Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Policy

Johnson & Wales University has existing policies and procedures that seek to provide a safe and secure environment for all members of the university community, which address potential risk to others by students based upon a student’s conduct, behavior or other factors.  Those policies are applied equally to all students, without regard to disability.  However, when the potential risk of injury to the health or safety of others is based, in whole or in part, on the medical conditions of a student (physical or mental), it is critical that the rights of students with disabilities be protected and that decisions are made based upon objective information, not assumptions or stereotypes.  The purpose and intent of the university’s Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Policy is not to single out students with disabilities from other students, but to provide additional guidelines and procedural protections.  

Criteria for an Involuntary Medical Withdrawal

This Procedure outlines when and how a student may be involuntarily placed on a Medical Withdrawal if the university determines on an individualized, case-by-case basis, in accordance with the procedures listed below, any of the following:

  • the student is unable or unwilling to carry out substantial self-care obligations;
  • objective evidence indicates that a student poses a significant risk to the health and safety of others;
  • where a student poses an actual risk to his/her own safety;
  • or where the nature of the health condition, the student’s need for services, or the way the condition is manifested behaviorally and/or physically does not permit the student to participate in and benefit from the programs or services of the university with the services provided and reasonable accommodations.

Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Process

The university may become aware of the potential need for an involuntary medical withdrawal through a variety of means, including through the Crisis Aversion and Response Evaluation (CARE) Team or directly through the Associate Dean of Students for Counseling, Health & Wellness.  Once a potential need is identified, the Associate Dean of Students for Counseling, Health & Wellness or his/her designee is responsible for conducting the initial assessment.  This dean or his/her designee will collect available information, such as information obtained from incident reports, CARE Team meetings, conversations with students, faculty and staff, and the opinions of appropriate medical/clinical professionals if such information is available. When the Associate Dean of Students for Counseling, Health & Wellness makes a preliminary assessment that the criteria for an involuntary medical withdrawal may reasonably be met, he or she will, where reasonably possible, meet with the student to discuss the issues raised; explore whether there are reasonable accommodations that will avoid the need for leave, options for a voluntary medical withdrawal, and the procedures for an involuntary medical withdrawal. If, after the meeting, the student maintains that he/she would like to remain enrolled, the Associate Dean of Students for Counseling Health & Wellness, or designee, will request that the student sign an authorization permitting medical/clinical professionals who have treated the student to share information with the Associate Dean of Students for Counseling, Health & Wellness, or designee, and other university officials. Failure by the student to sign the authorization will be considered as failure to cooperate and the decision-makers will be required to act on the information available to them.

Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Committee

If, following the initial assessment and meeting, the Associate Dean of Students for Counseling, Health or Wellness believes an involuntary medical withdrawal may be appropriate, he or she will then convene an "Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Committee" comprised of the Associate Dean of Students for Counseling, Health & Wellness, and the Directors of Counseling and/or Health Services, and the Director of Accessibility Services/Center for Academic Support, or any of their designees. Additional university administrators will be added to the committee if and when appropriate. The Committee will review collected information. The committee will make a determination on an individualized, case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the nature, timing, probability, and severity of the risk and whether reasonable modifications of the university’s policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk. This individualized assessment will be based on current medical knowledge or the best available objective evidence.  The Committee will confer with individuals who have in-depth knowledge of, and experience in, the relevant medical field.  The Committee will render a decision and the Associate Dean of Students for Counseling, Health & Wellness will present that decision to the student in writing.

Reinstatement Procedures and Conditions

Should the decision be to place the student on a Medical Withdrawal, a student who is involuntarily withdrawn shall have a hold placed on his or her records, and be notified in writing, at the time of the student's withdrawal, of any conditions that must be satisfied (in addition to the university’s Readmittance Policy) for the student to return to the university. These conditions may include, but are not limited to, documentation or other evidence satisfactory to the Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Committee, that the student is qualified and ready to resume studies and function safely and successfully as member of the university community, with or without reasonable accommodations. To fulfill such requirements, students are required to provide medical documentation from their individual treatment providers. The university relies heavily on the information received from the student’s treatment providers. Students will be asked to provide an authorization form to allow Health Services and Counseling Services and the Associate Dean of Students for Counseling, Health & Wellness or his/her designee to communicate with such treatment providers, university deans, Accessibility Services/Center for Academic Support and other university personnel, where appropriate, regarding the student's return. The university may also require further information from the student if it determines that the information provided by the student’s treatment provider is not sufficient (e.g., if information provided by the treatment provider is incomplete, requires further explanation or clarification, or when there is a disconnect between the medical information provided by the treatment provider and other information in the student’s files) to make a determination that the student is ready to resume studies and function safely and successfully as member of the university community, with or without reasonable accommodations.

In addition, in unusual circumstances (e.g., where the university is concerned about the provider’s credentials), the Associate Dean of Students for Counseling, Health & Wellness or his/her designee may request that the student undergo an additional assessment to allow the university to make a determination about the student’s return. In those cases, the university will provide the student with a written explanation for such determination.

Students who are out of school on an involuntary medical withdrawal should submit such documentation to the applicable office (campus Health Services or Counseling Services) at least two weeks prior to their desired return date to allow the university time to evaluate the documentation. The documentation will be evaluated by the Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Committee. The Associate Dean of Students for Counseling, Health & Wellness or his/her designee will make the final determination of whether the student has satisfied the conditions of reinstatement and inform the student in writing of such determination.

Students with disabilities may be eligible for reasonable accommodations. Students are responsible for communicating their requests for accommodations to Accessibility Services/the Center for Academic Support

Tuition Credit and School Health Insurance

A student who is returning to the university after an involuntary medical withdrawal may be eligible for a tuition credit equal to the amount of adjusted tuition charged for the term/semester the student was unable to complete due to the involuntary medical withdrawal.  However, to be eligible the student will need to return within 12 months.  This credit can only be applied toward tuition charges for the term/semester in which the student returns. In addition, the university allows students enrolled in the JWU Student Health Insurance Plan, who have been given an involuntary medical withdrawal, to continue such enrollment for a maximum of one term/semester; however, students must complete an enrollment application, available at campus Health Services and/or Counseling Services, and pay separately the current premium for that term to the university’s insurance agency. International students may be able to continue to remain in the United States in compliance with applicable immigration regulations. Please consult with the International Student Services Office.


Students may appeal a decision regarding involuntary medical withdrawal and/or reinstatement by submitting a request in writing, by hand delivery or certified mail, to the Dean of Students or his/her designee. The request must be submitted within 10 days of the date of the decision and must state clearly the basis for the appeal. The appeal will be reviewed upon receipt, and a decision concerning the appeal will be available within a reasonable time. The decision of the appeal officer will be final.