Student Involuntary Protective Withdrawal Policy

University Policy 408, Student Involuntary Protective Withdrawal Policy

Executive Summary: 

This Policy establishes a process and procedures for the involuntary withdrawal of students who, for reasons pertaining to mental or physical health, engage in behavior that presents a direct threat of harm to the health or safety of others.

I.  Purpose and Introduction

The University is committed to ensuring equality of educational opportunity while fostering an environment that promotes education, research, service, and the growth and safety of all members of its community.  From time to time University officials may become aware of a student who is suffering from a medical or psychological disorder and, as a result of the disorder, presents a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

In such situations, the safety and security of the University community is paramount.  University officials may accordingly consider the appropriateness of a number of reasonable security and health and safety measures including, but not limited to, requesting emergency assistance and seeking involuntary examination, hospitalization, and treatment for mental illness as appropriate under the law.  Additionally, the University may determine that it is necessary for the student to be involuntarily withdrawn from the University for the protection of the University community.  Such withdrawal must be conducted according to the standards and procedures described in this Policy. 

This Policy will be applied in a nondiscriminatory manner consistent with applicable federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination based on disability and with University Policy 501, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability

II.  Relationship to Disciplinary Process

Involuntary protective withdrawal is not a substitute for appropriate disciplinary action.  A student who is accused of a student conduct violation should not be diverted from the regular disciplinary process unless, as a result of medical or psychological condition, the student either lacks the capacity to respond to the charges or did not know the nature and quality of the act in question.

III.  Coordinator, Campus Behavioral Intervention Team, and Protective Withdrawal Hearing Panel

A.    Coordinator.  The Dean of Students or designee will act as Coordinator of the involuntary protective withdrawal process and as Chair of the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team, with whom the Coordinator will regularly consult.

B.    Campus Behavioral Intervention Team.  The Campus Behavioral Intervention Team will consist of the following members or their designees:

  1. The Coordinator, as Chair
  2. The Director of the Counseling Center
  3. The Director of Police and Public Safety 
  4. The Director of Housing and Residence Life
  5. The Provost or his/her designee
  6. The Senior Associate Dean of Students
  7. The Dean of the Graduate School

The Campus Behavioral Intervention Team will meet regularly, and on an emergency basis as necessary, to discuss issues relating to student behavioral concerns.  Meetings may also be attended by any University personnel deemed by the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team to be relevant to a particular discussion, including, but not limited to, representatives of the Office of Legal AffairsStudent Health Services,Human ResourcesDisability Services and International Programs.

C.    Protective Withdrawal Hearing Panel.  A Protective Withdrawal Hearing Panel (a “Hearing Panel”) will be an ad hoc committee comprised of a total of three members selected from among the following departments:

  1. Academic Affairs
  2. Counseling Center
  3. Police & Public Safety
  4. Disability Services
  5. Housing and Residential Life
  6. Graduate School (for graduate student cases only)

A Hearing Panel will be responsible for selecting a chair from among its three members.  Individuals serving on the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team will not be eligible for membership in a Hearing Panel, nor will any one Hearing Panel be composed of more than one member from the same department.

IV.  Standard for Involuntary Protective Withdrawal

Involuntary protective withdrawal should not be used unless the student poses a direct threat as defined below, and the involuntary protective withdrawal process should be initiated only after attempts to secure voluntary cooperation for a psychological evaluation or withdrawal have been exhausted or if the student refuses to agree or adhere to reasonable conditions established for his/her continued enrollment in the University.

A student will be subject to involuntary protective withdrawal if the Coordinator, in consultation with the representatives of the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team, concludes that the student is suffering from a medical or psychological disorder and, as a result of the disorder, poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.  In making this determination, the Coordinator, in consultation with the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team, will make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain:

  1. The nature of the risk,
  2. The duration of the risk,
  3. The severity of the risk,  
  4. The probability that the potential injury will actually occur;and
  5. Whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk.

