Student Conduct Policies

Medical Student Code of Professional Conduct

Preamble and Commitment

I recognize that by accepting a seat at The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, I have donned more than just a white coat – I have accepted a responsibility to myself and to my fellow man.

I pledge to abide by this Medical Student Code of Professional Conduct. By so doing, I understand that I will be encouraging healthy professional development for myself and my peers, and the vigorous preservation of patient welfare and privacy.

Patient Privacy and Confidentiality

  • I will understand and follow all HIPAA regulations.
  • I will be especially mindful not to share information orally, in writing, via the internet, or by any other means that could potentially be used to identify a patient and to share patient information only with those who have a need to know.

Societal Responsibilities

  • I will work to eliminate biases, prejudices, and stereotypes that could compromise the quality of patient care.
  • I will pursue altruism by being selflessly devoted to the welfare of others.
  • I will advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.
  • I recognize that learning is life-long, and will strive for excellence, keeping abreast of advancing knowledge in all aspects of medical education and practice.
  • I will hold myself and my colleagues accountable to patients, society, and the ethical principles of the medical profession.
  • I will be of a clear mind during professional interactions with patients and colleagues.
  • I will be familiar with and adhere to all local, state, and federal regulations as applicable to the study and practice of medicine.

Honesty and Integrity

  • I will be truthful at all times.
  • I will strive for consistent ethical behavior in all aspects of life.
  • I will adhere to high standards of integrity in academics so that evaluations will fairly assess my knowledge and effort invested.
  • I am, based on a commitment to future patients, unwilling to tolerate academic misrepresentation from peers or others.

Respect for Persons

  • I will regard all persons with equal dignity and respect, and treat them as I would like to be treated.
  • I will present myself in a manner that is respectful of my position, my institution, the medical profession, and my current and future patients.
  • I will demonstrate self-respect through appropriate self-care.

Medical Student Conduct and Discipline Policy

Policy and General Statement

Students of The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School are expected to conduct themselves as professionals-in-training at all times. All students are required to obey federal, state, and local laws and to comply with the University of Texas System (“UT System”) Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations, the rules and regulations contained in the University’s Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities, the Dell Medical School Student Code of Professional Conduct and directives issued by administrative officials of the University, the University of Texas System, or clinical supervisors or other appropriate personnel acting in the course of his or her authorized duties at all times.

Any student who engages in conduct that violates the Regents' Rules and Regulations, University, the University of Texas System or Dell Medical School rules, or federal, state, or local laws, is subject to disciplinary action whether the conduct takes place on or off University property and whether or not civil or criminal penalties may be imposed for such conduct. A student is also subject to disciplinary action for prohibited conduct that occurs while participating in any activities sponsored by the University or University of Texas System, including, but not limited to, field trips, study abroad programs, inter- and/or intramural athletic activities, student organizations registered with the University, and laboratory and other rotations or clinical assignments, whether on or off University property.

A student who receives a period of suspension as a disciplinary action is subject to further disciplinary action for prohibited conduct that occurs during the period of suspension. A  student who is suspended or is dismissed for disciplinary reasons is prohibited from being on any University or University of Texas System property during the period of suspension or after dismissal without prior written approval of the appropriate Dell Medical School representative or his or her designee.

