Projected Attendance Pattern and Leaves of Absence

 

Colgate must have accurate information about enrollments for each term in order to provide adequate staff, operate in an economically efficient manner, and limit overcrowding in classes and housing.

Most students will follow a normal enrollment pattern, attending Colgate for eight consecutive terms, including participation in study groups and approved programs. On occasion, there are, however, compelling reasons for students to alter this pattern. Students unsure about taking a leave or wanting to request a leave should consult with an administrative dean to identify all options to which they may be entitled. Transfer credit awarded for courses taken at another institution while on leave is dependent upon the leave.

If unapproved leaves are taken, students are withdrawn from Colgate and must apply for readmission through the admissions office. The University cannot guarantee a place for them in any particular term of return. Exceptions to these procedures will be made only if there are extenuating circumstances that are substantially beyond the student’s control and knowledge prior to the deadline to request a leave. Likewise, if a student is not granted an official leave, upon return, eligibility for financial aid will be jeopardized, as will registration and housing priority.

Experience has shown that students who plan ahead tend to optimize their educational opportunities and experiences. Students will help themselves as well as Colgate if they carefully consider their attendance plans well in advance of the early registration periods each semester.

Absence from Class and Medical Excuses

The University recognizes that students will occasionally have significant medical illnesses or injuries that prevent them from attending classes or completing assignments or exams. The student is responsible for contacting the professors and administrative dean concerning any make-up work, withdrawals, extensions, or incompletes that may be necessary. With the student’s permission, Student Health Services will verify prolonged absences. Student Health Services does not notify professors and administrative deans about minor illnesses (that will resolve within a few days). Students will be expected to contact their professors directly about these brief periods of missed coursework.

Policy on Medical Leave of Absence

 

When a student experiences significant physical or psychological challenges while enrolled in a Colgate program, they may request to take a voluntary medical leave of absence. If approved by the administrative dean, the student will leave the campus (or study group) immediately, be granted grades of “W” in all enrolled courses (even if the normal deadline for withdrawal without academic penalty has passed), and will be obligated to adhere to the readmission requirements outlined below if the student desires to return to Colgate.

The policy on refunds contained in the University Catalog will apply. While on medical leave, the student must absent themselves from the campus (or study group) and abide by the Policy for Student Presence on Campus While a Student Is Separated from the University contained elsewhere in this handbook.

Readmission Requirements after Medical Leave of Absence

Duration and Deadlines

If a student leaves Colgate for reasons of health, normally one complete semester or the equivalent (i.e., at least four months) must pass before the student may return to Colgate; however, Colgate makes an individualized assessment of the student’s situation in making decisions about the timing of a student’s return. The complete readmission application (see below) should be received by Colgate by October 1 for readmission to the spring semester and March 15 for readmission to the fall semester. If a student has not met all criteria for readmission until after these deadlines, but does so before the start of the upcoming semester, the application will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will depend on many factors, including course and housing availability. Ordinarily, students will not be admitted if they do not meet these published deadlines; however, if they are accepted for readmission, housing and course selection could be limited due to the timing of the decision allowing the return. The student should direct any questions about the medical leave process, as well as the readmission application, to their administrative dean.

Evaluation and Treatment

During a medical leave of absence, the University expects the student to be evaluated by a professional health care provider in order to determine whether a student may return to a University-owned residence and/or full-time academic study. Failure to engage in appropriate treatment may seriously jeopardize the student’s ability to return and be successful at Colgate. Therefore, it is possible that the University may withhold readmission until appropriate treatment or intervention has been obtained. Colgate also may require that the student’s off-campus primary health care provider make contact with their counterpart at Colgate to discuss the nature of the problem that led to the student’s taking medical leave. To facilitate this communication, the student may be required to provide written releases to both parties to communicate freely with each other in support of the student.

Readmission Application

 

A student wishing to return from a medical leave must initiate a request (see deadlines above) for consideration of return by writing a letter to their administrative dean explaining why the student believes that the medical or psychological issue(s) necessitating the leave have been adequately addressed, such that the student is prepared to return, with or without reasonable accommodation. A complete application must include:

  1. The student’s letter
  2. The Documentation to Support Return Following a Medical Leave form (provided by the student’s administrative dean) completed by an appropriate off-campus healthcare provider (physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist).

Additionally, in order to facilitate a successful transition, the student must meet with their administrative dean and other support services before re-enrolling or within 10 days of returning to the University.

Readmission Decision

 

After reviewing the completed application, the Colgate case management team will determine whether the issues necessitating the student’s medical leave have been adequately addressed and that the student is able to successfully return, with or without accommodations.

It is expected that when a student is readmitted after a medical leave, they will maintain regular contact with the administrative dean and take responsibility for ensuring compliance with all of the readmission decisions. As well, it is often advisable for the student to continue with or establish new relationships with, appropriate support and professional resources on or off-campus to continue addressing the issue(s) that necessitated the leave of absence.

A student who does not return from a medical leave within four semesters will be withdrawn from the University and must apply for readmission through the Office of Admission.

