Involuntary Leave of Absence

As a community, the College’s concern is always the health and well-being of each student. To help students achieve their full potential and participate successfully in college life, the College provides students with a host of services, including the Counseling Center. The Counseling Center provides a wide range of mental health care to Goodwin College students, including assessments, emergency services, crisis intervention, medication management, short-term individual counseling, and referral services. The Counseling Center also provides consultation to College officials who have concerns about the safety and well-being of a student. In addition, the Academic Success Center offers a wide-range of tutoring services that can assist students with reducing stress while fostering a student’s academic success.

Sometimes, the observation of a student’s behavior, conduct, actions, and statements may raise concerns about:

  • the safety and well-being of the student or others;
  • the significant disruption the behavior is causing to the functioning of an educational institution;
  • the level of distraction to other students and how this distraction is interfering with their ability to pursue their studies.

Anyone aware of such circumstances should immediately contact the Dean of Students. In response, the Dean of Students (or her designee) will meet with the student to discuss the behavior and the student will be required to meet with the Therapist for an assessment. Based upon the information gathered, the Dean in consultation with the General Conduct Board will determine it is in the best interest of the student and/or others, if the student:

  • Continues as a student as long as s/he adheres to specific conditions which will to be described to the student in writing;
  • is required to take a leave of absence;
  • If a leave of absence is recommended, the student, as a rule, will be given the opportunity to take the leave of absence voluntarily. The student will also be given the opportunity to contact a legal guardian or parents to assist him/her in this decision making. If a student chooses not to contact a legal guardian or parent, the College reserves the right to do so, especially if the College feels it is in the best interest of the student.
  • If the student declines to take a voluntary leave of absence and/or the behavior is severely impeding the educational mission of the College, the Dean of Students (or her designee) has the authority to place the student on an immediate “Involuntary Leave of Absence.”

In making an informed decision to place a student on an involuntarily leave of absence, the Dean of Students (or her designee) will consider germane medical and other information available to her, including timely information provided by the student and others. The student may be required to sign a medical records release, which authorizes direct communication between the Therapist (or her designee) and the student’s medical provider(s) regarding the circumstances and the student’s medical information. The student may also be required to sign a release which authorizes the Therapist to share the substance of those communications with the Dean of Students (or her designee).

Ultimately, the Dean of Students may require a student to take an involuntary leave of absence when it is determined: the student has engaged, or threatened to engage, in behavior which has or could cause significant property damage, or that has or could directly and substantially impede the rightful activities of others; based on the consultation with the Therapist (or her designee) and review of all pertinent information, the student is unable to function as a student and/or the student’s continued presence on campus poses a substantial risk to the safety and well-being of the student and/or others.

When, in the judgment of the Dean of Students (or designee), a student’s continued presence is likely to pose a substantial risk to the health, safety, and well-being of the student or to others, the student may be placed on an emergency interim leave before a final determination, as described above, is made. Every reasonable attempt will be made for the Dean of Students to meet with the student and to consider germane medical and other information provided by the student before deciding on an interim leave and the student will be informed of the interim leave in writing. The emergency interim leave will remain in effect until a final decision has been made or a determination has been made that the reasons for imposing the interim leave no longer exist.

When the Dean of Students decides that an involuntary leave of absence is appropriate, the decision and the conditions for resumption of studies will be communicated in writing. A student on an involuntary leave of absence no longer attends classes, participates in College programs, or uses College facilities, and if residing on campus, must vacate College housing.

A student placed on an involuntary leave of absence may request, within 10 business days of the date of the decision, a review of the decision from the Dean of Students along with the Provost. The student must submit the request for a review of the decision and any supporting materials in writing. The Dean of Students and Provost (or their designee) will review appropriate records and documentation, confer with the Therapist, and when feasible and appropriate, will meet with the student. The student may be required to sign a medical records release and to authorize direct communication between the Dean of Students and/or Provost (or their designee) and the Therapist (or their designee) regarding the circumstances, the student’s medical information, and information obtained from the student’s medical provider(s). The Dean of Students and/or Provost will communicate a final decision in writing within 10 business days. The involuntary leave of absence will remain in effect during the period that the Dean of Students and the Provost consider the student’s request.

NOTE: Students placed on an involuntary leave of absence are still required to meet all loan repayment obligations as applicable. Students who are no longer registered at the Goodwin College should contact the Financial Aid Office at (860) 913-2065 to discuss and understand the conditions of their enrollment status and loan repayment obligations.

Notification of Others

The Dean of Students (or their designee) may notify a student’s parents, emergency contact, or others when, in the Dean of Student’s judgment, the student is unable to make the notification or the student’s behavior poses an imminent danger to the student or others, or requires an immediate disclosure of information to avert or diffuse serious threats to the safety or health of the student or others. A leave of absence does not preclude the application of the College disciplinary systems.

Returning to Campus after an Involuntary Leave of Absence

A student on an involuntary leave of absence will not be permitted to resume his or her studies until the Dean and the Provost make a fact-specific assessment of the circumstances and conclude that the student no longer poses a significant disruption to the functioning of the College and/or no longer poses a significant risk to the health and safety of the student or others (that cannot be eliminated by a reasonable accommodation). In making this determination, usually the Dean of Students and Provost (or their designee) will require the student to authorize any and all treating professionals to contact the Therapist (depending on the issue) to discuss the student’s clinical condition, whether the student continues to pose a direct threat to the safety and well-being of others, as well as the student’s preparedness for (1) a return to the academic rigor of the College, (2) the ability to navigate selfsufficiently as a functioning, non-disruptive member of the College community, and (3) the capability for continuing appropriate treatment via the College or other resources, if necessary. If the student is to continue treatment while resuming studies, the Dean of Students will ask the student to sign a release that authorizes the treating professional to notify the Dean of Students if the student does not adhere to the treatment plan.

Medical Transport Policy

If a student requires a medical transport from the College, prior to his/her return to the College, s/he must complete a medical records release form permitting either the Dean of Students and/or the Therapist (depending on the case) to discuss the reason for the transport with the treating health professional.

Students may not return to campus until this information has been shared with the appropriate College personnel and it is determined that the student has the ability to return to the academic rigor of the College.