Samford University

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Student Handbook: Students' Rights and Responsibilities

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Behavioral Expectations: Involuntary Withdrawal Policy

A committee of faculty, staff and students was formed to identify the values that provide a foundation for student behavior expectations within the Samford community. The Christian faith is a primary source for most of these values. The committee also identified specific inappropriate behaviors that would violate these values. Finally, it recommended the minimum sanction students would receive whenever they are responsible for a values violation. The results of the efforts of the committee provide students with a clear understanding of what is expected of a contributing member of the community at Samford University. All who work, study and learn at Samford do so voluntarily. As is the case with all communities, reasonable expectations (rules and regulations) are identified that contribute to the common good of the community. Being a contributing member of a community requires that selfish individualism often must give way to what is best for a caring, orderly and just community.

The information that follows is intended to communicate values, expectations, rights and responsibilities of students who voluntarily join the Samford community.

Involuntary Withdrawal Policy 

Samford University strives to create an academic environment encouraging diversity and the exploration of different cultures and experiences. In designing such an environment, the University assigns priority to preserving an environment which sustains the welfare of students and the community. The purpose of this involuntary withdrawal policy is to provide guidance concerning when and how a student may be involuntarily withdrawn from the university and how to appeal an involuntary withdrawal decision.  

A.      Bases for Involuntary Withdrawal

Samford University reserves the right to involuntarily withdraw any student from the University if the student, as a result of a physical or psychological condition:

1.   Poses a direct threat to the health or safety of the student or others (emergency interim withdrawal), or 

2.   Causes significant property damage or interference with University operations or the educational environment, or 

3.   Is substantially unable, even with the help of auxiliary aids, to meet his or her responsibilities as a student, or 

4.   Demonstrates the inability to care for his or her daily physical or mental health needs without assistance and has failed to secure such assistance.

 Such withdrawal must be conducted according to the standards and procedures in this policy.  

 B.      Types of Involuntary Withdrawal

Samford University policy allows two types of involuntary withdrawal:  (1) emergency withdrawal, where the student presents a direct threat to the health or safety of the student or others, and (2) non-emergency withdrawal. The decision to involuntarily withdraw a student from the University will be contingent upon an assessment and meaningful discussions designed to create the best resolution for the student and the University community. In all cases of involuntary withdrawal, the student will be provided an opportunity to participate in the University’s assessment, to be heard concerning the involuntary withdrawal, and an appeal. A student may also be asked to sign waivers permitting information-sharing between treatment providers and university administrators; allowed to voluntarily move to more appropriate housing; or allowed to voluntarily withdraw from the university on a temporary basis until able to obtain any treatment or care needed to diminish any risk of harm.

 C.      Minimum Standards for Involuntary Withdrawal (medical conditions)

A student may be involuntarily withdrawn from Samford University if there is a determination that the student:

  •  Poses a direct threat to the health or safety of self or others, or
  •  Damages university property or demonstrates behavior that is disruptive to university operations, to  academic programs, or to the educational environment, or
  •  Is substantially unable, even with the help of auxiliary aids, to meet his or her responsibilities as a student, or 
  •  Demonstrates the inability to care for his or her daily physical or mental health needs without assistance and has failed to secure such assistance. 

D.      Requirements for Involuntary Withdrawal

  1. Concern must be voiced by one or more individuals who have direct contact and experience with the student in question; information can be obtained from a family member, faculty, staff, a student, or other member of the university’s community.
  2. The University Counselor will be given an opportunity to make a clinical assessment of the student in question.  Clinical assessment, in addition to direct assessment, may include review of information presented by others. Additional information may be   obtained from external sources or resources who may be in a position to provide direct information that should be considered in the decision to involuntarily withdraw a student.
  3. Based on the assessment and other pertinent information, the University Counselor or the Assistant Dean for Student Services will notify the student in writing or orally (depending on the urgency of the situation) to attend an informal meeting with the Assistant Dean for Student Services for the purpose of determining whether the student should be withdrawn. The request will include a statement of the reasons for university concern. The Assistant Dean for Student Services will meet with the student to give him/her an opportunity to respond to concerns related to the student’s behavior.  The University Counselor may also attend the meeting, as well as appropriate personnel may be present and/or consulted.  At the meeting, the reasons for the university’s concern regarding the student will be stated and the student will be given an opportunity to respond to these concerns.  If, after the meeting, the student is found not to fall within one of the four categories described in section A, he or she will be notified in writing by the Assistant Dean for Student Services and allowed to continue as a student. 
  4. If the student fails to attend the meeting or after the meeting there continues to be a concern related to the student’s behavior, the student will be given an opportunity to voluntarily withdraw from the university.  If the student agrees to voluntarily withdraw from the university, regular withdrawal procedures will be followed. However, the student may be permitted to voluntarily withdraw without grades if, in the judgment of the Assistant Dean for Student Services and the University Counselor, circumstances warrant such action.
  5. If the student refuses to voluntarily withdraw, on the recommendation from the University Counselor or other health clinician, the Assistant Dean for Student Services will authorize an involuntary withdrawal and provide the student with notice of the decision and the right to appeal.
  6. The student will be provided information related to conditions that must be met prior to his/her return to the university. In all involuntary withdrawals due to medical situations, the student will be provided a “Student Re-enrollment Authorization” form which must be completed by a licensed mental health or medical clinician prior to re-enrollment.
  7. If the student does not appeal within two school days, the right to appeal will be considered waived and he/she will be involuntarily withdrawn.
  8. If the student does appeal, he/she will remain enrolled until the appeal is completed.