V.  Reports of Student Behavorial Concerns

Any person  who has reason to believe that a UNC Charlotte student may possibly meet the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal described in Section IV above is encouraged to make a report (hereinafter “Report”) to the Coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Students.  Such Report may be oral or in writing (including through UNC Charlotte’s online reporting mechanism).  Upon receipt of such Report, the Coordinator should conduct a preliminary, informal review of the matter and determine which of the following courses of action is appropriate:

A.    Emergency Interim Protective Withdrawal.  The Coordinator, or the Director of Housing and Residence Life or designee, may implement an emergency interim protective withdrawal at any time if, based on the Report or other information, it is determined that the student may be suffering from a medical condition and there exists a direct threat as described in Section IV above.  A student placed under emergency interim protective withdrawal is prohibited from attending classes and from living in University housing.  In addition, the University may trespass a student from campus or from any portion of campus if the University believes that a trespass order is warranted given the circumstances.

The Coordinator will provide to any student subject to emergency interim protective withdrawal Notice of such status pursuant to Section XIX below, and give the student an opportunity to meet within two (2) business days from the effective date of the emergency interim protective withdrawal in order to discuss: (a) the reliability of the information in the Report concerning the student's behavior, and (b) whether there exists a direct threat as described in Section IV above.

Based on this discussion, the Coordinator will make a determination about whether to cancel the emergency interim protective withdrawal.  If the Coordinator cancels the emergency interim protective withdrawal, the Coordinator may still initiate the involuntary protective withdrawal process in accordance with Section VI below.  If the Coordinator continues the emergency interim protective withdrawal, the Coordinator will initiate the involuntary protective withdrawal process in accordance with Section VI below, and the emergency interim protective withdrawal will remain in effect until the involuntary protective withdrawal process has been terminated or the student withdraws, voluntarily or involuntary, under this Policy.

If the student fails to attend the meeting described in this section within two (2) business days of the date of the Notice, the Coordinator may schedule a hearing based on the available evidence in accordance with Section XI below.

B.    Sufficient Evidence of Meeting the Standard for Involuntary Protective Withdrawal.  If, in the Coordinator's judgment, the student may meet the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal but does not require emergency interim protective withdrawal, the Coordinator may initiate the involuntary withdrawal process by holding the meeting described in Section VI below.

C.    Insufficient Evidence of Meeting the Standard for Involuntary Protective Withdrawal.  If, in the Coordinator's judgment, the student does not meet the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal, the involuntary withdrawal process will not be initiated, and the Coordinator may take any other action deemed appropriate, including, but not limited to, recommending that the student seek treatment and/or referring the matter to the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team.

VI.  Meeting with Student

If at any time the Coordinator determines that a student may meet the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal, the Coordinator will provide to the student Notice of an opportunity to meet so that the Coordinator can:

a.     describe the Report, if any;

b.    explain this Policy and provide the student with a copy of it; and

c.     inform the student that he or she must meet with a designated mental health professional for an evaluation and provide the Coordinator with a copy of the evaluation within a specified time as set forth in Section VII below.

For any student subject to emergency interim protective withdrawal, the meeting described in this section should be held concurrently with the meeting described in Section V.A.  If a student not subject to emergency interim protective withdrawal fails to respond to the Notice of the meeting described in this section within two (2) business days of the date of the Notice, or fails to attend a meeting with the Coordinator within five (5) business days of the date of the Notice, the Coordinator may schedule a hearing based on the available evidence in accordance with Section XI below.

VII.  Evaluation by Mental Health Professional

When the Coordinator requires that the student meet with a mental health professional as set forth in Section VI above, the Coordinator will select an appropriate mental health professional (licensed psychiatrist or psychologist) to evaluate the student and will notify the student of the time and place of the evaluation.  The cost of the evaluation will be borne by the University.

