Student Life Handbook: Policies and Procedures Safety Withdrawal Policy
Upon observation or report of circumstances covered under this policy, the Dean of Students or his or her designee will intervene, assess, and where necessary, remove or reasonably accommodate any student who poses an unreasonable threat to the health and/or safety of any member of the community; or who becomes unreasonably disruptive to an orderly environment or to the lawful activities of others.
Voluntary Safety Withdrawal
A student may consider withdrawal from the college in the event they are unable, with or without reasonable accommodation, to continue at Westmont without posing unreasonable risks to safety and/or the lawful and orderly activities of the community. Students are encouraged to consult with the Director of Health Services, the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), or external providers to determine whether a withdrawal or leave of absence would be beneficial to the student. Students often find that taking a break from college life and their studies allows them to return to the college with an enhanced opportunity to achieve their educational goals. Should a student choose to voluntarily withdraw or request a leave of absence from the educational program, the Dean of Students or designee may gather additional information to determine the conditions, if any, that must be met in order to demonstrate an ability to return to the educational program or to full access to the residential environment with or without reasonable accommodation.
Involuntary Safety Withdrawal
Withdrawals under the involuntary safety withdrawal policy are meant to be utilized only under extraordinary circumstances, when a student is unable or unwilling to voluntarily withdraw from the college. In unusual cases where a student engages in one or more of the behaviors listed below or exhibits a pattern of such behaviors, the college will initiate an individualized assessment process to determine whether or not an involuntary safety withdrawal is required. These behaviors include:
- Engaging in or threatening to engage in physical harm to one or more members of the community;
- Demonstrating an inability to satisfy personal needs, including nourishment, shelter, personal safety and well-being such that a reasonable possibility of serious physical harm or death may occur in a short period of time; or
- Unreasonably interfering with activities of others (including those resulting in a significant and unreasonable impact on the personnel resources necessary to manage the behaviors described).
When the Dean of Students or designee is alerted to a student’s behavior or health concerns that involve any behaviors listed above, and the Dean of Students or designee deems it appropriate, these procedures will be initiated:
- The Dean of Students or designee will notify the student that an involuntary withdrawal is under consideration and the reason(s) why it is under consideration.
- The Dean of Students or designee will discuss with the student the implications of, and procedures relating to, an involuntary withdrawal. Whenever possible and appropriate, the Dean of Students will encourage the student to voluntarily withdraw, thereby eliminating the need to complete the process for an involuntary withdrawal.
- The student will be provided an opportunity to respond to the above information either in person, over the phone, or in writing.
- The Dean of Students or designee may require a medical evaluation if the Dean of Students or designee believes it will facilitate a more informed decision. Such an evaluation may be an assessment off campus, at the student’s expense, by an appropriate healthcare provider. In such cases, the Dean of Students or designee may notify parents, guardians and other appropriate persons.
- The Dean of Students or designee will arrange for an appropriate review process to include receiving, gathering and examining appropriate records and documentation. This may involve securing a release of information to allow healthcare professionals to share information with the college. The Dean of Students or designee will make all withdrawal determinations in part based on the reasonable medical judgment of healthcare professionals, relying on the most current medical knowledge or the best objective and professional evidence available. The college will make decisions on withdrawals even where the student is unwilling or unable to undergo mandated assessment or provide a release of information allowing medical and mental health professionals to share information with the college. Students are strongly encouraged to cooperate fully with college officials under this policy so that decisions can most fully reflect their interests and concerns.
- In consultation with the Student Care Team (SCT) and/or other appropriate college personnel, the Dean of Students or designee will conduct an individualized assessment to determine if an involuntary withdrawal is warranted (for a listing of the SCT members see the SCT webpage on the college website). The Dean of Students or designee will pay particular attention to the criteria for invoking an involuntary withdrawal, specifically whether the student’s behavior is disruptive to the college’s learning environment, whether the student’s health concerns have compromised the student’s health, safety, or academic success, and whether the behavior poses a direct threat to the safety of one or more members of the college community. In this context, “direct threat” means that the student poses a significant risk to the health and safety of one or more members of the college community. The significant risk must represent a high probability of substantial harm and not simply a slightly increased, speculative, or remote risk. The Dean of Students or designee will make an individualized assessment on all the above factors, based on a reasonable judgment that relies on an individualized medical assessment and/or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: the nature, duration and severity of the risk to the individual student and the greater campus community and the probability that potential injury will actually occur. The Dean of Students or designee will also determine whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices or procedures will sufficiently mitigate the risk of harm to others or the potential for further disruptive behavior.
