Involuntary Medical Leave of Absence

(Student Handbook 4.6/Graduate Handbook 2.10.E)

Purpose (Student Handbook 4.6.A)

The University is particularly concerned with the health and safety of its students. Physical and mental health services are available to students though the University health services. Physical and mental health services are also available from licensed treatment providers in the Oxford area community.

On occasion a student may pose a significant risk of substantial harm to the health and safety of others. When such a potential situation is identified, the Dean of Students will determine whether the student should be involuntarily withdrawn according to the standards and procedures described in this policy.

Involuntary Medical Leave of Absence Standard (Student Handbook 4.6.B)

A student is subject to an involuntary medical leave of absence if the Dean of Students determines that the student’s continued presence represents a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of others, or that the student has engaged in or threatened to engage in behavior which represents a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of others.

Any member of the University community who has reason to believe that a student may represent a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of others should contact the Dean of Students. In the event of an emergency contact the University Police at 911.

Imminent Danger Leave of Absence (Student Handbook 4.6.C)

The Dean of Students will investigate and consult with others as he or she deems appropriate. If, in the Dean’s judgment, the student’s continued presence on campus poses an imminent threat of substantial harm to others, the student may be immediately placed on an involuntary medical leave of absence from the University. The Dean will make a reasonable effort to notify the student in writing of the reasons for the proposed leave of absence and provide the student with an opportunity to respond.

If a student is withdrawn pursuant to this provision, the student may petition the Dean of Students for revision of the leave of absence. The petition must include documentation that the student can meet, with or without reasonable accommodation, all of the essential functions of a student and that the student does not pose a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of others. The Dean of Students shall, to the extent reasonably possible, take the least restrictive measure or combination of measures to resolve the threat.

Significant Risk of Substantial Harm Leave of Absence (Student Handbook 4.6.D)

If, based on the available information, the Dean of Students determines that although the student may present a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of others, such risk is not imminent, the Dean of Students shall refer the student to the Evaluation Committee (EC). The Dean will make a reasonable effort to notify the student in writing of the reasons for the proposed involuntary medical leave of absence and the referral to the EC.

In the event the matter is referred to the EC, the Dean will arrange to meet with the student at the earliest possible time to:

  1. Discuss the reasons for the proposed involuntary medical leave of absence.
  2. Discuss this policy and provide the student with a copy of this policy.
  3. Where appropriate, inform the student that he or she must meet with a University professional(s) selected by the EC (e.g., a physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist) within 48 hours for examination and evaluation. The physician, psychologist and/or psychiatrist should obtain written permission from the student to discuss his or her findings with the Dean and/or members of the EC.

The purpose of the examination and evaluation is to determine whether the student, in fact, poses a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of others and if so, whether the risk posed is a result of a disability,  and whether the risk can be eliminated or sufficiently reduced through reasonable accommodation.

Review and Recommendation (Student Handbook 4.6.E)

The EC shall review the results of the examination and evaluation and determine whether the risk posed by the student is the result of a disability. If the risk posed by the student is the result of a disability, the EC shall determine whether the risk can be eliminated or sufficiently reduced through reasonable accommodation and, if so, shall take appropriate steps to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided.

If the EC determines that the student does not pose a significant risk of substantial harm to , it will recommend that no action be taken and that the student be permitted to remain enrolled.

If the EC determines that the student poses a significant risk of substantial harm to others, that the risk posed by the student is not the result of a disability, or if the result of a disability cannot be eliminated or sufficiently reduced by reasonable accommodation, the EC may recommend one or more of the following actions:

  1. The student be placed on an involuntary medical leave of absence, with or without a date established for re-enrollment. The EC may recommend conditions for readmission.
  2. Conditional enrollment, i.e., continued enrollment at the University conditioned on compliance with all actions required of the student. The EC may monitor the student and may, at any point, with the concurrence of at least two panel members, terminate the conditional enrollment and withdraw the student from the University.

Other reasonable actions or conditions may also be recommended to or imposed and taken by the Dean of Students or designee.

In making the individualized assessment and decision as to whether to place a student on an involuntary medical leave of absence, the EC and Dean of Students will consider the:

  • duration of risk;
  • nature and severity of harm;
  • likelihood that potential harm will occur;
  • imminence of potential harm; and
  • whether there is a reasonable way to accommodate the student to eliminate or reduce the risk.

The review and recommendation of the EC will be shared with the student. Prior to making a decision, the Dean of Students will provide the student with an opportunity to meet and present any information he or she believes is relevant to the Dean’s decision.

Compliance (Student Handbook 4.6.F)

The student is expected to comply with all reasonable requests to meet with the Dean of Students and to meet with any and all other University personnel as the Dean or EC may require. If the student fails or refuses to comply with the Dean’s request, the Dean may initiate an immediate involuntary medical leave of absence of the student. If the student fails or refuses to undergo an examination or evaluation as directed by the EC or refuses to release the results thereof, the EC shall make its recommendation based upon all of the available information.

Readmission (Student Handbook 4.6.G)

If a student is withdrawn pursuant to this provision, the student may petition the Dean of Students for readmission. The petition must include medical/psychological documentation that the student can meet, with or without reasonable accommodation, all of the essential functions of a student and that the student does not pose a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of others. The Dean may consult with the EC or any other person he or she deems appropriate in making the readmission decision.

Records and Fees (Student Handbook 4.6.H)

All records concerning these proceedings will be maintained by the Office of the Dean of Students. The normal policies and procedures for grades for students who withdraw during an academic semester or term, as described elsewhere in The Student Handbook, will apply to students who are placed on an involuntary medical leave of absence. The first time a student takes a medical leave of absence, the student may elect to receive either a refund of tuition and fees in accordance with the University’s established refund schedule or a Medical Tuition Credit. Subsequent medical leaves of absence are eligible for tuition and fee refunds only. A Medical Tuition Credit is a credit in an amount equal to that paid for tuition and general fees for the semester or term of the medical leave of absence less any student financial assistance that must be returned to the financial aid program.  A  Medical Tuition Credit will be applied to the first semester or term of re-enrollment following the student’s medical leave of absence and must be used within three years.  A student is eligible for only one Medical Tuition Credit.  Students are strongly urged to consult with the Office of Student Financial Assistance to determine how their medical leave of absence will affect their financial aid before determining whether to seek a refund or Medical Tuition Credit.  Any refund of tuition or fees due the student will be determined from the last date of class attendance, regardless of the date of the onset of the condition prompting the medical leave of absence.


Revised 2016

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