Skip To Nav

Site-specific menu


Student Conduct Code

Find us button
Find Us

Student Conduct Form Button
Student Concern Form

Article VI: Procedures for Assisting Students
With Serious Mental Health Concerns

A. Students Manifesting Serious Mental Health Concerns

The University shall, through the University Counseling and Testing Center/Sindecuse Health Center, provide assessment, evaluation, referral, and/or appropriate treatment, within the available resources of the institution, for students manifesting serious mental health concerns. The personnel of all departments of the University are expected to refer students with apparent serious mental health concerns to the University Counseling and Testing Center/Sindecuse Health Center. Serious mental health concerns include, but are not limited to:

  1. Instances where a student engages, or threatens to engage, in behavior which poses a danger of causing physical harm to self or others; or
  2. Instances which could cause significant property damage, or would directly and substantially impede the lawful activities of others; or
  3. Instances where a student’s behavior is sufficiently disturbed or disturbing, consumes an inordinate amount of University staff time and/or resources, or may interfere with the educational process and/or the orderly operation of the University.

The procedures for assisting students with serious mental health concerns do not preclude a student’s removal from the University, or any unit, class, or program, for conduct reasons in accordance with the Western Michigan University Student Code. The Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee may consult with the appropriate staff in the Office of Student Conduct/and/or appropriate staff in the University Counseling and Testing Center and/or the Sindecuse Health Center, to determine whether a student’s behavior could be in conflict with the policies outlined in the Student Code or should be diverted from the conduct process into the process established for students who manifest serious mental health concerns. Conversely, the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee may consult with these constituents to determine whether a student referred for consideration for an involuntary withdrawal might be more appropriately handled through the conduct process.

B. Voluntary Withdrawal

When a student is referred to the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee based on behavior listed in Section A, #1-3 above, the student is required to meet with the Dean/Associate Dean/or designee as requested. The Dean/Associate Dean/or designee may include in this meeting staff from the University Counseling and Testing Center/Sindecuse Health Center or other units as appropriate. If, based on the content of the discussion, the student agrees to withdraw from the University to seek assistance for her/his mental health issues, the Dean/Associate Dean/or designee will work with the student to notify the Office of the Registrar, Financial Aid, Residence Life and any other unit as appropriate. The Dean/Associate Dean/or designee will provide in writing to the student, the specifics surrounding the voluntary withdrawal and include any conditions, including, but not limited to those conditions the student will need to satisfy, prior to her/his return to the University (refer to section H for additional information regarding return to the university).

C. Voluntary Assessment

When a student is referred to the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee based on behavior listed in Section A, #1-3, the student is required to meet with the Dean/Associate Dean/or designee as requested. The Dean/Associate Dean/or designee may include in this meeting staff from the University Counseling and Testing Center/Sindecuse Health Center or other units as appropriate. If, based on the content of the discussion, the student agrees to have an assessment; the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/designee shall designate/refer the student to qualified staff professionals (psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist, and physician) for an assessment.

The assessment of the student must be initiated as soon as possible, but must occur within three university business days of the meeting with the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee unless an extension is granted by the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee. Any student who fails to complete the assessment process is subject to immediate interim withdrawal (see section F).

The psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist, and/or physician shall evaluate the student to determine if there are serious mental health concerns associated with the student’s behavior. The psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist, and/or physician shall advise the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee of the outcome of his/her evaluation as a result of the assessment. The Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee may convene the Early Intervention Team (EIT) or make a determination based on the outcome of the assessment and determine if a voluntary/involuntary withdrawal will be implemented.

The EIT will include members of the University community and/or external advisors. The Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee shall be the sole decision maker as to the composition of this committee. The EIT shall determine whether it is in the best interest of the student and/or the University community that the student be withdrawn from the University, or any unit, class, or program within the University, for mental health concerns. The student may be requested to appear before the EIT.
If the EIT concurs, by majority vote, that the student should be withdrawn, the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee will notify the student in writing. If the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee determines that the situation is imminently dangerous, she/he may recommend an immediate interim withdrawal (see section F). If a withdrawal is not recommended, the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee will determine (in possible consultation with the EIT) what, if any, follow up steps the student will be required to complete in order to remain at Western Michigan University.

