|Applies to:||Original Policy Date:||Date of Last Review:||Approved by:|
|Students, faculty, and staff||August 1, 2010||July 2022||Dr. Marco Carvalho
Executive Vice President and Provost
Policy Owner: Dean of Students
Florida Tech is committed to the health, well-being, and safety of its students.
When a student experiences a situation related to physical or mental health that significantly limits the student’s safety or success in their role as a student, the university may intervene. This policy sets guidelines for such intervention, with the intent to support the student and to help the student establish a way forward toward the achievement of their academic goals.
This policy applies to any student whose physical or mental health presents significant risk to the student’s health and safety or the health and safety of others, or whose behavior severely disrupts the university environment. It also establishes expectations for faculty and staff who become aware of, or whose work relates to, such situations.
When current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence indicates that a student poses significant risk to their own health or safety or the health or safety of others, or when a student's behavior is severely disruptive to the university environment, and no reasonable accommodation can sufficiently ameliorate the risk or disruption, the university may place the student on an involuntary leave of absence or otherwise intervene. Consideration of the student’s condition and situation and any related intervention will be in accordance with the procedures and guidelines outlined in this policy.
The Dean of Students or designee (hereinafter Dean of Students) should be notified whenever there is reasonable cause to believe a student poses significant risk to their own health or safety or that of another member of the university community, the student is unable or unwilling to carry out substantial self-case obligations, or if a student’s behavior severely disrupts the university environment. Notification on the basis of any student interaction with personnel at Florida Tech’s Student Counseling Center is at the discretion of the Counseling and Psychological Services Director. Notification should occur with the student’s knowledge and permission whenever possible.
Upon receiving notification, the Dean of Students will coordinate outreach to the student to engage with them in assessment of their well-being and needs and may also consult with the Care Team. The first priority is to support the student in connecting them to the resources needed and to ensure that their well-being and the well-being of others is supported.
Immediate professional assessment of the student’s condition by the appropriate health specialist(s) may be requested.
The university encourages students to voluntarily withdraw in instances where a student needs to take time to focus on their mental or physical well-being. If the student declines voluntary withdrawal, the student may be withdrawn without consent according to the process and guidelines below.
If involuntary leave of absence is under consideration the student will be informed in writing. The notice will include the reason this is being considered, contact information for the Office of Accessibility Resources, which can provide information about potential accommodations, and a copy of this policy. The notice will encourage the student to respond before a decision regarding leave of absence is made and will specify the time period in which the student may do so. Students have the option to voluntarily withdraw before a decision is made.
The Dean of Students, in consultation with the Care Team, may request assessments, such as psychological testing or medical examination, and/or referral for psychiatric or medical consultation as deemed appropriate and necessary for an individualized assessment. The student may be asked to provide temporary authority to release to the university information from the student’s healthcare provider(s) regarding issues relevant to consideration of an involuntary leave of absence. If the Dean of Students determines that the information provided by a treatment provider is incomplete or requires further explanation or clarification, or is inconsistent with other information in the student’s record, the Dean of Students may request additional information from the treatment provider or additional evaluation of the student by a university-designated independent and objective professional to ensure a more informed decision.
The Care Team will receive all medical, psychological, or observational reports submitted with regard to or on behalf of the student as may pertain to determining health status. Treatment and evaluative reports should include diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.
If the student chooses not to provide information, signed release of information form(s) and/or not to cooperate with requested assessments, the best information and evidence that is otherwise available to the Dean of Students and Care Team will be considered.
In considering whether a student will be required to take a leave of absence, the Dean of Students will perform an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk. The assessment will be based on actual risks, not on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations. The Dean of Students will consult with the Office of Accessibility Resources and consider potential accommodations and/or modifications that could prevent need for involuntary leave of absence before a final decision is made.
A student may be required to take a leave of absence from the university if the individualized assessment indicates that one or more of the following criteria is met:
- The student is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. Danger to self or others includes any danger of suicide, self-mutilation, accident or assault that necessitates unusual measures to monitor, supervise, treat, protect or restrain the student to ensure the student’s safety and/or the safety of those around the student.
- The student’s behavior is disruptive to the university environment. This includes behavior that causes emotional, psychological, or physical distress to other members of the university community that is substantially above that normally experienced in daily university life. Such disruption may be in the form of severe distress associated with one or more behavioral incidents, or somewhat less severe, but persistent distress over a more extended period.
- The student’s physical, psychological, or emotional state is likely to deteriorate to the point of permanent disability, disfigurement, impairment or dysfunction without appropriate assessment, treatment or other resources and the student:
- refuses to cooperate with recommended assessment or treatment, or
- has a physical or psychological disorder of sufficient severity to substantially exceed the normal limits of the university’s or locally available treatment resources.