The assessment may result in, but is not limited to:
- Student is allowed to remain in the educational program, but is restricted in his/her access to the residential environment;
- Other specified conditions for remaining in the educational program and/or residential environment;
- Student is withdrawn from the educational program.
The Dean of Students or designee will communicate the decision to the student in writing. The decision will include all information the student must submit in order to demonstrate an ability to return to the educational program or to full access to the residential environment with or without reasonable accommodation.
Appeals Under This Policy
Appeals under this policy may be made to the Vice President for Student Life (which for all purposes described in this section includes his or her designee). Appeals must be in writing and submitted to the Student Life office during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) within three business days of the decision. Submit appeals via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. An appeal must be in writing and include a statement outlining and supporting the specific grounds on which the student is appealing.
2. An appeal must be based on one or more of the following grounds:
- A process or procedural error was made that was significantly prejudicial to the outcome of the review process as it affects the student appealing;
- New information has arisen that was not available or known to the student appealing at the time of the individualized assessment which, when considered, may materially alter the outcome;
- The college denied a reasonable accommodation, which, if the college had granted, would obviate the need to remove the student from the educational program or restrict his or her access to the educational program and/or residential environment.
The appeal must address how the basis for the appeal was sufficient to alter the decision in the original individualized assessment. Any decisions made from the individualized assessment (including but not limited to removal or restricted access) will remain in effect during the appeal process unless otherwise determined by the Vice President for Student Life.
The Vice President for Student Life will consider all material previously presented and may meet with the student, the SCT and/or select members of the same. The Vice President for Student Life will communicate his/her decision on the appeal in writing no later than seven days following receipt of the appeal. Where the appeal does not merit a new decision the Vice President for Student Life will uphold the original decision. Where the appeal demonstrates clear and convincing facts or information that warrant an outcome different than the original decision, the Vice President for Student Life may modify the original decision. The decision of the Vice President for Student Life is final.
Returning to Educational Program and/or Full Access to the Residential Environment
Terms of Return
The student who demonstrates an ability to return to the educational program or the residential environment following withdrawal or restricted access and meets readmission criteria and application deadlines that may apply is assured the opportunity to return to the educational program or full access to the residential environment under the terms and conditions listed below. Students whose withdrawal period is for the remaining portion of a semester or more must reapply for admission to the college (unless they were granted a leave of absence). Applications for readmission can be obtained in the college’s Office of Admission. For questions related to reapplications contact the office at 805-565-6200.
1. A student withdrawn or restricted from the residential environment who wishes to return must contact the Dean of Students or designee and provide appropriate documentation from a health care professional demonstrating an ability to return and meet all behavioral expectations with or without reasonable accommodation.
2. Upon receipt of information from the student, the Dean of Students or designee will:
- Consult with appropriate campus healthcare professionals;
- Consult with members of the student care team, as appropriate;
- Contact the student’s parents, if appropriate; and
- Contact the student to discuss the student’s readiness to return.
3. Upon a decision to allow the student to return, the Dean of Students or designee may provide the student with written conditions for continued attendance.
4. Upon a decision to deny the student’s request for readmission or be permitted full access to the educational environment, the Dean of Students or designee will specify what conditions need to be met in order to apply for return for a later semester.
Effect on Academic Status
In the event of a withdrawal pursuant to this policy, a notation will appear on the student’s transcript in accordance with college policy. Any tuition refund due in accordance with college policy will be paid.
Effect on Housing Status
If the student has been restricted from the residential environment the college will cancel the student’s campus housing contract and refund any fees due in accordance with college policy.
Last Updated on 8/1/19
Last Reviewed on 8/16/21