D. Referral for an Involuntary Assessment

The Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee shall be empowered to make referrals for an involuntary assessment when students engage in behaviors listed in section A. Students referred for an involuntarily assessment shall be informed in writing, and the student shall also be given a copy of these procedures. Delivery of these documents will be either by personal delivery or by certified mail with return receipt requested and delivery restricted to the student only.

The Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee shall designate/refer the student to qualified licensed professionals (psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist or physician). The licensed psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist or physician is empowered by these regulations to share general information and the outcome of the assessment with the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/designee and/or the EIT. The minimum necessary information will be disclosed and will be held by the Dean/Associate Dean and/or the EIT in confidence and will be shared only with those University employees with a legitimate need to know. The student may not be accompanied by anyone during the evaluation.

The mental health assessment of the student must be initiated according to the deadline stipulated in the letter and completed within three university business days unless an extension is granted by the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee. Any student who fails to complete the evaluation process as required in this section is subject to an involuntary withdrawal (see Section E) or immediate interim withdrawal (see Section F).

E. Involuntary Withdrawal

The licensed psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist, or physician shall evaluate the student to determine if there are serious mental health concerns associated with the student’s behavior in accordance with the following:

  1. Instances where a student engages, or threatens to engage, in behavior which poses a danger of causing physical harm to self or others; or
  2. Instances which could cause significant property damage, or would directly and substantially impede the lawful activities of others; or
  3. Instances where a student’s behavior is sufficiently disturbed or disturbing, consumes an inordinate amount of University staff time and/or resources, or may interfere with the educational process and/or the orderly operation of the University.

The psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist, or physician shall advise the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee of the outcome of the assessment.

The Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee may then convene the EIT to determine if an involuntary withdrawal will be implemented. The EIT shall determine whether it is in the best interest of the student and/or the University community that the student be involuntarily withdrawn from the University, or any unit, class, or program within the University, for mental health reasons. The student may be required to appear before the EIT.

If the EIT is convened and concurs, by majority vote that the student should be involuntarily withdrawn, the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee will notify the student in writing. If the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee determines that the situation is imminently dangerous, she/he may recommend an immediate interim withdrawal. A student who has been withdrawn involuntarily will be allowed to enter the campus only to attend the meeting with the Dean/Associate Dean of Student/or designee, or for other necessary purposes, as authorized in writing by the Dean/Associate Dean/or designee.

F. Interim Withdrawal

An immediate involuntary withdrawal on an interim basis can be recommended in the following circumstances:

  1. Any student who fails to complete an assessment in accordance with these procedures may be immediately involuntarily withdrawn on an interim basis, and/or referred for student conduct action or both.
  2. If the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee determines that a student is manifesting serious mental health concerns and the student’s behavior poses imminent danger of:
    1. Causing physical harm to self or others; and/or
    2. Causing significant property damage, and/or directly and substantially impeding the lawful activities of others; and/or
      c.
    3. Exhibiting behavior that is sufficiently disturbed or disturbing, consumes an inordinate amount of University staff time and/or resources, and/or may interfere with the educational process and/or the orderly operation of the University.

The Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee shall implement an interim withdrawal. A student subject to an interim withdrawal shall be given written notice of the withdrawal either by personal delivery or by certified mail, and shall be given a copy of these standards and procedures.

A student who has been withdrawn on an interim basis will only be allowed to enter the campus to attend the meeting with the Dean/Associate Dean of Student/or designee, or for other necessary purposes, as authorized in writing by the Dean/Associate Dean/or designee.