Pending Discipline

 

A leave of absence does not in and of itself absolve a student of disciplinary responsibility for their actions (such as engaging in threats of violence, property damage, etc.). If a student’s conduct subjects them to the disciplinary process, Colgate may do any of the following: 

  1. require the disciplinary process to conclude before approving the leave; 
  2. hold the disciplinary process (or decisions about pursuing disciplinary action) in abeyance until a later point in time; or
  3. allow the leave of absence to serve as an alternative to a disciplinary consequence by allowing the student to address their behavior as a matter of self-help and self-improvement. 

The Disciplinary Officer will determine how pending disciplinary matters will be handled.

Policy on Involuntary Leave of Absence

As stated earlier in this code, the integrity of the Colgate community depends upon each member’s acceptance of individual responsibility and respect for the rights of others. As such, the disciplinary system seeks to educate students about both personal freedoms and the limits of belonging to and living in a diverse academic community.

Colgate is committed to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of each student and to this academic community as a whole. In circumstances where a student’s actions are such that they could pose a threat to the health, safety, or well-being of others or consistently disrupt the University community, Colgate reserves the right to impose a leave of absence upon that student.

Procedure

Ordinarily, Colgate seeks to resolve the concerns with the student’s cooperation and to have the issue(s) addressed while the student remains enrolled or by assisting the student in voluntarily withdrawing for a period of time. If a student declines a voluntary leave of absence or refuses to cooperate with efforts deemed necessary to evaluate the nature of the student’s behavior, the student may be separated from the University without their consent.

Colgate may place a student on an involuntary leave when the student exhibits behavior that:

  1. harms, or threatens to harm, the health or safety of anyone within the Colgate community, including the student;
  2. causes, or threatens to cause, significant property damage; or
  3. is significantly or consistently disruptive to the educational, residential, and other activities of the Colgate community.

The decision to impose a leave of absence is made on a case-by-case basis, and each student’s individualized circumstances will be taken into account.

When notified about a student of concern, the Colgate behavioral and case management teams will conduct an assessment of the student’s situation. The assessment will be based on the student's demonstrated behavior and may involve consultation with appropriate professionals regarding the student's circumstances.

Except in emergency circumstances, the student will be given the opportunity to be heard by the chair of the behavioral intervention team, their administrative dean, or other appropriate Colgate personnel and to provide additional information for consideration before an involuntary leave is imposed. In the event of an emergency, the student will be given this opportunity shortly after any imposition of the leave is made (usually within a few days). If Colgate’s decision is to require an involuntary leave of absence, the student will receive written notification of the decision, the effective date of the leave, the minimum length of the separation from the University, and the conditions under which the student may seek to be readmitted. The letter will also ordinarily request additional information from the student before a readmission decision will be made, including written documentation from a licensed mental health or medical professional attesting to the students’ readiness to return to full-time study and to campus housing in a residential college setting. If new or additional information comes to Colgate’s attention, these requirements may be changed, including new requirements added.

An involuntary leave of absence mandates that a student be withdrawn from the University for a defined period of time to address the behavior(s) that necessitated the leave of absence so that they can be successful upon their return to campus. 

If the Colgate behavioral intervention or case management team determines that the student may remain enrolled but subject to conditions, the student will be informed of the conditions and the consequences of violating the conditions.

Appeal Option

A student who is placed on involuntary leave or whose continued enrollment is made subject to conditions may appeal the decision to the Vice President and Dean of the College within seven days of receipt of the written communication notifying the student of the decision. The appeal must be in writing, delineating the reason(s) why the student believes the decision is inappropriate, and must be accompanied by any information the student would like considered. The Vice President and Dean of the College will review the student's appeal and may uphold, reverse, or alter the behavioral intervention or case management teams’ decision. The decision will be communicated to the student in writing and shall be considered final.

If placed on involuntary leave of absence, the student will leave the campus (or study group) immediately and be granted grades of “W” in all enrolled courses (even if the normal deadline for withdrawal without academic penalty has passed). Further, if the student desires to return to Colgate, they will be obligated to adhere to the readmission requirements outlined below. The policy on refunds contained in the University Catalog will apply. While on involuntary leave, the student must absent themselves from campus (or study group) and abide by the Policy for Student Presence on Campus While a Student Is Separated from the University contained elsewhere in this handbook.

Readmission Decision

 

The student must complete an application for readmission that demonstrates that the conditions placed on the student’s readmission have been met. The Colgate behavioral intervention and case management teams will determine if there is reasonable assurance that the student will be able to make a successful return to Colgate, with or without reasonable accommodation. The complete readmission application should be received by Colgate by October 1 for readmission to the spring semester and March 15 for readmission to the fall semester. If a student has not met all criteria for readmission until after these deadlines, but does so before the start of the upcoming semester, the application will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will depend upon many factors, including course and housing availability. Ordinarily, students will not be admitted if they do not meet these published deadlines; however, if they are accepted for readmission, housing and course selection could be limited due to the timing of the decision allowing the return. The student should direct any questions about the involuntary leave process, as well as the readmission application, to their administrative dean or the chair of the behavioral intervention team.

