Student medical/mental health emergency

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all Lynn University students with incipient emotional, mental health or physical needs receive timely assessment and access to services. In the event that a student suffers a mental health/psychological emergency, this policy defines the appropriate course of action for the student.

Policy

When a student experiences serious medical or psychological problems while enrolled at Lynn University, they may request to take a voluntary medical leave of absence. The medical/psychological leave of absence request, along with appropriate documentation of illness or injury, must be presented and approved by the dean of students or his/her designee. If approved, the student will leave campus and be granted a grade of “W” in all enrolled courses, even if the deadline for withdrawal without academic penalty has passed. If the student desires to return to campus after resolution, the student must adhere to the requirements specified under Medical/Mental Health Leave of Absence outlined below.

Similarly, the University reserves the right to require a student to take a medical/psychological leave of absence if, in the judgment of the Dean of Students or his/her designee, the student:

  1. Poses a direct threat to the lives or safety to other members of the Lynn University campus;
  2. Has a medical or psychological problem which poses a health and/or safety risk to the community and cannot be properly treated in the university setting;
  3. Has evidenced a medical condition or behavior that seriously interferes with the educational pursuits of other members of the Lynn University community.

In making a decision to require a student to take a medical/psychological leave of absence, the University acts out of concern for the student and their rights, concern for the other students, and concern for the University as a whole as set forth in the procedures below.

Definitions

Serious Medical or Psychological Problem—is a serious medical or psychological problem may include, but not be exclusive to, a suicidal threat with or without a plan, homicidal threat with or without a plan, substance abuse, eating disorders, or any medical or psychological issue that poses serious threat to the well-being of a student.

Procedures/Guidelines

I. Assessment Procedures

The Dean of Students' assessment of the student’s ability to remain at the University will be based on the student’s observed or recorded conduct, actions, or statements and may require consultation with other appropriate professionals, including but not limited to, the Health Center and the Counseling Center. A student’s failure to appear for a mandated assessment may result in an involuntary leave of absence without further process. The University may also request authorization to consult with health care professionals that are providing, or have provided, care to the student. In addition, the Dean of Students may initiate parental notification or consultation as part of the information gathering process or as part of the effort to work more effectively with the student to address her or his behaviors of concern.

The Dean of Students will make every reasonable attempt to meet with the student to inform the student that a medical/psychological leave of absence is being considered; what the medical/psychological leave of absence would require; and the reasons for the medical/psychological leave of absence being considered. The Dean of Students will explain the next steps in the process, including a meeting with an Administrative Panel, invite the student to provide any relevant information, and provide the student a copy of this involuntary withdrawal policy. The Dean of Students will also review all other available options for the student to pursue, including a voluntary withdrawal and voluntary medical leave of absence from the institution.

If a review of the available information leads the Dean of Students to believe that pursuing an involuntary leave of absence is not appropriate the University may still impose conditions or requirements under which the student is allowed to remain enrolled.

If the Dean of Students believes that it is appropriate to pursue a medical/psychological leave of absence the Dean of Students will coordinate a meeting of the Administrative Panel as described below.

II. Administrative Panel

Any administrative panel assembled to consider the appropriateness of an involuntary leave of absence will be composed of the Dean of Students and two additional staff members selected from any of the following areas:

• Academic Affairs;
• Campus Safety;
• Counseling Center;
• Health Center; and
• Residence Life.

The student will be informed in advance of the time and location of the Administrative Panel meeting and be provided the opportunity to submit relevant information and present relevant witnesses.

The Administrative Panel will make an individualized assessment based on all available information. The Panel may consider, among other factors, the effect of any behavior on community members, as well as the impact on academic, residential, and extracurricular activities. The student will be notified of the decision in writing and the notification will include the rationale behind the decision and any appropriate next steps, including timelines for those steps (e.g. process for departing campus and any specifying conditions of reinstatement if reasonably available). The panel may also decide to inform the student’s parents, emergency contact, or other close relative if concerns exist for the student’s ability to process and react safely and appropriately. The student has the right to appeal this decision as detailed below. The decision of the Administrative panel will remain in effect pending any appeal.

If a review of the available information leads the Administrative Panel to determine that pursuing an involuntary leave of absence is not appropriate at this time, the institution may still impose conditions or requirements under which the student is allowed to remain enrolled.

III. Appeals

A student may appeal the Administrative Panel’s determination to the Vice President for Student Affairs. A student has three (3) business days to request this appeal in writing. The Vice President for Student Affairs will review all available information (i.e. all information considered by the Administrative Panel and any additional information subsequently made available by the student) and may seek additional information from the student. The decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs will be communicated to the student in writing. The decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs is final.

IV. Relationship to Conduct Process

An involuntary medical/psychological leave of absence is not a substitute for appropriate disciplinary action pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct and administrative actions outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, including interim suspension, may be enacted if one or more of the following situations exist:

• An imminent threat of danger or harm to any member of the community;
• A significant new or continuing disruption to the community is imminent;
• A student is unwilling or unable to meet with the Dean of Students;
• A student refuses to complete a required assessment; or
• Other exceptional circumstances exist that make administrative action appropriate.

V. Return to the University

In order for a student with a medical leave of absence to return to enrolled student status, the student MUST gain prior permission from the Dean of Students or their designee as outlined under Medical/Mental Health Leave of Absence that follow.

Inherent in the policies outlined here regarding the care and concern for students suffering with medical and/or psychological issues is the encouragement of receiving proper treatment and professional services. For students who are required to take a leave of absence from Lynn University for medical and/or psychological reasons, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, it is the predominant concern of the University that the student receives appropriate professional treatment. Lynn University wishes to provide sufficient time away from University related responsibilities to adequately address the issues that necessitated a leave. Generally, a student will leave for six months to a year and possibly longer. Failure to seek recommended appropriate treatment will likely infringe upon the readiness to resume enrolled student status, and the University will not allow return until appropriate treatment has been received and documented.

For any student on medical/psychological leave, one month prior to the anticipated return date, the student must provide documentation from the attending medical/psychological professional to the Dean of Students or his/her designee. The documentation MUST include the following:

• Reasons for treatment;
• Frequency and duration of treatment;
• Full assessment of medical and/or psychological status including history;
• Diagnostic impression; and
• Recommendations/treatment plan for continued recovery.

The University also may require that the attending professional assess whether the student is able to handle residential living and academic demands, intellectually physically and psychologically, as well as return to the University community. If the preceding information is not included, the

University reserves the right to delay return until proper treatment/documentation has been received. The appropriate health care professionals at Lynn University and the Dean of Students, or their designee will then review the information.

If the student is permitted to return, the University may require special conditions or requirements at that time, such as meeting with the Dean of Students or other medical/professional University personnel periodically to monitor the student’s progress. In addition, the student may be required to establish a professional ongoing relationship with a qualified off-campus practitioner, the University Counseling Center, the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Specialist or the University Health Center.

To learn more about this policy or the supporting procedures, please contact Dean of Students.

Policy updated on: Oct. 24, 2018