Conduct & Grievances

Student Conduct and Professionalism
Grading Disputes
Non-Academic Related Grievances
Appeals Board
Complaints Regarding Non-Compliance with American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Accreditation Standards

Student Conduct and Professionalism

Professionalism is one of the American Osteopathic Association’s and ARCOM’s core values. It demands placing the interests of patients above those of the physician, setting and maintaining standards of competence and integrity, and providing expert advice to society on matters of health. The principles and responsibilities of medical professionalism must be clearly understood by both the profession and society.

Each osteopathic medical student is to display professionalism at all times in and out of the classroom. As mentors and role models for other ARCOM students, each student is expected to:

  1. Dress in a professional manner.
  2. Attend scheduled classes.
  3. Communicate using professional language.
  4. Obey all ARCOM policies.
  5. Commit to lifelong learning.
  6. Participate in ARCOM activities and functions.
  7. Be committed to professional competence.
  8. Be honest.
  9. Comply with patient confidentiality.
  10. Maintain appropriate relations with patients.
  11. Seek to improve the quality and access to care.
  12. Be committed to an equitable distribution of finite resources.
  13. Maintain trust by managing conflicts of interest.
  14. Embrace professional responsibilities.

As members of a profession, physicians and osteopathic medical students should be respectful of one another and participate in the processes of self-regulation, including remediation and discipline of members who have failed to meet professional standards. ARCOM students will not interfere with the rights, safety, or health of members of the College community nor interfere with other students’ rights and privileges in pursuit of their education. Students are expected to abide by all College and program rules and regulations and all local, state, and federal laws and regulations affecting their education and profession.

Examples of student conduct which violate professional standards and will lead to disciplinary action by ARCOM include, but are not limited to:

  1. Theft, robbery, and related crimes
  2. Damaging or stealing school property, or property of any school employee or visitor.
  3. Disruptive behavior/disorderly conduct on the campus, at affiliated sites, or at any official sponsored events on or off campus
  4. Intentionally interfering with classes, research, administration, patient care, movement of other people, or school functions.
  5. Showing a lack of respect towards other students, patients, faculty, staff, administration, or other school personnel.
  6. Harassing any other student, employee, or visitor to the school, sexually or otherwise.
  7. Any activity that may be construed as hazing or engaging in, supporting, promoting, or sponsoring the hazing of another student, faculty, or staff member.
  8. Violating local, state, or federal law, or being indicted by a local, state, or federal court system for a felony.
  9. Behavior, on or off campus, which creates a lack of respect and confidence on behalf of the public, faculty, or colleagues.
  10. Failure to abide by a written or oral directive from faculty, staff, security, or administration.
  11. Being mentally or constitutionally unable to follow the directions provided by faculty, staff, administration, or other school personnel.
  12. Committing violations of academic integrity, such as cheating and plagiarism.
  13. Intentionally providing false information to the school or officers of the school, or altering records.
  14. Impeding or obstructing an ARCOM investigatory, administrative, or judicial proceeding.
  15. Failure to appear at meetings when called to offer testimony, or failure to testify fully and truthfully during any such appearances.
  16. Intentionally practicing or appearing to practice medicine without a license (such as engaging in clinical activity without the direct supervision of a licensed physician) or accepting any form of reimbursement, payment, or gift for performance of clinical duties
  17. Using, distributing, selling, or possessing illicit drugs or non-prescribed substances.
  18. Distributing or selling prescription medications.
  19. Participating in academic or clinical endeavors at ARCOM or affiliated institutions while under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or illicit drugs.
  20. Using the ARCOM’s logo or name on a poster, stationery, clothing, etc., without written permission.
  21. Having food or events with food in non-designated areas.
  22. Posting unapproved material or posting approved material in an inappropriate area.
  23. Tampering with any fire alarm or equipment, or possessing any firearm or weapon, including fireworks, air pistols, or air rifles on campus or affiliated clinical site.
  24. Misusing computer hardware, software, or supplies.
  25. Irresponsibly sharing of student PINs and passwords.
  26. Improperly using online learning tools, including, but not limited to, the Internet, e-mail, chat rooms, news groups,
    forums, social media, and/or list serves.
  27. Failure to pay tuition and fees in a timely manner.
  28. Violations of the terms or conditions of a disciplinary sanction imposed by the administration.

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Code of Ethics and Rules and Guidelines on Physicians’ Professional Conduct are provided as references for ARCOM’s students as they begin to develop their professional identities.

American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Code of Ethics

Academic Related Grievances

An individual concern that is academic in nature should be first discussed with the immediate instructor or preceptor and must be done in a professional manner within three business days. If a resolution cannot be reached, the student may, within three days submit a written appeal to the Associate Dean of the academic department involved. If resolution cannot be reached from the prior appeals, the student may appeal, in writing within three days to the Dean, whose decision will constitute the final resolution.