Definitions

  1. “Administrative Disposition”: a document signed by the student and the Associate Dean (as defined below) that includes a statement of the disciplinary charges, the disciplinary penalty, a waiver of the disciplinary hearing procedures described in Appendix A, and a waiver of all appeals, except as otherwise provided in this policy.
  2. “Adviser”: a single individual whom a student may elect to accompany him or her to a meeting with the Associate Dean, the Executive Vice Dean for Academics, or any meeting with medical school representatives in relation to a disciplinary matter, or any related hearing. Because the student is solely responsible for presenting his or her case during the disciplinary process, an adviser may confer with and advise the student but may not advocate for the student in a meeting or hearing. If an adviser is directly related to a disciplinary case, if the adviser’s presence poses a conflict of interest, or if the adviser repeatedly acts outside the limitations of the role described in this policy, the adviser may be dismissed from any meeting or hearing. If an adviser is an attorney, the Associate Dean or Executive Vice Dean for Academics will also be accompanied by an attorney from the Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs
  3. “Associate Dean for Student Affairs” or “Associate Dean”: the administrative official responsible for the administration of the disciplinary process of students at Dell Medical School. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs shall be responsible for coordinating an investigation of charges of misconduct and assessing disciplinary actions related to Dell Medical School students, if appropriate, notwithstanding any action taken by other authorities.  The Associate Dean for Student Affairs may delegate the authority for any part of the student disciplinary process to one or more University administrative officers, as his or her designee. All references to Associate Dean for Student Affairs or Associate Dean herein also include the Associate Dean’s designee, if any.
  4. “Day”: a Monday-Friday calendar day, except University holidays and days on which regularly scheduled classes are suspended due to emergent situations; “University holiday” means a staff holiday identified in the holiday schedule published by the Office of Human Resource Services. If a deadline defined in this chapter falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or University holiday, that deadline will be moved to the next weekday; Saturdays and Sundays that are contiguous with University holidays are not considered “days” as defined here.
  5. “Dean of Students”: the Office of the Dean of Students of The University of Texas at Austin or the Dean of Students’ delegate or representative
  6. “Executive Vice Dean for Academics”: the Executive Vice Dean for Academics at the Dell Medical School, or his or her designee.
  7. “Discipline” or “disciplinary action” or “sanction”: a decision as to whether a student has violated a University of Texas System Regents' Rules and Regulations, the University Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities or the Dell Medical School Student Code of Professional Conduct. It includes the findings of fact in support of the decision along with the assessed sanction or sanctions, if any.
  8. “Disciplinary record”: a student record as defined in section 9–202 of the University Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities maintained by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The disciplinary record may include complaints, notices, hearing records, disciplinary decisions, and other documents required under this chapter or deemed relevant by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Disciplinary records may be disclosed as permitted by the University Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities.
  9. “Dismissal”: permanent separation of a student from the University.
  10. “Hearing Officer”: a fair and impartial individual, or committee of individuals, selected by the Executive Vice Dean for Academics to hear disciplinary charges, make findings of fact, and, upon finding a violation of rule or policy, to impose one or more appropriate disciplinary penalties.
  11. “Student”: a person who is currently enrolled at Dell Medical School, or who is accepted for admission or readmission to Dell Medical School, or who has been enrolled at Dell Medical School in a prior semester and is eligible to continue enrollment in the semester that immediately follows, or who is attending an educational program sponsored by the University while that person is on campus, or who allegedly engaged in prohibited conduct at a time when he or she met the above criteria. For purposes of this policy, individuals who are not currently enrolled at Dell Medical School remain subject to the disciplinary process for conduct that occurred while they were enrolled.
  12. “Suspension”: a temporary interruption in a student’s enrollment and participation in academic activities at the University for a specific period of time, after which the student would be permitted to register/enroll and participate in academic activities, subject to such conditions as may be imposed as part of the disciplinary action and/or as a condition of the student’s registration/enrollment and participation.
  13. “Title IX”: refers to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Pub. L. 92-318, as amended by section 3 of Pub. L. 93-568, 88 Stat. 1855, except sections 904 and 906 thereof; 20 U.S.C. 1681, 1682, 1683, 1685, 1686.
  14. “Title IX Coordinator”: the employee of the University with major responsibility for Title IX compliance efforts and who is designated to handle complaints under Title IX.
  15. “University”: The University of Texas at Austin. For the purposes of this policy, “University” also includes all activities and programs sponsored by or affiliated with The University of Texas at Austin regardless of the actual location where such activities or programs occur, including but not limited to, field trips, internships, rotations, and clinical assignments.
  16. “University Property”: any real property, buildings or facilities owned, leased, controlled or formally utilized by the University and/or the University of Texas System; also includes equipment and/or supplies owned and/or utilized by the University.

