Oct 18, 2021  
2021-2022 University Catalog/Handbook 
    
2021-2022 University Catalog/Handbook

University Policies


Diversity Policy

Diversity at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) is defined in three ways:

  1. Representation of the student, faculty, and staff across all campuses
  2. Allowing for diverse thought, leadership styles, and work environments
  3. Encouraging diverse ways to teach, to promote student cultural awareness, and to engage in scholarly pursuits

Representation of the student, faculty, and staff across all campuses: The University aims to support diversity by recruiting and retaining students and employees at all levels by

  • recognizing that continued success in meeting the needs of our students requires the full and active participation of talented and committed employees who represent a variety of religions, disabilities, ages, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, and genders;  diversity of employees also includes personal and work history, education, functional ability, personality, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, geographic origin, longevity with the organization, degree-program matriculation, and level of employment within the organization;
  • supporting admission to students regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnic origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, religious creed, or sexual orientation; and
  • offering educational support to all students, including providing reasonable accommodations.

Diverse thought, leadership styles, and work environment: The University believes that diversity encompasses the way we work, the work environment, and respect for people and ideas. It also encompasses varying management styles and ways of thinking, leadership abilities, skill levels, experiences, viewpoints, expression of thoughts, and differing ways of delivering services, provided there is consistency in the values we share. By fostering an atmosphere of equity and support, we value and appreciate the strengths afforded by the differences, styles, ideas, and organizational contributions of each person. For it is through diversity that our institutional core values and mission can best be met.

Encouraging diverse ways to teach, to promote student cultural awareness, and to engage in scholarly pursuits: The University supports faculty who offer diverse clinical expertise and approaches to patient management as a way to promote health science professional curricula that allows graduates to work with a diverse client population. Efforts are made to support cultural competence throughout the curricula and meet expected student learning outcomes in this area. Faculty are encouraged to promote diverse scholarly endeavors that involve various clinical, patient management, health promotion, and education research topics, with careful attention to the safety, confidentiality, and privacy of all research subjects.

Diversity is inclusion. It stresses equal opportunity, recognizes and respects the multitude of differences that employees and students bring to our workplace and classrooms, and acknowledges the changing face of the community we serve. The affirmation of diversity and full cooperation by all managers, supervisors, employees, and students is expected.

Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

It is the policy of USAHS that each member of the University community be permitted to work or attend class in an environment free from any form of discrimination, including race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition (e.g., cancer or genetic characteristics), marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or veteran status, as prohibited by state and federal statutes. This policy applies to students, faculty, employees, and applicants for admission or employment.

For sexual discrimination concerns, refer to the Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Grievance Reporting Policy & Procedures below.

For disability discrimination concerns, refer to the Accommodations and Accessibility policy below.

To report harassment or discrimination concerns about another student, please see the PMC Policy.

To report concerns regarding University employees, policies, and events, please see the Complaints Policy.

Title IX Policy and Procedures

The United States Department of Education (DOE) mandates that institutions comply with specific requirements under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972. Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (“USAHS” or “the University”) is committed to providing a safe educational and working environment for its students, faculty, staff, and other members of the university community.

USAHS believes that all members of the University community should be free from all acts of sexual harassment. USAHS does not discriminate on the basis of sex in the education programs or activities that it operates and is required by Title IX not to discriminate in such a manner. Further, the requirement not to discriminate extends to admission and employment. All members of the University community and all visitors, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression are advised that any sexual harassment by any student, employee, or third party is prohibited. Any attempt to commit sexual harassment, or to assist or willfully encourage any such act, is a violation of this Policy. Sexual harassment is contrary to the basic values of USAHS, which include promoting a sense of community, fostering learning, instilling integrity, and achieving excellence. USAHS is committed to providing for the prompt and equitable resolution of all complaints of sexual harassment.

This Policy applies to all complaints of sexual harassment in USAHS’ education programs and activities. It prohibits conduct that: occurs on campus or other University property; occurs in connection with University educational programs or activities, which includes locations, events, or circumstances over which USAHS exercises substantial control. This Policy prohibits sexual harassment by all third parties (including but not limited to visitors, guests, volunteers and contractors) on USAHS campuses and during university programs and activities. It also applies to applicants for admission to, or employment with, USAHS. This policy does not apply to sex discrimination that occurs against a person outside of the United States. Inquiries about the application of Title IX to USAHS may be referred to USAHS’ Title IX Coordinator, to the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education, or both. Further, if the alleged harassment/violation does not meet the requirements to be considered a Title IX offense, it may still be an incident requiring investigation under the Student Code of Conduct, Title VII, and/or other disciplinary/investigatory proceedings. 

Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including removal from the University for students and termination of employment for faculty and staff.

1. Definitions

Complainant: A complainant is an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Consent: Consent is defined at USAHS as a clear, unambiguous, and conscious agreement expressed in mutually understandable words or actions to voluntarily engage in specific sexual or intimate activity or conduct. Conduct will be considered “without consent” if no clear affirmative consent, verbal or otherwise, is given. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she as the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Affirmative Consent is not present (1) if obtained through the use of force, threat, coercion, or intimidation; or (2) when an individual is incapacitated, such as by consumption of drugs or alcohol or being unconscious or asleep; or (3) if given by someone who is not able to effectively communicate or to understand the nature of the conduct being engaged in. Silence or an absence of resistance on the part of the individual does not imply or constitute consent. Past consent does not imply future consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another. The intoxication or recklessness of a respondent is not an excuse for him or her not receiving affirmative consent from the complainant before engaging in a specific sexual activity.

Formal Complaint: Formal complaint means a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the University investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the University with which the formal complaint is filed. As used in this paragraph, the phrase “document filed by a complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by the University) that contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint. Where the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not a complainant or otherwise a party.

Retaliation: Retaliation means intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against an individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title IX. Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, constitutes retaliation. The University must keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination, including any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment, any complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any respondent, and any witness, except as may be permitted by the FERPA statute, 20 U.S.C. 1232g, or FERPA regulations, 34 CFR part 99, or as required by law, or to carry out the purposes of 34 CFR part 106, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising thereunder. Complaints alleging retaliation may be filed according to the grievance procedures for sex discrimination. USAHS will take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate or otherwise determine if retaliation due to the reporting of sexual harassment or discrimination occurs.

Respondent: Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Sexual Discrimination: Sexual discrimination for the purpose of this Policy is defined as including, but not limited to, treating individuals differently because of their gender or sexual orientation, in connection with the terms and conditions of employment or educational opportunities. Discrimination does not occur, however, when an individual is treated differently than another individual for legitimate reasons.

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. An employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
  2. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity;
  3. Sexual assault, defined as an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sex offenses include any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent:
    1. Rape (except Statutory Rape): The carnal knowledge of a person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    2. Sodomy: Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    3. Sexual Assault with an Object: To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity
    4. Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
    5. Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
    6. Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law
  4. Dating violence, defined as violence committed by a person:
    1. Who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
    2. Where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
      1. The length of the relationship.
      2. The type of the relationship.
      3. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship;
  5. Domestic violence, which includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction; or
  6. Stalking, defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—
    1. fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
    2. suffer substantial emotional distress.

2. Reporting Violations of This Policy

Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment (whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment), in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report. Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the telephone number or electronic mail address, or by mail to the office address, listed for the Title IX Coordinator below. Additionally, reports can be made to the local Campus Director, and/or Human Resources personnel, who will then work with the Title IX Coordinator to begin the grievance process. The Title IX coordinator, or his or her designee, may conduct the investigation. The Title IX Coordinator or his or her designee will not be responsible for conducting the investigation if he or she has any bias or conflict of interest related to the report or parties involved.

Title IX Coordinator for All USAHS Campuses:

Ryan Davis, Ed.D.
Student Welfare and Accessibility Director, Student Welfare
5010 Riverside Drive, Suite 120
Irving, Texas 75039
Phone: 737-202-3373
Email: [email protected]

Any questions or complaints regarding Title IX may be referred to USAHS’s Title IX Coordinator and Title IX Deputy Coordinators and/or to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights – Regional Division Offices listed below. Additionally, inquiries about the application of Title IX may be referred to the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202, 202-453-6914.

Filing a Criminal Complaint: Any person has the right to file both a criminal complaint and a Title IX complaint simultaneously.

To file a criminal complaint please contact the local police department for your campus listed below.

