It is the policy of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix (COM–P) that, due to the professional nature of the study of and preparation for medicine, these procedures for student progress, academic integrity, and managing grade appeals (hereafter “procedures”), which supersede all previous policies and procedures addressing the same or similar issues, are adopted. Medical students are required to follow policies and codes of conduct governing all students at the University of Arizona, violations of which may result in the University taking action independent of any action the COM–P may take. Such policies include, but are not limited to, the Arizona Board of Regents Student Code of Conduct (ABOR Policy 5-308), which is applicable to all students at the University of Arizona, and which the University’s Dean of Students Office enforces.

Medical students also are bound by the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix’s Honor Code Policy and procedures for the Honor Code Committee and its educational policies, which govern educational and graduation requirements for its students. Because it is the COM–P’s mission to train medical professionals, COM–P also requires that medical students abide by the professional standards required of physicians under Arizona law, as described in A.R.S. § 32-1401, et seq.

Decisions regarding grade appeals must be made on an accelerated basis, and therefore, the provisions regarding grade appeals for undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Arizona do not apply. The process for appealing a grade at the COM–P will be handled in accordance with these procedures.

Process

I. Definitions. Under these procedures, the following terms will have the meanings set forth below:

A. “Automatic Dismissal” has the same meaning as described in the program-wide grading and progression policies of COM–P. Either the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs or a designee may order an automatic dismissal in accordance with these policies.
 

B. "Advisor” means a faculty or staff member, or other individual selected by a student to advise him or her during a meeting or a hearing conducted by the Student Progress Committee. Unless the advisor is a licensed attorney, the advisor may provide assistance to the student during a meeting or hearing, but may not speak on his or her behalf.
 

C. “Assistant Registrar” or “Registrar” means an individual who holds that title at COM–P. This individual will prepare and supply the Student Progress or Student Appeals Committee with relevant records of each student at such committee reviews and prior to meetings under these procedures.
 

D. “Attorney” means an individual licensed to practice law in the State of Arizona.
 

E. “Dean” means the Dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.
 

F. “Associate Dean, Student Affairs” means either an Associate Dean, Student Affairs holding that title at the COM–P or his or her designee. The Associate Dean may advise students about their rights and obligations under these procedures, may present relevant information related to students at a Student Progress Committee (SPC) hearing if requested, and may attend SPC meetings, but will not vote on any matters before those committees. The Associate Dean, Student Affairs will be excused prior to any adverse action deliberations and subsequent vote.
 

G. “Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs” means the individual holding such title at the COM–P, or his or her designee. Such individual or designee will issue notices of automatic dismissal or dismissals based either on lack of academic progress or for disciplinary reasons, subject to students’ rights to seek a hearing or appeal those decisions, and will present evidence on behalf of COM-P at any meetings initiated under these Procedures.
 

H. “Dismissal” or “Dismiss” means termination of a student from the COM–P.
 

I. “Graduation Requirements” means those requirements established by the Curriculum Committee (CC), as described in its program-wide grading and progression policies, as amended from time to time. Those requirements are incorporated into these procedures by reference.
 

J. “Honor Code Committee” means that committee established pursuant to the Bylaws of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.
 

K. “Notice” or “notify” means providing written notification within the time limits specified in these procedures 1) by hand-delivery or U.S. mail to the student’s last known address as reflected in University records; 2) to an address to which the student has specifically requested such notices be sent; or 3) to the student’s official University e-mail address.
 

L. “Preponderance of the evidence” means that quantity and quality of evidence which, when fairly considered, produces the stronger impression, and has the greater weight, and is more persuasive regarding its truth than the evidence presented in opposition.
 

M. “Student Appeals Committee” means a committee established pursuant to the Bylaws of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. The Student Appeals Committee may consider appeals of decisions of the SPC when an appeal is permitted by these procedures.
 

N. “Student Progress Committee” or “SPC” means a committee established pursuant to the Bylaws of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, which will function as described below.
 