If at any point the Dean of Students deems that a student poses an imminent and significant risk to the health or safety of the student or of other members of the Florida Tech community, or severely disrupts the university environment, the Dean of Students has authority to initiate an immediate, involuntary interim withdrawal and place the student on involuntary leave of absence. Such interim withdrawal will remain in effect until a decision is made through the typical process or the Dean of Students otherwise rescinds the interim withdrawal, whichever is sooner.
During the period of the interim withdrawal, reasonable efforts will be made to expedite the evaluation and review process.
The student will receive written notice if placed on an involuntary leave of absence, which will include the basis for the decision, the timeframe for when the student must leave the university and when they are eligible to return, and any conditions or requirements that must be satisfied in order to return. The notice will also inform the student of their right to reasonable accommodations when returning and provide contact information for the Office of Accessibility Resources.
In some cases, even if a student is not placed on an involuntary leave of absence, the Dean of Students may set conditions or requirements for the student to remain at the university.
If a student is placed on an involuntary leave of absence and wishes to appeal the decision on the basis of material facts or procedure, the student may submit an appeal within one week of the date the Dean of Students sent the decision to the student. Such appeals may be made to the Office of the Provost, which will consider only the following:
- If the proper facts and criteria were considered in the decision
- If any new information that was previously unavailable to the student could change the decision
- If there were any irregularities in procedure that had a material effect on the decision
- If facts, criteria, and procedures were all appropriate, whether the decision was reasonable
After review of the above, the Office of the Provost will provide written notice of the decision. This decision is final.
Separation by action of the Dean of Students is recorded as a withdrawal for purposes of the academic record. At the time the student is withdrawn a health hold will be placed on the student's account.
Students who withdraw or are withdrawn by action of the Dean of Students for reasons of health are eligible for tuition, housing and/or dining service refund of charges in accordance with existing university policy.
A student withdrawn from the university for reasons of health according to this policy will be placed on leave of absence until the student is able to resume activities as a student in accordance with the guidelines for re-enrollment.
Guidelines for Re-enrollment
When a student is eligible to return and wishes to resume studies, the student should request permission to return from the Dean of Students in advance of the desired time of re-enrollment. It is recommended that the student express their desire to return at least 30 days from the start of a new term.
Re-enrollment is at the discretion of the Dean of Students and is contingent on the student’s fulfillment of any conditions or requirements placed on their return at the time of separation. The Dean of Students may also require assessment, recommendation by the Care Team, and/or any other information the Dean of Students deems necessary to make a re-enrollment decision. In all cases, the decision will be based on an individualized assessment that considers current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence, and the Office of Accessibility Resources will be consulted.
Re-enrollment may include stipulations concerning credit hours registered, extracurricular activities, place of residence or other conditions the Dean of Students determines to be in the best interest of the student and/or the university community.
The Dean of Students will notify the student in writing of the decision regarding re-enrollment.
- If a decision is made to permit re-enrollment of a student, the notification will include any stipulations or conditions the Dean of Students is placing on the re-enrollment or continuation at the university and may include an Academic Intervention Plan. The Dean of Students will coordinate with the Office of Admissions, the Registrar’s Office, and the academic department as needed regarding the student’s re-enrollment.
- If re-enrollment is denied the notification will include the reason(s) for the denial. The student may appeal the decision within one week of the date the notification was sent to them. Appeals must be in writing and include the reason for the appeal and any supporting materials. Grounds for the appeal must be one or more of the following:
- The decision is contrary to evidence submitted by the student and/or the student’s treatment provider
- New information that was previously unavailable could change the decision
- There were irregularities in procedure that had a material effect on the decision
The appeal and any supporting materials should be sent to the Office of the Dean of Students. The appeal will be reviewed and a decision will be sent to the student within one week of the date the Office of the Dean of Students receives the appeal.
Students denied re-enrollment may later request re-enrollment in a future term unless otherwise stated in the notification of denial.
The findings submitted to the Dean of Students are held in confidence and are not entered on the student’s academic record.
Care Team: The Care Team is composed of representatives from areas such as the Student Counseling Center, Holzer Health Center, the Office of the Dean of Students, Residence Life, and the Department of Security. The Dean of Students may make temporary appointments to the Care Team and other university faculty or staff may be requested to provide information to the Care Team as appropriate.
Dean of Students: Coordinates contact with the student and seeks resolution of the situation through investigation and consultation with the Care Team. Makes decisions regarding student separation and readmission if needed. Takes administrative actions to implement these decisions when necessary.
Care Team: Reviews and considers all information about a student’s case that is received by the university as requested by the Dean of Students and makes recommendations to the Dean of Students for withdrawal, readmission, or other actions deemed appropriate.
Counseling and Psychological Services Director: Notifies the Dean of Students when there may be a need for action under this policy for students who are actively participating in mental health interventions through Florida Tech’s Student Counseling Center. Such notification is at the Director’s discretion.
Students who are readmitted under this policy are responsible to abide by any conditions the university stipulates for their readmission.
Students who do not agree to and/or abide by conditions the university stipulates for their re-enrollment under this policy are subject to continued or renewed separation from the university.