Oakland University's William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) maintains rigorous moral standards for its medical students – a strategy developed since its establishment in 2011. Academic honesty is a critical component of those standards, especially since responsibility and integrity are cardinal qualities for those wishing to join the medical profession.
The university is selective about student enrollment and research quality, reflecting its standards in its student policies. After years of hard work, OUWB's students expect to receive their degrees and start their careers. However, a misconduct charge or poor academic performance puts those goals on pause, especially if the sanctions incur a suspension or permanent dismissal.
A misconduct charge, even if baseless, can incur considerable delays or prevent medical students from graduating. While OUWB encourages professors to uphold integrity principles and be fair, some charges incur unfavorable outcomes due to lack of evidence or a solid defense strategy.
These issues require the guidance of an experienced attorney advisor who helps medical students fight allegations before they threaten their educational and professional prospects.
OUWB's Academic Honesty Policy details the administration's expectations of student behavior and gives examples of conduct that violates those principles. The ability to learn in a fair and competitive environment means maintain behavior befitting of future physicians. According to the policy, academic honesty is:
“vital to the success and integrity of all educational programs. OUWB seeks to ensure academic honesty and personal integrity among the OUWB community. Academic honesty is defined as the proper performance of all professional assignments without cheating, lying, stealing, receiving unauthorized assistance from any other person or using any source of information without proper authorization or citation”.
Understanding OUWB's academic integrity principles and the investigations process in case of a hearing helps medical students plan a strong defense strategy with their advisor.
Medical students must pass their courses and maintain high grades to complete their program at OUWB. In some cases, however, it isn't easy to maintain high marks, especially if students have multiple responsibilities outside of campus. OUWB allows students to make up for failed courses during the summer semester. If students take a remediation course outside of OUWB, the Associate Dean for Preclinical Medical Education must approve the curriculum.
Students must complete all remediation courses and tests before progressing to the next academic year. Those who fail the remediation may not retake courses and will fail. If students fail two times despite remediation, it may be grounds for dismissal. Although remediation is a hassle for medical students, it is a mixed blessing. The extra expenses and time spent on these courses could be the only option students have if they want to become doctors.
For more egregious infarctions or consistent course failure, expulsion from the campus is the last resort. The news of permanent dismissal is one of the most difficult to swallow, especially when students made good progress for years in their program. When students receive a permanent discharge from OUWB, they potentially lose all their credits and have a permanent note on their transcript. Expulsion leads to:
- Delays in graduation: Students may need to repeat a medical program from scratch if they choose to enroll in another medical school. This move takes extra years to complete and ultimately delays a student's medical career.
- Difficulty finding a new school. Although some students assume that they can easily find another program, it will take more time to join a school. Thousands of students apply to medical schools every year, and administrations are more likely to accept other candidates.
- Reputation loss: With a note on their transcript, it may be challenging for medical students to apply to prestigious medical schools and receive acceptance. Admins will reject the application for a more suitable candidate with no marks on their record. Career-wise, it will also be hard to start one's future as a physician, especially when there is an ethics charge.
- Loss of time, effort, and money. Students entering medical school take out exorbitant loans that can reach the hundreds of thousands. After the expulsion, they still need to pay off old loans and possibly take out new ones. Students must spend additional time, effort, and funds to catch up or graduate as initially planned.
Fortunately, students have the option to appeal a decision at OUWB when it involves their graduation prospects. It's easy to forget that universities invest resources to train and graduate medical students that eventually become alumni. Medical students receive more review and scrutiny for their work, but they also have a chance to rectify adverse situations. OUWB medical students can request a review of the committee's decision and appeal if the sanction is severe.
The Dean only accepts an appeal if it involves dismissing the student from a program, a delay in the student's academic progress, or a reference in their permanent record. Students must request the review through the Dean of the School Medicine. It is up to the Dean to accept or reject the request depending on the evidence.
If the Dean proceeds with the request, a review committee goes over the case. The committee may interview the student, professor, or members of the initial hearing. Afterward, the review committee recommends action to the Dean, who makes the final decision regarding the student's request.
Call an Attorney-Advisor
If you face misconduct charges, professionalism concerns, or academic issues, and believe that your case deserves a review, don't wait until it's too late to call a student defense expert. Advisor Joseph D. Lento helps you navigate a difficult process, draft a review statement that reduces sanction severity and allows you to receive justice. Despite the intensive review processes at medical schools generally, medical schools routinely do not give the student's circumstances full consideration, and in other instances, procedural errors can also lead to unfair and unreasonable outcomes.
Academic merit, reputation, and personal integrity matter to medical students. The failure or violation of those principles affects professional advancement and can sabotage a future doctor's career. With a negative reference on their permanent records, students may have difficulty with placement later on, especially for more egregious allegations or issues that reflect poorly on a medical student's aptitude.
You need professional help because of what is at stake and because medical school review committees often will not consider what needs to be considered when a student does not have professional help navigating the process. Don't let an academic misconduct charge or other medical school-related issue or concern end your dream of finishing medical school. Call Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a confidential consultation and get your degree back on track.