O. “Quorum” will mean the majority of the members of a Committee described above. If a member of either a SPC, Honor Code Committee, or Student Appeals Committee is unable to attend a meeting or hearing required by these procedures, or believes he or she will be unable to review a matter objectively or to participate in a meeting or hearing required under these procedures, then the member may recuse himself or herself from the matter under consideration and will explain the reasons for such recusal to the Chair of the appropriate committee reviewing the matter. Similarly, if a committee member directly participated in a matter that is the subject of review before such committee, that committee member will be disqualified from participating in the matter that is the subject of review before the committee. If a committee member recuses himself or herself from a matter, then a quorum for the meeting or hearing will be a majority of the membership remaining. To conduct business under these policies, a quorum must be present at the beginning of any meeting or hearing and must remain throughout the meeting or hearing until the committee reaches a decision.

II. Functions of the Student Progress Committee (SPC)

A. The SPC will conduct the following reviews of students’ progress:

     1. Students in Year 1 and 2: At the end of each academic year, the Associate Dean, Student Affairs will report to the SPC concerning the performance of all first- and second-year students.

     2. Students in Year 3: At the midpoint of Year 3, the SPC will undertake a complete review of all third-year students.

     3. Students in Year 4: The Associate Dean, Student Affairs will present all students to the Student Progress Committee regarding their eligibility to participate in the Match and for the fulfillment of graduation requirements. This presentation will occur before March 1.

B. The SPC may review the performance of any student who is brought to the Committee’s attention by any Dean or faculty member who is concerned about the progress of a student.

C. A student may also request to meet with the SPC in person to discuss his or her own academic progress or professional conduct by communicating directly with the Chair of the SPC in writing, and requesting to meet with the SPC.

D. Any student failing to progress in accordance with the requirements established by the CC’s program-wide graduation and progression policies will be reviewed by the SPC which will consider the circumstances surrounding the failure in progression and determine appropriate remedial measures, or order that the student be dismissed.

E. The SPC will conduct meetings permitted under these procedures on dismissals, including automatic dismissals ordered by the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs in accordance with the CC’s program-wide graduation and progression policies.

F. The SPC will consider requests for non-medical leaves of absence and determine any conditions upon which students will be permitted to return from such leaves.

G. The SPC will review the status of students who are readmitted to the COM–P following withdrawal to determine the student’s placement in the curriculum and timing of admission.

H. The SPC will consider recommendations for remedial or disciplinary action by the Honor Code Committee regarding a student’s violation of either the COM–P Code of Conduct or ABOR Policy 5-308 or conduct a hearing on such recommendations as outlined in secion IV.

I. The SPC will make final decisions regarding grade appeals when a student appeals a failing grade.

III. Student Progress Committee procedures regarding academic matters other than appeals from dismissals.

A. When the SPC makes a decision regarding academic action of a student, the Chair of the SPC will notify the student in writing within ten working days of proposing such action. The notification will describe the proposed action and the basis for proposing such action.

B. The student may respond to such notice in writing to the Chair of the SPC no later than ten working days following receipt of the notice unless the student seeks from the Chair of the SPC and is granted an extension of time to respond based upon good cause.

C. Upon receipt of a response (or following the date on which such response could have been submitted but was not), the Chair of the SPC will notify the student of the time and date for a hearing with the SPC to discuss the matter, and will direct the student to attend the hearing.

D. If a student fails to attend a hearing of the SPC at which he or she was directed to be present, the SPC may proceed in the student’s absence, unless the student provides the Chair of the SPC good cause for not appearing and the Chair grants an exception. The SPC may consider a student’s failure to attend a hearing for which a good cause exception has not been granted when finalizing any decision regarding the student.

E. Hearing Process.

     1. A student may be assisted at a hearing by one non-attorney advisor, as defined in Section I.B. above. If a student brings an advisor to a hearing, he or she will notify the SPC Chair prior to the hearing of the advisor’s name. No other individuals will be permitted to accompany the student to a hearing unless requested to attend by the SPC.

     2. At the hearing, the SPC will receive information from the Associate Dean, Student Affairs (or designee), a COM–P faculty member, or other administrator about the subject matter of the hearing, and from the student. If the SPC requires further information, it may request additional information either during or after the hearing. The Committee may ask questions of all individuals who appear at a hearing before determining what appropriate action it will take.

