Founded in 1822, the University of Vermont College of Medicine (Larner) is one of the ten oldest medical schools in the United States and Vermont's only research university. The school has an affiliation with four teaching schools nationwide, offering multiple career opportunities for students after graduation. Larner's admissions process is highly selective, reserving placement for hardworking medical students serious about their future as medical professionals. Students must demonstrate high professional, behavioral, and academic standards to remain enrolled.
Medical school is not always smooth sailing for students, with heavy workloads and limited leisure time. The constant pressure to perform well causes some to suffer from stress, anxiety, and even depression. With personal responsibilities added to the list, many students fall behind. However, medical school panels are not always sympathetic to these challenges, imposing penalties that include permanent dismissal. Without an advisor's help, medical students may not realize their dream of becoming doctors.
Code of Conduct and Professional Performance Standards
Due to its longstanding reputation as a historical and prestigious medical school, Larner must keep the playing field level by enforcing strict conduct standards. The administration expects students to demonstrate high professional standards befitting their future careers as doctors and medical professionals. In its Professional Performance policy statement, the school outlines expectations that include maintaining personal integrity and accountability.
The Fitness Committee upholds the professional standards at Larner and consists of five Dean-appointed faculty members. The Fitness Committee makes the final decision regarding sanctions for professional misconduct unless the Dean appeals. Medical students must also abide by the University of Vermont's general code of conduct, which stipulates that:
“The University of Vermont is committed to continually strengthening its ethical culture. From the University's motto of “Studiis et Rebus Honestis” (Integrity in Theoretical and Practical Pursuits) to our values stated in “Our Common Ground,” we are all expected to perform our jobs and to conduct business in an ethical and compliant manner. All University personnel have a shared responsibility to the University, to those we serve to our community and each other.”
Even the most diligent medical student falters without the proper support, especially with too much coursework. Academic underperformance is as damaging to a student's progress and professional misconduct at Larner. The school has a low tolerance for chronic underperformance, incurring dismissal when there's a lack of improvement.
At Larner, both clinical performance and medical knowledge undergo assessment. Larner offers remediation solutions for students with low or incomplete grades who fail to complete clerkship assignments successfully. Remediation options include taking another exam, rescheduling an assessment, and other remedial activities determined by the Clerkship Director.
Remediation may seem inconvenient for medical students, but it's the only way to remain enrolled at Larner. A temporary increase in one's efforts to stay in medical school is better than permanent dismissal, especially after years of hard work and effort.
Dismissal Policy at Larner
Larner exhibits low tolerance for behavior unfit for a career in medicine, maintaining that students' fitness for a medical profession is under scrutiny by administrators at all times. Although administrators reserve expulsion for especially severe infarctions or consistent academic underperformance, it remains a possibility that has far-reaching impacts on a student's life. However, permanent discharge isn't immediate – students have a chance to fight for their placement before the Fitness Committee.
Students may not have an attorney-advisor present when appearing before the committee. However, they can seek an advisor's advice and guidance during this stressful time, decreasing the likelihood of procedural errors or unfounded allegations leading to dismissal. Expulsion wreaks havoc on a student's plans to become a doctor, creating obstacles such as:
- Limits to future opportunities. Students seeking a different medical program at another school often have trouble with placement. Medical schools have notoriously low acceptance rates even without expulsion on one's permanent record. Admissions officers prefer students with high grades and a clear history as opposed to a potentially troubling applicant.
- They must start from scratch. Students cannot take back the time and effort spent on a previous medical degree. Starting over is the only option if a student finds placement in another medical school – a discouraging prospect for many who forgo the degree altogether and choose another program.
- Increase in financial burdens. No student enrolls in medical school expecting to start over, including paying more funds. Expelled students rarely get refunds but still have student loans to pay off. Add personal expenses to the mix, and it may take some students over a decade to pay off their debts.
Students cannot appeal a sanction at Larner unless it involves dismissal. Those wishing to appeal must send the Dean a formal written letter within eight business days of receiving the Fitness Committee's decision. The Dean's decision is final and may affirm or deny the Fitness Committee's recommendation.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Medical students have a lot at stake when facing any kind of adverse action at school - be it remediation, permanent dismissal, or other consequence – and for some, an arguable lost year or re-enrollment is not an option. This stressful period in a student's life undermines their performance and decreases their morale, even when they are innocent. Fortunately, even if an attorney-advisor cannot participate in the proceedings, they can identify when irregularities happen and help students fight for a favorable case outcome.
Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento helps medical students navigate every part of the investigations process, bolstering their confidence in front of the Fitness Committee. An attorney advisor's guidance and knowledge of university hearing processes improve students' chances of success. Attorney Advisor Lento knows what's on the line and helps students avoid harsh sanctions that upend their dream.
You don't have to lose years of time and effort for an academic issue, a lapse in judgment, or a baseless allegation of professional misconduct. If you or a loved one faces dismissal or other sanctions at Larner, don't wait to take action and fight back. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a thorough and confidential discussion about your options.