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Involuntary Withdrawal Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide a procedure for determining whether an identified student's behavior poses a Direct Threat (as defined herein) and for responding to such behavior. Rarely does student behavior pose a Direct Threat. However, involuntary withdrawal may be appropriate when:

  • the student displays behavior which is not prohibited by and/or could not be adjudicated by the Student Behavior Regulations or the Academic Integrity Policy, but that nonetheless poses a Direct Threat; and
  • the student demonstrates a risk of repeated display of such behavior.

2. Policy

In the absence of other reasonable means or university procedures available for addressing a student’s behavior which poses a Direct Threat, the university will conduct an individualized assessment of the student behavior and circumstances related to the observed behavior of concern and, if appropriate, implement the involuntary, total withdrawal of the identified student from the university.

The student may appeal an involuntary withdrawal decision, or may seek reenrollment to the university at a later time, in accordance with the guidelines and procedures articulated below. The decision regarding an appeal or reenrollment request will be considered on the basis of whether the student continues to pose a Direct Threat.

The policy will be applied in a nondiscriminatory manner, and decisions will be based on consideration of the student’s conduct, actions, and statements, not on knowledge or belief that the student has a disability.

3. Definitions

A. Direct Threat

Behavior which poses:

  • significant risk to the health or safety of others, or
  • significant risk of damage to university property, or
  • substantial disruption to the activities or education of other students.

B. Significant Risk

Behavior which has a high probability (not just a slightly increased, speculative, or remote risk) of substantial harm to the university community, given information concerning the behavior that is available at the time of consideration.

C. Substantial Disruption

Behavior which continually and considerably interferes with other students’ participation in academic, work, extracurricular, housing/residence life, or other university-related activities.

4. Procedures

A. Review Process

  1. When made aware of an identified student whose behavior could warrant involuntary withdrawal, the vice president for Student Affairs (or designee) will convene and oversee an Involuntary Withdrawal Review Team to conduct an individualized assessment of the student behavior and circumstances related to the observed behavior of concern, and advise him/her whether or not a Direct Threat exists. Members of this team will include a representative from the Health Center, the Counseling Center, Disability Support Services, and the student’s academic dean (or designee). Depending on the nature of a particular case, and in accordance with FERPA and other relevant laws, other individuals who can assist in evaluating the potential risk posed by the student’s behavior may be identified to advise the vice president and Review Team, including professionals qualified to interpret the information available for consideration.

    The goal of the vice president and Review Team will be to ascertain whether the student’s behavior poses a Direct Threat. Factors to consider may include:
    • the nature, duration, and severity of the risk of harm;
    • the likelihood that the potential harm will occur;
    • if the student asserts to have a legally protected disability entitled to reasonable accommodation, consideration should be given to whether reasonable modification of university policies, practices, and procedures would sufficiently mitigate the risk.
  2. The vice president and Review Team may request to review educational records and/or to consult with various university community members or others who may be knowledgeable of the student and/or the behavior of concern.
  3. The vice president and Review Team may request that the student take part in a medical/psychological evaluation. In such a case, the vice president and Review Team will identify a qualified and licensed health professional who is independent from the university to conduct the evaluation. The university will be responsible for the fees associated with this evaluation.
  4. The vice president and Review Team will request a personal meeting(s) with the student. Although it is highly desirable that the student choose to attend such a meeting(s), the review process will proceed if s/he does not attend. Furthermore, the Direct Threat review process will proceed regardless of the student’s ongoing university status. At the meeting(s), the vice president and Review Team will present and discuss the information that is available for consideration. The student may choose to have an advocate accompany and take part with him/her in the meeting(s).
  5. Based upon the Review Team’s assessment, including consultation with professionals qualified to interpret the information available for consideration, the vice president may conclude that a Direct Threat exists and, if so, will determine an appropriate next step, which may entail involuntary, total withdrawal of the student from the university, but would not preclude other actions depending on the particular situation.
  6. The review decision will be communicated by the vice president to the student and will provide the primary information that led to the decision. Any conditions for later reenrollment will also be communicated at that time. The decision and related information will be communicated in writing to the student, and may be additionally communicated in other forms if the situation permits.
  7. At any time prior to conclusion of the review process, the student may withdraw voluntarily.

B. Appeal Process

  1. The decision of the vice president may be appealed in writing by the student to the IUP president.
  2. An appeal must be filed within 90 calendar days after the decision of the vice president is communicated in writing to the student.
  3. The president’s decision on the appeal will be final and conclusive.
  4. During the appeal process, the student will remain totally withdrawn from the university.

C. Reenrollment Process

  1. A student for whom the vice president for Student Affairs concluded a Direct Threat exists may later request reenrollment to the university. A request must be made to the vice president for Student Affairs. In his/her request, the student should provide evidence that s/he would no longer pose a Direct Threat, and that any conditions for reenrollment have been met. Such student is responsible for any fees associated with treatment, activities, and/or evaluations that s/he has taken part in or obtained in an attempt to demonstrate appropriateness for reenrollment.
  2. The vice president will convene and oversee the Involuntary Withdrawal Review Team regarding the reenrollment of the student.
  3. The vice president and Review Team may request an updated, independent, university-obtained medical/psychological evaluation and/or request to meet with the student. The university will be responsible for the fees associated with this evaluation.
  4. The decision of the vice president will be based on a determination of whether the student can return safely to the university community and no longer pose a Direct Threat.

D. Emergency Situation

At any time prior to the initiation or conclusion of the review process, the vice president may implement an interim involuntary withdrawal of the student from the university, should immediate action appear warranted. A review process, as outlined above, will occur as soon as reasonably possible to consider the interim decision.

Reasonable deviation from these procedures due to crisis and/or emergency situations will not invalidate the need for a review process and its subsequent decision.

5. Recision

This policy will not be rescinded or modified except by action of the IUP president, following consultation with the University Senate, and in accordance with University Senate By-Laws and Constitution.

6. Publications Statement

The IUP Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs will publicize and transmit this policy to all members of the university community.

7. Distribution

Code Description
A All Employees
Approved by IUP Senate 3/26/13
  • Student Affairs Division
  • Sutton Hall, Suite 211-216
    1011 South Drive
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-4040
  • Fax: 724-357-4977
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 7:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.