The Coordinator will inform the student that after the student meets with the mental health professional, the mental health professional will provide the results of the evaluation to the student and to the Coordinator and that the Coordinator will subsequently provide such results to the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team.  The student (or, in the case of a minor student, the student’s parent or legal guardian) will be asked to sign a release authorizing the evaluator to discuss the evaluation with the Coordinator and the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team. 

The mental health evaluations are not binding on the Coordinator, the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team, or the University.  If a student refuses to undergo an evaluation, does not attend the evaluation at the time it is scheduled, or refuses to provide a release authorizing the evaluator to discuss the evaluation with the Coordinator and the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team, a hearing based on the available evidence may be scheduled in accordance with Section XI below.

VIII.  Consultation with Campus Behavioral Intervention Team

Upon receipt of the mental health evaluation, the Coordinator will arrange a meeting with the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team to review the evaluation.

If, after consultation with the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team, the Coordinator determines that the available evidence, including the mental health evaluation, indicates that the student does not meet the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal set forth in Section IV above, the Coordinator may terminate the involuntary protective withdrawal process.  The Coordinator may also take any other action deemed appropriate, including, but not limited to, recommending that the student seek treatment and/or referring the matter to the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team for continued monitoring and follow-up.

If, after consultation with the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team, the Coordinator determines that the available evidence, including the mental health evaluation, indicates that the student does meet the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal, the Coordinator will attempt to arrange a meeting with the student to discuss such determination as set forth in Section IX below by providing the student Notice of an opportunity to meet.

IX.  Meeting with Student to Review Coordinator's Determination

If the Coordinator is successful in arranging a meeting with the student to discuss the Coordinator’s determination that the student meets the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal, at that meeting the Coordinator will notify the student of his or her right to a hearing before the Hearing Panel, but will also offer the student the opportunity to waive the hearing and agree to a voluntary withdrawal pursuant to Section XVI below.

If the student does not voluntarily withdraw within two (2) business days of the meeting with the Coordinator, the Coordinator will schedule a hearing with the Hearing Panel in accordance with Section XI below.

If the student fails to attend the meeting described in this section within two (2) business days of the date of the Notice of the meeting, the Coordinator may schedule a hearing based on the available evidence in accordance with Section XI below.

X.  Agreement with Student

The Coordinator may, in his or her discretion at any point in this process, permit a student, including a student who meets the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal, to remain enrolled on a probationary basis under specified conditions which may include, but are not limited to, participation in an ongoing treatment program, acceptance of and compliance with a behavioral contract, a housing relocation, or a lighter academic course load.  When making his or her determination of appropriate probationary conditions, the Coordinator may consult on an informal basis with faculty, the Counseling Center, Housing and Residence Life staff, and other University personnel.  The terms of such continued enrollment will be set forth in a written agreement, and Coordinator will provide student sufficient opportunity to review and consider such terms, but in any case, not fewer than two (2) business days.  If the student agrees to accept the terms of the proposed Agreement within a reasonable period of time, the student (or, in the case of a minor student, the student’s parent or legal guardian) must sign the Agreement in the presence of the Coordinator and the Coordinator will sign the Agreement.  The Coordinator will retain the Agreement and provide a copy of the Agreement to the student. 

XI.  Scheduling a Hearing

At least five (5) business days before the hearing, the Coordinator will provide Notice to the student as to the date, time and place of the hearing, and the procedure described in Section XII below.  The student may waive the five (5) business day notice period, in writing.

XII.  The Hearing

A.    Closed to Public.  The hearing will be closed to the public, and the testimony and other evidence presented will be kept confidential pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. §1232g, and implementing regulations of the U.S. Department of Education, 34 C.F.R., Part 99.

B.    Evidence.  At the hearing, the Coordinator will provide the Hearing Panel all evidence relevant to whether the student is subject to involuntary protective withdrawal under the standard set forth in Section IV above.  The evidence may include witnesses, written reports, documents or written statements, and must include the mental health professional's written evaluation, if available.

