Disability Services

Disability Services, Confidentiality, and ADA Law

Mission

Disability Services promotes an equal opportunity for students with disabilities in pursuing a higher education and achieving their academic goals. Fort Lewis College recognizes disability is an aspect of diversity. To that end, Disability Services collaborates with students, instructors, staff, and community members to create usable, equitable, inclusive and sustainable learning environments. 

Confidentiality

Disability Services is committed to ensuring all information regarding a student remains confidential as required or permitted by law. Any information regarding a disability gained from medical or psychological evaluations shall be considered confidential.

Disability related information is to be treated as medical information is treated. For example, college faculty and staff do not have access to diagnostic or other information regarding a student’s disability-related needs. A student may sign a written consent form giving our office permission to discuss the disability with faculty and staff, parents, coaches, and/or advisors who require further information. Information will not be released without consent unless it is required by federal or state law. 

The rights of qualified students with disabilities are protected by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), both of which are laws aimed at ending discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 dictates the behavior of higher education institutions receiving federal funding towards individuals with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that ”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.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, and reinforces non-discrimination towards qualified individuals with Disabilities. Colleges and universities have experienced more rigid enforcement of the law with the passage of the ADA partially due to an increased awareness of people with disabilities about their rights to equal access to programs and services.

Additional Information 

Visit ADA.gov, or read about the Rights and Responsibilities of Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education.