The Value of a Chiropractic Degree
Students studying for Doctor of Chiropractic degrees are pursuing a worthwhile program of health education. A student's investment of time and money in chiropractic education is large. It's neither inexpensive nor easy to become a Doctor of Chiropractic. Chiropractic students work hard, expend substantial resources, and often incur substantial loan obligations to gain the privilege of chiropractic practice. But the chiropractic student's return on investment is also large, not only in income and standing but also in the satisfaction of a career helping people to maintain, improve, and restore good health. Chiropractic studies are well worth the trouble. The professional education that a chiropractic student starts, the student should hope, work, and expect to finish.
The Risk of Not Graduating
Yet as valuable as a chiropractic degree can be and as rewarding as a career in chiropractic can be, starting a chiropractic program is no guarantee that the student will finish. Graduation is what every chiropractic student expects. But the risks of not graduating are real. Chiropractic students have little they can do about some of those risks, like debilitating accidents or illnesses. But other risks of program suspension or dismissal, such as for academic, behavioral, or professional misconduct, are well within the chiropractic student's control. It is sad but true that some chiropractic students get kicked out of school or leave quietly to avoid expected dismissal. The kinds of misconduct that the school may allege, threatening everything for which the student has worked, include:
- academic misconduct in some form of cheating or other deliberate pursuits of undue advantage;
- sexual misconduct including sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and Title IX misconduct;
- behavioral misconduct such as alcohol or drug abuse, disorderly conduct, criminal conviction, or other indication of bad character;
- professional misconduct including tardiness, unexcused absences, patient neglect or abuse, or inappropriate conduct around colleagues; and
- academic insufficiencies, including failing grades, inability to complete required courses, failure to maintain minimum grade point average, and failure to make satisfactory progress.
These risks of not graduating are real. But with the right legal representation from a national academic attorney, they can also be manageable. If your school has threatened your academic progress through false, unfair, or exaggerated allegations of these or other forms of misconduct, then retain national academic attorney Joseph D. Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm for your aggressive and effective defense.
Accreditation's Role in Chiropractic Student Issues
Colleges and universities offering Doctor of Chiropractic degree programs must maintain certain standards, including standards for student conduct. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes the Council on Chiropractic Education as the accrediting agency for Doctor of Chiropractic programs meeting educational standards. The Council's Accreditation Standards address student admission requirements, student outcomes assessment, student clinical competency, and student ethics, professionalism, and integrity, among other subjects. By assuring the quality, rigor, and integrity of chiropractic degree programs, Council accreditation protects not only students, their educational lenders, and their future employers but also the public. Your chiropractic school must have standards for student conduct to maintain its accreditation, reputation, and enrollment. If you face false, unfair, or exaggerated misconduct charges, you may blame the school, but don't blame the standards. The American Chiropractic Association lists nineteen accredited chiropractic schools, counting Palmer College's three locations separately. Every chiropractic school has similar standards, in one form or another.
Academic standards form the core of a chiropractic school's necessary commitment to integrity. Chiropractic schools, like other institutions of higher education, must maintain satisfactory academic progress standards to meet federal lending regulations. Chiropractic students who repeatedly fail courses, whose grade point average falls below minimum standards, or who take so few courses as not to be able to graduate within a reasonable time frame can suffer academic dismissal. Schools do, however, maintain procedures allowing students to appeal grades, challenge dismissal, and remediate academic shortcomings. Schools generally do not want to dismiss students if the at-risk student can demonstrate a sound plan for regaining reasonable academic progress in good standing. National academic attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped students nationwide understand and make effective use of those procedures. Don't give up and let your investment go to waste. Contact the Lento Law Firm if you face academic dismissal.
Meeting academic standards is one thing. Staying out of academic trouble for misconduct is another thing. Chiropractic programs must prohibit academic misconduct to ensure that students have the knowledge and skills their work suggests and have the good character to practice the profession. Many times, when chiropractic students face issues, those issues involve some form of academic misconduct. Take those issues seriously. Your school will treat academic misconduct seriously, bringing charges that could result in suspension or dismissal. For example, Palmer College's Student Code of Ethics prohibits all of these forms of academic misconduct, under the single heading of dishonesty:
- cheating, including unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations, use of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments, use without permission of tests or other academic material belonging to faculty or staff, engaging in any behavior specifically prohibited by a faculty member in the course syllabus or class discussion, or knowingly assisting another student in these acts of cheating;
- plagiarism, including submitting examinations, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, undocumented quotations, computer-processed materials, or other materials as one's own work when such work has been prepared by another person, paraphrase or direct quotation of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment, or failing to acknowledge the use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials;
- unauthorized use, possession, distribution, buying, or selling of examinations, library materials, laboratory materials, or any previous assessment material not authorized for student use by an instructor;
- unauthorized changing of answers on a graded quiz, examination, or assignment, or unauthorized changing of grades on an examination, in an instructor's grade book or on a grade report, or unauthorized access to academic computer records;
- furnishing false information, or nondisclosure or misrepresentation, to the school or any of its members, or any individual associated with or conducting business with the school in a manner that adversely affects the school or school community;
- signing in for another student, or permitting another student to sign in for them, on a class attendance sheet for a class in which the student was not in attendance, or substituting for another student or allowing another person to substitute for oneself in taking an examination or any other academic evaluation process;
- forgery, alteration, misuse, unauthorized use or unauthorized possession of any school or other document, record instrument of identification, or resource; and
- unauthorized download, creation, sale, transfer, access, reproduction or distribution of copyrighted material or patented inventions, including audio materials, video materials, or research materials, or of any course materials, whether copyrighted or not, distributed by a faculty member, such as the faculty member's notes, PowerPoint presentations, handouts, tests, outlines, and similar materials.