USAHS Florida Campuses

U.S. Department of Education - Regional Office IV
61 Forsyth St. SW, Suite 19T40
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-974-9450
Email: [email protected]
   
Local Police, St. Augustine Campus
St. Augustine Police Department
151 King St.
St Augustine, FL 32084
Phone: 904-825-1074
Local Police, Miami Campus
Coral Gables Police Department
2151 Salzedo St.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Phone: 305-442-1600

USAHS California Campus

U.S. Department of Education - Regional Office IX
50 Beale Street, Room 9700
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: 415-486-5700
Email: [email protected]
   
Local Police
San Diego County Sheriff’s San Marcos Station
182 Santar Place
San Marcos, CA 92069
Phone: 760-510-5200
 

USAHS Texas Campuses

U.S. Department of Education - Regional Office VI
1999 Bryan Street, Suite 1620
Dallas, Texas 75201
Phone: 404-974-9450
Email: [email protected]
 
Local Police, Austin
Austin Police Department
404 Ralph Ablanedo Dr.
Austin, TX 78748
Telephone: 512-974-5037
Local Police, Irving
Irving Police Department
305 N. O’Connor Road
Irving, TX 75061
Telephone: 972-273-1010

In addition, any Campus Director and/or Human Resources personnel who has actual knowledge of an incident of sexual harassment must report it to the Title IX coordinator. USAHS takes all reports of sexual harassment seriously and, upon receiving notice of any alleged violation of this Policy, shall take immediate steps to conduct a thorough, prompt, and appropriate investigation of the complaint. The University reserves the right to remove the respondent from the University if there is an immediate threat to the health and safety of the campus community. Non-student employee respondents may also be placed on administrative leave during the pendency of the grievance process and investigation.

A complainant who contacts the Title IX Coordinator with an allegation of sexual harassment will be notified of his or her right to confidentiality in regard to public recordkeeping, including Clery Act reporting and disclosures, any accommodations provided, protective measures provided and/or supportive measures provided, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the institution to provide the accommodations, protective, or supportive measures. If the complainant wishes to move forward with the process and files a formal complaint, he or she will be asked a series of questions to provide information. If the complainant prefers, he or she may complete the information from the form and submit it to the Title IX Coordinator. The Sexual Harassment Formal Complaint is available from the Title IX Coordinator or by download here. However, an investigation cannot occur without the filing of a formal complaint, which will require disclosure and notice. The only exception to this would be if the Title IX Coordinator determines that a complaint and investigation must go forward and decides to file, regardless of the wishes of the complainant. Given the sensitive nature of reports of sexual violence, the University shall ensure that the information is maintained in a secure manner.

Determination of Supportive or Protective Measures

Upon notification of an incident of sexual harassment USAHS shall take steps to ensure equal access to its education programs and activities for both the complainant and respondent, as necessary, including providing supportive or protective measures before the final outcome of an investigation. The University may offer supportive measures to the complainant or respondent before or after filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. These measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures. The University must maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the complainant or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide the supportive measures. The Title IX Coordinator must promptly contact the complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures, consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures, inform the complainant of the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint, and explain to the complainant the process for filing a formal complaint. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures.

Pursuant to the Clery Act, if a complainant alleging an act of rape, fondling, incest, statutory rape, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking requests protective measures and they are reasonably available, regardless of whether the complainant chooses to report the crime to local law enforcement, USAHS is obligated to comply with a request for a living and/or academic situation change following an alleged sex offense. Factors that might be considered include the specific need expressed by the complainant; the age of the students involved; the severity of pervasiveness of the allegations; any continuing effects on the complainant; whether the complainant and alleged perpetrator share the same eating areas, class, transportation or job location; and whether other judicial measures have been taken to protect the complainant (e.g., civil protection orders). These measures are designed to protect the Complainant and provide the Complainant with options to avoid contact with the alleged perpetrator. These measures may include a change in academic activities, living, transportation, dining, and working situation as appropriate.

After the initial report of alleged sexual harassment, possible immediate interim suspension can be invoked on the accused (“Respondent”) if there is a reasonable cause to believe the Respondent’s behavior is of such a nature as to pose a threat of harm or injury to the Complainant or any other member of the campus community. The Title IX Coordinator shall work with the Complainant to determine what, if any, protective measures shall be implemented.

3. Grievance Process

Formal Complaint

Upon receipt of a formal complaint, notice will be provided regarding the grievance process, including any informal resolution process, to the parties who are known. The notice shall provide sufficient details known at the time and with sufficient time to prepare a response before any initial interview. Sufficient details include the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known, the conduct allegedly constituting sexual harassment, and the date and location of the alleged incident, if known. The notice will also include a statement that the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process. USAHS will treat complainants and respondents equitably, providing remedies to a complainant where a determination of responsibility for sexual harassment has been made against the respondent, and by following a grievance process that complies with Title IX requirements before the imposition of any disciplinary sanctions or other actions that are not supportive measures.

The parties will be informed that they may have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, and may inspect and review evidence. The parties will also be informed of Code of Conduct policies and the consequences for knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.

The Title IX Coordinator may choose to consolidate formal complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one respondent, or by more than one complainant against one or more respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances. Where a grievance process involves more than one complainant or more than one respondent, references in this section to the singular “party,” “complainant,” or “respondent” include the plural, as applicable.

Investigation

Notice will be provided simultaneously to the complainant and the respondent in writing that a complaint has been received by USAHS and will be investigated under this Policy. The parties will be provided notice of the allegations, including sufficient details known at the time such as: the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known, the conduct allegedly constituting sexual harassment and the date and location of the alleged incident, if known. The written notice will include a statement that the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process. The written notice will inform the parties that they may have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, and may inspect and review evidence. The written notice will inform the parties of any provision in the University’s code of conduct that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process. If, during the course of the investigation, additional allegations surface then the parties will be provided with a supplemental notice of these allegations should they be investigated.

The burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility rests on the University and not on the parties, provided that the University cannot access, consider, disclose or otherwise use a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychology, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless the University obtains that party’s voluntary, written consent to do so for a grievance process under Title IX.

USAHS shall determine, given the circumstances surrounding the complaint, the proper party to conduct the investigation. The proper party may or may not be the Title IX Coordinator and shall be the person best able to conduct an impartial and fair review of the complaint. The investigation will normally include interviewing the complainant(s), respondent(s), witnesses, and other relevant parties and will include a review of any relevant documents and other information. It may include reviewing law enforcement investigation documents (if applicable) and reviewing student and personnel files. Both the complainant and the respondent may provide the investigator(s) with the names of witnesses, documents, and other information. The investigator(s) will exercise his/her discretion in deciding which individuals identified as witnesses during the investigation should be interviewed and which documents or other information should be reviewed. The interviews, meetings, and other proceedings are not recorded by USAHS and may not be recorded by others. The complainant and the respondent are afforded equal procedural rights during the investigation. The complainant and respondent will be able to present evidence and witnesses, including experts.

Written notice shall be provided to both parties and any individual whose participations is expected. Such notice will include the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings, with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate.

The complainant and respondent will have an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in a formal complaint, including the evidence upon which the University does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or other source, so that each party can meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to conclusion of the investigation. Each party may consult with an advisor of their choice during the investigation; however, they are limited to providing support to the party and are not to serve as a representative for the party during the investigative process. Prior to completion of the investigative report, the University will send to each party and the party’s advisor, if any, the evidence subject to inspection and review in an electronic format or a hard copy, and the parties must have at least 10 days to submit a written response, which the investigator will consider prior to completion of the investigative report. The University must make all such evidence subject to the parties’ inspection and review available at any hearing to give each party equal opportunity to refer to such evidence during the hearing, including for purposes of cross-examination.

The complainant’s prior sexual relationships or conduct are neither relevant nor admissible during the investigation and will not be considered, other than the prior sexual relationship or conduct with the respondent if the respondent alleges consent. The fact that a complainant may currently have or had in the past a dating or sexual relationship with the respondent that was consensual is not sufficient by itself to constitute consent and does not preclude a determination that sexual harassment occurred.

At any time prior to or during an investigation, the respondent may accept responsibility for some or all of the alleged violations. The matter will then proceed to the sanctioning phase and any appeal of the sanctioning decision.

The investigator(s) will prepare a report summarizing the interviews conducted and the evidence reviewed. The investigative report must fairly summarize relevant evidence, and, at least 10 days prior to a hearing (if a hearing is required) or other time of determination regarding responsibility, send to each party and the party’s advisor, if any, the investigative report in an electronic format or a hard copy, for their review and written response.

If, after investigation, it is found that the conduct alleged in the formal complaint would not constitute sexual harassment as defined under Title IX even if proved, did not occur in the University’s education program or activity, or did not occur against a person in the United States, then the University will dismiss the formal complaint with regard to that conduct for purposes of sexual harassment under Title IX. This does not preclude action under another provision of University policy, including, but not limited to, the USAHS Code of Conduct, Title VII, and/or other disciplinary/investigatory proceedings.