If an interim withdrawal is deemed appropriate, the student will remain withdrawn on an interim basis pending completion of the required assessment (if needed) and a meeting with the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee,
The student shall then be given the opportunity to appear personally before the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee, within two business days from the effective date of the interim withdrawal in order to review the following issues only:

  1. the reliability of the information concerning the student’s behavior;
  2. whether or not the student’s behavior poses a danger of causing imminent serious physical harm to the student or others, causing significant property damage, or directly and substantially impeding the lawful activities of others, or substantially interfering with the educational process and the orderly operation of the university;
  3. whether or not the student has completed a mental health assessment in accordance with these standards and procedures.

During this meeting, the student may be assisted by one person only, such as a family member, or an advisor, or a licensed psychologist or a psychiatrist or legal counsel. The role of any support person will be limited to providing advice to the student. Students will be expected to speak for themselves whenever possible.

G. Appeal

Any student who is involuntarily withdrawn may appeal the withdrawal to the Vice President for Student Affairs. The appeal shall be in written form and submitted to the Vice President for Student Affairs within three business days of the effective date of the involuntary withdrawal. The Vice President for Student Affairs may decide the appeal or designate another University staff member to decide the appeal. The appeal will be reviewed and a decision will be made as soon as is practical. The Associate Dean of Students, or other designee, will advise the student of the outcome of the appeal by telephone, if possible, and by certified letter with delivery restricted to the student. The student shall remain withdrawn from the University while his/her appeal is pending. The person deciding the appeal may deny the appeal, grant the appeal and reverse the decision, grant the appeal in part and deny the appeal in part, or modify any portion of the requirements placed on the student.

H. Return Requirements

The following shall apply to any student who seeks to return to the University following any type of mental health withdrawal. Additional requirements may be imposed in specific circumstances, and in such an event, the student will be advised as soon as possible of any such additional requirements.

Required Treatment: During any mental health withdrawal period, the University expects the student to undergo professional health care/treatment as the primary method of resolving the initial problem. Failure to seek ongoing treatment could raise serious doubt as to the student’s readiness to return, and in such cases the University may withhold readmission until appropriate treatment has been received. WMU expects that mental health concerns which result in the student’s withdrawal be treated satisfactorily in order for the student to return to WMU with the ability to handle the intellectual, emotional and personal demands of college life at WMU.

Re-enrollment: A student wishing to return after a withdrawal due to mental health concerns must initiate a request by writing a letter to the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee detailing what has been accomplished during the absence. A complete application includes:

  1. The student’s letter
  2. A current letter of support from the appropriate treating professional (psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist, or physician). The supporting letter should be directed to the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee and should address at least the following:
    1. The nature of the issues addressed with the student.
    2. The period of time during which care was provided for the student.
    3. The gains achieved.

The professional’s perspective regarding the student’s ability to handle intellectual, emotional and personal demands of being a student at WMU.

Upon receipt of the student’s letter and accompanying treatment summary from the treating professional(s), the Dean/Associate Dean/or designee shall make an evaluation of the request. Consideration will be given to any conditions for re-enrollment set forth in the student’s letter of voluntary/involuntary withdrawal and any other relevant information that the Dean/Associate Dean/or designee deems necessary for a complete review. In conducting the evaluation, the Dean/Associate Dean/or designee may ask staff from the University Counseling and Testing Center and/or the Sindecuse Health Center or any other appropriate professional resource to assist in the review, talk with the student’s care provider and thereafter make comment on the application to return.

The evaluation process shall normally be completed within twenty (20) university business days, after receipt of a request.

The Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee will make the final decision about whether the mental health concerns causing the student’s withdrawal have been adequately addressed and the student is able to handle the intellectual, emotional and personal demands of being a student at WMU.

The Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee will communicate the decision to the student. The decision to allow a student to return after a withdrawal for mental health concerns is a provisional decision that may be reversed within the first term if the issues have not been satisfactorily resolved. When permission to return is granted, special conditions or requirements will be outlined at the time. Upon return, the student may be expected to meet periodically with the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee as required by the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee. If the provisional status is revoked, the student may appeal the decision, per Section G.

If permission to return is not granted, the Dean/Associate Dean of Students/or designee shall notify the student in writing.