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School of medicine disciplinary system

The School of Medicine Student Disciplinary System exists to investigate and resolve alleged violations by medical students of the School of Medicine's and the University's rules, regulations and policies. The system provides for notice of charges, opportunity for settlement or hearing, judgment by School of Medicine or University community members, and the right to appeal.

Persons involved in a dispute may avail themselves of advice from other members of the School of Medicine and University communities including the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the School of Medicine's or the University's Ombudsman, and other persons who can assist in particular situations, to help achieve reconciliation. If the parties fail to reach an informal agreement, the complainant may file a formal complaint with the Vice Dean for Education.  The Vice Dean for Education, in consultation with the Chair of the Student Standards Committee if available, will evaluate the complaint to determine whether the complaint should be handled by the School of Medicine Disciplinary System or be referred to the University Office of Student Conduct.  In general, complaints dealing with violations of the Code of Professional Conduct and Academic Integrity will be handled by the School of Medicine, and complaints regarding general Student Conduct such as assault, rape, substance abuse, defacement of University property, theft etc. will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.  The Vice Dean and the Chair of the Student Standards Committee reserve the right to decide where the complaint will be pursued.  In addition students who exhibit unprofessional conduct may be brought before the Student Standards Committee by the Associate Dean.

However, if a student's presence is deemed to be a potential threat to order, health, safety or to patient care, the Vice Dean for Education may take any action which is deemed appropriate, including placing the student on mandatory leave of absence pending resolution of the charges The Vice Dean shall consult with persons of appropriate expertise and, when reasonably possible, provide the student with an opportunity to be heard, before making such a decision. Such a decision shall in all cases be subject to prompt review by the Dean at the student's request.

If the complaint is referred to the Office of Student Conduct, it will be handled by the Student Disciplinary System with the procedures in the Charter of the University of Pennsylvania Disciplinary  System.. This process is outlined in detail in the University of Pennsylvania Penn Book:  Resources, Policies and Procedures Handbook and on their web site at www.upenn.edu/osc/outline.htm

If the complaint is handled by the School of Medicine Judicial System, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs will investigate the complaint and determine if an informal resolution may be reached.  If an informal resolution is reached, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs recommends sanctions to the Vice Dean for Education, who can approve or alter the sanctions.  The Associate Dean for Student Affairs communicates the sanctions to the student in writing.  If the student does not accept the sanctions, then the matter is referred to the Student Standards Committee for a formal hearing.

If an informal resolution cannot be reached, the Vice Dean will appoint an inquiry officer to investigate the complaint to determine whether there is cause to believe that an offense has been committed.  If the Inquiry Officer determines that there was no offense committed, the complaint is dismissed. If the Inquiry Officer’s investigation finds that there was an offense committed, the inquiry officer submits a report to the Vice Dean for Education who refers the matter to the Student Standards Committee. When the Student Standards Committee is scheduled to hear a student’s complaint for alleged conduct violations, the student will be notified in writing by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at least 10 days prior to the hearing.  Notification will include:

Within 10 days before the hearing, the complainant, the Inquiry Officer and the respondent will exchange among themselves and with the Chair of the Student Standards Committee a brief summary of the testimony to be presented, any exhibits to be introduced and the list of witnesses to be called. 

The student has the right to be accompanied throughout the process by an advisor who is a School of Medicine standing faculty member.  The student must give the advisor’s name to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs ten days before the meeting date.  The Associate Dean will brief the advisor so he/she understands his/her role in the process. The student has the right to submit any information to the Committee that he or she feels is pertinent to the case.

Other guests or advisors may be permitted to attend the committee meeting only if a request has been made in writing to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at least one week in advance and subsequently approved by the Chair of the Committee prior to the meeting.

During the hearing, the Inquiry Officer, the respondent, and the complainant all have the right to present and cross-examine witnesses.  Following the presentation of the student evidence and the student’s presentation including cross-examination of the witnesses, the Committee meets in session to deliberate on the case and to make a decision on the course of action.  If the Committee finds that a student has violated School or University rules and regulations, it shall recommend an appropriate sanction which may include, but is not limited to:

           

All of the Student Standards Committee’s sanction recommendations except dismissal are sent to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs who will communicate them in writing to the student.  The student has the right to appeal the sanctions to the Appellate Officer within 10 days of receiving the letter. The Associate Dean shall ensure that sanctions are enforced. No sanctions shall be enforced until the appeal process is completed.

If the Committee votes to dismiss the student based on conduct deficiencies, the Chair of the Student Standards Committee will submit the decision to the Dean within 48 hours.  The Dean informs the student of the dismissal in writing within ten (10) working days of notification of the dismissal.  The student has the right to appeal the sanction to the Appellate Officer within 10 days of receiving the letter. If the student chooses not to appeal the decision, the dismissal is effective 10 days after the student receives the letter.

Appeals

All appeals to the School of Medicine Disciplinary System are handled by the School of Medicine Appellate Officer, a member of the standing faculty of the School of Medicine who is appointed by the Vice Dean for Education for a three-year term.

  1. The School of Medicine Appellate Officer has exclusive jurisdiction to decide appeals. Appeals are based solely on the record of the Student Standards Committee meeting and the written submissions and responses of the respondent(s) and the Student Standards Committee.

  1. Only respondent(s) may appeal the Committee’s findings of responsibility except where applicable laws or regulations may extend this right to complainants. Both the respondent(s) and the Vice Dean may appeal the Committee’s recommendation of sanction(s). An appellant must submit any appeal to the School of Medicine Appellate Officer in writing within 10 days after the student has received the Committee’s decision in writing.   The appeal must state in detail the specific grounds upon which it is based and must be sent to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or respondent(s), as appropriate.

  1. When the appeal is received, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs provides the Appellate Officer with a copy of the respondent's charge letter, a copy of the Committee’s findings, a verbatim transcript or tape recording of the Student Standards Committee meeting, and any exhibits considered by the Committee in reaching its recommendations. The respondent and the Vice Dean for Education have 10 days from the date of the appeal to submit to the Appellate Officer a written response to the appeal.

  1. Appellate review is limited to allegations of material error and prejudicial procedural error in the conduct of hearings, error in the interpretation or application of relevant University regulations, consideration of new evidence sufficient to alter the Student Standards Committee’s findings or severity of the recommended sanctions. If the Appellate Officer finds sufficient basis, he or she may reverse or modify the Student Standards Committee’s findings or proposed sanctions, or may remand the disciplinary matter for further investigation by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and or further consideration by the Student Standards Committee. However, the Appellate Officer may not recommend a more severe sanction(s) unless the Vice Dean for Education has appealed the sanction(s) recommended by the Student Standards Committee.

  1. After considering an appeal, the Appellate Officer will promptly issue his or her decision in writing and will provide copies to the Vice Dean for Education, the Chair of the Student Standards Committee, the Dean, and the respondent(s). The outcome of the appeal is final and the decision will be implemented by the Vice Dean for Education.

Student Disciplinary Chart 1

Student DisciplinaryChart 2


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