The University will also dismiss a complaint if: a complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein; the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by USAHS; or specific circumstances prevent USAHS from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein. Written notice will be provided to the parties regarding the dismissal.

Informal Resolution

If the complainant and respondent agree, certain cases may be resolved informally, including through mediation in appropriate cases, following the filing of a formal complaint. If the parties agree to an informal resolution process, the University must provide to the parties a written notice which:

  1. Discloses the allegations, the requirements of the informal resolution process including the circumstances under which it precludes the parties from resuming a formal complaint arising from the same allegations, provided, however, that at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the grievance process with respect to the formal complaint, and any consequences resulting from participating in the informal resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared
  2. Obtains the parties’ voluntary, written consent to the informal resolution process; and
  3. Does not offer or facilitate an informal resolution process to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student. Cases involving allegations of sexual assault may not be suitable for mediation. The Title IX Coordinator may also determine that informal resolution is not appropriate based on the facts and circumstances of the particular case. All informal resolutions will be conducted or overseen by the Title IX Coordinator or designee. Under no circumstances will a complainant be required to resolve a matter directly with the respondent.

If both parties are satisfied with a proposed informal resolution, and the Title IX Coordinator considers the resolution to satisfy USAHS’s obligations to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment, the resolution will be implemented and the informal resolution process will be concluded. If informal resolution does not resolve the matter, the grievance process will resume. At any point in the process, either the complainant or the respondent may elect to end the informal process in favor of proceeding with the formal grievance process. Further, no statements made during the course of informal resolution can be used or disclosed during the formal grievance process, should it proceed.

Hearing

Unless all parties agree to an informal resolution, the University will conduct a live hearing as part of its investigation. The investigator(s) will make all such evidence subject to the parties’ inspection and review available at any hearing to give each party equal opportunity to refer to such evidence during the hearing, including for purposes of cross-examination. Credibility determinations will not be based upon a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness. The University will not require, allow, rely upon, or otherwise use questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege, unless the person holding such privilege has waived the privilege. At the live hearing, the decision-maker(s) must permit each party’s advisor to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. Such cross-examination at the live hearing must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor of choice and never by a party personally, notwithstanding the discretion of the University under Title IX to otherwise restrict the extent to which advisors may participate in the proceedings. At the request of either party, the University must provide for the live hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the decision-maker(s) and parties to simultaneously see and hear the party or the witness answering questions. Only relevant cross-examination and other questions may be asked of a party or witness. Before a complainant, respondent, or witness answers a cross-examination or other question, the decision-maker(s) must first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant. If a party does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, the University must provide, without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of the University’s choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party.

Questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent. A decision-maker may rely on any statement of a party or witness, regardless of whether the party/witness submits to cross-examination, in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. Live hearings may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location or, at the University’s discretion, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the live hearing virtually, with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other. The University must create an audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript, of any live hearing and make it available to the parties for inspection and review.

4. Determination Regarding Responsibility

The decision-maker(s), who cannot be the same person(s) as the Title IX Coordinator or the investigator(s), must issue a written determination regarding responsibility. To reach this determination, the University must apply the preponderance of evidence standard. The written determination must include:

  1. Identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment;
  2. A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
  3. Findings of fact supporting the determination;
  4. Conclusions regarding the application of the University’s Code of Conduct to the facts;
  5. A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions the University imposes on the respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity will be provided by the University to the complainant; and
  6. The University’s procedures and permissible bases for the complainant and respondent to appeal.

If the decision-maker(s) determines that a violation of University Policy has or may have occurred, he/she will determine an appropriate resolution, including remedial and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination of the employee, expulsion or suspension of a student, or other reasonable disciplinary sanctions.

The decision-maker(s) shall provide both parties with written notice of its findings and the reasons for such findings simultaneously. The decision-maker(s) shall use the preponderance of evidence standard in making his or her findings. If a violation of this Policy is found, the notice shall provide the sanctions to the respondent and to the complainant, as appropriate under Title IX. The notice shall set forth either party’s right to appeal, the identity of the Appeal Officer, and the process and time limit for such an appeal. The determination regarding responsibility becomes final either on the date that the University provides the parties with the written determination of the result of the appeal, if an appeal is filed, or if an appeal is not filed, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely.

In addition to discipline against the respondent, resolutions may include remedies for the complainant, which may include steps such as reassignment of a course section or residency, counseling services, medical services, academic support services, or changes to the school’s overall services or policies, including altering withdrawal penalties within courses. Any remedies offered would be separate from, and in addition to, any protective or supportive measure that may have been provided prior to the conclusion of any investigation. Resolutions may also include remedies for the broader University population, such as training or changes to policies or services.

5. Student Amnesty Policy and Bystander Intervention

USAHS encourages the reporting of sexual harassment. Sometimes, students may be reluctant to come forward and report an incident of sexual harassment, or serve as a witness, because they are concerned that they may be charged with violating other campus polices, such as USAHS’s alcohol or drug policy. In order to encourage reporting of sexual harassment, students who report an incident of sexual harassment, or who serve as witnesses to an incident of sexual harassment, will not face disciplinary sanctions for violations of the student conduct code at or near the time of the incident as long as any such violations did not place the health or safety of any other person at risk, or involve plagiarism, cheating, or academic dishonesty.

6. Appeals

Both parties have the right to appeal a determination regarding responsibility or the University’s dismissal of a formal complaint, or any allegations therein, on the following bases:

  1. Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
  2. Evidence didn’t support sanction(s) imposed;
  3. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
  4. The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.

The University will:

  1. Notify the other party in writing when an appeal is filed and implement appeal procedures equally for both parties;
  2. Ensure that the decision-maker(s) for the appeal is not the same person as the decision-maker(s) that reached the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal, the investigator(s), or the Title IX Coordinator;
  3. Ensure that the decision-maker(s) for the appeal complies with the standards set forth in Title IX;
  4. Give both parties a reasonable, equal opportunity to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the outcome;
  5. Issue a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result; and
  6. Provide the written decision simultaneously to both parties.

The University may offer an appeal equally to both parties on additional bases. Appeals for sexual harassment complaints involving non-student employee respondents will be governed by the procedures in University personnel policies or Faculty Handbook, as well as Title IX, as applicable. If any right of appeal is granted through those policies, both the complainant and the respondent shall have equal rights of appeal.

Any appeal must be filed in writing within five (5) days from the receipt of the notice of resolution. The University will determine the appropriate individual in University leadership to hear any appeal (“Appeal Officer”), depending on the circumstances of the case, including the identity of the respondent. There is a presumption that the decision, and any sanction or discipline, was made properly, and the Appeal Officer may not substitute his or her judgment for that of the decision-maker.

The Appeal Officer shall give both parties timely notice of the receipt of an appeal. Both parties shall be provided the opportunity to make a written submission to the Appeal Officer. The Appeal Officer shall be limited to the record, including any information that was part of the investigation or the resolution hearing. The Appeal Officer shall not conduct another hearing but may conduct interviews with the complainant, respondent, or witnesses in his or her discretion. The party appealing shall have the burden of proof in any appeal. The Appeal Officer shall use the preponderance of evidence standard in the determination of any appeal.

The Appeal Officer shall give written notice to both parties of the outcome of the appeal and the reasons for his or her decision. The decision of the Appeal Officer is final.7. 

7. Additional Information

Time Frames for Process: While each situation is different and there can be no way to determine how long an investigation will take, the Title IX Coordinator shall use her best efforts to reach resolution within a reasonable timeframe not to exceed 60 days, exclusive of any appeals, from the time the complaint is reported to notice of resolution, unless good cause is shown for an extension. The complainant and respondent will be provided with written notice if there is good cause to extend resolution time frame and the reasons for the extension. Good cause may include considerations such as the absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity, or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities;

Sources of Counseling, Advocacy, and Support: Victims of Sexual Harassment can receive assistance immediately by calling the local police department (911, if an emergency) and local counseling resources listed by campus below. In partnership with ComPsych (a Student Assistance Program provider), USAHS offers free counseling services and online resources whenever and wherever needed. Students (and members of the student’s household) may call 844-819-4777 (toll free) and be connected to free and confidential highly trained master’s or doctoral level clinicians via phone. Students and household members also have unlimited access to https://www.guidanceresources.com/groWeb/login/login.xhtml. Students will need to use “USAHS” as the Web ID to create a free account.  USAHS employees may contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) by contacting 1-844-819-4777 or online at www.guidanceresources.com (Organization Web ID: USAEAP). EAP is a free, “Confidential Resource” at USAHS, which means that all conversations will remain confidential and will not initiate any type of investigation into the incident. Sexual assault reports must be made by contacting the University’s Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators, who are the appropriate University Officials for receiving reports of sexual assault. USAHS students can contact the following off-campus resources for counseling services: The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). For students at the USAHS Florida Campuses: The Betty Griffin Center 24-hour crisis hotlines, Telephone: (904) 824-1555. For students at the USAHS California Campus: North County Family Violence Center Prevention Services, 330 Rancheros Dr. San Marcos, CA, Telephone: (760) 798-2835. For students at the USAHS Austin, Texas Campus: Victim Services Resources: 24-hour crisis hotlines, Telephone: (512) 472-4357. For students at the USAHS Dallas, Texas Campus: Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (DARC-C), Telephone: (972) 641-7273.

