Medical Leave is the mechanism by which Smith College administratively withdraws a student with a medical condition or whose condition or behavior involves a serious concern of physical harm to herself or other persons in the community. Such behaviors might include: serious self injury, impaired judgment, threats or violence. This policy is designed to help students receive appropriate treatment and regain function in a structured and supervised environment that cannot be provided by the College. When the student is well or no longer at serious risk and has experienced a period of sustained stabilization, the student may return to campus following evidence that she is able to pursue the full range of academic, behavioral and social expectations that apply to all students. Leaves may be voluntary or required. Required medical leaves are used in situations generally involving risk to the student or the community and may involve emergency hospitalization (possibly under M.G.L. - Chapter 123: Section 12 - Emergency restraint of dangerous persons; application for hospitalization; examination).
In addition to health professionals, the College has appointed an Evaluation Committee (EC), which may be asked to make a decision granting of voluntary leave, on the requirement of a medical evaluation, on determining a required medical leave, to review an appeal brought by a student under this policy, to assist the Administrative Board on a decision to grant readmission following a medical leave or other related decisions.
Voluntary Medical Leave
A student may request a voluntary medical leave anytime a documented medical condition makes it likely that she will not be able to successfully complete the academic semester. The request is made in writing to the director of Health Services or the director of counseling services.
Required Medical Leave
The director or associate director of Health Services or the EC may require a student to take a medical leave when the student's behavior or condition poses a serious concern, or appropriate and necessary treatment is not available at the College.
The members of the EC may include the dean of students, the director of Health Services, the associate director of Health Services, the student’s class dean and the director of disability services. Other administrators may be added to the EC if expertise is needed that is not already represented on the EC. The EC meets as needed.
The EC will have access to all medical or other student educational records required for an appropriate review.
The EC is responsible for informing a student and her parents or guardians of their review. The EC may ask the student (and if appropriate, the family) to participate in the review by inviting them to make a brief written or oral statement. The EC may request that a representative from Class Deans, Residence Life or another area of the College present information about the student’s experience. A representative from Health or Counseling Services will share information regarding the student’s health. The information includes hospital records if the student has been hospitalized, any other information from outside providers, and any internal evaluations.
The EC's judgment following consideration of all relevant information will generally be the final decision of the College. The EC will communicate its decision to the student and the appropriate administration.
Return from Medical Leave
Students returning from either voluntary or required medical leave must apply for readmission. The request to return must be made in writing. The director of Health Services or counseling services reviews applications for readmission following medical leaves and makes a recommendation to approve or not approve to the Administrative Board. The Administrative Board makes the final decision on readmission.
A student who is denied readmission may submit a written request to the EC for a review of her case. The EC's recommendation following a review will be given to the Administrative Board for its reconsideration of its decision. All reviews should be made in writing and sent to:
c/o Dean of Students
Northampton, MA 01063
A student may seek an appeal of a decision to place her on a required medical leave by requesting a review by the dean of the college within seven (7) days of the date on the letter notifying her of a required medical leave. Generally, the dean will only consider an appeal if new information that was not available earlier is included in the request. All requests should be made in writing and sent to:
Appeal - Required Medical Leave
c/o Dean of the College
Northampton, MA 01063