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University Updates on Coronavirus

301.15 - Involuntary Medical Withdrawal

University Group Policy #301.15

I.    Executive Summary

One of the university's purposes is to ensure equality of educational opportunity while fostering an environment that promotes education, research, service, and the growth and safety of all members of its community. From time to time university officials become aware of a student who may be seriously interfering with this purpose because of mental, emotional, or a psychological health condition. In these situations, university officials may consider the appropriateness of (1) utilizing the regular student disciplinary system, or (2) involuntary examination, hospitalization, and treatment for mental illness under state law. In addition to, or instead of either of those procedures, the matter may be handled as an involuntary medical withdrawal.

II.  Policy Statement

An involuntary medical withdrawal from the university can be invoked when a student’s behavior demonstrates that s/he poses a potential threat to her/himself or others or creates a pattern of extreme disruption to learning or campus life due to a mental, emotional, or a psychological health condition. This policy should not be used to dismiss socially or politically "eccentric" student who have not otherwise engaged in behavior which poses a danger to themselves or to others, or which substantially disrupts normal university activities.  Involuntary medical withdrawal should be reserved for those cases where interim measures, such as behavioral contract, are deemed inappropriate, or cannot be agreed upon by the student and the university.

After investigating the situation, the Dean of Students can recommend that the student withdrawal from the university with extenuating circumstances with no academic penalty. If the student will not withdraw voluntarily, the Dean of Students will convene a Committee on Involuntary Medical Withdrawal (IMW) for advice.  The committee must afford the student an opportunity to be heard on the matter and will base its decision on evidence presented at a closed hearing. The concurrence of at least fifty percent of the Committee members will be required to force a student to withdraw under this policy. The Committee will communicate its decision to the student in writing.

The Committee may, at its discretion, permit a student who meets the standard for medical withdrawal to remain enrolled on a probationary basis under specified conditions which may include, but are not limited to, participation in an ongoing treatment program, acceptance of and compliance with a behavioral contract, a housing relocation, a lighter academic course load, or any combination of these conditions.

If the Committee on Involuntary Withdrawal mandates the student's medical withdrawal or imposes conditions on his/her remaining enrolled at the University, and the student believes that the outcome was unreasonable or the procedures used were unfair, the student may appeal, in writing, to the Provost.  The decision of the Provost is final.

Students who leave campus under an involuntarily medical withdrawal can be readmitted to the university only after being cleared by the Committee on Involuntary Medical Withdrawal.

Involuntary medical withdrawal is not a substitute for appropriate disciplinary action. A student suffering from a mental disorder who is accused of a disciplinary violation should not be diverted from the disciplinary process unless, as a result of the mental disorder, the student either lacks the capacity to respond to the charges, or did not know the nature and quality of the act in question.

III.     Definitions

Extenuating Circumstance for Withdrawal: a mental, emotional, or a psychological health condition that seriously interferes with a student’s ability to engage the learning process or that s/he poses a potential threat to her/himself or others or creates a pattern of extreme disruption to learning or campus life.

IV.    Guidelines

Once identified as behaving in a manner that poses a threat to her/himself, others or the learning process that could be due to a medical condition the student can be asked to withdraw by the Dean of Students.  If the student will not withdraw voluntarily, the Dean of Students will consult with the Committee on Involuntary Medical Withdrawal for advice in the disposition of the situation. The committee will consist of:  Faculty, Academic Advisors, a representative from the University Counseling Center, and a representative from the A.H. Ray Student Health Center.

 The committee must afford the student a hearing and an opportunity to be heard on the matter. Admissible evidence may include witnesses, written reports, documents or written statements, and must include a mental health professional's written evaluation.

  1. The student's rights at the hearing shall include the following:
    1. The right to be present, unless the student disrupts the hearing.
    2. The right to present relevant evidence.
    3. The right to question all witnesses at the hearing and to comment upon all documents presented.
  2. The members of the Panel may also ask questions of any witness.
  3. Form legal rules of evidence will not apply at the hearing. However, the chair may exclude evidence that is not relevant or is cumulative.
  4. The hearing will be closed to the public and the testimony and other evidence presented will be kept confidential.
  5. The hearing will be tape recorded and the recording will be made available to the Committee, the student (upon written request), and to any decision-maker involved in the appeal. The tape shall be preserved so long as the possibility of appeal or litigation remain open.

Following this period, the tape shall be destroyed according to the UNC Record Retention Schedule.

A.         The Decision of the Committee

The Committee will base its decision on evidence presented at the hearing. The concurrence of at least fifty percent of the Committee members will be required to withdraw a student under this policy. If the Committee concludes that the student does not meet the standard for medical withdrawal, it will inform the student in writing, and the procedure shall terminate. If the Committee concludes that the student does meet the standard for medical withdrawal, the Committee shall states its findings in writing and will include its reasons for this conclusion. The Committee will give the student its written decision within two (2) business days after the hearing. The Committee may deliver the decision in email and in hard copy to the student either by certified mail, return receipt requested, or in person, and it will become effective immediately upon sending to the student’s university email account.

The Committee may, at its discretion, permit a student who meets the standard for medical withdrawal to remain enrolled on a probationary basis under specified conditions which may include, but are not limited to, participation in an ongoing treatment program, acceptance of and compliance with a behavioral contract, a housing relocation, a lighter academic course load, or any combination thereof. When making its determination of appropriate probationary conditions, the Committee may consult on an informal basis with faculty, Residence Life, and other university staff.

B.            Appeals Process

If the Committee on Involuntary Medical Withdrawal mandates the student's medical withdrawal or imposes conditions on his/her remaining enrolled at the University, and the student believes that the outcome was unreasonable or the procedures used were unfair, the student may appeal, in writing, to the Provost. Once the Committee on Involuntary Medical Withdrawal had delivered its decision to the student, the student has two (2) business days to submit his/her appeal in writing. The provost or designee will respond, in writing, to the student's written appeal within two (2) business days. The Provost may (1) affirm the Committee's decision, (2) send the matter back to the Committee for further consideration, (3) affirm the Committee's finding but alter the disposition from withdrawal to probationary enrollment under specified conditions, or (4) reverse the Committee and reinstate the student. The Provost's decision is final.

C.            Readmission Process

A former student who has been medically withdrawn under this policy and wishes to return must follow the university procedures for readmission. Students who leave campus either voluntarily or involuntarily will be readmitted to the university only after being cleared by the Committee on Involuntary Medical Withdrawal. Permission for readmission will typically be based on the student's demonstration of a period (at least one semester) of stable behavior outside of the university, and shall require a statement from a physician, psychologist, or other qualified professional external to the campus who gives an opinion that the student is ready to return and cope with university life. Conditions for follow-up services may be required as part of the readmission decision. These conditions shall be established by the Committee on Involuntary Medical Withdrawal.                     

V.     Applicability

This policy applies to Winston-Salem State University students.


Responsible Division: Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs

Authority: Board of Trustees

History:

  • Adopted: June 19, 2009
  • Amended: September 21, 2018