Accessibility & Accommodations

USAHS is committed to and embraces diversity in all forms. The Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility can help if a student requires an accommodation during his or her coursework or clinical site because of a disability, religion, pregnancy, or breastfeeding status. Students seeking an accommodation should follow the steps outlined below and submit such request as soon as reasonably practicable.

Disability Accommodations

In accordance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), USAHS is dedicated to providing reasonable accommodations to any student with a disability. The University has developed a list of essential functions that a student should possess in order to successfully complete some programs. This list is provided to prospective students as part of the application packet and to newly admitted students as part of the acceptance process. Each student must endorse that he or she has reviewed and understands the list of essential functions.

To request a reasonable accommodation, a student must complete the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form available through MyUSA, Student Services tab, Disability Services link. Students should submit the completed form and appropriate documentation to [email protected] as early as possible. A delay in submitting the request may result in not having approved accommodations for their assignments or other academic requirements. The Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility will review the request and inform the student in writing of the decision. The student will be notified of the accommodations being provided and will be responsible for notifying his or her instructor(s) of the approved accommodations. Students enrolled in a program that has a clinical component (i.e., MS-SLP, MOT, OTD, and DPT programs) should be aware that the clinical environment may have different requirements than the academic environment. As such, students wishing to request accommodations for the clinical portion of the program must submit an additional accommodation request and follow the process outlined above.

Faculty are to adhere to the approved accommodations and are encouraged to seek clarification from the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility should there be a question or concern about providing the accommodations. Should a student request something different than the approved accommodations, he or she should contact Disability Services via [email protected]. Faculty members, Advisors and/or Program Directors are unable to alter the approved accommodations.

Religious Accommodations

USAHS is committed to providing an academic and work environment that is respectful of the religious beliefs of its students. As part of this commitment, USAHS will make good faith efforts to provide reasonable religious accommodations to students whose sincerely held religious beliefs conflict with a University policy, procedure, or other academic requirements unless such an accommodation would create an undue hardship. To request an accommodation, a student must complete the Religious Accommodation Request Form available through MyUSA.

Pregnancy Accommodations

USAHS is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive environment for pregnant and parenting students. Students may request reasonable accommodations because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. Reasonable accommodations vary based on the student’s circumstances, but may include academic accommodations, leave of absence or flexibility (such as breaks during class, excused absences, rescheduling of tests, and alternatives to make up missed work).

In addition, USAHS supports students who choose to continue breastfeeding their children after they return to campus. USAHS shall provide clean, private rooms that are easily accessible to nursing students. All designated lactation spaces shall be equipped with a table, chair, electrical outlet, window coverings (as needed), and lock from inside. Students planning to breastfeed should do so around their scheduled class times to the extent possible.

Students who wish to discuss or request accommodations based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions should complete a Pregnancy Accommodation Request Form available through MyUSA.

Pets and Service Animals

USAHS prohibits bringing a pet (a domestic animal kept for pleasure or companionship) to campus or having a pet in USAHS controlled buildings and premises, with the exception of service animals providing ADA reasonable accommodations for a person with disabilities. As established by the ADA, service animals may not be excluded from University facilities or activities except as provided below. Students requiring a service animal may experience limitations in the number of clinical sites available to them and their desired geographic location.

Definition of Service Animal

The ADA defines a service animal as follows:

“… any … animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.”

Under the ADA, service animals are limited to dogs and other animals that are approved and recognized that meet specific federal and/or state criteria. A service animal must be specifically trained to perform a service function to work on campus for the benefit of an individual with a disability. If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government or a training program. Companion or therapy animals are not considered service animals and are not allowed unless otherwise required by law.

Service animals whose behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or is disruptive to the campus community may be excluded regardless of training or certification. Students who utilize a service animal must submit a Reasonable Accommodation Request Form available through MyUSA.

Responsibility of Service Animal Owner/Partner

The service animal’s owner/partner is at all times solely responsible for the cost of care, arrangements, any responsibilities connected to the well-being of a service animal, and any property damage caused by the service animal. Students with off-campus internships, clinical labs, service-learning opportunities, or other University-related activities must abide by the service animal policy at the off-campus entity.

Requirements of service animals and their owners/partners on campus include the following:

  • Animals must meet all public place requirements as mandated by state or local ordinances.
  • All animals need to be immunized against rabies and other diseases common to that type of animal.
  • All vaccinations must be current.
  • Animals must wear a rabies vaccination tag.
  • All animals must be licensed per state law.
  • Service animals must wear an owner identification tag which always includes the name and phone number of the owner.
  • The owner/partner must follow local ordinances in cleaning up after the animal defecates; individuals with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own service animal are not required to pick up and dispose of feces.
  • Animals must be in good health.
  • Animals must be on a leash, harness, or another type of restraint always unless the owner/partner is unable to retain an animal on leash due to a disability.
  • The owner/partner must always be in full control of the animal; the care and supervision of the animal is solely the responsibility of the owner/partner.
  • The removal of service animals may be requested in certain situations, including if a service animal:
    • is unruly or disruptive (e.g., barking, running around, bringing attention to itself),
    • threatens the health or safety of another individual,
    • displays signs of illness, or
    • is unclean, malodorous, and/or bedraggled.

If improper behavior happens repeatedly or if owners/partners are noncompliant with requirements, they may be told not to bring the service animal into any facility until they take significant steps to mitigate violations. The University is not liable if the service animal causes harm to the University or an individual.

Areas Off-Limits to Service Animals

To ensure safety there may be areas on the campus that are off-limits to service animals. The natural organisms carried by dogs and other animals may negatively affect the outcome of the research. At the same time, the chemicals and/or organisms used in the research may be harmful to service animals. Areas such as research laboratories, mechanical rooms, custodial closets, and areas that require protective clothing may be restricted. Final decisions regarding restricted areas will be made based on the nature of research or machinery and in the best interest of the animal. Exceptions to determinations may be made by a Dean or the Dean’s designee. The natural organisms carried by dogs and other animals may negatively affect the outcome of the research. At the same time, the chemicals and/or organisms used in the research may be harmful to service animals.

Anti-Retaliation

USAHS prohibits retaliation against students for requesting an accommodation or otherwise engaging in protected conduct under these policies. If a student feels he or she has been discriminated or retaliated against, the student should follow the complaints process outlined in this publication.

Student Rights

All students enrolled at the University are accorded the basic rights as set forth by the Board of Directors. Student rights are as follows:

  • The right of respect for personal feelings.
  • The right to freedom from indignity of any type.
  • The right to an educational experience free from discrimination.
  • The right to expect an education of the highest quality.
  • The right to make the best use of one’s talents and time toward the objectives that brought him or her to the University.
  • The right to inquire about and to recommend improvements in policies, regulations, and procedures affecting the welfare of students.
  • The right for students and/or their representatives to meet with the appropriate Program Director, Chair, Dean, and the President.
  • The right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as defined by the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the states of Florida, California, or Texas.
  • The right to participate in dialog during public discussions that provide a diversity of opinion.
  • The right to join organizations for educational, political, social, religious, and cultural purposes within the limits imposed by their responsibilities to each other and to the student life of the University.
  • The right of due process.
  • The right to freedom of the press and media (newspaper, radio, television, etc.) to publish and distribute materials will be granted when identified by authorship and sponsorship.

Student Responsibilities

The University expects its students to be responsible for helping to maintain a healthy academic climate where students can grow and develop as mature individuals with a commitment to lifelong learning. Student responsibilities include the following:

  • The responsibility of assuming the consequences of one’s own actions and of avoiding conduct detrimental to fellow students and University employees.
  • The responsibility of taking the initiative to volunteer for service on committees.
  • The responsibility for ensuring that the essential order of the University is maintained.
  • The responsibility for academic work and clinical education requirements.
  • The responsibility to be fully acquainted with and to adhere to the University’s Catalog/Handbook and other published policies and procedures.
  • The responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect and to support a learning environment free from discrimination.