A concern over general course procedures or grading policies should be addressed through the student representative on the Curriculum Committee.

Grading Disputes

Matters regarding grading disputes shall include all concerns related to specific grades received or the processes by which grades are determined. In all appeals regarding a grading dispute or appeal situation, the decision of the Dean is final. A student who has difficulty negotiating the grading dispute appeals process may seek guidance from the College’s Office of Academic Affairs.

Cause for Final Grade Appeals

In order to appeal a final grade, a student must offer convincing arguments that good cause exists for mandating a change of grade. A request for a grade appeal is not automatically granted.

Each of the following reasons, if supported by sufficient evidence, shall constitute “good cause”:

  • Assignment of a grade that is malicious and/or discriminatory: i.e., in determining the grade, the Course Director or Coordinator, Program Director, Clinical Preceptor or Systems Co-coordinator (“professor”) clearly did not apply the same standards he/she used for grading other members of the class whose work and behavior were similar to those of the appealing student.
  • Assignment of a grade that is arbitrary and/or capricious: i.e., the professor had apparently no discernible rationale for arriving at the grade given.
  • Assignment of a grade that has resulted from human error: i.e., the professor reported an incorrect grade as the consequence of a mistake in computation, in recording, or in some other mechanical aspect of the grading process.

The following reasons do not constitute “good cause” for the purposes of appealing a grade:

  • Disagreement with the course or systems requirements established by the professor.
  • Disagreement with the grading standards established by the professor.
  • Disagreement with the judgment of the professor in applying his/her grading standards so long as he/she has made a reasonable effort in good faith to be fair and consistent in exercising that judgment. Good faith on the professor’s part shall be presumed unless the student can offer convincing arguments to the contrary.
  • The student’s desire or “need” for a particular grade, while compelling to the individual on a personal level, shall not be considered “good cause” for purposes of appeal.
  • Scoring less than 75% in a remedial course for the College of Medicine.

A student seeking to appeal a decision regarding a non-failure classroom grade during the first and second year should seek solutions through the following administrative channels; entering at the appropriate level and proceeding in the order stated:

  1. Course Instructor/Course Director
  2. Department Chair (clinical rotations)
  3. Associate Dean of Biomedical Sciences/Associate Dean of Clinical Medicine
  4. Dean (final level of appeal)

A student seeking to resolve a grade concern through the administrative channels above must initiate such action in writing within three business days from the date the grade is recorded at the Registrar’s Office. Review of a student problem and complaint at each administrative level will be carried out as expediently as possible. If the student is not satisfied with the decision, he or she may appeal to the next administrative level. If the student chooses to continue the appeal, this must be done in writing within seven business days of the date the decision was rendered at each level of the appeal, excluding weekends and official school holidays. No administrative grade changes will be accepted 30 days after the grade is recorded.

Non-Academic Related Grievances

Any student has the right to seek redress of a grievance with immunity from disciplinary action or retaliation without regard as to the race, ethnicity, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, national origin, age, disability, or veterans status as included in the regulations of Title VI, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

For a student to address a grievance, he or she must utilize the following procedures:

  1. The student will present the grievance to the student’s assigned faculty advisor. If the faculty advisor cannot affect a resolution to the problem, the student may then consult with the Office of Student Affairs.
  2. The Associate Dean of Student Affairs will hear the grievance.
  3. If a satisfactory solution cannot be achieved, the student will be advised to prepare a written, signed request, setting forth the grievance and requesting a hearing with the Student Progress Committee.
  4. Copies of appropriate and relevant documentation must accompany this request, which will include a statement to redress the student requests.
  5. The student will submit the request to the Office of Student Affairs, who will present it to the Chairperson of the SPC.
  6. The Chairperson of the SPC shall convene the committee after receipt of a written request.
  7. The student will be notified in advance of the date, time, and place of the meeting.
  8. The meeting shall be internal, private, and closed to non-COM persons. Non-COM personnel are not available for consultation during these meetings. Legal representation or any other form of representation is prohibited during the hearing. Students will be allowed to have one ‘advisor’ present; the advisor must be a current COM faculty or staff member. The student will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present the grievance and to respond to relevant questions posed by members of the committee.
  9. The Committee will, after deliberation, make a recommendation to the Dean.
  10. Following receipt of the Committee’s recommendation, the Dean (or designee) will advise the student in writing, delivered either by ARCOM e-mail, certified mail, or in person, of the action taken to resolve the grievance. Notification of the outcome will be sent within 10 business days of the committee meeting.
  11. If the student is still not satisfied, he or she may request an additional review by the Appeals Board.