E.      Emergency Interim Withdrawal

A student who poses a direct threat to the health or safety of the student or others may be involuntarily withdrawn on an interim basis by the Assistant Dean for Student Services using an emergency withdrawal.  For emergency withdrawals, the following procedure applies:

  1. Prior to an emergency withdrawal, the university must make an individualized and objective assessment of the student based on reasonable medical judgment and relying on the most current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence. The assessment must determine the nature, duration and severity of the risk; the probability that the potentially threatening injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices or procedures will sufficiently mitigate the risk for withdrawal to be unnecessary.
  1. A student withdrawn on an interim basis must be given an opportunity to appear before the Assistant Dean for Student Services within two (2) school days after the date of the emergency withdrawal to review the following issues only:

              a.    The reliability of the information concerning the student’s behavior; and   

              b.    Whether the student poses a risk of harm to the health or safety of him/herself or others.  

3.   Unless the Assistant Dean for Student Services determines otherwise, the student will remain withdrawn on an interim basis pending completion of the university’s assessment, after which the procedures in (D)(2)-(7) of this policy will be followed and determination made concerning involuntary withdrawal.  

F.      Involuntary Withdrawal Appeal Process

  1. Within 48 hours of receiving notice of an involuntary withdrawal decision, a student may appeal the involuntary withdrawal determination to the Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. The request for an appeal must be in writing and it must outline the reasons the involuntary withdrawal should be reversed. The Vice President will determine if the student’s behavior meets the criteria for involuntary withdrawal.
  2. The Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management may require the student, at his or her expense, to obtain a psychiatric/medical evaluation from sources external to the university to be considered as evidence. The hearing shall be conversational and non-adversarial and formal rules of evidence will not apply.
  3. The Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management will provide a written decision to the student.
  4. The decision of the Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management is final and not subject to appeal.

 G.      Effects of involuntary withdrawal

  • The student must leave the university immediately, or as directed, and will not be permitted on university property, or to attend any university function, without the written approval of the University Counselor or the Assistant Dean for Student Services.
  • The Assistant Dean for Student Services will inform on a “need-to-know” basis campus individuals of the withdrawal. If the individual is under 21 years of age, the Assistant Dean for Student Services will notify the parents.
  • A notation of withdrawal will appear on the student's transcript for all classes taken during the semester.

 H.      Return to campus

  • A student wishing to be considered for re-enrollment should contact the Assistant Dean for Student Services and provide appropriate documentation of resolution of the issue(s) that lead to involuntary withdrawal, including compliance with all conditions of re-enrollment.
  • Prior to returning to campus, the student must submit a completed “Student Re-enrollment Authorization” form.  Once the form is submitted, reviewed and approved by the University Counselor, the student will:
    • Submit documentation to the University Counselor clearly indicating the student no longer demonstrates behavior which led to the involuntary withdrawal
    • If continuing care is prescribed by a treatment provider, submit a treatment plan from an appropriate care provider outlining care the student will receive and maintain in order to deter unwanted disrupted behavior
    • Schedule periodic meetings with the University Counselor designed to assess if the student is complying with any treatment plan
  • The student will meet with the Assistant Dean for Student Services to discuss compliance with University Counselor, conditions for re-enrollment and behavior which could result in continuation of the involuntary withdrawal.

 I.       Disciplinary Action

Involuntary withdrawal is administrative rather than punitive and is not a substitute for disciplinary action.  If a student is accused of a student conduct violation, he/she will be subject to the disciplinary process unless the student either lacks capacity to respond to the charges or did not understand the nature or quality of the act in question due to a medical or psychological condition.  The Assistant Dean for Student Services will determine whether each individual case should be handled under this policy, under disciplinary procedures, or both.

 J.       Deviations from Procedures

Reasonable deviations from these procedures will not invalidate a decision or proceeding unless significant prejudice to a student may result.

 

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