Compliance with University Regulations

USAHS seeks resolution of all issues through the process of reason and expects all members of the University community to be governed by this principle. However, should a student, faculty member, staff member, visitor, invited guest, or other licensee, acting individually or collectively, while on University property engage in violence, destruction of property, or any act that disrupts or interferes with the functioning of the University or disturbs the academic processes of the classroom and ignore or refuse to comply with official directives to desist, the University shall eject said violator from the campus or other University property. In addition, the University may seek to impose such penalties as provided by law. Where circumstances require, USAHS may employ injunctive procedures or call on the civil authority to maintain order. University students, faculty, or staff engaged in such acts are subject to immediate suspension and a subsequent hearing, which may lead to expulsion or dismissal.

Complaints Policy

USAHS is committed to providing a learning and working environment in which complaints are addressed fairly and resolved promptly. All complaints are taken seriously. The procedure for handling complaints from current students encourages informal conciliation, facilitates early resolution, and maintains individual privacy and confidentiality. 

Students are encouraged to address concerns or complaints promptly, generally within five business days of the date of the incident or occurrence that has given rise to the concern or complaint. USAHS endeavors to resolve all concerns and complaints; however, delayed reports of a concern or complaint may make the matter harder to investigate and resolve.

Students may utilize the complaint policy below to address concerns that occur within the University including but not limited to the following: 

  • seeking clarifications in policies, regulations, and procedures;
  • reporting an incident(s) of discrimination or bias; and
  • notifying the University of technology or facility concerns.

Please note: Complaints regarding the sexual misconduct policy should be referred to the Title IX Coordinator. Complaints related to academic dismissals, professional misconduct, or another policy with an established review or appeal process should follow those procedures as outlined in this publication.

Open Door

Students are encouraged to use the Open Door policy and address issues directly with faculty and staff, before filing a formal complaint. Open communication between students, faculty, and staff is strongly encouraged, and students are free to speak directly with all members of the USAHS community regarding any complaints or concerns that they have. Additionally, the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility is available to discuss and assist with any concerns or complaints.

Conflict Resolution Assistance

Students may seek conflict resolution assistance from the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility. Assistance may be a simple clarification of a University policy or information regarding options for resolving the conflict. The Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility may assist by arranging a face-to-face meeting with the other individual involved in the conflict, if possible and appropriate under the circumstances. In all cases, USAHS will try to secure a mutually agreeable solution to any situation.

Formal Complaint Process

While students are encouraged to use the Open Door policy described above, students may also use USAHS’ Formal Complaint Process, described in this section, to resolve a complaint.

Step 1: The Formal Complaint Process requires students to complete the Student Complaint Form located on the MyUSA portal, which will be submitted to the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility. The Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility will direct the complaint to the responsible party to investigate and attempt to resolve the complaint. A written summary of any resolution reached will be provided to the student by the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility, generally within 10 business days after receipt of the written complaint.
Step 2: Students may appeal a Step 1 decision, in writing, to the Grievance Committee by completing the Grievance Form within five business days after the Step 1 response was issued to the student. The Grievance Committee will investigate the complaint and give the student an opportunity to discuss the complaint. The Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility will seek to provide the student with a written response from the Grievance Committee within 60 business days.
Step 3: The student may request a reconsideration of the Grievance Committee’s decision, in writing, to [email protected] within five business days after the Step 2 response was issued to him or her. Requests for reconsideration will be forwarded to the President or their designee. In most cases, a Dean will serve as the designee for the President. For purposes of a request for reconsideration, the President or designee will review the existing record from the previous investigations. The Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility will provide the student with a written response to the request for reconsideration at the conclusion of the process.

Confidentiality

All information submitted as part of a student complaint will be treated as confidential and will be available only to the appropriate/involved parties. The student should also respect the need for confidentiality throughout the complaint process. A student who submits a complaint should be aware that complete confidentiality cannot always be guaranteed if effective action is to be taken. USAHS accepts and endeavors to resolve anonymous complaints; however, anonymous complaints may make the matter harder to investigate and resolve.

No Retaliation

No adverse action will be taken against a student as the result of the submission of a complaint through the USAHS complaint procedure. This protection against retaliation shall apply even if the findings of an investigation do not support the nature of the report, so long as the report was filed in good faith; however, students who knowingly file misleading or false reports or without a reasonable belief as to truth or accuracy, will not be protected by this policy.

Unresolved Complaints

If a complaint cannot be resolved after following the procedures above, the following agencies can be contacted directly. This information will be posted and kept current on the University website.

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
    • Complaints may be filed with the University’s institutional accrediting body by contacting the WSCUC at http://www.wascsenior.org/comments and reviewing the Policy on Complaints and Third-Party Comments to ascertain the appropriate means to communicate comments and complaints.
  • Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
    • To submit a complaint against the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, contact the APTA Accreditation Department at 703-706-3245 or at [email protected] to obtain the necessary materials for complaint submission.

  • American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
  • Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
    • In addition to opportunities for providing public comment regarding a program’s accreditation status, the CAA has separate procedures for filing a formal complaint about a CAA-accredited program or one seeking a CAA accreditation status. Individuals who wish to file a formal complaint should contact the Accreditation Office to obtain a copy of the complaint procedures, or refer to the Procedures for Complaints Against Graduate Education Programs on the CAA website.
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Complaints may be directed to the CCNE Complaints Administrator and sent to the CCNE office at 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001
  • Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant
    • Complaints may be directed to 12000 Findley Road, Suite 275, Johns Creek, GA 30097.
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • In California
  • In Florida
    • For information on the Commission for Independent Education’s complaint process go to http://www.fldoe.org/policy/cie/file-a-complaint.stml or contact the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of Education at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 32399, (toll-free number) 888-224-6684.
  • In Texas

Additional States

USAHS has taken the necessary steps to apply and/or receive authorization to deliver education, to market, and to affiliate with clinical education sites in most states.

Appeal Process

Students have the right to appeal to the appropriate University committee and should refer to the Professional Misconduct and Academic Evaluation and Right of Appeal  policies for information on appeal processes.

Student Code of Conduct

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, which upholds the integrity of their profession and the University.

Admittance to USAHS carries with it an obligation and responsibility to abide by federal, state, and local laws, respective county and city ordinances, as well as all University rules, regulations, and procedures. Admission to the University is a privilege, not a right, and is extended to those individuals who meet all admission criteria. All students, faculty, guests, patients, and staff of the University have a responsibility to report violations of the Student Code of Conduct to the appropriate officials. As a student, you will be asked to read and acknowledge this as part of the enrollment process.

The following behaviors are to be adhered to at all times while on University property or using University facilities or when associated with the University in any manner:

  • The University is a tobacco and e-cigarette free, drug-free, and alcohol-free environment; therefore, no smoking or being under the influence of banned substances or intoxicants is permitted.
  • The use of profane, vulgar, or discriminatory language is not acceptable.
  • Weapons are not permitted per the Prohibited Weapons Policy .
  • Violence, or the threat of violence in any form, is not tolerated.
  • Sexual or other forms of harassment will not be tolerated.
  • The Internet Acceptable Use Policy must be adhered to at all times.
  • It is expected that students will:
    • conduct themselves with professionalism, courtesy, and respect for others in all dealings with institution staff, faculty, and other students;
    • present qualifications and background truthfully and accurately for admission and other academic-related documentation to the institution;
    • observe the institutional policies and rules on submitting work, taking examinations, participating in online discussions, and conducting research;
    • never turn in or present another person’s work or ideas or scholarship as one’s own;
    • never ask for, receive, or give unauthorized help on graded assignments, quizzes, or examinations;
    • never divulge the content of or answers to quizzes or examinations to fellow students;
    • never improperly use, destroy, forge, or alter the institution’s documents, transcripts, or other records; and
    • never divulge one’s online username and password.

The following interpersonal behaviors are expected at all times:

Of paramount concern is that students and graduates of the University display and present a positive and respectful attitude to their patients/clients, colleagues, supervisors, faculty, staff, community, and to the University. This attitude is a key ingredient to the successful completion of studies at the University and to excel as healthcare professionals. Students will endeavor at all times to

  • utilize titles and surnames when addressing authorized University personnel;
  • respect the worth and individuality of every person (e.g., listen/pay attention while others are speaking and promote constructive feedback);
  • refrain from disruptive and/or discriminatory behavior;
  • refrain from proselytization (proselytization is defined as aggressively and/or harassingly trying to convert, recruit, or induce someone to join one’s own political cause or to espouse one’s own doctrine); and
  • respect confidentiality.

Always report any violations of the Code of Conduct to the appropriate institutional official, and report any evidence of cheating, plagiarism, or improper conduct on the part of any student of the institution when there is direct knowledge of these activities. Failure to observe the Student Code of Conduct is professionally unacceptable and could negatively impact academic progression.