Procedure

Conduct

Conduct that could subject a Dell Medical School student to disciplinary action includes, but is not limited to:

  • Any violation of the Dell Medical Student Code of Professional Conduct;
  • Any violation of the University of Texas System Regents' Rules and Regulations;
  • Any  prohibited conduct described in the University Institutional Rules on Student Services  and Activities; and
  • Any violation of federal, state or local law.

​Disciplinary Actions

The disciplinary actions that may be assessed by the Associate Dean or by the hearing officer include one or more of the following:

  • coaching to modify conduct;
  • remediation plan;
  • written warning;
  • documentation of events in Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE);
  • disciplinary probation;
  • withholding of grades, official transcript, and/or degree;
  • bar against re-admission;
  • restitution or reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of University or University of Texas System property;
  • suspension of rights and privileges, including participation in scholastic and/or extracurricular activities;
  • academic sanction(s) – including assignment of a grade of zero for an examination or assignment or for a course, and/or cancellation of all or any portion of a prior course credit;
  • denial of degree;
  • deferred suspension;
  • suspension from the University for a specified period of time;
  • dismissal (permanent separation from the University);
  • revocation of degree and withdrawal of diploma;
  • other reasonable sanctions deemed appropriate under the circumstances.

If a student is suspended, he or she will be administratively withdrawn from all courses and refunds will not be issued. Suspension is noted on the academic transcript. The notation can be removed upon the request of the student when all conditions of the suspension are met. Dismissal creates a permanent notation on the student’s academic transcript.

Process

The Associate Dean for Student Affairs will keep the University’s Dean of Students apprised of any disciplinary matter that involves a Dell Medical School student and will confer with the Dean of Students as necessary to ensure consistency and compliance with the disciplinary procedures set forth by the Dean of Students and in the University Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities.

Investigation

When the Associate Dean receives information that a Dell Medical School student has allegedly violated a Regents' Rules and Regulations, University regulation, Dell Medical School rule or policy, city ordinance, or state or federal law, the alleged violation will be investigated. Upon completing the preliminary investigation, the Associate Dean may:

  1. dismiss the allegation as unfounded; or
  2. summon the student for a conference and, after conferring with the student: dismiss the allegation; or
  3. proceed administratively in cases where the proposed sanction is not a suspension, academic sanction, or dismissal and in other cases where the student elects an administrative disposition; or
  4. prepare a complaint based on the allegation and proceed to a hearing in cases where the proposed sanction is suspension, academic sanction or dismissal, and the student does not waive his or her right to a hearing.

If the information received by the Associate Dean includes allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, interpersonal violence (domestic violence and dating violence), stalking, or other Title IX related allegations, the Associate Dean shall immediately refer the matter to the Title IX Coordinator to be handled consistent with University policy.

Pending a hearing or other disposition of the allegations and consistent with University Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities, the Associate Dean may take immediate action as is reasonably appropriate under the circumstances when such action is in the best interest of the University by issuing an interim disciplinary action. This includes, but is not limited to, suspension and bar from the University (which shall include any affiliated clinical sites) when it reasonably appears to the Associate Dean from the circumstances that the continuing presence of the student poses a potential danger to persons or property or a potential threat for disrupting any activity authorized by the University.

When an interim disciplinary action has been taken by the Associate Dean, a student may request to meet with the Associate Dean to contest the interim disciplinary measures. A request for such a meeting must be made, in writing, within five days after the interim disciplinary action was taken, and such a meeting generally will be conducted within ten days after the request for a meeting is made, unless the student agrees in writing to a meeting at a later time. At the discretion of the Associate Dean, the ten-day period may be extended for a period not to exceed an additional ten days.

