STUDENT INVOLUNTARY HEALTH LEAVE OF ABSENCE AND RETURN PROCEDURES

 

The following involuntary health leave of absence procedure is developed in alignment with the University of Missouri Collected Rules and Regulations Section 280.040 Student Involuntary Health Leave of Absence. The adoption and administration of these procedures establish a consistent process for an involuntary health leave of absence for students that provides equitable treatment in instances, based on current and reliable information, when the health, safety, and welfare of the student or campus community is in jeopardy. The involuntary health leave of absence procedure applies to all full- and part-time students at the university. 

University of Missouri - Saint Louis strives to maintain a safe and health environment conducive to academic achievement while balancing its concern for individual students. As such, an involuntary health leave of absence is an action initiated by the University in extraordinary circumstances for medical, mental health, and/or substance misuse related conditions when the conditions are impacting his/her ability to function safely or successfully within the university environment. Any reasonable accommodations must not fundamentally alter the nature of the academic program. An involuntary health leave of absence will be pursued only if the student declines to take a voluntary leave of absence and after less restrictive alternatives have been exhausted, unless the situation presents a direct or imminent threat. The University may initiate an involuntary health leave of absence when a student's behavior cannot be managed through available resources and/or the student refuses to accept a health care provider's recommendations, and whose behavior includes at least one of the following:

1. Engaging in behavior that proses a direct threat to his/her health, safety, and welfare or that of others. 

2. Significant disruption of the student's community or hampering the ability of others to participate in the educational and employment programs offered by the University.

The Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) or a group of at least three of its representative(s) will conduct an individualized, current review of the entirety of the student's circumstance. At minimum, the BIT review group must include a leadership representative from Counseling Services, Student Health Services, and Office of the Dean of Students.

BIT may refer the student to appropriate University or external resources, implement appropriate accommodations, devise a personalized student success plan, and/or discuss the process for a voluntary leave of absence. In circumstances in which an involuntary health leave of absence is being pursued, the student will be provided information on the process, the opportunity to meet with the BIT team or its representative(s) to discuss the matter, and the opportunity to present any mitigating information suggesting another course of action. 

The involuntary health leave of absence procedure neither supersedes nor takes precedence over other policies and procedures which have been established by the University, including, but not limited to those related to Student Health Services (CRR 280.010 and 280.040), Standard of Conduct (CRR 200.010) and Equal Employment/Educational Opportunity and Nondiscrimination (CRR 600.010). Other applicable University procedures may occur separately or concurrently with the involuntary health leave of absence procedure.

If the student's behavior constitutes a violation of the Collected Rules and Regulations - and the conduct is of a nature that the continued presence of said student at the University presents a danger to the health, safety, or welfare of members of the University community or would seriously disrupt the University- the student may be immediately and temporarily suspended from the University pursuant to the University's Collected Rules and Regulations.

When a student who has pending disciplinary action is placed on involuntary health leave of absence, the student conduct process will proceed upon the student's return.

BIT shall use reasonable discretion, based on the best objective evidence and medical advice regarding the student's specific circumstance, to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of both the student involved and the campus community.

Before pursuing an involuntary health leave of absence, BIT or its representative(s) will contact the student in writing to provide information, the opportunity to meet and submit information, and conduct an individualized assessment of the student's circumstance to assess the level of threat to self or others. The individualized assessment process will use a multidimensional team-based approach with sharing of information, expertise, and recommendations while allowing for flexibility, as specific requirements will vary based on facts and circumstances of each individual student situation. During this process, the totality of the circumstance and associated risk will be assessed by BIT with a focus on the health, safety and welfare of the campus community. A student who fails to attend his/her mandatory assessment or does not participate fully may be subject to immediate involuntary health leave of absence without further process.

The student may be asked to complete an evaluation by an independent and appropriately qualified mental health or health professional. This process will require only information reasonably necessary for BIT to conduct the individualized assessment. The cost of the evaluation will be borne by the University. The student will be asked to sign a release authorizing the health professional to discuss the evaluation with BIT. Specifically, this release should include the Director of Counseling Services, Chair of UCARE -Associate Vice Provost, CARE case manager, as persons to whom the health care provider can release and exchange information to. The treating health professional shall submit a written report and any supporting documentation to the CARE case manager for review by the BIT Committee.

The assessment will include information on multiple risk factors to evaluate the level of risk, including: nature of the risk, duration of the risk, severity of the risk, probability that injury will occur and whether reasonable modifications, aids, or services will mitigate the risk. This process is designed to incorporate the best objective evidence and medical advice regarding the student's specific circumstance. Regardless of the assessment outcome, the assessment is not binding on the University.

A determination will be made by BIT or its representatives using a multi­ dimensional approach and shall be submitted to the Associate Vice Provost who will conduct a final review and move the decision forward. This includes issuing written notice of the determination to the student. Throughout the process, the student's confidentiality will be respected. The student is also able to submit any additional relevant evidence or medical advice during the process to BIT for consideration.

If BIT determines that the student does not meet the standard for an involuntary health leave of absence, the CARE case manager and  a representative from the Office of the Dean of Students will meet with the student to discuss support and/or treatment resources, development of a  success  plan, continued  monitoring, and follow up. This information will be provided in written form and the student will have ample time to review.

Any student placed on an involuntary health leave of absence will receive a 'W' in each course for the semester during which the leave is imposed (if after the cutoff date to drop without a WD on transcripts). The student will also be refunded tuition for the semester they are placed on an involuntary health leave of absence. For students living in Residence Halls, the room and board costs will be prorated based on the date of the involuntary health leave of absence.

APPEAL PROCESS

Any student may appeal the involuntary health leave of absence decision of BIT to the Dean of Students in writing within seven (7) business days from receipt of notice of the involuntary health leave of absence.

