4.05 General Principles for Consideration of Student Performance and Conduct

These general principles are applicable to the Promotion and Review Board (PRB) and the Standing Committee on Rights and Responsibilities (SCRR) and will be employed in consideration of academic performance, unprofessional conduct, and procedures on student rights and responsibilities.

Administrative titles used in describing these procedures may change from time to time. The term “reviewing body” refers to any individual or panel with responsibility for fact-finding or decision-making under these procedures. The term “days” as used herein means business days.

These procedures will be implemented with fairness, objectivity, and thoroughness, and with appropriate regard for the reputation of individuals. To that end, the confidentiality of these procedures will be maintained to the extent consistent with their effective use and with other obligations of the Faculty.

These review procedures are academic, not legal. Any evidence that a reviewing body deems relevant and trustworthy may be considered. Formal rules of evidence do not apply. In any matter, a reviewing body will have access to and may consider a student’s academic or disciplinary record as a whole. A student may be accompanied to any appearance before a reviewing body by an advisor who is a member of the student body, faculty, or administrative staff of the Medical School. Although a student may seek legal advice with respect to these procedures, students may not be represented by an attorney before a reviewing body, and attorneys will not attend interviews of a student or other witnesses by a reviewing body. The Dean of the Faculty, the Dean for Medical Education, and/or the Dean for Students may attend any interview or meeting by a reviewing body.

Reviewing bodies are permitted and encouraged to take advantage of University staff and resources, including technical, legal, administrative, and medical resources, in discharging their responsibilities under these procedures. Specifically, counsel for the University may be involved to provide legal advice and staff support to a reviewing body but will not serve in a prosecutorial or other advocacy role. Counsel for the University will not attend interviews of a student or other witnesses by a reviewing body.

Information obtained from the student in confidence by the Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) or other health care provider, whether medical or psychiatric, will not be sought by a reviewing body nor disclosed to a reviewing body without the student’s consent. The absence of such information may, however, properly preclude the reviewing body from considering a medical excuse, explanation, or justification in a particular case. A reviewing body may require that, in connection with its deliberations or as part of a remedial or corrective action or sanction, a student obtain medical or psychiatric evaluation and/or treatment and may require that the student consent to disclosure of relevant information from that health care provider to the reviewing body or its designee.

At the appellate level, a student may object for good cause, such as evidence of conflict of interest or bias, to the service of any member of a reviewing body. Such objection must be in writing, must fully state the reasons for the objection, and must be received by the Chair of the SCRR within three days after the student is notified of the membership of a reviewing body. The Chair of the PRB or the SCRR may, if warranted, remove and replace a member of a reviewing body.

These procedures may be supplemented or modified, upon prior notice to the student, when necessary to achieve a full and fair resolution of the matter. Remedial and corrective actions and sanctions that may be imposed by the reviewing bodies under these procedures include, but are not limited to, academic remediation; personal counseling; community service; warning; reprimand; censure; probation; requirement to withdraw; dismissal and expulsion.

For disciplinary cases in which the sanction is dismissal or expulsion from the Medical School, a two-thirds vote of the Faculty Council is required. When the remedial or corrective action or sanction is probation of any kind, the decision of the reviewing body must specify the conditions and duration of the probation and the conditions for its termination. The reviewing body is responsible for assessing the satisfactory completion of the conditions of any probation and for terminating it. Imposition of a remedial or corrective action or sanction under these procedures will be included in the student’s Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE, also referred to as the Dean’s Letter) and given the weight that the Dean for Students determine that the action/sanction deserves in the context of that letter.

Withdrawal or Leave of Absence during Pendency of a Disciplinary Proceeding

The transcripts of students who are withdrawn or placed on a leave of absence from the MD program pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings will contain an appropriate notation. As part of the withdrawal process, any “incomplete” grades on the student’s transcript will be changed to “withdrawn.”

These procedures may be reevaluated and/or revised during the academic year.

Last updated 5/28/21