     3. Following the hearing, the Chair of the SPC will prepare a letter to the student regarding the course of action prescribed and will notify the student and the Associate Dean, Student Affairs in writing of its action no later than ten working days following the hearing.

     4. A student is not entitled to appeal a decision of the SPC under this section.

IV. Student Progress Committee procedures regarding dismissals and recommendations for disciplinary or remedial action by an Honor Code Committee.

A. Dismissals

The Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs may automatically dismiss a student based upon lack of academic progress or for disciplinary reasons. The notifications from the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs will include a statement that the student may request a hearing before the SPC in accordance with these procedures and will include either a copy of these procedures or a link to them on the COM–P website.

     1. If a student desires a hearing, he or she must submit a written request for a hearing to the Chair of the SPC no later than five working days after receipt of notification of the action for which a hearing is permitted. A student may request an extension of time to make a request for hearing only for good cause, which must be presented to the Chair of the SPC prior to the expiration of time to request such hearing.

     2. When the student submits a request for a hearing, he or she also may submit a written response to the proposed action to the Chair of the SPC outlining his or her reasons that the proposed action should not be taken.
 

     3. If a student fails to respond to the proposed action or fails to request a hearing within the prescribed time for doing so (or an extended time if permitted), then the proposed action will become effective at the end of the last business day on which the student could have requested a hearing. In such event, a student would not be entitled to an appeal of the decision to dismiss him or her or to take disciplinary action.

     4. Dismissal Pre-hearing Matters.

          a. When a student requests a hearing, the Chair of the SPC will notify the student of the date, place and time of the hearing at least ten working days prior to the hearing date unless the parties mutually agree to a different date or disposition of the matter. The notice will contain: 1) a statement of the action to be taken; 2) the student’s right to be represented by an attorney at his or her own expense or to bring a non-attorney advisor; 3) the names of the members of the SPC who will be hearing the matter; and 4) a copy of these procedures or a link to the policy on the COM-P website.

          b. If a student engages an attorney to represent him or her at a hearing, the student will notify the Chair of the SPC of the name and contact information for that attorney at the time he or she requests a hearing. If the student is represented by an attorney, the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs who is presenting the matter to the SPC may also be represented by an attorney selected by the University’s General Counsel. A representative of the University’s Office of the General Counsel will attend the hearing and advise the SPC throughout the proceedings. The date on which the hearing will occur may be adjusted at the request of an attorney representing either party to the proceedings for good cause.

          c. If the student is not represented by an attorney, he or she may be assisted throughout the hearing by an advisor as described in paragraph I.B above.

          d. A student may challenge the participation of any member of the SPC on the grounds of personal bias by submitting a written statement to the Chair of the SPC setting forth the basis for the challenge no later than five working days after receiving notice of the individuals who will serve on the SPC for the hearing. The Chair will determine whether to sustain or deny the challenge. If the Chair sustains the challenge, the challenged member will not participate in the hearing.

          e. Members of the University community are expected to comply with any request by the Chair to appear at a hearing and/or to provide information or evidence to the Committee in connection with a hearing under this policy unless compliance would result in significant personal hardship or substantial interference with normal University functions.

          f. No later than five working days prior to the scheduled hearing, the parties will exchange 1) a list of the names and addresses of the witnesses who may be called to provide evidence at the hearing, and 2) a list of all documents or statements that will be presented at the hearing.

          g. The student and the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, or their attorneys if represented by counsel, will make copies of all documents they wish to present at the hearing in sufficient numbers so that each SPC member, the attorney advising the SPC, the other party, and the court reporter has a copy.

