The University of Connecticut School of Medicine is a highly selective institution with a long and prestigious history. The Medical School is part of the UCONN Health complex and home to one of the nation's best biomedical research centers. With its numerous programs, students can look forward to a hands-on curriculum and multiple career opportunities in its five affiliate institutions upon graduation.
The rewarding experience of being part of the UCONN School of Medicine comes with expectations that medical students know all too well. Along with managing responsibilities both on and off-campus, students are under a considerable amount of pressure to succeed. Even an allegation of professional misconduct or low academic performance is grounds for dismissal – sometimes, permanently. Receiving notice of a violation requires decisive action on the part of the student, especially when their degree is on the line.
Standards of Professionalism and Honor Code
UCONN School of Medicine enforces its Honor Code, expecting students to demonstrate ethical behavior befitting their chosen future professions. At the beginning of their first and third years, medical students must sign a written affirmation that they read and abide by the code's principles. The Honor Board Policy Committee is responsible for preparing and implementing the standards mentioned in the code. Students who violate these terms attend a hearing with the Honor Board.
The Student Handbook contains the Code of Professionalism Conduct for Medical Students. The code emphasizes the principles of integrity, respect, altruism, and responsibility. Moreover, the code maintains that:
“Professional behavior in students is expected at all times, not just in the role of medical student while at UConn Health and affiliated teaching hospitals. Unprofessional behavior in the personal and professional setting reflects poorly on the individual, the School of Medicine (SOM), and the University of Connecticut. All reports of unprofessional behavior, including arrests, will be referred to the SOM Professionalism Incident Report Triage (PIRT) Committee regardless of the location where it occurred”.
The burden of reporting professional misconduct falls upon all members of the UCONN community. The university encourages students to self-report violations, maintaining that this action leads to a more favorable view by the administration. Reports go to the PIRT Committee, a group comprised of five members and Co-Chairpersons appointed by the Dean. After receiving an account of the violation, the committee meets with the student, conducts a preliminary investigation, and may refer the case to the Professionalism review Board.
Medical students must master their coursework and have a firm understanding of academic principles to ensure the safety of their future patients. The Academic Advancement Committee (AAC) at UCONN School of Medicine monitors student performance. It expects students to succeed in all phases of their coursework before graduating. Those with unsatisfactory academic progress as deemed by the Course/Clerkship and Grading Committee must improve their grades to progress to the next phase of their curriculum.
The ACC has full access to a student's grades and may place students under academic watch or academic probation for chronic academic underperformance. Even students under good standing may receive academic probation for failure to maintain good grades.
Although remediation and probationary status are troubling for students to handle, they serve an essential purpose. Given the difficulty and effort it takes to receive acceptance at the university, remediation is the only way students retain placement at UCONN School of Medicine.
Consequences of Expulsion
There is no worse penalty for professional and academic misconduct than permanent dismissal. Medical students work hard for years to finally become doctors, only to see their dreams crashing down due to expulsion. In some cases, expulsion is the only solution that university administrations have, but mistakes happen. Unfortunately, some students may not know how to defend themselves properly without the help of a professional. The expulsion charge leads to significant obstacles and headaches that may cause medical students to give up their academic pursuits altogether.
Some issues students may face upon receiving an expulsion charge include:
- Enrollment Difficulties: Universities place an expulsion charge on a student's transcript and records. The expulsion acts as a red flag for admissions officers, especially in highly competitive medical schools. Officers prefer students with a clean history as opposed to those that may cause problems in the future.
- Starting Over: Expelled students cannot merely pick up where they left off and graduate on time as they would have at UCONN School of Medicine. Suppose they manage to find placement in another medical school. In that case, students must start over, increasing the time it takes to receive their degree.
- Reputation Damage: An expulsion charge isn't just a note on one's transcript – it can be a barrier to employment opportunities and damage one's reputation. As doctors are in positions of trust, such a charge may be difficult – and in some cases, an uphill battle – to move past.
- Increased Debt: Medical students already take on student loans that put them behind thousands of dollars in debt. With an expulsion, students not only lose financial aid and scholarships but take on additional expenses they never expected.
Students can appeal the decision of a hearing committee for both academic underperformance expulsions and professional misconduct. Upon receiving a request for a review of the case, the Appeal Board goes over the evidence. It makes a final decision regarding the matter, which it sends to the Dean.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
With such a comprehensive policy for academic underperformance and professional misconduct allegations, accused students must prepare for the hearing. Attorney Advisor Joseph D. Lento expertly handles such cases, working with students nationwide to reduce the impact of severe sanctions. Attorney Lento knows how severe penalties upend a medical student's graduation prospects and helps them reduce their impact.
If you face allegations of underperformance or professional misconduct at UCONN School of Medicine, it's not too late. Contact Joseph D. Lento at the Lento Law Firm today for expert help using the online form or call 888-535-3686.