With a mission statement of “We educate, we discover, we serve,” the University of South Alabama College of Medicine is an institution that trains empathetic, well-rounded physicians. The high research activity, coupled with the university's social and economic impact on the Gulf Coast, allows aspiring physicians to access various opportunities upon graduation to bolster their knowledge and skills. However, to remain part of the USA College of Medicine community, students must meet its academic and ethical standards.
Medical students have to juggle multiple responsibilities, and the pressure to succeed is relentless and, often, exhausting. Due to circumstances beyond their control, some cannot keep up with the pressure, causing them to falter academically or make mistakes. With the help of an attorney advisor, students may reduce the negative impact of mishaps, allowing them to breathe easier when their degree and reputation are on the line.
Honor Policy and Student Expectations
The principles of the Honor Code at USA College of Medicine govern the academic issues and ethical performance of medical students. The code emphasizes the values of honesty and trust, core composites of the future physician's personality. The policy maintains that students and their professors have a mutual understanding that:
“No student will receive or give aid for academic work in any form not expressly permitted within the policies of the University, department, and course in which the work is conducted.”
In addition to the code, students must also acknowledge the honor pledge, which they sign off to after completing every exam. The administration deals with code violations seriously, especially if a student's behavior goes against a physician's personality and causes harm towards others.
The administration encourages students to report violations to the Honor Council, composed entirely of other students and presided by the president or vice president. This process differs from other medical schools, especially given that faculty does not participate in the deliberation process unless a hearing results in a guilty verdict. The Honor Council does not make a sanctions decision; it refers the case to the Student Promotions and Evaluation Committee (SPEC). The SPEC makes the final decision based on the evidence and hearing process. Students do have the option of appealing a guilty verdict before the matter progressing to the SPEC.
The USA College of medicine imposes stringent standards for student promotion. In its academic remediation policy, the administration emphasizes that students must pass every course to move on to the next phase of their curriculum. Those who are struggling must complete the remediation program established by the SPEC. Each individualized program centers on the student's deficiencies and receives approval from the Associate Deans for Medical Education and Student Affairs.
Multiple failures and the inability to successfully remediate a course may result in permanent dismissal as per the policy. Although remediation is a hassle for some students, it is the only way for a failing student to retain placement at the USA College of Medicine. However, there are cases where a misunderstanding or personal issue is the cause of a remediation attempt. Students may need to speak with an attorney advisor to understand their options and determine whether moving forward with the process serves their best interests.
Consequences of a Permanent Dismissal
An expulsion charge is one of the most devastating events that a medical student faces for academic issues or professional misconduct. Although dismissal from medical school is a last-resort option, mistakes do happen. To maintain a medical school's reputation or make an example for other students, some receive dismissal from administrations despite a lack of evidence. Some of the issues that medical students may face after expulsion include:
- Reputation damage stemming from the expulsion charge that affects career and enrollment opportunities
- The inability to register in a reputable medical school due to the competitive admissions process
- If students do find another medical school, they must start from the beginning despite their prior progress
- Loss of ambition, confidence, and the desire to pursue a medical degree altogether
- Being under thousands of dollars in debt due to unexpected finances
- Loss of financial aid, scholarships, housing, and other privileges
- A permanent note regarding the student's expulsion from medical school on their permanent transcript
Despite the bleak reality that expelled medical students face, they still have options. They may reverse a harsh sanction with the right strategy. In addition to filing an appeal, medical students can hire an attorney advisor, even if they believe that the odds are against them. An advisor helps the student create a solid strategy to boost their chances of success and helps protect students in the event of rights violations.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Medical school is a notoriously demanding and challenging phase in the future physician's life. While some establish lifelong bonds with professors and peers, others do not receive the degree they hoped and dreamed would be theirs. In some cases, procedural errors, bias, and lack of due process are why a student loses placement, not the issue itself. It is during these times that the guidance and support of an attorney-advisor can make a difference.
Attorney Advisor Joseph D. Lento works with medical students across the nation facing adverse consequences, including the prospect of dismissal, for academic issues and ethical violations. With years of experience taking on the most daunting cases, Attorney Lento is by your side when it seems there is nowhere to turn. With his knowledge of the law and how administrations and hearings operate, Attorney Lento identifies errors before they become significant issues.
Completing your medical degree and graduating from medical school is the first step to becoming a doctor. Don't let a baseless charge or unfair process strip your dream away from you or a loved one, primarily due to misunderstandings or academic issues that have solutions.
Call Lento Law Firm today for an honest conversation about your rights at 888-535-3686.