Ohio State University College of Medicine

The Ohio State University College of Medicine traces its roots back to 1834 as part of the Willoughby University of Lake Erie. It went through several restructurings and name changes before it was finally established as part of Ohio State University by 1914. Today, the school is recognized as one of the nation's top institutions for medical education and research, and its associated teaching hospital is recognized as one of the top ten in the U.S.

OSU's College of Medicine maintains strict and selective admissions standards, with an overall acceptance rate of only 5.9 percent of applicants. Students at the College of Medicine are held to high standards of professional, ethical, and academic excellence as outlined in the Honor Code and Student Handbook.

A medical student's academic experience can have a significant impact on their future career. Preparing for a career in medicine requires an intensive commitment to academic performance and a pristine professional record. Disciplinary actions for alleged misconduct or academic shortfalls can harm future opportunities. An attorney-advisor can provide much-needed guidance in misconduct proceedings to help protect the student's interests and reputation in the process.

Honor Code and Code of Conduct

OSU medical students are held to the standards of a written Honor Code that addresses both academic and professional excellence. “The College of Medicine considers any student enrolled in the College for the purpose of seeking the MD degree to be an active member of the profession at all times,” it says.

The school's professional Honor Code embraces seven pillars:

  • Altruism
  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Caring and compassion
  • Service
  • Excellence and Scholarship
  • Respect Teachers, Staff, Colleagues, Patients, and Families
  • Responsibility and Accountability

Allegations of academic misconduct are reviewed and investigated by the Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM), with other panels investigating other types of misconduct as outlined in the school's Code of Student Conduct. Reviews of misconduct allegations are subject to a hearing except when the student waives that right by admitting to the allegations. The student also has the right to appeal the decision of the hearing body before any disciplinary action becomes part of the final record.

Sanctions

Medical students found to be in violation of the Honor Code or Code of Conduct may be subject to many sanctions depending on the circumstances and severity of the incident. Sanctions may range from a formal reprimand and disciplinary probation to full suspension or dismissal from the school. Disciplinary sanctions may reflect badly on the student's permanent record, and the resulting damage to their professional reputation could result in limited opportunities for career expansion down the road.

Remediation

In addition to exacting scholastic standards, medical schools also maintain aggressive course schedules to help keep their students on track. Sometimes, these schedules can be so grueling that even the best students find themselves falling behind or garnering subpar grades. In such cases, the school will typically prescribe remedial courses to help the student “right the ship” with academic shortfalls while continuing to meet the qualifications for a medical career.

Remedial courses may on occasion be prescribed due to unfair grading practices or disputed academic policies, and sometimes an appeal of the student's grades may remedy the situation. But in cases where the alternative is dismissal from the program, remediation can actually save a student's career.

Dismissal

For medical students who continue to miss the mark academically or who are accused of academic or professional misconduct, the Academic Review Board may call for the student's dismissal. OSU College of Medicine does provide for students to apply for reinstatement after 6 months, though reinstatements for dismissed students are rare. 

Students should try to avoid dismissal at all costs as it can do irreparable damage not only to their reputation but to their entire career track. The consequences can extend far beyond the immediate disgrace of being expelled. Dismissal can cause a cascading host of problems for the student, including the following:

  • Difficulty re-enrolling or resuming studies elsewhere. Admissions policies at most medical schools are very strict, and students recently dismissed from medical school are generally not prioritized as good candidates.
  • Loss of all academic progress. If the student does manage to restart their medical school education, all prior academic progress will have been lost due to the dismissal. All courses will have to be retaken, adding substantially to the total cost of education.
  • Exorbitant student debt. Any student loans taken for medical school will still need to be repaid, even if the student is expelled. With the prospects of a career in medicine now in jeopardy, the student may have difficulty repaying the loan.

In short, being dismissed from medical school can result in significant financial losses, deep debt, and highly questionable prospects for a career in medicine.

Appeals Process

If the school decides to take disciplinary action for allegations of academic shortfalls or misconduct, the student has a right to appeal the case before the decision becomes final. Appeals may be filed on the grounds of procedural error during the investigation, introduction of new evidence, or to claim disproportionate punishment. Ohio State University only allows a five-day window for appeals to be filed, so it's critical to move quickly and smartly. A timely, well-prepared appeal can literally save a medical student's career in such cases.

Hire an Attorney-Advisor for Misconduct Allegations

While medical schools outline their policies clearly, the reality is that these schools face constant pressure and scrutiny to remain above reproach in their dealings. The actions of their students reflect on the school's reputation, as well, so there is an inherent pressure to deal with incidents of misconduct swiftly and decisively. On occasion, this pressure can result in disproportionately harsh penalties or denial of due process for the student.

Hiring an experienced attorney in an advisory role may serve as added protection of the student's rights in misconduct proceedings to ensure against unfair tarnishing of an otherwise pristine student record. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today for more information.

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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 our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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