C.    Witness Testimony.  Depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, the Coordinator may obtain witness statements or testimony from faculty, Housing and Residence Life staff, students, or other relevant individuals whose input would be helpful to the Hearing Panel.  The Hearing Panel may also request such testimony or evidence.

D.    Rights of the Student.  The student's rights at the hearing will include the following:

  1. The right to be present, unless the student disrupts the hearing.
  2. The right to present relevant evidence.
  3. The right to request the attendance of witnesses at the hearing.
  4. The right to question all witnesses at the hearing and to comment upon all documents presented.  Written statements by a witness in lieu of appearance and testimony at the hearing may be admitted into evidence if the witness is unavailable.  For a witness to be considered unavailable, it must be clearly demonstrated that the witness’s attendance would result in significant and unavoidable personal hardship or substantial interference with normal University activities.  A witness’s desire to avoid “cross-examination” may not be used to demonstrate “personal hardship.”  To be eligible for admission into evidence, such written statements must be signed by the individual writing the statement and witnessed by a person designated by the Coordinator. 
  5. The right to be accompanied by an advisor or an attorney.  The role of an advisor or attorney is limited to conferring with and advising the student.  The person is not permitted to argue, make statements or question witnesses, but may respond to questions if asked by Hearing Panel members to do so.  The student may also bring up to two members of his or her immediate family (parents or other legal guardians, siblings, or spouse) to the hearing.  Such family members are not permitted to argue, make statements, question witnesses, or otherwise represent the student unless such family member is serving as the advisor or attorney.

E.    The members of the Hearing Panel may also ask questions of any witness.  The Hearing Panel may exclude prospective witnesses other than the student during the testimony of any witnesses.

F.    The student and any witness at the hearing are required to give truthful testimony.  Furnishing untruthful testimony or failing to appear after an appropriate request may subject the student at issue, an employee, or a student witness to disciplinary action.

G.    Formal legal rules of evidence will not apply at the hearing.  However, the chair of the Hearing Panel may exclude evidence that in his or her discretion is not relevant or is cumulative.

H.    The audio of the hearing will be recorded by the University, and the audio recording will be made available to the Hearing Panel, the student (upon written request), the Coordinator, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and to any decision-maker involved in an appeal.  Any other recording of the hearing is strictly prohibited.  The audio recording will be preserved as set forth in the University’s record retention schedule.

XIII.  The Recommendation of the Hearing Panel

Within two (2) business days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Panel will make a recommendation to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs as to whether the student meets the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal as set forth in Section IV above.  The Hearing Panel will base its recommendation on evidence presented at the hearing.  The concurrence of at least two (2) Hearing Panel members will be required to recommend to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs that a student be withdrawn under this Policy.

If the Hearing Panel concludes that the student does not meet the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal, it will so inform the student, the Coordinator, and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs in writing.

If the Hearing Panel concludes that the student does meet the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal, the Hearing Panel must so state in a written recommendation that will include its reasoning for this conclusion.  This written recommendation will be provided to the student, the Coordinator, and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

XIV.  The Decision of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Upon receipt of the Hearing Panel’s recommendation, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs will fully review the recommendation and consider it in making a final determination about whether the student meets the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal set forth in Section IV above.

If the Vice Chancellor determines that the student does not meet the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal, the Vice Chancellor may terminate the involuntary protective withdrawal process.

If the Vice Chancellor determines that the student does meet the standard for involuntary protective withdrawal, the Vice Chancellor will, within five (5) business days after receiving the Hearing Panel’s written recommendation, set forth in writing and provide Notice to the student, with a copy to the Coordinator, as to the terms of the involuntary protective withdrawal, including the conditions of readmission.  Upon delivery of the Notice, the Coordinator will work with all relevant University personnel to coordinate the withdrawal of the student.

