In instances when a student's physical/emotional or mental health may be considered life threatening, the College will require that a student be evaluated by a physician or other appropriate medical personnel.
If the student refuses to be evaluated, the student will not be allowed to remain on campus. This includes living in residence and/or attending classes. The student's parent/guardian/emergency contact person will be notified that the student is in a potentially dangerous situation.
College Response to Endangering Behavior/ Involuntary Leaves of Absence
Simmons College is committed to the safety and well-being of its community members and to the integrity of the living and learning environment. Our goals therefore are to maintain the health and safety of each individual in our community and to enable all enrolled students to participate fully in the life of the College. We recognize that from time to time, students may take a voluntary leave of absence from their studies as a result of medical or mental health issues or other personal matters that compromise their ability to continue in an academic program. However, in instances in which a student whose mental/emotional or medical health condition poses a threat to themselves and/or others, or cause significant disruption to the educational activities of the College community and they have not taken a voluntary leave, such students may be required to take a leave of absence from the College.
In such circumstances, the Dean for Student Life or designee may require a student to undergo a psychological and/or medical evaluation in order to make an informed assessment regarding the student's fitness for college life at that time. This evaluation can be conducted by a member of the College's clinical staff, or by a student's external health care provider who is providing ongoing healthcare to the student. If an external provider is used, the student will be required to sign a release giving permission to the College's designated clinical personnel to speak with her/his evaluating health care provider and to allow for the release of any relevant medical reports as part of the evaluation process.
If the student chooses not to submit to an evaluation or to allow for a release of information following an evaluation, this may result in a required leave of absence and if applicable, an immediate removal from the residence halls. If, following the evaluation, a leave is deemed unnecessary the Dean for Student Life or designee may impose other conditions and/or requirements which the student would be required to comply with as a condition of continued enrollment at the College.
Examples of behaviors that may necessitate such an evaluation include but are not limited to:
- unresolved, ongoing or serious suicidal threats, or behavior indicating a student's inability to care for oneself
- disordered eating including self-starvation, binging or purging which may be life-threatening in nature and/or adversely affects the surrounding community
- evidence of chronic and/or serious alcohol or drug involvement
- serious threats made to others or articulating serious threats to others within or external to the Simmons community
- instances in which a student engages in inappropriate behavior where a contributing factor is failure to follow a prescribed medical or psychological treatment plan, which may include a prescription regime
- instances of inappropriate behavior that cause a chronic, inordinate use of college resources, including but not limited to staff time, psychological services, medical services, and/or emergency services, thereby causing an undue burden to the College
In instances when an involuntary leave is considered, wherever possible the College will encourage the student to take a voluntary leave of absence, thereby aiding in the preservation of the student's privacy and confidentiality. In any instance in which a leave is required, the Associate Dean for Student Life or designee will provide written notice to the student, including the specific requirements that must be met as a condition of eligibility for re-enrollment. In most instances, the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the student will be included in this notice. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss the need for a voluntary or involuntary leave with their parent(s) or guardian(s) prior to and during the leave process.
The duration of the leave is typically no fewer than two semesters, although the specific length of the leave will be determined by the Associate Dean or designee on a case-by-case basis. When a student takes a leave before the end of a semester, whether voluntary or involuntary, Simmons' usual tuition and residence hall refund schedule applies.
Policy for Return to College for Students Hospitalized for Mental Health Reasons
Simmons College students who are not on leave and have been hospitalized for mental health reasons are required to have a clearance interview with the consulting psychiatrist for the College Counseling Center, prior to their return to the College. They are also required to sign an authorization form that enables the hospital or treatment facility to release information necessary for the clearance interview. Following the interview, the consulting psychiatrist will make a recommendation to the Associate Dean for Student Life or designee regarding the student's readiness to return.
As a condition of continued enrollment and, if applicable, as a condition of re-admittance to the residence halls, the following criteria must be met:
- The consulting psychiatrist must find that the student is sufficiently stable to meet academic requirements and, if applicable, capable of observing the community standards of residential life.
- The student must commit to follow a recommended and established treatment plan.
- The student and the consulting psychiatrist in conjunction with all relevant health care providers must establish and agree upon a plan for continuing safety after return to College.
In the event that the student chooses to leave the hospital against medical advice without extenuating circumstances which are communicated to the Associate Dean or designee, or has not met the above mentioned criteria, it is possible that she/he may be compromising her/his health and subsequent re-entry to the College. As a result, the student may be required to take a leave of absence for a period of time deemed appropriate by the College.