Notwithstanding the above, the Associate Dean may withhold the issuance of an official transcript, grade, diploma, or degree to a student alleged to have violated a rule, policy or regulation of Dell Medical School, the University, or the University of Texas System which would reasonably allow the imposition of such action. The Associate Dean may take such action pending a hearing, resolution by administrative disposition, and/or exhaustion of appellate rights if the Associate Dean has provided the student an opportunity to provide a preliminary response to the allegations and in the opinion of the Associate Dean, the best interests of Dell Medical School, the University, or University of Texas System would be served by this interim disciplinary action.

Any student may be contacted or may be summoned by written request of the Associate Dean for purposes of the investigation and/or to discuss allegations of student misconduct. The written request shall specify a place for the meeting and a time at least 3 days after the date of the written request if the request is sent by regular mail, or at least 2 days after the date of the request if the request is sent by e-mail or hand delivered. The written request may be mailed to the address appearing in the records of the Registrar, emailed to the email address on record with the University or hand delivered to the student. If the student fails to appear for such a meeting without good cause, as determined by the Associate Dean, the Associate Dean may bar or cancel the student's enrollment or otherwise alter the status of the student until the student complies with the summons. If the student failing to appear as requested by the Associate Dean is the student against whom allegations are being reviewed, the Associate Dean, in addition to the above, may proceed with disciplinary action based upon  other  available  information  using  the  disciplinary procedures  described in Appendix A. A student's failure to maintain a current address with the Registrar, failure to read mail or e-mail, or refusal to accept delivery of the notice are not considered good cause for failing to respond to the Associate Dean's request for a meeting.

The Associate Dean will consider the available information, determine if it is sufficient to proceed with the disciplinary process, and, if so, determines one or more appropriate disciplinary actions. Before proceeding with disciplinary action, the Associate Dean will offer the accused student the opportunity to meet and provide a response to the allegations and, upon request, to review the available evidence supporting the charges.

In cases involving potential criminal conduct, the Associate Dean shall also consult with the Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs and The University of Texas at Austin Police Department.

Administrative Disposition of Disciplinary Violations

Administrative disposition shall be used in cases where the proposed sanction for a disciplinary violation is a sanction other than suspension, academic sanction, or dismissal; an administrative disposition may also be used in cases where the proposed sanction is suspension, academic sanction, or dismissal, if the accused student agrees to waive his right to a hearing.

  1. In cases where the accused student does not dispute the facts upon which the charges are based, the proposed sanction is not suspension, academic sanction or dismissal and the student agrees to the proposed sanction, the administrative disposition shall be final and there shall be no appeal of the finding of misconduct or the sanction.
  2. In cases where the accused student disputes the facts upon which the charges are based and the proposed sanction is not suspension, academic sanction, or dismissal, the Associate Dean will inform the student of the charges, evidence, findings, and proposed sanction(s) and give the student the opportunity to meet with the Associate Dean to provide rebuttal evidence. The Associate Dean will review all evidence, including the student’s response to the allegation, and determine whether the preponderance of credible evidence supports a finding that a violation occurred. If a violation is deemed to have occurred, the Associate Dean will assess appropriate sanction(s). The administrative disposition may be appealed to the Executive Vice Dean for Academics. Both the finding of violation and/or the sanction may be appealed. Such appeal must be filed in writing by the student within 14 days from the date on which the student signed the disciplinary decision issued by the Associate Dean or received notice of an additional sanction. Appeals submitted after 5:00 pm will be received the next weekday. The written appeal must state the specific reasons for the appeal and must include any related argument.
  3. An administrative disposition may be used in cases where the proposed sanction is suspension, academic sanction, or dismissal, if a student waives his or her right to a hearing, reserving his or her right to appeal only the assessed sanction(s) to the Executive Vice Dean for Academics. Such appeal must be filed in writing by the student within 14 days from the date on which the student signed the disciplinary decision issued by the Associate Dean or received notice of an additional sanction. Appeals submitted after 5:00 p.m. will be received the next weekday. The written appeal must state the specific reasons for the appeal and must include any related argument.
  4. In cases where the proposed sanction is suspension, academic sanction, or dismissal, and the student disputes the facts upon which the charges are based and refuses to sign an administrative disposition, the matter shall be resolved through a hearing before a hearing officer.
  5. In any case involving allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other Title IX related allegations, both the complainant and the accused student must agree to the terms of any administrative disposition or waiver of the hearing procedures; otherwise, the hearing and appeals will proceed in accordance with University policy.

