Finding Justice at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine

Medical schools take education seriously. They expect the very highest academic and professional standards from their students. Normally, that's a good thing. No one wants to imagine their doctor might have graduated without knowing everything there is to know about anatomy. No one wants to worry whether or not their doctor might be selling their medical information on the side.

The Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM) is no exception. As the school's Student Handbook notes, medicine “demands placing the interests of patients and clients above those of the healthcare professional.” Doctors don't just follow the rules; they hold themselves above reproach. Only by insisting on excellence from its students can ARCOM prepare them for successful careers in medicine.

It's one thing to make sure graduates are qualified and ready to face the rigors of a medical career, though. It's another to hold students to unfair standards or hold innocent students responsible for mistakes they didn't make. You may not think this can happen to you, but faculty and administrators can and do get it wrong sometimes. If you should find yourself in this kind of situation, you may need to contact an attorney.

Academic and Professional Standards

As an ARCOM student, you're expected to excel academically, and you're expected to conduct yourself ethically in both your professional and personal life.

When it comes to academics, the Dean is ultimately responsible for making decisions about your future. However, his decisions are informed by the school's Student Progress Committee (SPC). This committee reviews your progress after each and every semester and decides whether or not you are ready to move on to the next semester of study. It can recommend remediation or, in some circumstances, harsher sanctions such as probation, suspension, and even dismissal.

Professional and disciplinary infractions are handled by the school's Student Conduct Committee (SCC). Again, though, the ARCOM Dean is ultimately responsible for deciding whether or not to sanction you. Sanctions can include:

  • Warnings
  • Fines
  • Restitution
  • Restriction of privileges
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal

Whether you're dealing with an academic or disciplinary sanction, you do have the right to appeal the Dean's decision to the Office of the President. However, this individual's decisions are final. In short, you don't have a lot of options when it comes to defending yourself. That means you have to make every step in the process count.

Remediation: Getting Your Academic Future Back on Track

Medical schools don't like it when their students fail. That includes ARCOM. Your failure suggests the school made some mistake in admitting you or hasn't done a good enough job educating you. As a result, you can expect your school to work with you to help you get back on track if you should fall behind academically. This process is known as remediation.

While remediation can provide a valuable safety net, it can be costly, both in terms of money and time. Before you sign on to a remediation plan, you want to be sure it's the right option for you. For example, it could be that you'd be better off trying to appeal an instructor's original grade. The SPC won't normally consider these kinds of possibilities. A qualified attorney-advisor will, though. They'll know all the possibilities, and they'll be able to guide you through the appropriate processes.

Dismissal

ARCOM wants you to succeed, but that doesn't mean they won't dismiss you if you continue to struggle academically or commit an egregious disciplinary offense. If you're facing a dismissal, the stakes are too high not to contact an attorney. Those stakes include:

  • Trouble resuming your medical education: Once you're dismissed from one medical school, you'll find it hard to find another that will accept you.
  • Loss of academic progress: Even if you do enroll in another program, you'll likely have to begin your degree all over again. That means re-taking courses you've already taken. It means paying for them again, too.
  • Permanent transcript notations: Even if you find another program and graduate, you may still have trouble establishing your professional career. Your school will likely include a transcript notation about the nature of your dismissal, and that can make employers think twice about whether or not to hire you.
  • Student debt: Of course, even if you aren't able to finish your degree, you're still responsible for paying back your student loans. Your medical school bills can total $100,000 or more, and they'll come due immediately.

You should never simply accept any sanction. Schools can and do make mistakes. Even if you accept responsibility for misconduct, you don't want to accept a punishment that's disproportionate to your offense.

If your school is considering dismissing you, though, you absolutely must fight for your future. You can't do that alone. It's no easy matter to raise questions about how your medical school has treated you. For that, you need a professional, an attorney, to serve as your advisor. An attorney with experience in medical school cases can provide you with invaluable advice, help you construct a defense strategy, even work with you to draft grievance documents.

Hiring an Attorney-Advisor

It's time you learned: even doctors make mistakes. You're not super-human. If your school is trying to treat you as if you are, you have the right to push back. One low grade or one lapse in judgment doesn't have to define you.

Joseph D. Lento can help. Joseph D. Lento is a defense attorney who specializes in student cases. He's served as an advisor to hundreds of medical students across the country, helping them appeal grades, remove negative evaluations from their records, and overturn dismissals. Joseph D. Lento believes in your future. He understands your situation, and he's prepared to fight to get your career back on track.

If you're facing a sanction from your medical school, don't wait. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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