XV.  Appeal to the Chancellor

Within ten (10) business days from Notice of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs’ decision, the student may submit a written appeal of the decision to the Chancellor.  The decision of the Vice Chancellor will remain in effect while an appeal is pending.  The appeal must separately state each ground upon which the student claims that there were procedural errors or for which the evidence does not support the Vice Chancellor’s conclusions and must set forth the student's evidence and arguments in support of such claims.  The Chancellor’s review will be limited to a determination of whether the proper procedures were followed and/or whether the Vice Chancellor’s decision is supported by any evidence.  Failure to submit a timely written appeal will render the decision of the Vice Chancellor final and conclusive.

Within ten (10) business days of receiving the appeal, the Chancellor will inform the student of his or her decision in writing.  The Chancellor may (a) affirm the Vice Chancellor’s decision, (b) send the matter back to the Vice Chancellor for further review, (c) affirm the Vice Chancellor’s findings but alter the disposition from withdrawal to probational enrollment under specified conditions, or (d) reverse the Vice Chancellor’s decision and reinstate the student.  There will be no appeal beyond the Chancellor.

XVI.  Voluntary Withdrawal

At any point in the process, the student may present a request for a voluntary withdrawal to the Coordinator.  If the request is granted, the involuntary protective withdrawal process will cease; however, voluntary withdrawal will not terminate any pending disciplinary action.  If the student's request for a voluntary withdrawal is granted, the student will be subject to the readmission requirements described in Section XVII below.

XVII.  Readmission

A student who is involuntarily withdrawn, or who voluntarily withdraws as set forth in Section XVI above, may not re-enroll or be readmitted to the University before the start of the next term.  In addition, the Coordinator, in consultation with the Campus Behavioral Intervention Team, must approve the student's re-enrollment or readmission request.  Approval may be granted only if the Coordinator determines, in his or her professional judgment, that the conditions that led to the withdrawal are no longer present.  The Coordinator may require any documentation or evaluation that he or she deems necessary.

The student is not entitled to a hearing on the readmission determination, and re-enrollment or readmission is also contingent upon the student meeting any admission or enrollment requirements of the University and of the school or college in which he/she wishes to enroll.

XVIII.  Students Studying Abroad

University students studying abroad are subject to and will be afforded all rights pursuant to this Policy, with the understanding that reasonable adjustments may be necessary to accommodate cultural, language and time differences and to allow for the distance between the study abroad site and the University.  Such adjustments may include, but are not limited to, the substitution of an on-site advisor in the role of the Coordinator where deemed appropriate and the engagement of an on-site mental health professional to conduct any requisite mental health evaluations.

In addition to being subject to this Policy, University students who are studying abroad with another host institution may be subject to the involuntary withdrawal policies of that institution. 

XIX.  Notice

Any Notice referenced in this Policy will be delivered to the student by one of the following methods:  first class mail; certified mail, return receipt requested; hand delivery; electronic mail to the student’s University email account, or in person, and it will become effective immediately upon deposit in the mail, the date sent by electronic mail or, in the case of hand delivery, upon receipt by the student.

XX.  Records and Fees

A.    All records concerning the proceedings under this Policy will be maintained for eight  (8) years by the Coordinator and will be kept confidential in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. §1232g, and implementing regulations of the U.S. Department of Education, 34 C.F.R., Part 99. Certain exceptions to the confidentiality requirements of FERPA apply, as set forth in University Policy 402, Student Records.

B.    The policies and procedures for academic and financial obligations, as described in appropriate University policies and catalogs, will apply to students who withdraw, voluntarily or involuntarily, under this Policy. For graduate students, determinations about fellowship or grant refunds, as well as determinations about how withdrawal under this Policy affects time credits towards doctoral work, will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

 

Revision History: 
Revision History: 
  • Initially approved October 22, 2010
  • Revised March 5, 2012
  • Updated April 7, 2016

Authority: Chancellor

Responsible Office: Student Affairs

Related Resources:

University Policy 402, Student Records

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

UNC Charlotte Academic Policy: Withdrawals (Undergraduate Students)