Hearing

Disciplinary hearings will be conducted in accordance with the procedures described in Appendix A. In any case involving allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other Title IX related allegations, the complainant will be provided the same rights and responsibilities outlined in Appendix A as the accused student, including the right to notice of the hearing.

Appeal of Decision of Hearing Officer

Either the Associate Dean or the student may appeal the decision of the hearing officer to the Executive Vice Dean for Academics. Any such appeals must be filed in writing within fourteen days from the date on which the appealing party was notified of the hearing officer’s decision. Appeals submitted after 5:00 p.m. will be received the next weekday. The written appeal must state the specific reasons for the appeal and must include any related argument.

The non-appealing party, and the complainant in cases involving Title IX related allegations, may submit a response to the appeal which must be received by the Executive Vice Dean for Academics no later than 10 days after receipt of the appeal, with a copy to the other party(ies).

An appeal of the hearing officer's decision will be reviewed solely on the basis of the record from the hearing, the appeal and any response to the appeal.  The Associate Dean will submit the record of the hearing to the Executive Vice Dean for Academics as soon as it is available to the Associate Dean.

The Executive Vice Dean for Academics may approve, reject, or modify the decision in question, or may require a reopening of the original hearing for presentation of additional evidence and reconsideration of the decision. The action of the Executive Vice Dean for Academics will be communicated in writing to all parties to the appeal within thirty days after the Executive Vice Dean for Academics receives the appeal and related documents. The decision of the Executive Vice Dean for Academics is final.

Records

The University will maintain a permanent written disciplinary record for every student assessed the sanction of suspension, dismissal, denial or revocation of a degree, dismissal from an academic program, or withdrawal of a diploma. Suspension is noted on the official transcript during the term of suspension. A permanent notation of dismissal is also placed on the official transcript. A written record of any other case investigated by the Associate Dean or the Dean of Students will be maintained for at least seven years. The disciplinary record will reflect the nature of the charge, the sanction assessed, and any other pertinent information. The contents of a student’s disciplinary record may be made available by the president or the president’s delegate to appropriate University officials who have a legitimate educational interest. The contents of a student’s disciplinary record may be made available to persons outside the University only upon written request of the student, or in accordance with state and federal law.

Exhibits

Appendix A: Student Conduct and Discipline - Student Disciplinary Hearing Process

APPENDIX A: STUDENT DISCIPLINARY HEARING PROCESS

  1. Notice of Hearing

In accordance with the requirements of Section 11-604 of the Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities, the accused student will be given notice of the date, time and place for the disciplinary hearing addressing the student’s alleged misconduct. The Associate Dean will notify the accused student by letter or by e-mail of the date, time, and place for the hearing. The notice will be delivered in person or sent by e-mail or postal mail to the student at an address listed in the registrar’s records. In cases involving allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other Title IX related allegations, the date, time, and place of the hearing shall also be provided to the complainant.

The notice will specify a hearing date at least ten days after the date of the letter or e-mail message, unless interim disciplinary action has been imposed or if the hearing is related to a Title IX allegation. A student may request, in writing, that an earlier hearing date be set if feasible to arrange. The hearing officer, for good cause, may also postpone the hearing and will notify the Associate Dean and the accused student of the new hearing date. The student’s failure to provide and to maintain current addresses, refusal to accept delivery of a letter, or failure to receive an e-mail message because the mailbox is full or the message is inappropriately forwarded will not constitute good cause for failure to comply with the notice. In cases involving allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other Title IX related allegations, the notice will specify a hearing date of at least 5 days after the date of the letter or e-mail message.

