Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy
William Paterson University has policies and procedures in place that address student violations of the Code of Conduct. This Interim Suspension and Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy addresses those behaviors that may present a serious health or safety threat to others in the community and therefore require immediate action, pending a more formal review of the specific circumstances.
The Office of Student Development is responsible for enforcement of this policy.
Emergencies referred to in this policy are incidences of extremely disruptive behavior by students that occur on or off campus (for example, written or oral threats which raise concern among other members of the campus community). These incidents can also be medical and/or psychological in nature and/or pose security risks to the William Paterson University community.
Current Student: an individual who is currently enrolled full-time or part-time, or is a matriculated student at the university.
This Policy applies to all students who are currently enrolled full-time or part-time, or is a matriculated student at the university.
A student may be placed on an interim suspension and subsequently, in some cases, an involuntary leave of absence from the University by the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee) if one or more of the following conditions are met:
a. The student engages, or threatens to engage, in behavior which poses a danger of causing physical harm to the University Community or University property and/or
b. The student exhibits behavior that interferes with his or her ability to function in an academic or residential setting and/or seriously interferes with the educational pursuits or living environment of others, and/or
c. The student commits a violation of the University’s Student Code of Conduct and lacks the capacity to comprehend and participate in the University’s disciplinary process and/or
d. The student commits a violation of the University’s Student Code of Conduct and did not understand the wrongfulness of the conduct at the time of the offense.
Typically, an interim suspension will be issued by the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee) when one or more of the above behaviors has occurred and resulted in the types of disruption described above, and more time and investigation is needed to determine the precise nature, extent, and reasons for the behavior. The student may be required to meet with the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee) or will receive notice in writing that he/she has been placed on interim suspension or on an involuntary leave of absence (either in the form of a letter or e-mail, from the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee). In either case, the student has the right to a meeting with the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee) within five business days to discuss the circumstances for which the interim suspension or involuntary leave of absence was issued.
A student on an interim suspension or involuntary leave of absence is banned from entering the campus for any reason whatsoever without the permission of the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee), unless otherwise indicated. If the student is found on University property without such permission, the student will be arrested for trespassing. Should permission be granted by the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee), the student shall report to Campus Police upon entering and leaving the campus.
If the information that led to the interim suspension is deemed insufficient to support a continuance of interim suspension status or an involuntary leave of absence, and does not suggest that the student poses an immediate danger to the University community or to University property, the student will be permitted to return to normal University activities.
If the information that led to the interim suspension is deemed to warrant a referral to Student Conduct, the student involved will receive notice of the allegations and charges in accordance with the due process protections in the Student Code of Conduct: http://www.wpunj.edu/student-conduct/student-handbook/the-student-code-of-conduct.dot
If, on the other hand, the student has been placed on interim suspension, and the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee) believes that further evaluation is warranted to determine whether it is safe and appropriate for the student to return to normal campus activities, the student will be referred to the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center for an evaluation by an appropriate mental health or medical provider. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center and schedule the appointment for the evaluation. The evaluation may take place over several sessions and could include completion of psychological tests and consultation with the Center’s Consulting Psychiatrist or Collaborating Physician. In conducting the assessment, the evaluator will take the following into consideration: (1) the nature, duration, and severity of the risk of harm; (2) the probability that the risky behavior will actually occur and; (3) whether reasonable accommodations requested by the student can be provided by the University to reduce the risk of harm. Once the evaluation is complete, the Director of Counseling, Health & Wellness (or designee) will submit a written recommendation to the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee).
There may be instances in which the Counseling, Health and Wellness staff members feel that an evaluation by an outside professional is warranted. In such instances, the student will be informed of this additional requirement in writing and will be referred to an appropriate health care professional. One example of a situation in which this may occur is a situation in which the student has threatened to harm others in the University community. The Counseling, Health and Wellness staff member may deem it necessary to require the student to have an evaluation by a forensic psychologist or psychiatrist who is specially trained to conduct evaluations and make recommendations in situations of this nature. In these situations, the University will cover the cost of the evaluation. Both the student and the evaluating professional will be given a copy of this policy. The evaluating professional will also be given instructions for submitting a written report including required content areas that must be addressed.
The Director of Counseling, Health and Wellness (or designee) will review the report submitted by the evaluating professional and may consult with that person verbally, if needed, and then make a final written recommendation to the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee). The interim suspension will continue to be in effect during the entirety of this process.
Upon receipt of the final written recommendation the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee) will meet with the student to review the written recommendation. Within five business days of the meeting, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee) will render a decision, including one of four possible determinations:
1. The student may return to all normal campus activities without restrictions;
2. The matter of the student’s conduct will be referred back to the normal disciplinary processes of the University from which the diversion occurred because the behavior observed is not deemed to have fallen within the parameters of this policy;
3. The student may return to the University but with restrictions applied (e.g., on- campus residence is not permitted, mandated withdrawal from one or more classes, psychotherapy must continue on a regular basis, etc.);
4. The student is placed on an indefinite Involuntary Leave of Absence and may only return to the University when the procedures and conditions for reinstatement have been met.
The student has five (5) business days from the date he/she was informed of the decision to file a written appeal to the Vice President of Student Development.
There is no refund of tuition and fees after the scheduled refund dates if withdrawal from courses and/or campus residence occurs due to an interim suspension or involuntary leave of absence. If a student is required to withdraw from some or all classes, a grade of WD, administratively assigned, will be reflected on the transcript in those courses from which he/she is required to withdraw.
It is expected that time away from the University during an involuntary leave of absence will be used for possible treatment and recovery and that this will be documented prior to return. Procedures and conditions for reinstatement from an involuntary leave of absence will be provided to students in writing at the time the student is placed in involuntary leave of absence status. A registration hold will be placed on the student’s record to ensure that the student satisfies the criteria to reenroll in accordance with this policy. When a student is approved to reenroll, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development (or designee) will work with the Registrar to remove the registration hold.
By Direction of the Vice President for Student Development