The University of Mississippi School of Medicine (UMSOM) traces its roots to 1903 when it was established as a 2-year medical school in Oxford, MS. In 1955, the school was expanded to a four-year school and moved to its current location in Jackson, MS, as part of the expansive University of Mississippi Medical Center complex.
The medical profession is an honorable one, requiring the utmost standards of academic and professional excellence. A medical student who maintains a pristine academic record can find a world of career opportunities available on graduation. However, disciplinary actions against a student may tarnish that record, severely impacting their career goals as a result. If you're a medical student (or parent of a student) facing misconduct allegations, disciplinary actions, or other disputes, hiring an experienced attorney advisor may be critical to obtaining a more favorable outcome and rescuing the student's career.
Code of Honorable and Professional Conduct
The expectations of academic and professional excellence for students at UMSOM are spelled out in the school's Honor Code, the Code of Honorable and Professional Conduct. Students signal their allegiance to this Code by agreeing to a pledge in the Medical Student Professionalism Code, which begins with the following:
“As a student of Medicine, I am now a member of the medical community, and as a member, I accept responsibility for my conduct and expect the highest standards of myself. I will also support others in upholding these standards. I understand that the behavior and attitudes of the individual medical student reflects on our classmates, our school, our families, our communities, and our profession.”
Students' academic progress is reviewed and monitored by the Promotions Committee, while alleged violations of the Honor Code are investigated by the Medical Student Honor Council (MSHC). All allegations of misconduct are taken seriously, and serious violations may result in disciplinary actions, including probation, repeating a year, or even dismissal from the medical school.
The demands of medical school can be overwhelming at times, even for the most gifted students. Between high minimum grade standards and aggressive course schedules, it's not surprising that students can fall behind in course work or struggle to keep their grades up. As an alternative to outright dismissal for failed efforts or academic shortcomings, the Promotions Committee will typically recommend a remediation plan to help the student get back on track.
There are both pros and cons to remediation. On the one hand, if the only alternative is dismissal, remediation can be a lifeline. On the other, the added cost and time involved can be an unnecessary burden, especially if the Promotions Committee rushes to judgment in prescribing it—not to mention that remediation sometimes appears as a negative mark on a student's academic record. In some instances, students can avert remediation with a successful grade appeal. It's highly recommended that medical students consult with an attorney advisor before blindly accepting remediation as a resolution.
Consistent academic underperformance can result in dismissal from UMSOM, as can confirmed allegations of academic or professional misconduct. Being dismissed from medical school can be highly devastating to the student's career prospects, resulting in various complications. These may include any/all of the following.
- Challenges in getting readmitted to school. Dismissed medical students are free to reapply to UMSOM as first-year students, as well as at other medical schools—but generally speaking, a student already dismissed isn't usually considered a high-priority candidate.
- Loss of academic progress. Assuming the student manages to re-enroll in medical school, they will start over from the beginning, as previous progress will likely be erased.
- A negative academic record. Even if the student eventually graduates medical school, the negative mark of dismissal may remain on their academic record, limiting their job prospects as a result.
- Overwhelming debt. Any student loans still need to be repaid even if the student is dismissed from medical school. For some students, the total of this debt commonly approaches or exceeds $100,000.
Considering how much the medical student (or their parents) stand to lose, you should attempt to avoid dismissal by any legitimate means possible. An attorney advisor can be extremely helpful in avoiding this outcome.
Before any disciplinary action becomes final, the student has a right to appeal the decision. Medical students facing discipline at UMSOM have 14 days to file this appeal to the dean in writing, after which point an appeals hearing will be scheduled. At this hearing, “the student is entitled to present witnesses or other evidence, question opposing witnesses, and make opening and concluding statements on his/her own behalf.” Students may also have legal counsel present in an advisory role—a tremendous benefit considering that the outcome of this appeal may be the last opportunity to rescue the student's career.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Medical schools have a public trust to maintain, and that means they face constant pressure to maintain a pristine reputation. Unfortunately, this pressure sometimes works against the students the school is attempting to train. Under scrutiny to administer “swift justice,” sometimes medical schools answer alleged misconduct with improperly severe penalties, often denying the student due process—and the result can be disastrous for the student as well as the parents. Hiring an experienced attorney advisor can greatly help any medical student facing misconduct allegations, disciplinary proceedings, or other medical school issues.
Joseph D. Lento has successfully defended many medical students in student rights and student discipline matters over the years, and he is widely regarded as an expert in student discipline cases nationwide. Don't face medical school disciplinary actions or disputes on your own. Call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to see how we can help.