This policy outlines matters relating to voluntary and mandatory student leaves of absence.
All students and all UO employees who interact with students on voluntary or mandatory leave.
For questions about this policy, please contact the Vice President for Student Life: (541) 346-1137.
Revisions approved by University President Michael Schill on March 20, 2020.
Revisions approved by University President Michael Schill on May 4, 2017. Policy renumbered.
Technical revisions enacted by the University Secretary on September 3, 2015.
Became a University of Oregon Policy by operation of law on July 1, 2014.
Former Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 571 Division 23.
The University of Oregon (“University”) is committed to the safety, health, and well-being of its campus community. The University recognizes that students may experience situations that significantly limit their ability to function successfully or safely in their role as students. In such circumstances, the University may encourage a student to take voluntary leave. However, when a student’s behavior renders the student unable to effectively function in the residential or educational community without harming themselves or others, or unduly disrupting the university community, the Associate Vice President & Dean of Students or their designee (hereinafter, Dean of Students) may, after a careful and collaborative review, place a student on mandatory leave in accordance with this policy.
A. Voluntary Leave of Absence
Voluntary leaves of absence shall be approved by the Dean of Students when determined to be in the best interest of the student or campus community. When the student is a graduate student, the student must also receive approval for on-leave status from the Graduate School. When considering a request for voluntary leave, the Dean of Students may request that the student submit a recommendation from their treatment provider, and may confer with other University officials, including without limitation, the Executive Director of the University Health Center (if the request for leave is based on a medical condition) or the Director of the University Counseling Center (if the request for leave is based on mental health conditions)
The University shall give students the option to take a voluntary leave of absence before a decision is made with respect to mandatory leave.
B. Mandatory Leave of Absence
The University may place a student on mandatory leave only in rare situations where current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence indicates to the Dean of Students that there is a significant risk to the student’s health or safety or the health or safety of others, or the student’s behavior severely disrupts the University environment, and no reasonable accommodations can adequately reduce that risk or disruption.
Any assessment or action taken under this Policy will be based on legitimate safety concerns and not based on speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities.
Before placing any student on mandatory leave, the University will conduct an individualized assessment, consulting with the Executive Director of the University Health Center (if the request for leave is based on a medical condition) or the Director of the University Counseling Center (if the request for leave is based on mental health conditions) or both (if the Dean of Students believes information from both directors would be useful).
The following shall apply to any determination involving mandatory leave:
- The Dean of Students shall issue a notice to the student in writing that a mandatory leave of absence is under consideration. The notice shall include the reasons why the student is being considered for mandatory leave and a copy of this policy. The notice shall also inform the student of the opportunity to meet with the Dean of Students before a decision is made, and to have a personally-selected representative accompany the student to the meeting. The meeting may take place in person or via technology, as appropriate.
- The Dean of Students shall set a date and time for a meeting with the student. The purpose of this meeting is to gather information relevant to the final decision. The student may be accompanied to the meeting by a personally-selected representative. At the meeting, the student shall have an opportunity to provide information that may be relevant to the Dean of Students’ recommendation. The student may also ask others to provide information on their behalf regarding whether their behavior substantially threatens the welfare of self or others and/or significantly disrupts the functioning of University operations. Should the student elect not to attend the meeting, the process will proceed without the benefit of the student’s input, with the Dean of Student’s evaluation based on the information otherwise available.
- The Dean of Students will consider potential accommodations and/or modifications that could obviate the need for a mandatory leave of absence, such as the option to take a voluntary leave of absence, academic accommodations, and housing and dining accommodations.
- The Dean of Students will confer, as feasible and appropriate, with one or more of the following individuals regarding the need for mandatory leave:
- The Executive Director of the University Health Center;
- The Director of the University Counseling Center;
- Other licensed medical professionals or treatment providers, with appropriate authorization;
- University Housing;
- Department heads, deans, or faculty members;
- Academic advisors;
- The Behavioral Evaluation & Threat Assessment (BETA) team; or
- Such other individuals as may be appropriate in an individual matter.
- The student may be asked to consent to a release of the student’s medical or mental health information from a treatment provider, when there is a need for the University to have access to that information as part of the individualized assessment. If a student refuses to execute the consent form or to respond to the request, the Dean of Students may proceed with the assessment based on information in the Dean’s possession at the time. In certain circumstances, the University may require the student to undergo an additional evaluation by an independent and objective professional designated by the University, if the Dean of Students believes it will facilitate a more informed decision.