Title IX Sexual Misconduct
Title IX requires colleges and universities receiving federal funding to prohibit specific forms of sexual misconduct. Title IX applies just as much to chiropractic schools as it does to other colleges and universities. Because of funding concerns and the public condemnation of sexual misconduct, your chiropractic school is sure to treat most seriously any allegation of your Title IX misconduct. If you face Title IX misconduct charges, then you need the expert representation of national Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento, who has defended students nationwide against Title IX charges. Your chiropractic school will have a Title IX policy, like Palmer College's Title IX policy, that prohibits these forms of sexual misconduct:
- sexual harassment is defined as conduct that conditions the provision of a school aid, benefit, or service on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct or “unwelcome conduct, determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive” as to effectively deny equal access to the school's education, program or activity;
- sexual assault without consent or when the complainant is incapable of giving consent, including forcible penetration, no matter how slight, with any body part or object, forcible sodomy, forcible fondling touching the private body parts of another person for sexual gratification, incest between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by applicable state law, and statutory rape with a person who is under the statutory age of consent of applicable state law;
- dating violence, on the basis of sex, committed by a person who is in or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant, including sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse;
- domestic violence, on the basis of sex, committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complainant, a person with whom the complainant shares a child, or a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the complainant as a spouse or intimate partner;
- stalking, defined as engaging in a course of conduct, on the basis of sex, directed at a specific person, that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person's safety, or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress; and
- retaliation for the purpose of interfering with any right that the school's Title IX policy secures, including intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against others for that purpose.
Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct
Your school may prohibit other sexual misconduct that Title IX does not specifically condemn. These other sexual prohibitions can be extremely broad and equally vague. Complainants can potentially identify as a violation much conduct that some students would assume was neither harmful nor prohibited. Charges of non-Title IX sexual misconduct can thus be a student's greatest risk of discipline. Your school may well have a non-Title IX sexual misconduct policy, like Palmer College's non-Title IX sexual misconduct policy, including the following broad and vague prohibitions:
- sexual harassment including unwelcome sexual innuendo, propositions, comments, slurs, humor, or jokes of a sexual nature or about sex, gender identity, or gender expression, disparaging, derogatory, demeaning, negative, or offensive language or remarks of a sexual nature, insults or threats based on sex, gender identity, or gender expression, written materials, graffiti, or the display or distribution of drawings, posters, pictures, or objects of a sexual nature, unwelcome written or electronic e-mail, text messaging, websites, and internet use of a sexual nature, sexually charged name-calling, sexual rumors or ratings, unwanted touching, patting, pinching, hugging, kissing, or brushing against an individual's body, undue and unwanted flirting, inappropriate or repetitive compliments about clothing, accessories or physical attributes, staring, or making sexually oriented gestures, and verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity;
- sexual exploitation of another's sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit or advantage, or any other non-legitimate purpose, including observing another's nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved, non-consensual streaming or transmitting of images, video, or audio recording of sexual activity, or nudity, prostituting another individual, knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease without the other's knowledge, inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity, or exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances or inducing another to expose one's genitals.
- bullying including cyber-bullying, defined as “unwanted attention, harassment, physical or verbal contact, or any other course of conduct directed at an individual that could be reasonably regarded as likely to alarm or place that individual in fear of harm or injury, including physical, emotional, or psychological harm”;
- aiding or facilitating any of the above; and
- retaliating for any person's exercise of the rights and privileges protected under the policy.
