American University of Antigua College of Medicine (AUACOM) offers students “a U.S.-modeled curriculum, cutting-edge facilities, and an expansive network of clinical affiliates.” The university brands itself as one of the top medical universities in the Caribbean.
Founded in 2004 with a nine-person inaugural class, AUACOM placed 247 graduates from its 2020 class into residency positions in the United States. Residency is likely your own goal following graduation. However, academic issues or allegations of misconduct could derail your post-graduation plans.
Hire attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento if you are facing remediation, suspension, dismissal, or any other issue or sanction at the American University of Antigua College of Medicine. Residency programs are highly selective, and formal sanctions could end your candidacy with many (or perhaps most) programs.
Academic and Professionalism Standards at AUACOM
The AUACOM Student Handbook states that “It is incumbent upon all students at the University to maintain the highest level of ethics and morals and conduct themselves in a manner befitting a physician.”
The student code of conduct and academic honor code governs not only academic misconduct but also standards of professionalism. From honesty in all academic matters to patient care and collegial interactions, AUACOM students must adhere to the code of conduct in every facet of their education.
AUA's Professional Standards Committee investigates and adjudicates non-academic medical school issues, which may include:
- Allegations of academic misconduct (which the university considers a violation of the student code of conduct rather than an academic matter)
- Allegations of unprofessionalism
- Allegations of unethical behavior
The AUA Professional Standards Committee is the body that we may primarily interact with when defending you against any of the above-listed allegations.
University Deans appoint the faculty who compose the Professional Standards Committee. Typically, various AUACOM students will join the Professional Standards Committee to hear your case.
Before any hearing commences, the Dean of Students must first determine whether there is sufficient reason to proceed with your case. If the Dean does find evidence of “a violation of the University's non-academic rules or Code of Conduct and ethical behavior” and does not impose a unilateral resolution, then you will be informed of an upcoming hearing.
Prior to your hearing, you will receive a list of witnesses that may testify against you, as well as all relevant evidence to be presented at your hearing. During your hearing in front of the three- to five-member Professional Standards Committee, you may:
- Hear the equivalent of opening arguments from the leading Professional Standards Committee member (in which they will explain the case against you)
- Hear testimony from witnesses presented by the Committee
- Have an opportunity to question the Committee's witnesses
- Provide a brief statement in your defense
- Present and question your own witnesses
The format of disciplinary hearings is not rigid. However, the Committee is required to “be mindful of basic principles of fairness in the conduct of the hearing.” While your attorney-advisor is not permitted to attend the hearing, they may prepare you for proceedings based on the witness and evidence lists that you receive before the hearing.
In cases of poor academic standing, the university's Promotions Committee may oversee your case. They may review your academic performance and determine whether you are eligible for promotion or whether you will require remediation (or worse, dismissal).
The 2021 AUACOM Student Handbook details “Standards for Admission, Promotion, and Graduation in the Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program.” Before you may graduate, you must exhibit competency in:
- Medical knowledge
- Patient care
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Practice-based learning and improvement
- System-based learning
AUACOM curricula are designed to test you in these competencies. If at any point you fail to show competency academically, professionally, or otherwise, then you may face remediation.
Remediation generally allows you to retake examinations or entire medical school courses. Throughout the 4.5 years of coursework that AUACOM offers, you will be required to display Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Failure to meet the standard of academic progress could:
- Compromise your financial aid
- Require you to retake elements of your medical education
- Tarnish your academic record
- Compromise your acceptance to residency programs, which may jeopardize your greater medical future
As the AUACOM Student Handbook explains, “There are systems, processes and procedures in place at AUA for students to file formal grievances, register complaints or report issues and matters about which the student is concerned or has a duty to report.” You may be able to initiate a grade change through these avenues and thus avoid remediation rather than retaking coursework. An attorney can file such a grievance for you.
The American University of Antigua reserves the right to dismiss you for any number of reasons. In the Student Handbook section entitled “Good Standing,” literature explains that you may be dismissed for:
- Failing to improve your academic performance after being placed on academic probation
- Failing to meet criteria imposed by the university after being placed on non-academic probation
- Unexcused absences
- Failing to meet your financial obligations
The Lento Law Firm is primarily concerned with the first three grounds for dismissal. We may prevent a pending dismissal and may appeal any ruling that negatively impacts your standing at the American University of Antigua College of Medicine.
Appeals at AUACOM
If either the Professional Standards Committee or Promotions Committee issues a ruling against you, know that you retain the right to appeal. The university permits you to appeal:
- Revocation of financial aid based on poor academic standing (called a FASAP appeal)
- A finding that you have not made Satisfactory Academic Progress (called an SAP appeal)
- An administrative withdrawal due to an absence from the AUACOM
- An order of remediation
- Sanctions related to alleged unprofessionalism, academic misconduct, or unethical behavior
The AUACOM Appeals Committee oversees most appeals. You generally have only seven calendar days to file a written appeal, and you should retain a qualified attorney to ensure a prompt, accurate filing.
Hire Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento for Your Medical School Issue
If you are enrolled at the American University of Antigua School of Medicine, you have to face one fact: This may be your only (or last) shot at becoming the medical professional that you aspire to be. A development that appears relatively harmless—retaking a course, for example—could have long-lasting implications for your medical career.
Serious sanctions like suspension and dismissal could all but evaporate your hopes of admission to a respectable residency program. Let a lawyer who knows how to resolve medical school issues, Joseph D. Lento, handle your case.
Call the attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online to get the help that you need.