Classroom and Laboratory Conduct and Standards

Students are expected to arrive at lectures and lab sessions on time with the appropriate clothing and equipment, behave in a respectful manner, and adhere to all policies within this document and the course syllabus. The following behaviors are also expected in all lectures and lab sessions:

  • No food or drinks (except in spill-proof containers) are permitted in the lecture or lab areas. Gum chewing is allowed only during written examinations. No bubbles may be blown.
  • Students are expected to assist the instructors in the organization of equipment before and after the lab activity.
  • Students will operate lab equipment in a safe and respectful manner.
  • Shoes may not be worn while on the lab tables or mats.

Flex courses may include labs for learning hands-on skills. Lab sessions are typically scheduled for Saturday and Sunday; however, some PT coursework requires weekday attendance. Students are notified of the lab schedule for the next trimester approximately two months before the start of the trimester.

Professional Dress and Appearance Code

USAHS students are highly visible to the public and should be sensitive to this fact. The following guidelines will be interpreted and enforced in a manner determined by the faculty and administration to be in the best interest of both the University and the health sciences professions. Further, the University is free to change these guidelines without prior notice to students, although every effort will be made to provide such notice.

It is intended that daily appearance on campus be analogous to the daily appearance of a health professional in the future and as an ambassador for the University and profession. A high level of professionalism comes naturally when practiced at a high level daily.

Students must abide by the following policies regarding professional dress and appearance while on the University campus. The University’s campus consists of the entire physical plant, which includes the student parking lot, faculty and staff parking lots, all classrooms, laboratories, lounges, hallways, lobbies, and libraries. The University is a seven-day-a-week campus and a professional environment. This dress code is in effect during scheduled classroom and lab hours.

  • University ID: The University ID must be properly exposed above the waist on the front collar or on a lanyard at all times.
  • Grooming: Students will portray the well-groomed appearance of a responsible health professional. Hair will be clean, neat, of natural color, and will not be excessively long. Nails must be groomed to ¼-inch or less. Students must be cleanly shaven or well-groomed; beards or mustaches are acceptable. No heavy makeup, perfume, cologne, or aftershave.
  • Accessories, jewelry, body piercings, and tattoos: All accessories and jewelry shall be free of writing, pictures, symbols, or any other insignia that are crude, vulgar, profane, obscene, libelous, slanderous, or sexually suggestive. Any accessory or jewelry that creates a safety or health concern or causes or threatens to cause a disruption to the educational process is prohibited. Body piercing jewelry other than lobe earrings is prohibited on campus. A maximum of two earrings per lobe is permitted. Dark glasses, sunglasses, hats, caps, visors, and other head coverings except those worn for religious or cultural purposes shall not be worn indoors. No tattoos may be visible.
  • Swimsuits: Recreational and instructional swimsuit attire must not be disruptive or distracting. Option 1: one-piece swimsuits. Option 2: mid-thigh swimsuits/shorts. All swimsuits must remain nontransparent when wet and must fully cover the chest and buttocks. A person wearing inappropriate swimsuit attire will be required to wear shorts and a shirt. 

All students must maintain high standards as individuals in order to uphold the reputation of the University and professions. Being neatly dressed, well-groomed, and avoiding faddish modes of dress is required. It is University policy that students maintain University dress code while on the University’s campus or while participating in any coursework outside the University’s campus. The following outlines the required Professional Dress and Appearance Code for scheduled events.

Lecture Attire

  • Acceptable Attire
    • Example 1: Only collared shirts (e.g., button-down oxford or polo shirt) are permitted. Shirts must be of a length that can be tucked into and remain in the pants. Dress or walking shorts (i.e, just above the knee) or casual dress pants are preferred. Jeans are acceptable provided they are in good condition. Dress sandals (e.g., Teva or Birkenstocks), clean tennis or running shoes, or any other closed-toed shoe.
    • Example 2: Shirts with sleeves; however, a professional-looking, sleeveless blouse is acceptable. Shirts must be of a length that can be tucked into and remain in the pants. Dress or walking shorts (i.e., just above the knee) or casual dress pants are preferred. Jeans are acceptable provided they are in good condition. Skirts and dresses may not be unreasonably short for a practicing health professional. Dress sandals, clean tennis or running shoes, or any other closed-toed shoe with socks/stockings are acceptable.
  • Unacceptable Attire
    • Shirts without collars (except blouses), T-shirts, tank tops, low-cut shirts, yoga, hip-hugger pants, grunge-look pants, bib overalls, and beach-casual or flip-flop sandals are not acceptable.
    • Underwear is not permitted to show outside or through the clothing. No exposure of midriffs, cleavage, or gluteal fold is permitted.

Guest Lecture Attire

On occasion, students are required to wear business attire on days when guest lecturers and/or others are visiting the University. Students may also be required to wear business attire when giving formal presentations or case presentations as a part of their coursework. Appropriate business attire includes a business suit including jacket, dress shirt, and a tie, or a blazer; dress pants with a dress shirt and tie; or a business suit (skirt or pants) including a jacket and blouse. Skirts may not be unreasonably short for a professional healthcare environment (i.e., skirt hems should be no higher than three inches from the top of the patella). Shoes are to be closed-toe and closed heel. Course instructors reserve the right to modify or further specify the required dress for guest lectures or presentations. Refer to individual course syllabi for further requirements.

Laboratory Attire

Certain labs require laboratory dress and some require special dress for physical assessment or manual techniques inducing perspiration or for the handling of special materials. Unless otherwise noted in the class syllabus, students may arrive on campus in laboratory attire if lab is their first scheduled class of the day. However, students must change from laboratory attire into lecture attire for the remainder of their scheduled classes. Students without lab as their first scheduled class must arrive on campus in lecture attire and change into laboratory attire immediately prior to a lab session.

Specifications for alternate lab attire as defined in the course syllabi are as follows:

  • Solid color gym shorts that allow for modesty and free movement and a plain, solid-colored T-shirt are acceptable. T-shirts should be devoid of any print or pictures with the exception of the official USAHS logo, which is permissible. T-shirts must be clean, properly sized, and be of a length that can be tucked into and remain in the pants. When T-shirts are approved for University-sponsored activities, students will be notified if they are also approved as lab wear.
  • Athletic shoes with socks are required.
  • Nails must be groomed to ¼-inch or less; no artificial nails.
  • Scrubs that include short- or long-sleeve tops and matching bottoms (pants or knee-length skirt) or a dress are acceptable for certain labs (e.g., Anatomy dissection and Neuroscience) as defined by class syllabi. 
  • For many labs a sports bra, halter-top, or bathing suit top that exposes the scapulae and can be unfastened at the back is needed.
  • Jean shorts, cargo-style, cutoffs, or bright neon shorts are not acceptable. Underwear is not permitted to show outside or through the clothing. No excessive exposure of midriffs, cleavage, or gluteal fold is permitted.

Students requiring medical or cultural allowances for certain policies, including for the Professional Dress and Appearance Code, must receive an approved accommodation as outlined in the Accessibility and Accommodations policy.

Clinical Affiliation Attire

Please refer to the Clinical Education Handbook.

Miami Campus Dress Code 

  • Acceptable Attire
    • Solid color polo-type shirts are permitted. Shirts must be tucked into and remain in the pants/shorts. A belt must be worn. Dress or walking shorts (chino-style and above the knee) or casual dress pants are required. Acceptable color for pants and shorts is brown, black and shades of brown and black. 
    • Clean tennis or running shoes or any other closed-toed shoe is acceptable. Socks are required and must be solid-colored and ankle length.​

Examples of acceptable colors of pants/shorts.

  • Unacceptable Attire
    • Shirts without collars (except blouses), T-shirts, tank tops, low-cut shirts, yoga, hip-hugger pants, grunge-look pants, bib overalls, and beach-casual or flip-flop sandals are not acceptable.
    • Underwear is not permitted to show outside or through the clothing. No exposure of midriffs, cleavage, or gluteal fold is permitted.
Guest Lecture Attire

On occasion, students are required to wear business attire on days when guest lecturers and/or others are visiting the University. Students may also be required to wear business attire when giving formal presentations or case presentations as a part of their coursework. Appropriate business attire includes a business suit with jacket, dress shirt, and a tie, or a blazer; dress pants with a dress shirt and tie; or a business suit (skirt or pants) with a jacket and blouse. Skirts may not be unreasonably short for a professional healthcare environment (i.e., skirt hems should be no higher than three inches from the top of the patella). Shoes are to be closed-toe and closed heel. Course instructors reserve the right to modify or further specify the required dress for guest lectures or presentations. Refer to individual course syllabi for further requirements.