Appeals must state procedural errors and must set forth the student's evidence and arguments in support of such claims. Appeals should specifically cite incorrect facts or unfair application of procedures and  provide supporting information. If the  appeal is not submitted within seven (7) business days, the decision of BIT will remain final. After receiving the appeal the Dean  of Students or a  designee will  respond  in writing to the student within seven (7) business days. Within seven (7) business days from notice of the Dean of Students, the student may submit a written appeal to the Chancellor. The decision will remain in effect while an appeal is pending.

The Chancellor's review is limited to a determination  of whether  the  proper procedures were followed and/or whether the Dean of Students' decision  is supported by evidence. Within seven (7) business days the Chancellor will inform the student of his/her decision.

The Chancellor may affirm the decision, remand the matter back to the Dean of Students for further review, affirm the Dean's findings but alter the involuntary health leave of absence or enrollment under specific conditions, or reverse the decision and reinstate the student. There is no appeal beyond the Chancellor. Appeals based on concerns about disability or other types of discrimination can be made to Title IX and Equity, 314-516-4538.

RETURN AFTER AN INVOLUNTARY HEALTH LEAVE OF ABSENCE

University of Missouri - Saint Louis requires that students returning from an involuntary health leave of absence provide evidence to determine if the student can successfully continue at UMSL. The review of this evidence will be based upon the individual student's circumstance while being consistently applied to all students seeking to return from an involuntary health leave absence. This process will seek only necessary information to determine if the student can successfully continue. Re-entry decisions will be made using a multidimensional team-based approach that allows for flexibility based on the specific circumstances of each individual student situation.

Information provided to the University should address the condition that precipitated the need for an involuntary health leave of absence and if it has been successfully addressed such that the condition no longer adversely affects the student's ability to safely function in the university environment. Holds will not be removed until medical paperwork is received and an interview with the student is completed. Students are responsible for making appropriate arrangements with his/her department and completing either the graduate student or undergraduate student returning form from the Registrar's Office as well as applying for on campus housing if applicable.

Failure to meet a deadline may result in the return to the university being delayed, possibly until the following semester.

READMISSION DEADLINES:

Students seeking to return to UMSL for future enrollment must submit supporting documentation to the CARE case manager at least 45 calendar days prior to the first day of classes for the semester in which they seek to return. Once the supporting documentation is reviewed, the student will be required to participate in a readmission interview with the Associate Vice Provost, Campus Health Officer, and CARE case manager. Students having further questions or concerns may contact the CARE case manager at 314-516-5211 or care@umsl.edu.

Steps for Students Seeking to Return from an Involuntary Health Leave of Absence: Students seeking to return from an involuntary health leave of absence are required to have a health care provider complete the health care provider form regarding his/her course of care. The following steps outline the process a student should follow when seeking to return from an involuntary health leave of absence.

  • Notify the Care Coordinator via email  (care@umsl.edu) or mail that he/she wishes to return to the University of Missouri - Saint Louis. This notification should include a summary the student's use of time while away, treatment and care received, and plans for returning to academic and curricular life.

Further, the student should discuss reasons for taking a leave, what has changed in the intervening time, why he/she feels ready to come back, as well as any other relevant information. The student must specify the semester he/she desires to return.

  • Complete a release of information form, including all relevant medical, mental health, substance misuse, and/or supporting information, with  any  applicable  health care providers. This release must include the Director of Counseling Services, the Associate Vice Provost, and the CARE case manager, as persons to whom the health care  provider  can  release  and  exchange information to.
  • Schedule and complete a check-in interview (in person or via video conference) with the Associate Vice Provost and CARE case manager to discuss removal of administrative and/or health officer holds. Holds will not be removed and the student cannot register until all steps have been completed. This includes submitting medical documentation, obtaining clearance from BIT, having a well-established plan for return, and a successful check-in interview. Additional interviews and questions may be required.

When the University receives a request to return to UMSL from a student placed on an involuntary health leave of absence, all supporting documentation, including relevant medical, mental health, and/or substance  misuse information, will be reviewed by BIT or its representatives to appropriately assess and make an informed determination based on current information. The student will be notified  of the determination of BIT and how to appeal if needed by the Associate Vice Provost.

RETURN FROM INVOLUNTARY LEAVE OF ABSENCE APPEAL PROCESS:

If BIT denies readmission, the student will be notified in writing within seven (7) business days explaining the decision and outlining further steps that may be taken toward re-enrollment. If the student objects to the decision made by BIT, the student may appeal the decision to the Dean of Students in writing.

Appeals should specifically cite incorrect facts or unfair application of procedures and provide supporting information. Appeals must be made within seven (7) business days from the receipt of the decision. If the appeal is not submitted within seven (7) business days, the decision of BIT will remain final. After receiving the appeal the Dean of Students or a designee will respond in writing to the student within seven (7) business days.

Within seven (7) business days from notice of the Dean of Students, the student may submit a written appeal to the Chancellor. The decision will remain in effect while an appeal is pending. Appeals must state procedural errors and must set forth the student's evidence and arguments in support of such claims. The Chancellor's review is limited to a determination of whether the proper procedures were followed and/or whether the Dean of Students' decision is supported  by evidence. Within seven (7) business days the Chancellor will inform the student of his/her decision in writing.

The Chancellor may affirm the decision, remand the matter back to the Dean of Students for further review, affirm the Dean's findings but alter the involuntary health leave of absence or enrollment under specific conditions, or reverse the decision and reinstate the student. There is no appeal beyond the Chancellor. Appeals based on concerns about disability or other types of discrimination can be made to Title IX and Equity, 314-516-4538.