Washington State University's Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine (ESFCOM) opened its doors in 2015. The college's mission is to “expand medical education and health care access in communities across the state.” To fulfill this mission, ESFCOM holds its students and residents to specific standards inside the classroom and in the field.
Subpar academic performance, grade disputes, and allegations of dishonesty and unprofessionalism can cause permanent harm to a medical student's reputation—and even prevent graduation.
If you face remediation, university-issued sanctions, or any other threat to your good standing, then you may hire an attorney-advisor to represent you. They may achieve the outcome that most protects your future goals in the field of medicine.
The Honor Oath
The Student Handbook for the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine contains an Honor Oath that all incoming students must adhere to. It reads:
“I pledge to conduct myself with integrity, in spirit and action, advance on individual merit, and respect my peers, patients, colleagues and all members of the educational, clinical and research communities. I will uphold the professional and ethical values essential to the practice of medicine, and remain committed to the health and well-being of my patients and those in need.”
This Oath is a catch-all that covers:
- Academic dishonesty
- Unprofessional behavior
- Unethical behavior
The WSU ESFCOM Student Handbook is particular about professional conduct among medical students. From how students in the field interact with patients to their standard of personal responsibility, the ESFCOM is demanding in its professional guidelines.
The Student Evaluation, Progress, and Awards Committee (SEPAC) oversees “violations of professionalism including student conduct, academic integrity, and poor academic performance.” Whether you are facing dismissal, suspension, or remediation, this body will likely decide your fate.
ESFCOM literature defines remediation as:
“An activity to address a deficiency as determined by the SEPAC after consideration of a clerkship or course director recommendation, an assessment of a student's overall academic performance, a student's written request, or other factors deemed relevant.”
Remediation generally includes re-taking of certain courses or examinations, which provides you the opportunity to achieve higher marks. When a Course Director, student, or other party requests remediation, then the SEPAC will:
- Review grading decisions to ensure that they are fair and accurate
- Review the grounds for any requested remediation
- Schedule and complete a meeting with the student
- Allow the student to respond to circumstances that have resulted in a remediation request
WSU literature states that, should you fail a course or two or fewer exams within a course, “the student will normally be allowed to undergo remediation.”
A significant question is whether it is in your interest to undergo remediation. The remediation process is generally preferable to dismissal and certain other sanctions. However, remediation may also reflect on your academic records and ultimately impact your medical student and professional prospects.
An attorney-advisor can explain whether remediation is a suitable option for you. They may be able to enact a grade change or other more desirable outcome.
Dismissal from WSU's Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
The SEPAC at WSU ESFCOM reserves the following responses for academic failures, allegations of unprofessionalism, and violations of academic integrity:
- Academic warning
- Academic Probation
- Required leave of absence
The final action, dismissal, can be the death knell for a future medical career. At the very least, dismissal from the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine may:
- Erase your academic progress to date
- Prevent re-enrollment in the ESFCOM
- Limit the number of medical schools that will allow you to enroll
- Leave a permanent, unavoidable blemish on your academic and professional record
Depending on your specific circumstances, a dismissal from Washington State may prevent you from practicing medicine altogether. If you cannot re-enroll in a medical school and obtain a degree, your dream of becoming a medical professional may be lost.
And yet, you may still be responsible for student loans that you accepted to enroll in WSU ESFCOM. If you are facing dismissal or less severe sanctions, you need a strong defense. Any demerit on your medical school records can negatively impact—or completely derail—your future as a medical professional.
Appealing a Decision by the SEPAC
Considering that the SEPAC oversees most conduct-related and academic issues for WSU's medical students, it's worth delving into the appeals process for this influential body.
Section III-V of the WSU ESFCOM Student Handbook explains how you can appeal a SEPAC decision. To file a formal appeal, you or your attorney-advisor will:
- Submit a written appeal request to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the chair of the SEPAC within seven days of receiving notice of an initial decision.
- Await an investigation by The Associate Dean for Student Affairs and a subsequent decision by the SEPAC regarding your appeal
- Participate in any face-to-face meetings as part of the appeals process
- Receive notification of a final decision
If your initial appeal is not successful, you can submit a final appeal with the Dean of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. You must submit this appeal within five days of receiving the initial appeal decision and must inform the Associate Dean for Student Affairs of your intent to appeal yet again.
You will be eligible to continue your course of education until the appeals process is complete.
Why Hire an Attorney-Advisor for Your Case?
Though the WSU ESFCOM is as selective as you might expect a medical school to be, you're still just one of many students and residents under the university's purview. You can't assume that the SEPAC, Dean, or others with influence over your future will understand your intentions or even act fairly concerning your case.
Hiring an experienced advocate to make a robust, detailed case for your defense will be your best choice. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm will review your circumstances, explain his plan for your case, and execute the plan until you achieve a resolution.
Depend on the Lento Law Firm's unparalleled experience with remediation cases, dismissal cases, and other types of medical school issues. Call us today at (888) 535-3686 to find out exactly how we can help you. You can also reach us online using this link.