The notice shall also provide the accused student with the name(s) of the individual(s) serving as hearing officer, a written statement of the allegation(s) against the accused student, a summary statement of the evidence supporting such allegation(s), and the identity of the complainant. The hearing notice will provide instructions and set a deadline by which the student must notify the Associate Dean if the student intends to involve an adviser.

  1. Impartiality of Hearing Officer

The individual(s) or committee serving as hearing officers will be selected by the Executive Vice Dean for Academics. The accused student may challenge the impartiality of a hearing officer up to 3 days prior to the hearing by submitting the reasons for the challenge in writing to the hearing officer(s) through the office of the Executive Vice Dean for Academics. A hearing officer is the sole judge of whether he or she can serve with impartiality. If a hearing officer disqualifies him- or herself, a substitute hearing officer will be appointed by the Executive Vice Dean for Academics. The appointment of a new hearing officer may have an impact on the hearing date.

  1. Burden of Proof

On a hearing of the allegations, the Associate Dean has the burden of going forward with the evidence and proving the allegations by the greater weight of credible evidence (a “preponderance of the evidence” standard).

  1. Duties of Hearing Officer

The hearing officer is responsible for conducting the hearing in an orderly manner and controlling the conduct of the witnesses and participants in the hearing. The hearing officer will rule on all procedural matters and on objections regarding exhibits and testimony of witnesses. The hearing officer may also question witnesses and is entitled to have the advice and assistance of counsel from the UT System Office of General Counsel, who may attend but may not actively participate in the hearing. Within thirty days of the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer will render and send to the Associate Dean and the accused student, and the complainant, in cases involving Title IX related allegations, a written decision that contains findings of fact, a conclusion whether the accused student committed one or more of the alleged violations, and any disciplinary actions imposed by the hearing officer.

  1. Conduct of Hearing

The hearing will generally be conducted as follows:

  • At least 5 days prior to the hearing, each party shall provide the hearing officer and the other party a list of witnesses, a brief summary of the testimony to be given by each such witness, and a copy of documents to be introduced at the hearing.
  • Each party has the right to appear, present testimony of witnesses and documentary evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and be advised by legal counsel or other designated representative, who may be present at the hearing in the role of an adviser. If the accused student's adviser is an attorney, the Dean's adviser may be an attorney from the Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs. The accused student must provide written notice of the adviser’s name to the hearing officer no later than 5 days prior to the hearing. An adviser may confer with and advise the Dean or accused student, but an adviser may not question witnesses, may not address the hearing officer, the Dean, the complainant, or another representative, and may not introduce evidence, make objections or present argument to the hearing officer.
  • In cases involving allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual  misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other Title IX related allegations, the complainant shall have the right to have irrelevant past sexual history with third parties excluded from the evidence and to have a hearing at which only the respondent, complainant, hearing officer, Title IX Coordinator, attorney for Title IX Coordinator (if any) and representative(s) for complainant and/or respondent (if any) may be present. Additionally, the complainant may provide testimony at the hearing in a manner that does not require the complainant to directly confront or to be directly questioned by the accused student while still preserving the accused student's right to challenge such testimony.
  • During the hearing, the Associate Dean may recommend and/or request one or more specific disciplinary actions be imposed by the hearing officer and may base the recommendation on any reasonable factors the Associate Dean deems relevant. The accused student is entitled to respond to the Associate Dean's recommendation.
  • The hearing will be recorded. If either any party wishes to appeal the hearing officer's decision, the official record will consist of the recording of the hearing, the documents received in evidence and the written finding of facts and conclusions of the hearing officer. At the request of the Executive Vice Dean for Academics, the recording of the hearing will be transcribed and the parties will receive a transcript.