The ARCOM Appeals board will conduct a review (See “Appeals Board”)

Appeals Board

The Appeals Board will hear student appeals based on an allegation of procedural error. The student appeals board hearing is an informal proceeding. No rules of evidence will be used. The hearing shall be internal, private, and closed to non-COM persons. Non-COM personnel are not available for consultation during these hearings. Legal representation or any other form of representation during the appeal hearing is prohibited. All procedures and actions are aimed to safeguard and preserve the educational and developmental mission of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Appeals Board Hearing Guidelines
The Appeals Board will hear all students’ appeals of decisions made by the Dean of the COM relating to either dismissal or disciplinary, where the student alleges that there was a procedural error. The appeal must be in writing and submitted to the Chair of the Appeals Board within three business days (excluding holidays and weekends) after the date of receiving notification of the Dean’s decision. Any appeals not submitted to the Chair of the Appeals Board within this time frame shall not be heard. The appeal must contain a concise statement of all relevant facts, specifying the alleged procedural error.

Appeals Board Membership
The Appeals Board shall consist of the President/CEO of ACHE or his/her designee, one faculty member who is not a member of the SPC (appointed by the Dean of ARCOM), and one member of the Board of Trustees appointed by the President/CEO. The President/CEO or designee shall chair the committee and the Secretary of the SPC will act as the Secretary of the Appeals Board.

Hearing Protocol

  • The Appeals Board hearing will proceed under the direction of the chair.
  • Summary notes of the hearing may be taken.
  • The student will be notified of the date, place, and time of the hearing via their ARCOM e-mail, certified mail to the student’s last known address, or hand delivered with receipt. Any student who fails to appear at the designated date and time will automatically waive his or her right to appeal.
  • A quorum must be present to convene an official appeals hearing and will be constituted by 50 percent or more of the voting membership including the chair.
  • The student will provide the board chair with a list of any witnesses he or she may have, in writing, no later than three business days before the hearing date. Only witnesses with direct information that is new and relevant and that has not been presented previously to the Dean or the SPC will be considered.
  • The student will be present only during his or her testimony.
  • Witnesses, if any, may be present only during their testimony. Each witness will be housed in a separate waiting area to avoid any contact among witnesses or with the student.
  • The Appeals Board may question any witnesses present during the hearing.
  • The Appeals Board will have the option of calling more witnesses. The student shall not be present during the questioning of any witnesses.
  • The Associate Dean of Student Affairs and the Chair of the SPC shall be nonvoting, shall serve only in an advisory capacity, and may be present throughout the entire hearing.

Appeals Board Hearing Process

  • The chair will convene the hearing with only board members present.
  • The chair will advise the board members of the charge(s) and the Dean’s decision, review the evidence, respond to any questions, and provide opportunity for any additional input from ex- officio members.
  • Witnesses will be called individually by the board and questioned without the student being present.
  • Witnesses may be asked to remain outside the hearing room for recall or dismissed at the board’s discretion.
  • When all evidence has been heard and witnesses questioned, the chair will call the student into the hearing room.
  • The Chair will introduce the student to the board members.
  • The student will have an opportunity to present his or her appeal, provide statements and evidence in defense of the alleged violation(s), appeal the degree of disciplinary action, summarize his or her position, and respond to any questions from the board members.
  • The Chair will then dismiss the student from the hearing.
  • The board members will render a decision on the student’s appeal by a majority vote of the voting members in attendance. The board may delay the vote if it determines that additional information or facts are needed before a vote.
  • The Chair will participate in the voting process only in the case of a tie, or if the Chair is counted to make a quorum.

Notification of the Appeals Board Decision
The decision of the board will be sent by the Chair to the student via certified mail to his or her last official address (or hand delivered with receipt). A copy of the decision letter will be sent to the Dean.

Complaints Regarding Non-Compliance with American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Accreditation Standards

ARCOM is committed to meeting the standards for Accreditation of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine: COM Accreditation Standards and Procedures as described by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). A copy of the standards is available upon the request from the Office of the Dean or at the AOA COCA’s website at: www.aoacoca.org.
Students in the osteopathic medicine program who believe that ARCOM may not be in compliance with a standard of accreditation have the right to file a complaint through the following procedure:

  1. A written, dated, and signed complaint must be filed with the Office of Student Affairs.
  2. The Associate Dean of Student Affairs will consult with the Dean and form an ad hoc committee of faculty and students to investigate the complaint.
  3. The results of the investigation will include findings of fact, a determination of standard compliance or non-compliance, and recommended corrective actions. The results will be communicated in writing to the Dean, Office of Student Affairs, and the student complainant.
  4. If corrective action is indicated, the Dean will respond with a description/plan for such action within 30 days of receipt of the ad hoc committee results.
  5. Records of all proceedings regarding complaints will be maintained by the Office of Student Affairs.
  6. In the event that the student complainant is not satisfied with the ad hoc committee determination and/or corrective action, the student may communicate his/her complaint to:

AOA Office of Predoctoral Education
Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation
American Osteopathic Association
142 East Ontario Street
Chicago, IL 60611-2864
(312) 202-8096
(312) 202-8396 Fax
predoc@osteopathic.org