may see it. If the AA Letter or the dialogue with the student raises questions or concerns, please consult with the DRC.
  • At no time and in no way should a DRC student be singled out or pointed out as such. When implementing accommodations, do not identify DRC students or acknowledge their requests for accommodations in public. For example, it is a major breach of confidentiality to request, “all DRC students who need accommodations, raise your hands.”
  • Make accommodated testing arrangements early rather than asking the student to come to the classroom and then leave with a test in hand. If possible, arrange for accommodated testing in a quiet, private setting rather than in an open, public place.
  • When asking for a class notetaker, say that this service has been authorized by the DRC for “a student in the class” without giving the name of the student(s) needing the notes.
  • Keep all of the DRC students’ AA Letters for reference during the current quarter.
  • The DRC recommends that AA Letters and any internal list containing DRC student information be shredded at the end of each term.

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UCSC Staff Rights and Roles

Staff Role

As a university, the entire campus is responsible for making itself accessible per state and federal laws. All staff members who are serving students or the public should be mindful of ensuring all services are equally accessible.

Staff Responsibilities:

  • Collaborating with Faculty to arrange exam accommodations, i.e. reserving testing rooms (department staff).
  • Providing accommodations for department events i.e. contacting sign language interpreters and arranging the services, as well as paying for the interpreters. The DRC has a list of local sign language interpreters and agencies as well as captioning services. An updated list can be requested by contacting our office at 831-459-2089. More information on logistics of hiring a sign language interpreter is available.
  • Making department offices wheelchair accessible.
  • Making webpage and on-line forms are accessible to persons using adaptive software.
  • Making printed brochures available in accessible electronic format.
  • Being familiar with general etiquette for interacting with persons with a disability.

Staff Confidentiality Notice

Best Practices for Keeping Confidentiality for Staff

  • It is the responsibility of the student to deliver Academic Access (AA) Letters to faculty directly. It is not appropriate for departments to provide copies of courtesy letters DRC sends to instructors. Remember that disclosing a disability is a choice, not a requirement, and privacy is a major consideration.
  • Share the information in AA Letters only on a “need to know” basis, for example, with a TA or Department Manager in order to facilitate a testing accommodation.
  • Any internal department lists containing DRC student names used for coordination of test accommodations need be labeled: “confidential for internal use only” and should display a shred date. 
  • The DRC recommends that AA Letters and any internal list containing DRC student information be shredded at the end of each term.

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Families and Allies Staff Rights and Roles

Families and Allies Confidentiality Notice

A key transition occurs when a child turns 18; federal privacy laws become applicable, protecting the confidentiality of the families and allies son or daughter. Specifically, the Family Educational Rights and Protection Act (FERPA) prohibits the Disability Resource Center from disclosing information to families and allies about their college student. 

Without written consent, we cannot inform families and allies what accommodations they are receiving or even whether they are requesting services from the DRC. Likewise, parent involvement in any DRC meetings with the student, must be at the student’s invitation.

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DRC Rights and Roles

The DRC assists the UCSC campus in complying with state and federal laws that mandate equal access to education for people with disabilities. The DRC is the campus’ Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973) compliance office for student program access. As a university, the entire campus is responsible for making itself accessible per state and federal laws. All staff members who are serving students or the public should be mindful of ensuring all services are equally accessible.

As a university, the entire campus is responsible for making itself accessible per state and federal laws. All University employees who are working with students or the public should be mindful of ensuring all services are equally accessible.

DRC Role

  • Evaluate student medical documentation to determine disability status and need for accommodation
  • Individually determine and put appropriate, reasonable academic accommodations, in place
  • Provide advising and support for DRC students
  • Provide information and referrals for UCSC students who think they may have a disability
  • Serve as a resource and consultant to faculty and staff

The DRC does not:

  • make testing arrangements EXCEPT for scribes, readers, and laptops. Finding rooms, proctors and exam times are the responsibility of faculty and department staff.
  • provide accommodations for non-classroom related events. That is the responsibility of the sponsoring program or department.

DRC Rights

  • Request current, comprehensive medical documentation to verify a student’s disability. 
  • Deny a request for a specific accommodation if documentation is inadequate or to request further documentation.
  • Set student policies and procedures related to utilizing DRC services.
  • Require students to give reasonable notice of required accommodations and to require students to show up on time for services requested. 

DRC Responsibilities:

  • Ensure that students with disabilities have the reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and services they need to equitably access and fully participate in all of UCSC’s educational environments.
  • Consider the impact of students’ disabilities on their learning environment and identify barriers that students may encounter.
  • To determine accommodations that serve to remove or mitigate those barriers.
  • To provide individualized auxiliary services to support students’ equal participation in the learning environment
  • To answer all student questions or concerns in a timely manner.
  • To generate Letters of Accommodation (LOA) to give students’ access to the classroom by specifying the accommodations, services, and supports that they require.
  • To assist students in negotiating accommodations concerns with their faculty after the student notifies the Coordinator about concerns. 
  • To connect students with campus resources, and assist students with developing personal strategies for disability management and self advocacy.
  • To hold the medical documentation and disability diagnosis of a student confidentially and securely.  
  • Confirm for faculty that a requested accommodation is related to disability without disclosing disability diagnosis.

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Last modified: May 30, 2024