Located in the heart of New Orleans' Central Business District, the Tulane University School of Medicine is the second oldest medical school in the deep south, tracing its roots all the way back to 1834. Today, the school is one of the nation's most noted medical education centers with an enrollment of over 600 students.
Tulane University Medical School has very stringent standards, accepting only about 2 percent of applicants on average. Students are held to high standards of academic and professional excellence. Tulane University embraces seven core values for their students: Accountability, Compassion, Quality, Collaboration, Integrity, Diversity, and Creativity. Disciplinary marks on a student's record can have a significant impact on their future career goals. Hiring an attorney-advisor for guidance during disciplinary procedures can help mitigate the damage and possibly even rescue a student's career.
Honor Code and Codes of Conduct
Medical students at Tulane University are expected to abide by the principles of the medical school's Honor Code and Code of Professional Conduct, as well as the university's Code of Student Conduct. Honor Code violations are addressed by the medical school's Honor Board; Professional Conduct violations are addressed by either the Honor Board or the Associate Dean for Student Affairs; and other Student Conduct violations come under the jurisdiction of the Director of Student Conduct. Depending on the offense and circumstances, disciplinary sanctions for misconduct may be as mild as an oral or written warning, restitution or probation, or as severe as suspension, expulsion, and/or revocation of degree.
Medical school students face some of the toughest academic requirements of any other type of education, involving aggressive timelines and grueling schedules. Even the best of students sometimes have trouble keeping up with these academic demands. Tulane University School of Medicine provides an extensive remediation program designed to help struggling medical students get their education back on track and meet the requirements of their chosen profession. Dismissal is generally recommended only when remedial efforts have been exhausted, the student can't catch up in a reasonable amount of time, or for instances of academic misconduct.
Remediation costs extra time and money, and in some cases, it can be avoided through appeals and grade review requests. However, when a student is facing possible dismissal, remediation may present the best pathway to maintaining a good academic record and preserving career prospects.
Dismissal versus Expulsion
Tulane University School of Medicine differentiates between dismissal and expulsion from the school.
- Dismissal typically occurs with severe academic shortfalls or when academic disciplinary action is called for. When a student is dismissed from Tulane, he/she has the option to re-apply for admission.
- Expulsion typically occurs in the event of extreme professional or behavioral misconduct. Expulsion represents a permanent removal from the school, with no option for readmission. Expulsion also results in a permanent mark on the student's academic record.
For a medical student, dismissal can be extremely burdensome financially and time-wise because it involves extra time and tuition to re-start one's medical education—but at least a student may recover from a dismissal over time. The effects of expulsion may be far worse, not only jeopardizing the student's medical career, but also causing a cascade of difficult consequences, including:
- Challenges in restarting one's medical school education. Medical schools have strict admissions requirements, and they are not likely to give priority to a student with an expulsion on their record.
- Loss of academic progress. Expulsion usually results in an erasure of cumulative class credits, so those classes must be retaken provided the student can gain acceptance elsewhere.
- Insurmountable student debt. Many medical students take on huge amounts of student loans to pay for school, gambling on their ability to pay back the loans with a physician's salary. Expulsion jeopardizes these career prospects, but the debt must still be paid.
Students have the right to appeal any disciplinary decision by the school, and Tulane will appoint an appellate panel to consider the appeal. Appeals may be made based on one or more of the following grounds:
- Procedural errors resulting in unfair sanctions;
- Introduction of new, substantial evidence that may affect the outcome; and/or
- Challenging disproportionate sanctions.
When a medical student is facing expulsion or permanent marks on an otherwise clean academic record, the appeals process may be the last opportunity to salvage his/her career. Tulane only allows a five-day window for appeals to be filed, so students should avail themselves of this opportunity as quickly as possible.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Most medical schools attempt to deal justly and fairly with all disputes, complaints, and allegations regarding student academic and professional conduct. However, they are also under pressure to maintain an irreproachable reputation and high standards of excellence, and sometimes these pressures can result in unfair or disproportionate treatment of the student. In any situation where a medical student is facing possible discipline, dismissal, or expulsion, it's wise to hire an attorney-advisor to ensure you make full use of your rights and protect due process as much as possible.
Joseph Lento can assist you in matters of medical school discipline. Contact the office of the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today to learn more.