     5. Conduct of the Dismissal Hearing.

          a. These proceedings are confidential and the information provided during a hearing will not be shared with anyone outside the hearing. Hearings before the SPC will be closed to everyone except the student; the SPC members; the Associate and/or Assistant Deans, Student Affairs; Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs; the witnesses during their testimony; attorneys for the parties, if any; an attorney from the Office of the General Counsel who is advising the SPC; the student’s advisor, if the student is not represented by counsel; and the court reporter.

          b. Prior to the hearing, the Assistant Registrar for COM–P will provide the SPC with copies of the student’s entire academic record.

          c. The Chair will preside at the hearing and will rule upon all procedural matters and ensure that the parties have a fair opportunity to present their evidence. The formal rules of evidence that apply to legal proceedings will not apply, although objections to the introduction of evidence may be considered by the Chair. The Chair may exclude irrelevant, immaterial, privileged or unduly repetitious evidence. Information regarding prior actions taken by the SPC or an Honor Code Committee may be presented at the time of the hearing. The Chair may establish reasonable limits upon the time allotted to both the student and the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs for oral presentation, presentation of evidence, and examination and cross-examination of witnesses.

          d. A court reporter will make a verbatim record of the hearing, and will administer an oath to witnesses before they testify. The court reporter also will mark documents or other evidence presented during the hearing.

          e. The Associate Dean, Student Affairs or designee will provide a narrative description to summarize the student’s academic record, if requested by the Chair to do so at such hearing.

          f. The Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs or his/her attorney will then present evidence to the SPC related to the dismissal, and may present witnesses and evidence in support of that action. The student or his or her attorney may then present evidence why the student should not be dismissed and may present witnesses and evidence in support of his or her position. Each party will have the opportunity to cross-examine the other party’s witnesses.

          g. SPC members may ask questions of the student and any other witness called to provide evidence at a hearing.

          h. At the conclusion of the presentation of evidence to the SPC, each party will be permitted to summarize his or her position to the SPC prior to the SPC’s deliberations.

          i. All non-voting members of SPC (i.e. Associate Dean, Student Affairs) and witnesses will be excused prior to deliberations and subsequent vote.

     6. Dismissal Deliberations and Decision by Student Progress Committee.

          a. Following the hearing, the SPC will discuss the evidence and decide whether the student should be dismissed or whether other action is more appropriate.

          b. Any decision under this section requires a majority vote of the SPC.

          c. The SPC will issue its written decision within ten working days after the conclusion of the hearing, which will be founded solely upon the evidence presented at the hearing. The Committee’s decision will include a summary of the evidence on which the decision was based, its findings of fact and conclusions, and a statement that the decision is supported by a preponderance of the evidence.

          d. The Chair of the Committee will sign the decision on behalf of the SPC and will provide a copy of the decision to the student; the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs; the Associate Dean, Student Affairs; the Dean of the COM-P; the attorneys representing the parties, if any; and the attorney advising the SPC. The decision will include information about the student’s right to appeal an adverse decision to the Student Appeals Committee.

          e. Unless a student appeals the decision to the Student Appeals Committee as provided below, the decision of the SPC is not subject to further review and becomes final upon the date such appeal could be filed.

B. Actions taken following a recommendation by an Honor Code Committee for discipline or other remedial actions.

     1. When the Honor Code Committee submits a report to the Chair of the SPC finding that a student violated COM–P’s Code of Conduct or ABOR Policy 5-308, and recommends that the student should receive either remedial or disciplinary action, the SPC will schedule a hearing with the student who is subject to the charge of an Honor Code violation and the Chair of the Honor Code Committee.

     2. Prior to such hearing, the SPC will receive all evidence presented to the Honor Code Committee at its meeting, including the transcript of those proceedings.

     3. At the SPC meeting, the Chair of the Honor Code Committee will describe the process it followed to investigate and conduct the meeting regarding the alleged violation, and explain the Honor Code Committee’s decision and recommendations to the SPC and to the student. The student also may make a statement to the SPC, but will not present additional evidence at the hearing.

     4. After meeting with the student and the Honor Code Committee Chair and considering the evidence and recommendations of the Honor Code Committee, the SPC may adopt the Honor Code Committee’s recommendations, unless it determines that the evidence presented at the Honor Code Committee hearing was insufficient to support the Honor Code Committee’s recommendations. In that event, the SPC will either conduct a hearing in accordance with the procedures set forth above or remand the matter to the Honor Code Committee with specific instructions.

     5. If the SPC adopts the Honor Code Committee’s recommendations, it will issue a written decision containing its findings of fact and conclusions to the student who is subject to the charge of an Honor Code violation within ten working days after the date of its hearing with the student and the Honor Code Committee Chair.

