|University of Arkansas at Little Rock|
|Policy Name: Involuntary Withdrawal Due to Mental Disorder|
|Policy Number: 512.4|
|Effective Date: April 1, 2010 (review date)|
A student will be subject to involuntary administrative withdrawal from the university or university housing if it is determined, by clear and convincing evidence, that:
- The student is suffering from a mental disorder (current American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic Manual, DSM-IV-TR) and as a result of the mental disorder a) engages or threatens to engage in behavior which poses a danger of causing physical harm to self or others, or b) engages or threatens to engage in behavior which would cause significant property damage, or directly and substantially impede the lawful activities of others.
- These standards do not preclude removal from the university or university housing in accordance with provisions of the housing occupancy agreement or other university rules and regulations.
Violations of Disciplinary Regulations
- A student accused of violating university disciplinary regulations may be diverted from the disciplinary process and withdrawn in accordance with these standards if the student, as a result of mental disorder: a) lacks the capacity to respond to pending disciplinary charges, or b) did not know the nature or inappropriateness of the conduct at the time of the offense.
- Students subject to disciplinary charges who wish to introduce relevant evidence of any mental disorder must so inform the dean of students in writing at least five (5) class days prior to any disciplinary hearing. Such notice may also be given by a family member or others advising or assisting the student. If the dean of students or designee upon consultation with a university mental health professional determines that the evidence may have merit, the case shall then be resolved in accordance with these standards and procedures. Thereafter, if it is determined that the student does not meet the criteria set forth in this section, the case will be returned to the disciplinary process. Evidence of any mental disorder may not be admitted into evidence or considered by the committee. However, the dean of students will be allowed to review the committee recommendations for sanctions and to make any recommendations for sanctions as appropriate to the committee prior to the committee’s final determination.
Referral for Evaluation
- The dean of students may refer a student for evaluation by an independent qualified licensed mental health evaluator chosen by the institution if the dean reasonably believes that the student may meet the criteria set forth in Standards for Withdrawal, or if a student subject to disciplinary charges wishes to introduce relevant evidence of any mental disorder.
- Students referred for evaluation in accordance with this part shall be so informed in writing, whether by personal delivery or by certified mail, and shall be given a copy of these standards and procedures. The evaluation must be completed within five (5) class days from the date of the referral letter unless an extension is granted by the dean in writing. Students may be accompanied by a qualified licensed mental health evaluator of their choice, who may observe but not participate in the evaluation process. Legal representation will not be permitted.
- Any pending disciplinary action may be withheld until the evaluation is completed at the discretion of the dean of students.
- A student who fails to complete the evaluation in accordance with these standards and procedures may be withdrawn on an interim basis, as set forth in the next section, referred for disciplinary action, or both.
- An interim administrative withdrawal may be implemented immediately if a student fails to complete an evaluation as provided in the preceding section of these standards and procedures. Also, an interim withdrawal may be implemented immediately if the dean of students, upon consultation with a university mental health professional, determines that a student may be suffering from a mental disorder, and the student’s behavior poses an imminent danger of:
- causing serious physical harm to the student or others; or
- causing significant property damage, or directly and substantially impeding the lawful activities of others.
- A student subject to an interim withdrawal shall be given written notice of the withdrawal either by personal delivery or by certified mail, and shall be given a copy of these standards and procedures. The student shall then be given an opportunity to appeal personally before the dean of students or designee within two (2) class days from the effective date of the interim withdrawal in order to review the following issues only:
- the reliability of the information concerning the student’s behavior;
- whether or not the student’s behavior poses a danger of causing imminent, serious physical harm to the student or others, causing significant property damage, or directly and substantially impeding the lawful activities of others; or
- whether or not the student has completed an evaluation, in accordance with these standards and procedures.
- A student subject to interim withdrawal may be assisted in the proceedings specified in part 2 of this section by a family member and a licensed mental health professional, or by a member of the faculty or staff of the institution. Furthermore, the student may be accompanied by legal counsel, although the role of counsel will be limited to providing legal advice to the student. Students will be expected to speak for themselves whenever possible. If the student uses a university faculty or staff member who is an attorney, that person will be regarded as “legal counsel.”