Other Behavioral Misconduct
While sexual misconduct tops the list of behavioral issues that chiropractic students may face, interfering with the progress of their education, chiropractic schools prohibit other forms of behavioral misconduct outside of sex. These other behavioral policies can be so broad as to make almost any conduct that society would generally condemn student misconduct if it occurs on school premises, at school off-premises functions, or affecting school operations and activities. What gets you in trouble at home or work can equally get you in trouble at chiropractic school. Once again, Palmer College's Student Code of Ethics provides these common examples of prohibited behavioral misconduct for which the school may well suspend, dismiss, or otherwise discipline:
- alcohol or drug abuse including use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution of drugs of abuse such as solvents, hallucinogens, narcotics, depressants, stimulants, or other controlled substances except as law permits, use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution of alcoholic beverages except as law and school regulations permit, public intoxication, providing alcoholic beverages for use by any person under age twenty-one, and driving while under the influence of alcohol or any illegal substances;
- gambling, engaging in or offering games of chance for money or other gains in violation of federal, state, or local laws;
- disruption or obstruction of teaching, learning, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other school proceedings and activities, participating in a demonstration, riot, or other activity that disrupts the school's normal operation, infringes on the rights of others, leading or inciting others to disrupt scheduled or normal activities including interfering with freedom of movement, disorderly, lewd, or indecent conduct, breach of the peace or assisting, encouraging, or facilitating another person to breach the peace, engaging in individual or group conduct that is abusive, indecent, unreasonably loud, or similar disorderly and that infringes on the privacy, rights, or privileges of others, or disturbs the peace of any person;
- failing to comply or to comply in a timely manner with school, law enforcement, or other official directives, failing to treat members of the school community with courtesy and respect or failing to regard and refer to all peers and school employees with honor, giving credit where it is due;
- safety and security breaches including physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, or coercion, any conduct that threatens or endangers the health, safety, education, or employment of any member of the school community, clinic patients, or any other person, engaging in violent individual or group conduct, hazing in violation of federal, state, or local laws or the school policies, rules or regulations, reporting the presence of a fire, bomb, or other explosive or incendiary device without good reason to believe the facts reported are true, or misusing or damaging fire or other safety equipment;
- identity theft including inappropriate use of another person's identification, impersonating or misrepresenting the authority to act on behalf of another, forgery, alteration, or misuse of identification, documents, records, keys or access codes, manufacture, distribution, delivery, sale, purchase, possession, or use of false identification, or failure to identify oneself to school officials or security or law enforcement officers acting in the performance of their duties when requested to do so;
- invasion of privacy, including unauthorized observation of a person in a location in which that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms, locker rooms, showers, and student housing, making, storing, sharing, or distributing unauthorized video or photographic images or other likeness of a person in a location in which that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, unauthorized installation, placement, set-up, or use of audio, video, photographic or any other devices to capture, record, reproduce, display, distribute, observe, modify or store an individual's photograph, picture, portrait, image, voice or other likeness where that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy;
- theft, damage, destruction, or misuse of property of the school or any member of the school community;
- traffic violations on or about school premises; and
- weapons violations of the school's policy, including Illegal or unauthorized use, possession or storage of firearms, weapons, explosives, fireworks, or dangerous chemicals, even if legally possessed, on school premises or at school events, activities, or service functions on or off school premises.
Professional misconduct is a final category of misconduct for which chiropractic schools will discipline students. Professional misconduct is negative behavior that impacts professional duties, performance, and relationships. Professions, including the profession of chiropractic, have professionalism rules to preserve public confidence in the profession. The American Chiropractic Association publishes a model code of ethics for chiropractors that state boards and associations may mimic or adopt. Chiropractic schools maintain similar professionalism rules and codes to ensure that they are training students in necessary professional behaviors. Professionalism violations in school can directly impact a graduate's ability to obtain a license to practice chiropractic. Palmer College's Student Code of Ethics lists these professionalism violations that may result in student suspension, dismissal, or other discipline:
- failure in clinical collegiality showing disrespect for peers, patients, supervisors, and colleagues, including failing to follow appropriate orders and directives;
- clinical dishonesty furnishing false information to the school or relating to any patient, including forging or altering any patient or school record or accessing patient or other records without authorization or for unauthorized purpose;
- clinical misrepresentation pretending to possess a license to practice chiropractic or practicing without such license;
- invasion of clinical privacy observing patients or patient records without authorization or for unauthorized purpose;
- substandard patient care, including abandoning, neglecting, or abusing a patient, or subordinating patient care to personal interests.
The consequences to a chiropractic student's education and future career of school discipline can be either subtle or catastrophic. False or unfair findings of minor to moderate misconduct can cause a student to lose access to special courses, clinics, internships, honors, awards, and references and recommendation letters. Separate from these concerns, remedial training or education can be imposed, which, in some instances, can be to a student's benefit compared to program dismissal in the alternative, but does not come without its own potential burdens. This is not to mention the disciplinary records that can follow a chiropractic student for years, even if such records only mention a written or formal reprimand or probation. More serious misconduct can result in suspension, dismissal, and even degree revocation. In the worst case, school discipline can end an education and career. You can have everything for which you hoped, worked, and invested at stake in a student discipline proceeding.
Retain a National Student Misconduct Defense Attorney
Fortunately, chiropractic schools generally maintain elaborate administrative procedures through which you can challenge false, unfair, or exaggerated misconduct charges. If you face misconduct charges at your chiropractic school, retain national academic defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for your aggressive and effective defense. Attorney Lento has the academic administrative experience to make the best use of available procedures to work towards a fair process and the best possible outcome. Don't miss the opportunity to get the best available help and legal representation to rescue your chiropractic education. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation now with Attorney Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm or use the online service.