Student Life & Conduct

AUTHORITY TO DIRECT

On those occasions when a staff member finds it necessary to exercise authority on behalf and in the best interests of the University, students are obliged to follow his or her directives. Failure to follow the staff member's directive is a serious matter and may result in referral to an Area Disciplinary Committee. If a student believes that a staff member has acted improperly, the student should:

1. Obey the instructions of the staff member.

2. Inform the staff member that the student believes the staff  member is acting improperly.

3. Register a formal complaint with the student's Dean of Students.

AUTHORITY TO SUMMON

From time to time, a Dean or his or her designee will require the immediate presence of a student to address a matter of genuine urgency. In such cases, the Dean or designee may issue a summons requiring the student to appear in person at a specified time and place, regardless of the student's other commitments. Failure to appear as required by the summons is a serious matter and may result in a restriction of registration or referral to an Area Disciplinary Committee.

INVOLUNTARY LEAVE OF ABSENCE POLICY

As a community, our first concern is always the health and well-being of each student. To help students achieve their fullest potential and participate robustly and successfully in University life, the University provides students with a host of services, including the Student Counseling Services (SCS). SCS provides a wide range of mental health care to University of Chicago students, including assessments; emergency services; crisis intervention; medication management; academic skills counseling; short term individual, couples, and/or group psychotherapies; and referral services. SCS also provides consultation to University officials who have concerns about a student.

Sometimes, a student's behavior raises concerns about the safety and well-being of the student or others or causes significant disruption to the functioning of the University. Anyone aware of such circumstances should immediately contact the student's Dean of Students (or his or her designee). In response, the Dean of Students will meet with the student to discuss his or her behavior and appropriate next steps. The Dean of Students may require that the student be assessed by SCS. The Dean of Students may determine that, in the best interest of the student and/or others, the student (1) may remain enrolled without conditions, (2) may remain enrolled with conditions that are to be described in writing, or (3) should or, in some circumstances, must take a leave of absence.

If a leave of absence is indicated, the student normally will be given the opportunity to take the leave of absence voluntarily. Often, the student may be in a better position to engage in treatment and return to stable, good health at home or in a less stressful environment. If the student declines to take a voluntary leave of absence, the Dean of Students has the authority to place the student on an involuntary leave of absence by restricting or canceling the student's existing and further registration irrespective of academic standing.

In making an informed decision to place a student on an involuntarily leave of absence, the Dean of Students will consider germane medical and other information available to him or her, including information provided timely by the student. The student may be required to sign a medical records release, and to authorize direct communication between the SCS Director (or his or her designee) and the student’s medical provider(s) regarding the circumstances and the student’s medical information, and to authorize the SCS Director to share the substance of those communications with the Dean of Students.

Ultimately, the Dean of Students may require an involuntary leave of absence when he or she determines:(1) that the student has engaged, or threatened to engage, in behavior that has or could cause significant property damage, or that has or could directly and substantially impede the rightful activities of others; and/or (2) based on the consultation with the SCS Director (or his or her designee) and the individualized assessment of the student's ability to safely participate in the University's programs, that the student is unable to function as a student and/or the student's continued presence on campus poses a substantial risk to the safety and well-being of the student and/or others.[*]

When the Dean of Students judges a student's continued presence is likely to pose a substantial risk to the safety and well-being of the student or to others, the student may be placed on an emergency interim leave before a final determination, as described above, is made. Every reasonable attempt will be made for the Dean of Students to meet with the student and to consider germane medical and other information provided by the student before deciding on an interim leave and the student will be informed of the interim leave in writing. The emergency leave will remain in effect until a final decision has been made or a determination has been made that the reasons for imposing the interim leave no longer exists.

When the Dean of Students decides that a leave of absence is appropriate, the decision and the conditions for resumption of studies will be communicated in writing. A student on a leave of absence no longer attends classes, participates in University programs, or uses University facilities, must vacate University housing, and will be entitled to refunds of tuition, fees, and room and board charges as appropriate given the timing of the start of the leave of absence. When a Dean of Students mandates a leave of absence, generally such leave will be retroactive to the beginning of the quarter.

A student placed on an involuntary leave of absence may request, within fifteen days of the date of the decision, a review of the decision from the Office of Campus and Student Life. The student must submit the request for a review of the decision and any supporting materials in writing. The Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services (or his/her designee) and Dean of Students (or his/her designee) will review appropriate records and documentation, confer with the Director of SCS (or his/her designee) and, when feasible and appropriate, will meet with the student. The student may be required to sign a medical records release and to authorize direct communication between the Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services (or his/her designee) and Dean of Students (or his/her designee) and the SCS Director (or his or her designee) regarding the circumstances, the student’s medical information, and information obtained from the student’s medical provider(s). The Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services and Dean of Students will communicate a final decision in writing as soon as practicable. The leave of absence will remain in effect during the period that the Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services and Dean of Students considers the student's request.

A student on a leave of absence will not be permitted to resume his or her studies until the Dean of Students makes a fact-specific assessment of the circumstances and concludes that the student no longer poses a significant disruption to the functioning of the University and/or no longer poses a significant risk to the health and safety of the student or others (that cannot be eliminated by a reasonable accommodation).[**] In making this determination, usually the Dean of Students will require the student to authorize his or her treating professionals to contact the Director of SCS to discuss the student's clinical condition, whether the student continues to pose a direct threat to the safety and well-being of him/herself and/or others, as well as the student's preparedness for (1) a return to the academic rigor of the University, (2) the ability to navigate self-sufficiently as a functioning, non-disruptive member of the University community, and (3) the capability for continuing appropriate treatment via SCS or other resources, if necessary. If the student is to continue treatment while resuming studies, the Dean of Students will ask the student to sign a release that authorizes the treating professional to notify the Dean of Students if the student does not adhere to the treatment plan.

Notification of Others

The Dean of Students (or his or her designee) may notify a student's parents, emergency contact, or others when in the Dean of Student's judgment the student is unable to make the notification himself or herself or the student's behavior poses an imminent danger to students or others, or requires an immediate disclosure of information to avert or diffuse serious threats to the safety or health of the student or others. A leave of absence does not preclude the application of the University disciplinary systems.

*This individualized assessment is based on reasonable medical judgment relying on current medical knowledge and best objective information regarding the duration and severity of the risk, the probability that a potentially threatening injury will occur, and the likelihood that reasonable modification of existing policies, practices and procedures will sufficiently mitigate that risk. The individualized assessment will include consideration of germane medical information timely provided by the student, in which case the student normally will be asked to sign a release that will allow the SCS Director (or his or her designee) and the student's provider to communicate directly regarding the circumstances and student medical information.

**For information about requesting accommodation for a disability, see the University's protocol on Disability Accommodation.