- An informal hearing, as provided in the following section, will be held within five (5) class days after the student has been evaluated by the appropriate mental health professional. Such evaluation should be undertaken within two (2) class days after the student submits a proper request for an appointment. The student will remain withdrawn on an interim basis pending completion of the informal hearing, but will be allowed to enter upon the campus to attend the hearing, or for other necessary purposes, as authorized in writing by the dean of students.
Students subject to an involuntary withdrawal shall be accorded an informal hearing before the dean of students or designee. The following guidelines will be applicable:
- Students will be informed of the date, time, and place of the informal hearing in writing, either by personal delivery or certified mail, at least two (2) class days in advance.
- The entire case file, including an evaluation prepared pursuant to the Referral for Evaluation section of these standards and procedures and the names of prospective witnesses, will be available for inspection by the student in the Office of the Dean of Students during normal business hours. The file, which should be available at least two (2) class days before the informal hearing, need not include the personal and confidential notes of any institutional official or participant in the evaluation process.
- The informal hearing shall be conversational and non-adversarial. Formal rules of evidence will not apply. The dean of students or designee shall exercise active control over the proceedings to avoid needless consumption of time and to achieve the orderly completion of the hearing. Any person who disrupts the hearing may be excluded.
- The student may choose to be assisted by a family member and a mental health professional, or by a member of the faculty or staff of the institution. Furthermore, the student may be accompanied by legal counsel, although the role of counsel will be limited to providing legal advice to the student.
- Those assisting the student, except for legal counsel, will be given reasonable time to ask relevant questions of any individual appearing at the informal hearing, as well as to present relevant evidence.
- A tenured faculty member will be appointed to review and challenge any evaluation containing a recommendation for involuntary withdrawal. The faculty member will be selected in advance by the president of the Faculty Senate. The faculty member shall be given notice of the informal hearing and access to the case file in accordance with Parts 1 and 2 of this section. Furthermore, the faculty member will be given reasonable time at the hearing to ask relevant questions and to present relevant evidence designed to challenge the involuntary withdrawal recommendation.
- Whenever possible, the student will be expected to respond to questions asked by the dean of students or designee. Students who refuse to answer on grounds of Fifth Amendment privilege may be informed that the dean of students or designee could draw a negative inference from the refusal which might result in dismissal from the institution in accordance with these standards and procedures.
- The informal hearing may be conducted in the absence of a student who fails to appear after proper notice.
- The mental health professional who prepared the evaluation pursuant to these standards and procedures may be expected to appear at the informal hearing and to respond to relevant questions upon request of any party, if the dean of students or designee determines that such participation is essential to the resolution of an issue in the case.
- The dean of students or designee may permit a university official and the mental health professional who prepared the evaluation to appear at the informal hearing and to present evidence in support of any withdrawal recommendation. Such evidence will not be presented by legal counsel for the university.
- The informal hearing shall be tape recorded by the dean of students or designee. The tape(s) shall be kept with the pertinent case file for as long as the case file is maintained by the institution.
- A written decision shall be rendered by the dean of students or designee within three (3) class days after the completion of the informal hearing. The written decision, which should be mailed or personally delivered to the student, should contain a statement of reasons for any determination leading to involuntary withdrawal. The student should also be advised as to when a petition for reinstatement would be considered, along with any conditions for reinstatement.
- The right to appeal the decision of the dean of students to the vice chancellor for educational and student services must be made within forty-eight (48) hours of receiving the decision. This appeal will be limited to grounds of prejudicial procedural error or actions which are arbitrary and capricious. The decision of the student to appeal will not stay an initiation of the withdrawal. The vice chancellor for educational and student services shall notify the dean of students and the student of his or her decision within five (5) class days of the appeal. The decision of the vice chancellor for educational and student services shall be final and conclusive, and not subject to appeal.
- Parents or guardians of dependent students are notified of the student’s status. Parents or guardians are also notified in cases of non-minor or independent students incapable of responsible decisions about self-care.
Deviations from Established Procedures
Reasonable deviations from these procedures will not invalidate a decision or proceeding unless significant prejudice to a student may result.
Source: UALR Student Handbook 2009-10
Approved By: VCESS, April 1, 2010