Withdrawals from Classes for Medical or Mental Health Reasons / Voluntary and Involuntary Medical Leaves

Policy Number STU-027
Effective Date December 17, 2007
Responsible Office/Person Student Affairs - Counseling Services/Health Services
Related Policies
Additional History
Additional References

Policy Statement
Course Withdrawals for Medical or Mental Health Reasons:
When requested and deemed medically appropriate, the Student Health Services Director, treating physician or nurse clinician, will recommend a course withdrawal for medical reasons. Course withdrawals for medical reasons will only be authorized for students who have been in direct contact with one of the therapists at the University Counseling Center or a treatment provider from Health Services. Even in those cases, students will be encouraged to use other avenues to reduce their course load before needing documentation from the University Counseling Center in order to obtain a course withdrawal.

Leaves from the University for Medical or Mental Health Reasons:
When a student’s health or mental health challenges preclude successful completion of his/her academic course work, the student may receive a Medical Leave from the University, upon recommendation by the appropriate physician or therapist of the University Health Services or University Counseling Services. Normally, a Medical Leave will result from the student’s voluntary efforts. In exceptional circumstances involving life-threatening behaviors, a student may be required to leave the University involuntarily until life-threatening circumstances have been controlled.


Course Withdrawals for Medical or Mental Health Reasons:
A student recommended and accepted for a course withdrawal due to medical reasons may drop a course, even after the official drop period has ended. This action allows the student to not receive a failing grade and also not have the “W” count against the maximum number allowed to students.

Leaves from the University for Medical or Mental Health Reasons:
A student recommended and accepted for a Voluntary Medical Leave of (generally) one or more semesters will not have the Ws count against the maximum number allowed to students. Additionally, a student on a Medical Leave does not need to re-apply to reenter the University nor pay another application fee. With regard to Involuntary Medical Leaves, this policy allows the University to utilize an alternative means to the judicial system when it believes that a student is at risk of hurting him or herself or others and needs to be separated from the University for a period of time due to mental health reasons.

Definitions and Procedures

Course Withdrawals for Medical or Mental Health Reasons:
When a course withdrawal is deemed appropriate, either for a client who has been seen at the University Counseling Center or the University Health Services, or for a person who has had a tragedy in the family where the reason for the withdrawal is obvious, the information will be brought to the attention of the Director of the University Counseling Center or Director of the University Health Services. With the student’s written permission, the Director will contact the Registrar to initiate the course of withdrawal. In addition, an arrangement has been developed between the University Counseling Center Director and academic deans whereby the support or non-support for special consideration can be indicated without revealing any confidential information.

Voluntary Medical Leave:
Any student with a serious health problem who, in the opinion of the attending physician/therapist, cannot complete his/her course work may request a Voluntary Medical Leave. All such Medical Leaves will be reviewed and approved by the Student Health Services Director or University Counseling Center Director prior to being communicated with the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. The AVC will communicate the terms of the Medical Leave to the student in writing, with a copy to the University Registrar, the Director making the recommendation, and the Director of Housing and Residential Life (for residential students). In order to satisfy the conditions of the Voluntary Medical Leave, the student must (generally) present evidence that the health challenge no longer precludes successful completion of his/her academic work. In most cases, at least one academic semester must have passed before readmission can be considered, following a Voluntary Medical Leave.

Involuntary Medical Leave
The Director of Student Health Services and the Director of the University Counseling Center may recommend that a student be placed on an Involuntary Medical Leave for physical or mental health reasons. The University reserves the right to initiate the mandatory leaves of students who:

Engage in, or threaten to engage in, behavior which poses a danger of causing physical harm to self or others; and/or
Demonstrate an inability, without adequate care; to satisfy personal needs (e.g., nourishment, shelter, etc.) such that there is a reasonable possibility that serious physical harm or death might occur within a short period of time.
Administrative Hearing
A student for whom an Involuntary Medical Leave has been mandated may request an administrative hearing before the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee (hereafter referred to as the “hearing officer”). The following provisions will apply:

The student will submit a written request to the VCSA or designee within three (3) University business days from the date of receipt of the Involuntary Medical Leave letter. The hearing date will normally be set within seven (7) University business days following the request. Pending completion of the hearing, the student is subject to interim involuntary suspension, but shall be allowed to be on the campus to attend the hearing or for other necessary purposes, as authorized in writing by the VCSA or designee.

The student will be requested to authorize the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee and other hearing participants to have access to relevant materials deemed necessary for the hearing process. If the student refuses to grant access to the records for the parties involved, the hearing will proceed without the requested information.
Upon request of any involved party, the mental health professional that conducted and prepared the psychological evaluation will be requested to appear at the hearing and respond to relevant questions, but only if the hearing officer determines that such participation is essential to the fair resolution of the case.
Hearing procedures will be in accordance with those of judicial hearings, as detailed in the Student Handbook.

The Student Affairs Office has the responsibility of communicating and updating this policy to the campus community as appropriate.