- Following these consultations and based on a review of the relevant documentation and information available, the Dean of Students will make a decision as to whether the student should be placed on a mandatory leave of absence, and will provide written notice of this decision to the student. The Dean of Student’s determination may include (a) that the student remain enrolled with no conditions; (b) that the student remain enrolled subject to conditions (for example restricting access to particular University programs, services, student housing, or other facilities); or (c) that the student be placed on a mandatory leave of absence. If the University’s decision is to allow the student to remain enrolled subject to conditions, then the student’s failure to comply with the conditions may, after appropriate consideration, result in the imposition of a mandatory leave. If the University’s decision is to require a mandatory leave of absence, the decision will indicate the length of the leave and, in consultation with the student’s college or department, describe the conditions (if any) under which the student may seek to return from leave. The written notice of decision will include information about the student’s right to appeal. For decisions affecting a graduate student, the Dean of the Graduate School must agree with any determination imposing mandatory leave.
- A student may appeal the Dean of Student’s determination regarding mandatory leave or the conditions placed on the Student’s return to the Vice President for Student Life or designee (“Vice President”). Such an appeal must be filed within 14 days. The Vice President shall review all available information provided by the Dean of Students and the affected student and may request an opportunity to request additional information from the Dean of Students and the affected student. After reviewing the matter fully, the Vice President will issue a written decision affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision. The Vice President’s decision shall be final, and no other appeals or grievance procedures are available.
C. Emergency Leave
If the Dean of Students has reason to believe, based on the information available, and in consultation with the Executive Director of the University Health Center (for behavior based on medical issues or emergencies) or the Director of the University Counseling Center (for behavior based on mental health issues or emergencies) or both (if the Dean of Students believes information from both directors would be useful), that the student’s continued presence on campus poses an imminent threat of significant harm to him or herself or to others in the community, the Dean of Students may take emergency action to remove the student from campus pending evaluation for mandatory leave. This Emergency Leave may include exclusions from class, campus, or student housing, or from all University activities.
At the time that the emergency action takes place, the Dean of Students shall (1) inform the student of the reason for the emergency action, (2) give the student the opportunity to explain why the emergency action need not be taken, and (3) inform the student that the meeting outlined in Section B above will take place within three business days of the emergency action if the student is available, or if the student is unavailable for medical reasons, within three business days after the student becomes available.
D. Involvement of Emergency Contacts
Although rare, the Dean of Students may need to contact a student’s emergency contact for students who are experiencing medical emergency. The decision to notify a student's emergency contact in the case of a medical or mental health emergency will be weighed carefully against the student's privacy rights and other relevant information and will be done consistent with the requirements of state and federal law and university policy.
E. University Duties of Refund and Other Academic Alternatives
When a student is on leave pursuant to this policy, the Dean of Students is authorized to instruct the University Registrar, when necessary, to withdraw the student immediately and to initiate the appropriate tuition and fee refund according to the University refund schedule, or explore and/or implement alternative or additional reasonable accommodations, as may be warranted in the circumstances.
F. Resumption of Student Status
Prior to returning to the University or enrolling at the University, a student who has been placed on leave as a result of emergency procedures, voluntary leave, or mandatory leave must produce a plan in writing that delineates how the student will resume their status at the University.
The plan must respond to the condition that gave rise to the need for the student's leave (i.e., need for ongoing psychological or medical care; ability to maintain a standard of responsibility and self-care; ability to assume class participation.) If the student will reside in the residence halls, the plan must also state how the student will transition back into this community.
The Dean of Students will review the student's plan and meet with the student. The Dean of Students may require the student to provide evidence that the student, with or without reasonable accommodations, has sufficiently addressed the issues that previously established the criteria for imposing mandatory leave. The Dean of Students may consult with the Executive Director of the University Health Center (for behavior based on medical issues or emergencies) or the Director of the University Counseling Center (for behavior based on mental health issues or emergencies), and/or other professionals before rendering a decision.
If the Dean of Students is not satisfied that the student is ready to return to the University, the student will be notified in writing of the decision, including the reasons for the decision, within a reasonable time after the student has submitted a request for reenrollment and required documentation. A student who is not permitted to return may appeal the decision to the Vice President for Student Life within 14 days, and the Vice President for Student Life shall issue a final determination.
- Volume III: Administration of Student Affairs
- Chapter 5: Student Records