The American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine promotes a community of social accountability and student engagement. Located on the scenic island of St. Maarten, students can balance their rigorous curriculum with the charm of island life and building connections with locals and peers. After graduation, students can pursue enriching careers in the United States and fulfill their dream of becoming a doctor. Despite the multiple opportunities available, an allegation of behavioral misconduct or poor academic performance can delay this dream and even derail it altogether. Professional violations or misconduct charges can undo years of hard work and diligence, placing a student's career on pause.
Due to the multiple challenges and responsibilities that students juggle while pursuing their degree, a temporary lapse in judgment or baseless allegation can damage their reputation permanently. Despite these issues, there are always ways to defend against charges that have debilitating consequences on a medical student's progress. An advisor helps students facing behavioral misconduct charges avoid reckless panel decisions and baseless accusations, boosting their chance of a favorable case outcome.
AUC College of Medicine outlines behavioral expectations for students in its Student Handbook. The Professional Conduct Policy applies to students, student groups, and organizations on campus. To maintain high standards and remain a prominent medical school in the Caribbean, violations of the policy incur penalties that include permanent dismissal. Students must pledge to:
“conduct myself according to the standards of the medical profession, university policies, and the laws set forth by the jurisdiction in which I reside. This honor code serves as a charter by which the university governs itself. I must uphold the virtues of honesty, fairness, and self-discipline in all of my affairs and refrain from biases including but not limited to: race, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability, and religion”.
Students who violate the Code or commit actions that, according to the administration, go against what is acceptable conduct for those seeking to be physicians face consequences that range from probation to permanent dismissal. The implications for professional conduct violations are different from those of an academic nature. However, students who do not meet the grade requirements of AUC are also at risk of permanent dismissal and similar sanctions.
Medical Students must keep up with their programs and maintain acceptable grades to graduate. If a student consistently underperforms, they must meet with the Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs for counseling. The Assistant Dean creates an individualized study plan to focus on areas of weakness. If students do not manage to raise their scores despite remediation, they can face permanent dismissal.
It is undoubtedly inconvenient for students to take on additional coursework with the already stressful curriculum they have. Remediation courses incur extra expenses and take time away from a student's personal life and responsibilities. Regardless, if remediation is the student's last hope, it is a better option than quitting altogether and losing progress.
Receiving notice of permanent dismissal is one of the most distressing experiences that a medical student may go through. Even if the student has a few semesters left to complete the program, they risk expulsion if the violation is grave. Moreover, students who do not improve their grades despite remediation also face dismissal. A permanent discharge creates multiple obstacles in a medical student's life, including:
- Difficulty finding another medical school. Medical schools in the Caribbean and worldwide have stringent admissions requirements necessary for institutions that educate future physicians. Those with expulsion on their permanent records will not receive precedence over a candidate with no history.
- Years of time and effort are lost. It's no secret that medical school takes years to complete, with rigorous curriculums. With an expulsion charge, all the time and effort a student places into their studies no longer factor in their academic progress, and they must start anew.
- Financial burdens. Medical school is not cheap, and some students rely on financial aid and loans to graduate. With a permanent dismissal, students could take on additional loans that take years to pay off even after becoming doctors.
Students may appeal the decision of a hearing within ten days of receiving official notice of the imposed sanctions. To appeal, students must send the appeal to the Dean of the Medical Sciences Campus or the Senior Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences. However, the appeals process is subject to conditions and is not valid merely because a student disagrees with the penalties. To receive a review, students must prove that there is new evidence that may change the committee's decision, that procedural errors impeded the student's right to a fair hearing, or that the penalties were not proportionate to the charges.
After the Dean receives the appeal letter, they will determine whether the grounds for the appeal meet one of the afore-mentioned specified criteria. Approved requests undergo a new revision process by the Appeals Committee that may keep, modify, or remove the disciplinary measures. The committee's decision is final.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Medical students work hard to become the physicians of tomorrow, spending years of their lives completing their programs. With a behavioral misconduct charge or lack of academic progress, students risk delays in graduation or permanent expulsion. Suppose the student is battling false accusations and the allegations have no basis. Despite their innocence, they must still face negative consequences that have a debilitating impact on their future.
An experienced advisor helps medical students facing professional violation charges fight back against harmful penalties. Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento works with students studying in the Caribbean and allows them to control the hearing process. With a strong defense strategy, medical students have a fighting chance when it seems like there are no more options.
You spent years studying and planning to become a doctor, but unfair allegations now threaten your future. Don't let harsh penalties from an unconcerned panel lead to repercussions that affect your career path. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a private, confidential consultation.