     6. If the SPC determines that it must conduct a hearing on the matter, it will notify the student and the Honor Code Committee Chair that it rejected the Honor Code Committee’s recommendations and will schedule a hearing in accordance with the hearing procedures set forth in section IV.A.6.

     7. A student may appeal a decision resulting in disciplinary or remedial action to the Student Appeals Committee, as set forth in section V.

V. Student Appeals Committee.

A. A student may appeal a decision by the SPC to dismiss him or her from the COM–P only on the following grounds:

     1. Irregularities in the proceedings, including but not limited to any abuse of discretion or misconduct by the SPC or by a party to any proceedings under these procedures that deprived the student of a fair and impartial hearing process.

     2. That the dismissal was excessively severe under the circumstances.

     3. That the decision was not supported by the evidence presented or is contrary to law.

B. A student may appeal a decision by the SPC to take remedial or disciplinary action against the student following a finding by the Honor Code Committee that the student violated COM-P’s Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308 only on the following grounds:

     1. A meeting by the Honor Code Committee was not conducted in a manner substantially consistent with the procedures set forth in the Honor Code Policy and Procedures.

     2. The finding that the student violated either the Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308 is not supported by a preponderance of the evidence.

     3. The student’s conduct does not constitute a violation of the Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308.

     4. The process for making a determination that the student violated the Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308 violated the student’s constitutional rights.

     5. The sanction imposed by the SPC is arbitrary or capricious.

C. Procedure and Disposition.

     1. The student must deliver his or her written notice of appeal, which will include the grounds for appeal, to the Chair of the Student Appeals Committee no later than ten working days after the student receives a decision from the SPC that is subject to appeal.

     2. Upon receipt of a notice of appeal, the Chair of the Student Appeals Committee will determine whether the notice of appeal sets forth grounds for appeal as required in paragraph V.A. or V.B. If the Chair determines that the student failed to establish an appealable issue, then the Chair will reject the appeal and notify the student that the appeal fails to meet the established requirements. The student will have one opportunity to amend the notice of appeal. If the student fails to do so or again submits an appeal that does not meet the above grounds for appeal, then the Chair of the Student Appeals Committee will inform the student that the SPC’s decision is final and not subject to appeal.

     3. If the Chair of the Student Appeals Committee determines that the student stated grounds for appeal according to paragraph V.A. or V.B., the Chair will notify the student that the Student Appeals Committee will review the record, including the transcript of the proceedings and render a decision.

     4. The record, including the transcript of the proceedings subject to appeal, will be delivered to the Chair of the Student Appeals Committee.

     5. Upon receipt of all the documents set forth in paragraph V.C.4., the Chair of the Student Appeals Committee will set a time for that Committee to meet to review the entire record, which will take place no later than 20 working days from the date on which the Chair of the Student Appeals Committee receives the record. The Student Appeals Committee will consider no new evidence or information nor hear additional testimony during its deliberations. A University attorney from the Office of the General Counsel will assist the Student Appeals Committee.

     6. The Student Appeals Committee will make a determination by majority vote whether to uphold the decision or to reverse the decision of the SPC, and will prepare the Committee’s written decision and deliver it to the Chair of the SPC; the Associate Dean, Student Affairs; the Office of the General Counsel; the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs; and the student no later than ten working days after it meets. The decision will articulate the basis for 1) affirming the SPC’s decision; 2) reversing the decision if it finds that, under the facts, a reasonable decision-maker could not have come to the same conclusions reached by the SPC; or 3) remanding the matter to the SPC for further proceedings.

     7. If the dismissal or other disciplinary action was based upon a finding that the student violated COM -P’s Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308, the Associate Dean, Student Affairs will also provide a copy of the Student Appeals Committee’s decision to the University’s Dean of Students Office, which may take additional action against the student under the University’s Code of Conduct.

VI. Grade Appeals.

If a student believes that he or she has been awarded a final grade for a course, block, selective, elective or clerkship (hereafter “course”) that does not adequately represent his or her performance in the course, the student may appeal the grade under these procedures.