Laboratory Attire

Certain labs require laboratory dress. These are scrubs. Scrubs for labs must be a solid color with matching tops and bottoms (i.e., rehab professional). Scrub dresses and skirts (below the knee) are permitted.

Alternate Lab Attire

Some labs require special dress for physical assessment or manual techniques inducing perspiration or for the handling of special materials. Students are required to change to and from lecture and laboratory attire immediately preceding and after laboratory class.

Specifications for alternate lab attire as defined in the course syllabi are as follows:

  • Above the knee gym shorts (2–6 inches above the knee) must be a solid color that allows for modesty and free movement and a plain, solid-color T-shirt are acceptable. T-shirts should be devoid of any print or pictures with the exception of the official USAHS logo, which is permissible. T-shirts must be clean, properly sized, and of a length that can be tucked into and remain in the pants.
  • When T-shirts are approved for University-sponsored activities, students will be notified if they are also approved as lab wear. Athletic shoes with ankle socks are required. Nails must be groomed to ¼-inch or less with neutral polish only (no artificial nails). 
  • Shoes must be clean tennis or running shoes; socks are required and must be solid-colored and ankle length. 
  • Jewelry must be removed.
  • For many exercises and manual therapy labs, women will be required to wear a sports bra, halter-top, or a bathing suit top that exposes the scapulae and may be unfastened at the back. Please note an appropriate T-shirt or polo shirt must be worn over this until asked to remove it.
  • Jean shorts, cutoffs, or bright neon shorts are not acceptable. Underwear is not permitted to show outside or through the clothing. No exposure of midriffs, cleavage, or gluteal fold is permitted.

Students requiring medical or cultural allowances for certain policies, including for the Professional Dress and Appearance Code, must receive an approved accommodation as outlined in the Accessibility and Accommodations policy.

Professional Misconduct

The following sections describe USAHS’ Professional Misconduct (PMC) Policy.

Reporting a Professional Misconduct Violation

A student, faculty member, or any other member of the community may submit a report related to a student’s professional misconduct. Reports for student misconduct should be submitted to [email protected] and will be routed to the Chair of the Professional Misconduct Committee, copying the appropriate Program Director. The Professional Misconduct Committee (PMC), which consists of faculty and staff selected from across the USAHS campuses, is vested with the authority to adjudicate all matters of student misconduct as outlined in this procedure.

All reports should be submitted as soon as possible after the offending event occurs, generally within five business days of the incident or occurrence that has given rise to the report. USAHS endeavors to review and investigate all professional misconduct reports; however, delayed reports may make the matter harder to investigate and result in delays to the timeline specified in this policy.

Misconduct Behaviors

Students who are found in violation of University policies, including but not limited to the Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity policies may be subject to disciplinary action. Although not inclusive, the following list of misconduct behaviors provides examples of acts that may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

Academic Dishonesty Behaviors may include but are not limited to:

  • Repeated Level One, such as lazy plagiarism or failure to cite.
  • Level Two, such as receiving assistance and failing to acknowledge or submitting the same work to satisfy the requirement of more than one course.
  • Level Three academic dishonesty, such as cheating, plagiarism, falsification of records, unauthorized possession of examinations or parts of examinations, intimidation, and any other actions that may affect the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement.

Note: Refer to the Academic Integrity Policy  for a definition of Level One, Level Two, and Level Three Academic Dishonesty violations.

Additional misconduct behaviors may include but are not limited to:

  • Disruption of teaching, research, administration, and disciplinary proceedings or other institutional activities.
  • Physical and/or mental abuse of any person or any form of harassment as defined under the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.
  • Failure to follow directives of authorized University personnel acting in the performance of their duties.
  • Destruction, misuse, damage, or defacement of any property of others or University property or property leased or controlled by the University whether intentional or by negligence.
  • Violence, hazing, or the threat of violence, including possession or use of firearms, fireworks, explosives, incendiary devices, or other weapons of any description, including knives, air rifles, and pistols, on the University campus.
  • Unauthorized participation in, agitation of, or instigation of any activity that interferes with ingress or egress from University facilities and/or that interrupts any activities of the University community in its normal functioning.
  • The use, possession, sale, or distribution of nonprescription and prescription-controlled substances.
  • Permitting or engaging in unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of keys, passwords, or access cards to any University premises, hardware, software, or services.
  • Any action without authorization from the University that modifies, destroys, discloses, or takes data, programs, or supporting documents residing in or relating in any way to a University computer, computer system, or computer network, or causes the denial of computer system service to an authorized user of such a system.
  • Repetitive violation of any University policy.
  • Commission of an act that would constitute a crime under federal, state, or local law.
  • Unprofessional behavior during any clinical education experience or any off-campus activity when representing the University.
  • Forgery or falsification of any document.
  • Providing false or misleading information
  • Violation of University policy.
  • Failure to complete or comply with PMC sanctions or an established Student Success Plan.

Faculty Role in Professional Misconduct Violations

Faculty may address instances of academic dishonesty as outlined in the Academic Integrity Policy . Additionally, faculty may also make a PMC referral for additional, repeated, or egregious incidences of academic or professional misconduct. Prior to making a referral, faculty may consult a co-chair of the PMC regarding misconduct concerns to determine appropriate course of action.

Student Success Plan

In lieu of a referral to the PMC, at the Program Director’s discretion, an incident of professional misconduct may result in the development of a Student Success Plan. Failure to follow through on a Student Success Plan by the date(s) specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in a conduct hold being placed on a student’s account or referral to the PMC. The Program Director or designee will track the completion of all requirements in cooperation with relevant parties and departments. Repeated or egregious incidences of professional misconduct should be reported to [email protected].

Interim Suspension

Students may be placed on an interim suspension by the CAO (or designee) when necessary in order to protect the health and safety of students or the community, preserve University property, pursue an investigation and/or hearing, protect academic integrity, or prevent disruption of or interference with the normal operations of the University. In such situations, the student will be placed on an interim suspension, pending a PMC hearing. If a PMC hearing cannot be scheduled within two weeks, the student may be placed on an administrative LOA. 

PMC Process

Notice of Hearing

Once a report is received, the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility will notify the student in writing of the allegations against him or her and the date and time of the PMC hearing. The Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility makes every attempt to schedule the PMC hearing and notify the student within five business days of receipt of the complaint. The hearing provides the student with an opportunity to respond and present his or her version of events, facts, and evidence in his or her defense.

PMC Hearing Procedure

  1. The committee co-chair will introduce each member of the committee to the student, providing the name, title, and campus of each member.
  2. The committee co-chair will review the general procedures for the meeting and answer any questions the student may have.
  3. The committee will direct questions to the student regarding the report of misconduct
  4. The student will provide truthful and full responses to the committee’s questions.
  5. The committee members may take written notes throughout the meeting.
  6. The student may present evidence that was not submitted with the PMC referral to the committee. Determinations as to the relevance of the evidence are at the discretion of the committee.

Confidentiality

The PMC hearing is a closed, confidential process. However, a student may bring a single advisor with him or her to the PMC hearing after completing a FERPA release form and notifying the committee three business days prior to the hearing. The notification must include the name of the advisor and his or her relationship to the student. The advisor is to be present for support purposes only and is not presenting on behalf of the student. The student will be the only person speaking to the committee on behalf of the student. An advisor who causes disruption to the process will be asked to leave the proceedings. Further, the student is not to bring outside witnesses to the meeting. Statements from outside witnesses can be submitted for the committee’s consideration as part of the review process.

Notice of Outcome

After reviewing all evidence and information regarding the allegation, the Professional Misconduct Committee will use the preponderance of evidence standards to determine responsibility and appropriate sanctions.

If the Professional Misconduct Committee finds that the facts do not support the allegation(s), the student will be found not responsible and notified of the outcome.

If the Professional Misconduct Committee finds the facts support the allegation(s) against the student, the student shall be found responsible, and the Professional Misconduct Committee will assign sanctions.

The PMC co-chair will notify the student, using the student’s University-issued email address, of the Committee’s decision through a formal decision letter. Additionally, the student’s Program Director and any parties involved in the completion and review of sanctions will also receive a copy of the decision letter. Decisions are not final until this letter is sent to the student. The PMC will seek to issue its decision within three business days after the hearing but may require additional time to render the decision.

Sanctions

Sanctions are determined based on the severity of the violation, past conduct history, and any aggravating or mitigating factors. One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed on any student for any single violation of University policy and/or rules. Sanctions include but are not limited to those outlined below.

