University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine

Well-regarded nationwide, the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM) is Northern New England's only osteopathic medical school. The school is expert in primary, rural, and geriatric care, and houses research centers focused on neuroscience and pain and sensory function.

Combining classroom and practical experience, students who gain admission to UNECOM are well-placed to begin successful careers in medicine. If and when issues arise while you're a student, you want to respond to them quickly to avoid derailing your future in medicine.

Professional Concerns

UNECOM lays out the school's expectations for professionalism in several policies, including those listed in the Student Code of Ethics and the Student Handbook Supplement. The Student Code of Ethics covers both professional and academic conduct. In general, UNECOM faculty, students, and alumni should maintain high ethical standards, regulate their own conduct, and maintain memberships with osteopathic organizations.

Members of the UNECOM community should not only act in an ethical manner but also require others to follow the same standards of professionalism. UNECOM considers failure to report unethical conduct as a breach of its policies.

UNECOM defines professionalism as including patient confidentiality, except when a patient grants permission or when the law requires disclosure. Regarding patient relationships, students and staff should build relationships based on trust and honesty, including respecting a patient's choice, and never abandon a patient without notice.

Students and graduates should accurately represent themselves at all times. This includes proper identification and no false or misleading advertising. For example, you shouldn't claim any degrees or certifications unless you have them.


UNECOM puts a duty on its faculty, staff, and students to address or report any dishonest or unethical behavior within 48 hours of witnessing or learning of the transgression. If they file a complaint, the school's Ethics Board will arrange for a hearing. When a complaint involves sexual harassment or assault by a student, the Dean for the Student Affairs Committee will handle the matter. During the investigation and after the filing of the complaint, there should be no change to the accused's daily routine, including attending classes.


Within five days of receiving a complaint, the Ethics Board will inform the accused of the subject of the complaint, including the maximum potential penalties. At the hearing, the principal parties may be represented by someone within the UNECOM community but not legal counsel. During the hearing, you want to provide evidence that disproves or mitigates the original complaint.

If you don't appear at the hearing, the Ethics Board will handle the complaint as they believe best. They will not have to consider additional information or grant an additional hearing. If you're unable to attend the hearing, you need to communicate with them via writing to ask for a postponement or rescheduling.

Within ten days of the end of the hearing, the Ethics Board will provide the UNECOM Administration with a written report, including recommended disciplinary action. The Dean will have the final say regarding any disciplinary action, which ranges from a warning to dismissal. Multiple sanctions may be imposed, such as a warning and a fine.


If you want to appeal, you have five days from the time of the final report to do so. All appeals must be in writing, addressed to the Dean, and include specific reasons for the appeal, such as new evidence or insufficient facts to warrant the chosen disciplinary action. If you do not follow any of these steps, the original decision becomes final.

Similar to the initial hearing, if an appeal is granted, you must be present at the appeal hearing. This hearing focuses entirely on the reason for the appeal and not the entire file. If, for example, you file an appeal based on new information, the appeal will focus solely on that new information. The Dean will issue a final decision within 10 days of this hearing.

Even if you've violated part of the Ethics Code, you should still be proactive in challenging the claims and seeking the least possible sanctions. You may, for example, be able to change a recommended dismissal into a suspension, or reduce a suspension into a fine.

While a legal advisor cannot be with you in the actual hearing, they can help you build your case and navigate the procedures to ensure you don't make mistakes that could jeopardize your case. The goal is to minimize the negative effect this complaint will have on your education and your future career.


The Committee on Student Progress (CSP) recommends student promotion and works with students who are struggling with the course curriculum. CSP will designate these students as a "support priority."

When considered a "support priority," students will meet with members of the administration or possibly CSP to discuss what actions should be taken to help them get back on track. A "support priority" designation may limit a student's ability to participate in extracurricular activities, as the goal is to allow students to improve academic performance before facing more serious consequences.

Each UNECOM course and rotation should include, in its syllabus or other materials, the criteria for successfully completing the course or rotation. In addition, course materials should explain when a student should be designated as a "support priority."

Osteopathic training requires focus and hard work. If you're falling behind, you need to ask for help sooner rather than later. A good legal advisor can help you access the support you need to get back on track, including, in some cases, being designated as a "support priority."

What to Do If You're Accused

If allegations have been made against you, you need to address them promptly to avoid any negative repercussions to your reputation and career. You've worked hard to make it into an osteopathic program, and addressing these claims and making sure you're treated in a just and equitable manner is essential. Whether you've been accused of unprofessional conduct, recommended for disciplinary actions, or need remedial support, make sure you're being given the due process to which you're entitled.

Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento has years of experience working with osteopathic medical students who need help challenging allegations and guaranteeing they get the support they need. As professionals who specialize in student discipline defense, the Lento Law Firm knows what's at stake and will help you achieve a favorable outcome.

Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.

Contact Us Today!

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 the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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