Student Advocacy

Student advocacy creates an opportunity for adult students to learn the basics of self-advocacy. Often students have not had ample opportunity to learn how to advocate for what they need and to express that need in an effective way. One of the roles of the counselor or coordinator involves teaching students how to begin to advocate. Ideally, as a role model, the student can learn from others how to self-advocate, and what to do in a given situation. Commonly, students and instructors have issues that arise which necessitate intervention.

Counselors/coordinators intervene as needed to mediate when there is conflict or misunderstanding that cannot be resolved by the student and the instructor. Students may know what they want or need, but cannot express it in a way that it is understood. This is where professional intervention can remedy the situation, and in that process the student and instructor both learn how to work better with each other. Advocacy is not limited to on-campus activities, as communication with sponsoring agencies, such as Vocational Rehabilitation counselors, requires intervention and advocacy on behalf of the student as well.


Section 504 states that any information regarding a person’s disability gained from medical examinations to the appropriate post-admission investigation shall be considered confidential and shall be shared with others within the college or university on a need-to-know basis. In other words, faculty members do not need to have access to information regarding a student’s disability, only the accommodation(s) that are appropriate and necessary to meet the student’s needs. Confidential information is kept in a separate file in the Office of Disability Resources and is only shared when appropriate. Students may request information be released to external entities with a written release.

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