If the student chooses to take a leave of absence as a result of a hospitalization for mental health reasons, the Associate Dean or designee will assist with processing the leave, and the student will be required to meet with the consulting psychiatrist for a re-entry/clearance interview as a condition of returning to the College. Following a successful clearance interview, the student will meet with the Associate Dean for Student Life or designee to establish a plan for return to the College and to identify community resources as appropriate.
Missing Person's Policy
Please review this link to understand the College's role and responsibility in response to a report of a missing student, as well as the important role of students in reporting and communicating with their peers.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
The College's practice in regard to student record-keeping is based on the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 (the Buckley Amendment), and is intended to be a safeguard against the unauthorized release of information. This act applies to all enrolled students, former students, and alumni. It does not apply to applicants seeking admission into an institution.
Under the provisions of the act, it is the right of the student to view her/his official educational records. Educational records are defined as records regarding a student that are maintained by an educational institution. Such records are kept in the Office of the Dean for Student Life, the Office of the Registrar, faculty advisors' offices, and the Center for Academic Achievement. Not included in this category of records are the following:
- records containing confidential information written before January 1, 1975
- financial records submitted to the College by the parents of a student
- medical and counseling records
- records containing information on more than one student
- private records intended for use of an individual
- law enforcement records
- student employment records
- records to which a student has waived her right of access as required by a judicial order or a lawful subpoena
In order to view her/his record, a student must make a request in writing to the appropriate office. The office has 45 days in which to fulfill the request. If requested, copies of a student's record are available to the student for a slight charge to cover the cost of duplicating. Any information in a student's record found to be "inaccurate, misleading, or [that] violates the privacy or other rights of the student" may be challenged by the student. Only the accuracy of the information may be challenged. For example, a grade received may not be questioned, only the accuracy of its recording. In order to contest the information in her/his record, the student must submit a written statement to the person responsible for the content of the record and request that she/he receive a written response. If no written response is forthcoming or if an unsatisfactory response is received by a student, she/he may appeal to the chairperson or appropriate supervisory person. In the event that no resolution is made, it is the student's right to request a hearing, to be presided over by the Dean for Student Life or a designee.
The College has the right to publish a directory listing all enrolled students and containing the following information:
- student's name
- telephone number
- place and date of birth
- digital photo
- year of graduation and dates of attendance
- awards and degrees received
- membership in organizations
- educational institution most recently attended
A student who wishes to be omitted from the directory must so indicate by writing to the Office of the Registrar.
A student's record is not accessible to anyone outside the College without the written authorization from the student.
Exceptions to this regulation are as follows:
- officials at an institution where the student is applying for admission
- officials disbursing financial aid
- parents of a dependent student (for tax purposes)
- accrediting and educational testing organizations
- federal officials
- officials complying with a judicial order
- appropriate officials in the event of an emergency (only if necessary to safeguard the health or well-being of the student or other individuals)
- the alleged victim of a crime of violence may receive results of any disciplinary proceedings conducted by the College against the alleged perpetrator of that crime in reference to that crime. Student records are available to the above with the stipulation that this information is only for the use of the above unless written consent is secured from the student.
Student records may not be distributed to other parties. It is the responsibility of each office maintaining records to keep a log that verifies the name and date of each person who has viewed the record and for what reason. Students have the right to see this log.
A student may sign a waiver of access to confidential recommendations for graduate school or for employment purposes. However, the student must be kept informed of those people providing recommendations.
The College does not ordinarily notify a student's parents or guardians of academic and social problems she/he encounters as a Simmons student without her/his consent. However, if a student's behavior places her/his continuance at Simmons or in residence in jeopardy, or if the student's behavior indicates she/he may be harmful to herself/himself or others, the College may deem it to be in her/his best interest to notify, without consent, her/his parents, guardians, or other appropriate persons.
Depending upon the nature and seriousness of the student's behavior she/he may be asked to leave the Residence Campus and/or the College immediately.
Prior to asking a student to leave residence and/or school, the College may deem it necessary to enter into a contractual agreement with a student around the student's behavior in residence and/or the College community, particularly in situations where the student's behavior has become an issue for the larger community. Should a contractual agreement be entered into between a student and the College, the College maintains the right to handle any violations of the contractual agreement administratively rather than through the student judicial process. A student may appeal administrative decisions about violations of her contractual agreement to the Dean for Student Life within seven business days of the decision that has been communicated to her. The appeal must be made in writing.
Further questions about the Buckley Amendment should be directed to the Office of the Dean for Student Life.