Status Sanctions
  1. Warning: The student receives a written notice stating he or she violated University policy and/or rules. The written notice specifies that inappropriate and unacceptable actions have occurred and that more severe disciplinary action will result should the student be involved in other violations while the student is enrolled at the University.
  2. Suspension: The student is withdrawn from their program and separated from the University for a specified period. Upon satisfaction of the specified period and other specific conditions, the student is eligible to return under the University’s Reinstatement  process. Separation includes physical and electronic removal from the University. The Registrar’s Office withdraws the student from all classes for the specified term(s). The student is required to complete any unfinished classes during the term in which they return from suspension. During the suspension, students do not have access to Blackboard. Students who are suspended are marked as inactive, not eligible for a refund for incomplete courses, and should check with Financial Aid to determine whether their student loans will enter into repayment.
  3. Dismissal: The student is permanently separated from the University. The student is barred from being on campus and the student’s presence at any University-sponsored activity or event is prohibited. Separation includes physical and electronic removal from the University. The Registrar’s Office will withdraw the student from all classes for the term and access to Blackboard will be removed. Security will deactivate the student’s ID badge. Students who are dismissed are marked as inactive, not eligible for a refund for incomplete courses, and should check with Financial Aid to determine when their student loans will enter into repayment.
Educational Sanctions

The following Educational Actions can be assigned in addition to the issuance of a warning letter or suspension.

  1. Educational Program: Requirement to attend, present, and/or participate in a program related to the violation. It may also be a requirement to sponsor or assist with a program for others on campus to aid them in learning about a specific topic or issue related to the violation for which the student was found responsible.
  2. Community/University Service: Requirement for a student to complete a specific supervised University service.
  3. Behavioral: Includes required activities such as but not limited to seeking academic counseling, mental health counseling assessment, personal counseling, and writing a letter of apology.
  4. Research Projects: This includes required activities such as but not limited to writing papers or creating educational materials and bulletin boards.
Restrictive Sanctions

Restrictive sanctions modify a student’s privileges.

  1. Banning/Trespass: The student’s privilege to be present at or utilize certain buildings, facilities, classrooms, and the like are restricted. Temporary exceptions to banning/trespass for University-related business may be granted upon request.
  2. Eligibility Restriction: The student may be deemed ineligible to hold any office in any student organization recognized by the University or hold an elected or appointed office at the University, or the student may be deemed ineligible to represent the University to anyone outside the University community in any way including participating in the study abroad program, attending conferences, or representing the University at an official function, event or intercollegiate competition.
  3. Loss of Privileges: The student will be denied specified privileges for a designated period.
  4. Confiscation of Prohibited Property: Items whose presence is in violation of University policy will be confiscated and will become the property of the University. Prohibited items may be returned to the owner at the discretion of the Professional Misconduct Committee.
Restorative Sanction

These sanctions are intended to repair damage that is caused by misconduct.

  1. Apology: The student will compose an apology letter
  2. Restitution: Compensation for damage caused to the University or any person’s property. This is not a fine but, rather, a repayment for destroyed, damaged, consumed, or stolen property.
Failure to Follow Through on Conduct Sanctions

All students, as members of the University community, are expected to comply with conduct sanctions within the time frame specified by the PMC decision letter. Failure to follow through on conduct sanctions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in a conduct hold being placed on a student’s account or suspension from the University. The Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility will track the completion of all sanctions in cooperation with relevant parties and departments.

PMC Appeal Process

Right to Appeal

Any student may appeal a PMC decision to an Associate Dean if it meets any of the following criteria:

  1. The PMC failed to comply with the procedural requirements outlined herein and/or elsewhere in this Catalog/Handbook.
  2. There is relevant and material evidence that, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have been produced or was improperly excluded at the hearing before the PMC.
  3. The evidence presented at the PMC hearing was not enough to justify being found responsible for a policy violation.

Requesting an Appeal

To request an appeal, the student must provide to the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility a completed PMC Appeal Request Form (available by signing into MyUSA at https://my.usa.edu/ICS/Student_Services/PMC/) along with a written statement of the basis for his or her appeal within five business days from the date the decision letter is emailed to the student’s USAHS email address. If the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility has not received the completed form and written statement (email or letter is acceptable) within the specified time frame, the decision of the PMC will be final and no further appeals are available to the student. If an appeal is filed (and meets one of the three criteria above) the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility, within 10 business days, will forward to an Associate Dean or the Associate Dean’s designee the student’s completed PMC Appeal Request Form and written statement, along with copies of all materials provided to the PMC, and the written decisions of the PMC. However, if the appeal does not meet the standards outlined above, the student will be notified their request for appeal is denied. Please note if a student is suspended or dismissed, he or she will remain in that status and is not considered an enrolled student during the appeal period and is therefore not eligible for financial aid. Similarly, students who are suspended or dismissed will not be able to participate in clinical experiences while appeals are in progress. 

Role of the Associate Dean

Upon receipt of the PMC Appeal Request Form, the Associate Dean will review the students file and written statement. The Associate Dean is not required to meet with the student but may do so if there are questions regarding the evidence the student provided. The Associate Dean may meet with the PMC co-chair or committee if additional information or clarification is needed.

Decision of the Associate Dean

Upon receipt of the request for an appeal, the Associate Dean has the authority to uphold, overturn, or modify the decision of the Professional Misconduct Committee. The Associate Dean will seek to notify the student of his or her decision within five business days from receipt of the student’s appeal letter. The student will receive the decision letter from the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility via the student’s University-issued email address. Once a final appeal decision is rendered by the Associate Dean, the student does not have access to the appeal process for the same issue again. 

Request for Reconsideration to the Chief Academic Officer

Students may, under limited circumstances described below, make a request for reconsideration to the Chief Academic Officer (CAO). Requests for reconsideration of the decision of the Associate Dean must be made in writing by emailing the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility at [email protected] within five business days of the date of receipt of the Associate Dean’s decision letter. The request for reconsideration letter should be addressed to the CAO and should not be the same letter sent to the Associate Dean for the appeal. A request for reconsideration to the CAO will be granted only if sanctions include suspension or dismissal and the student can provide evidence that the Associate Dean did not follow the procedure as outlined in this policy. 

Role of the Chief Academic Officer

Upon receipt of the request for a reconsideration letter, the CAO will determine if reconsideration is warranted. The CAO is not rehearing the case and is not required to meet with the student. The CAO may meet with the Associate Dean and/or PMC co-chair to verify or clarify information. Once the CAO concludes his or her review, the Office of Student Welfare and Accessibility will notify the student of the CAO’s decision and method of resolution (if applicable). 

Academic Progression during the PMC Appeal Process

Students will have the option to continue in academic and co-curricular activities until a final determination is made, including any appeal, except where the immediate suspension is reasonably required for the safety and welfare of students, faculty, staff, or University property. However, if a student is suspended or dismissed by the PMC, he or she is not eligible to participate in clinical activities and will not be considered an enrolled student during the appeal period and is therefore not eligible for financial aid. 

Faculty/Staff-Student Relations

The University is concerned that faculty/staff-student consensual social, romantic, or sexual relationships may be perceived to negatively affect the integrity of the institution. Those who supervise or evaluate the work of students must be perceived to be making their decisions fairly and without favoritism.

Faculty and staff are cautioned that consensual social, romantic, or sexual relationships with students can prove to be unwise and problematic and must be avoided. When consensual relationships occur any of the following issues may arise:

  • Such relationships may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision provided and the particular trust inherent in the faculty/staff-student relationship.
  • Relationships in which one party is in a position to review work or influence the academic career of the other may provide grounds for a complaint when that relationship appears to give undue access or advantage, restricts opportunities, or creates a hostile or unacceptable environment for others.
  • Such relationships may, in fact, be less consensual than the individual whose position confers power believes. The relationship is likely to be perceived in different ways by each of the parties in it, especially in retrospect. While some relationships may begin and remain harmonious, they are susceptible to being characterized as unprofessional and disrespectful to others.

Additionally, any of the situations above have the potential to create charges of harassment, which could lead to legal problems for a faculty or staff member and the University. Therefore, faculty and staff must not engage in consensual romantic or sexual relationships with current students and will be subject to disciplinary action if found to be in contravention of this policy.

If a faculty or staff member has a preexisting consensual social, romantic, or sexual relationship with a student, the faculty or staff member must immediately notify his or her supervisor and the HR campus manager and in direct collaboration with their Program Director or supervisor, remove him- or herself from decisions concerning the student.

Faculty and staff must be cognizant that the professional relationship with students extends to off-campus interactions, including conference or seminar attendance and other social gatherings.

Teach-Out for Degree Programs

If the University decides to halt enrollments in a program, the University is obligated to develop a plan to teach-out the remaining students in the program. If that occurs, the students will receive timely and complete information regarding individual course plans and a timeline for degree completion.