Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine

If you're a medical student, you know this already: Medical schools teach far more than anatomy. That's because the life of a doctor involves far more than listening to lungs and testing reflexes. The life of a doctor is a 24/7, seven days a week job; it's making patients comfortable and working with other health care professionals to find solutions; it's being a leader in your community. The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine puts it well on their homepage: it's becoming a “compassionate physician.”

It shouldn't be surprising, then, that a school like KCU-COM doesn't just hold its students to high standards in the classroom. Oh, it does that, to be sure. Anatomy does matter, after all. KCU-COM's standards are just as high when it comes to ethics, though, and professionalism. After all, the school has been around for over a hundred years, and you don't last that long without graduating some of the best doctors in the country.

What happens when you make a mistake, though? And you will. You're a student, after all. Most schools understand that making mistakes is part of the learning process, but that's not always how it works. Schools do sometimes put students under too much pressure, or worse, accuse them of things they didn't even do. If you find yourself in this situation, your first job should be to find out as much as you can about how your school operates—what the rules are and what happens if you break one. This page offers a good starting point. Just as important, you need to know how to find help. You'll find that information here as well.

Academic Standards at KCU-COM

Excellence at KCU-COM begins with academics, and to maintain that excellence, the school keeps a close eye on every student's performance. The Student Performance Committee (SPC) meets at the end of every semester to review your work. You are expected to maintain a 2.0 GPA and to attain at least a C (70%) in all your classes. Should you fail a course, the SPC will usually assign you a remediation plan to get caught up. They can ask you to repeat the course as well. Should you fail multiple courses in a given semester, you may be asked to retake the entire year. This not only separates you from your cohort but can put your financial aid in jeopardy. Finally, the SPC also has the power to dismiss you from the program altogether if they feel you simply can't keep up.

The school's policy on academic performance makes no mention of an appeals process. This suggests the SPC's decisions are generally treated as final. Here, then, is a good example of why you might need help if you decide to raise questions about how you're being treated.

Maintaining Professional Standards

Again, KCU-COM's ethical and professional standards are at least as high as, if not higher than, its academic standards. You aren't merely expected to uphold the American Osteopathic Association Code of Ethics or even KCU-COM's own Code of Professional Conduct. The school expects you to conduct yourself with “high standards” at all times, both “off and on campus.” Indeed, these standards extend even to your “personal life.”

Campus disciplinary violations are handled most immediately by KCU's Office of Student Services, which has the power to assign sanctions. More broadly, though, the SPC has authority over how professional lapses affect an osteopathic student's status in the program. Given its expectations, you can generally expect KCU-COM to dismiss you for all but the most minor offenses.

The good news is, in this case, the school does have a process for challenging the committee's decisions. You have both the right to present your case at a hearing and the right to appeal the outcome of that hearing. The process isn't simple, though, and you're likely to need help getting through it.

How Can an Attorney Help You?

Most students don't think about attorneys until it's too late—until they're facing a hearing or they've been dismissed from their program. You might be surprised to learn, then, that you don't have to be in such dire straits to make good use of an attorney. A lawyer who's experienced with the policies and procedures of your school can help in lots of ways, both big and small.

  • Evaluating remediation plans: If you should fall behind in your studies, the SPC may assign you a remediation plan to get caught up. Remediation can be a valuable safety net. In fact, it's helped many a medical student salvage their career. However, remediation can be costly, both in terms of time and money. In addition, you may have better options, like appealing your original grade. It's always a good idea to get an attorney-advisor to look over any remediation plan before you sign it. They can make sure the plan is in your best interest and that it is written to your benefit.
  • Cleaning up your transcript: Sanctions can mar an otherwise strong transcript. Remediation plans, probation, and even warnings can have long-term negative consequences if they wind up in your permanent record. An attorney can help you negotiate with faculty and administration to keep such notes out of your file. In fact, they may even be able to get past negative remarks removed.
  • Avoiding dismissal: Attorneys can help with the day-to-day stresses of osteopathic school, but they can help with the big stuff too. The fact is, students can and do find themselves facing dismissal. Given that nothing less than your entire career is at stake in a dismissal hearing, you really have no choice but to fight. Given how complex the procedures can be and the fact that your school will very likely close ranks against you, you don't want to take on that fight alone. An attorney can do everything from gathering evidence and planning your defense to drafting documents and preparing for meetings.

Joseph D. Lento, Student Attorney-advisor

Joseph D. Lento is a fully licensed and qualified defense attorney who specializes in defending students in campus judicial cases. Over the years, Joseph D. Lento has represented hundreds of medical students in all kinds of matters. He knows the law, especially as it applies to higher education, and he's a passionate defender of student rights. Just as importantly, he knows how your school works. He's familiar with the processes and procedures, and he can help guide you safely through them.

If you're facing a sanction from your medical school, trust your case to someone who knows medical schools. 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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