A. Process for appeals of failing grades involving a block or course in Years 1 & 2.

     1. If a student receives a failing grade in a block or course in Years 1 & 2, the student may appeal the grade to the SPC by requesting a meeting with the Committee. The student must state the reason for the appeal in writing and the appeal must occur within ten days of receipt of the grade.

          a. The SPC will schedule a meeting within ten working days after receiving the appeal.

          b. Prior to the meeting, the SPC will review any prior decisions reached in the matter.

          c. At the scheduled meeting, the SPC will first meet separately with the student and the block or course director. After meeting separately with the student and the block or course director, the SPC may request both the student and the block or course director to join the SPC meeting for further discussions in an attempt to settle the dispute.

          d. Following the meeting, the SPC will prepare a written decision and will provide copies of the decision to the student; the block or course director; the Associate Dean, Curricular Affairs and Program Evaluation; the Associate Dean, Student Affairs; and the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs within ten working days of the meeting described above.

     2. The SPC’s decision will be final and not subject to further appeal by either the student or director.

B. Process for appeals of non-failing grades and/or dean's letter comments involving a course, clerkship, elective or selective in Years 3 & 4.

     1. Within ten working days of receipt of his or her grade in a clerkship or elective, the student will confer with the course, clerkship director, or the director of the specific elective or selective in question (hereafter “director”), stating the basis upon which the student believes he or she should have been awarded a higher grade. The director will review the grading process with the student and determine that the grade was appropriate or change the grade.

     2. If the student and director are unable to agree during this meeting that the grade should be increased, the student may appeal the grade in writing to the Associate Dean, Clinical and Competency Based Education, stating the basis for changing the grade. The Associate Dean, Clinical and Competency Based Education will meet with the director and the student separately within ten working days of receipt of the appeal and review any documentation the student or director provides. Within ten working days after conferring with the director and the student, the Associate Dean, Clinical and Competency Based Education may make a decision or may create an ad hoc committee comprised of at least two other directors or faculty who have not been involved in the student’s initial assessment to advise the Associate Dean, Clinical and Competency Based Education in determining whether the student’s grade should be changed.

     3. After such meeting, or if no meeting is necessary, the Associate Dean, Clinical and Competency Based Education will write a decision advising both the student and the director whether the grade should stand or that the grade should be increased. The Associate Dean, Clinical and Competency Based Education will also provide a copy of the decision to the Associate Dean, Student Affairs and the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs.

     4. The decision of the Associate Dean, Clinical and Competency Based Education is final and no further grade appeal is permitted.

C. Process for appeals of failing grades involving either a course, clerkship, elective or selective in Years 3 & 4.

     1. Review by the Student Progress Committee.

          a. If a student receives a failing grade in a course, clerkship, selective, or elective, the student first must proceed as set forth in section VI.B.1-3 to resolve the issue.

          b. If the student is unsuccessful in resolving the issue, then the student may appeal the grade to the SPC by requesting a meeting with the Committee. The student’s appeal must occur within ten days of notification of the decision of the Associate Dean, Curricular Affairs and Program Evaluation (for Years 1 and 2) or the Associate Dean, Clinical and Competency Based Education (for Years 3 and 4) and must be in writing and state the basis upon which he or she believes the previous decisions were erroneous.

          c. The SPC will schedule a meeting within ten working days after receiving the appeal.

          d. Prior to the meeting the SPC will review any prior decisions reached in the matter.

          e. At the scheduled meeting, the SPC will first meet separately with the student and the course, clerkship, elective or selective director. After meeting separately with the student and the course, clerkship, elective or selective director, the SPC may request both the student and the director to join the SPC meeting for further discussions in an attempt to settle the dispute.

          f. Following that meeting, the SPC will prepare a written decision and will provide copies of the decision to the student; the course, clerkship, elective or elective director; the Associate Dean, Clinical and Competency Based Education; the Associate Dean, Student Affairs; and the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs within ten working days of the hearing described above.

     2. The SPC’s decision will be final and not subject to further appeal by either the student or the course or clerkship director.

Policy retroactive to July 8, 2013

Curriculum Committee
:
Approved
11/28/2017