It is expected that when a student is re-admitted from an involuntary leave, they will maintain regular contact with the administrative dean and take responsibility for ensuring compliance with all of the readmission decisions. Similarly, it is often advisable for the student to continue with or establish professional relationships with appropriate support and professional resources on or off-campus to continue addressing the issue(s) that necessitated the involuntary leave of absence.

Pending Discipline

 

A leave of absence does not in and of itself absolve a student of disciplinary responsibility for their actions (such as engaging in threats of violence, property damage, retaliatory behaviors, etc.). If a student’s conduct subjects them to the disciplinary process, Colgate may do any of the following: 

  1. require the disciplinary process to conclude before approving the leave;
  2. hold the disciplinary process (or decisions about pursuing disciplinary action) in abeyance until a later point in time; or 
  3. allow the leave of absence to serve as an alternative to a disciplinary consequence by allowing the student to address their behavior as a matter of self-help and self-improvement. 

The Disciplinary Officer, in consultation with the Vice President and Dean of the College, will determine how pending disciplinary matters will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Personal Leave of Absence

Colgate University students may request a personal leave of absence from the University when they desire or need to be away from campus for a variety of reasons. There are two options available, depending on when the student requests the leave:

Option 1

If a student knows before the start of a semester (but not later than the end of the drop/add period) that they desire to take a personal leave, the student simply advises their administrative dean, and the dean will place the student on a personal leave of absence. No grades of “W” will be entered on the student’s transcript. A pro rata refund will be processed if the effective date of the leave is within the drop/add period (see University Catalog policy on refunds). The student will be billed a separate $300 deposit to bind their plan to return in a specified subsequent semester. Examples of this kind of leave include, but are not limited to: extending a summer job into the following semester, working on a political campaign, and travel or other similar plans.

Option 2

Occasionally, personal circumstances that do not fall under the Policy on Medical Leave of Absence or cannot be addressed by extensions, incompletes, or other academic accommodations require a student to leave campus for the balance of the semester or longer. This option covers a leave after the end of the drop/add period but before the end of the final exam period in a given semester. Examples include, but are not limited to: a death or significant/terminal illness of a family member, significant personal or family legal problems, catastrophic family financial circumstances, mandated active-duty military service, gender or sexual violence, or other compelling circumstances beyond the student’s ability to predict or control. If approved, the student will leave the campus (or off-campus study group) immediately and be granted grades of “W” in all courses (even if the deadline for course withdrawal without academic penalty has passed). Once approved, the action is irrevocable for that semester. Other than the “W” grades, no notation regarding the personal leave will be made on the student’s permanent academic transcript. A leave deposit will not be charged.

In these circumstances, the student may request a personal leave of absence through their administrative dean. In some cases, to ensure consistency, the student’s dean may require independent verification of the basis for the leave and/or consult with colleagues on the Dean of the College staff. The dean will review the student’s request and either approve or deny the request. To confirm the leave, the dean will prepare an internal Change of Student Status Notice, to include the projected return semester. The student may extend the leave if necessary by contacting their dean prior to the start of the projected return semester. A student wishing to return from a personal leave of absence must request a time to discuss considerations for return by writing a letter to the administrative dean.

Financial aid recipients must maintain close contact with the Office of Financial Aid and meet established deadlines for applying for financial aid. An approved Option 2 personal leave will not count as one of a student’s eight semesters of financial aid eligibility. 

While on any personal leave, the student will continue to be seen as a matriculated student, not currently enrolled. Students on an Option 2 leave may take courses at another domestic college or university; students on an Option 1 leave may not. All courses taken at another institution must be approved in advance by the Office of the Registrar to be eligible to receive transfer credit.

A student who does not return from a personal leave of absence within four semesters will be withdrawn from the University and must apply for readmission through the Office of Admission.

Refund Policy

The official effective date of a personal leave is determined by the student’s administrative dean. A pro rata refund will be computed based on this effective date (see University Catalog).

Pending Discipline

A leave of absence does not in and of itself absolve a student of disciplinary responsibility for their actions (such as engaging in threats of violence, property damage, etc.). If a student’s conduct subjects them to the disciplinary process, Colgate may do any of the following: (i) require the disciplinary process to conclude before approving the leave; (ii) hold the disciplinary process (or decisions about pursuing disciplinary action) in abeyance until a later point in time; or (iii) allow the leave of absence to serve as an alternative to a disciplinary consequence by allowing the student to address their behavior as a matter of self-help and self-improvement. This will determine how pending disciplinary matters will be handled.

Academic Leave of Absence

Students wishing to enroll for a semester at another U.S. college or university should request an academic leave of absence. All questions regarding academic leaves of absence should be directed to the administrative dean. A semester of academic leave does not count toward the seven-semester residency requirement, nor is Colgate financial aid available. These students will be charged a $500 administrative fee. This fee defrays costs incurred by Colgate for maintaining records and providing advising and other services to students while studying away from the University. Students who plan to be away in a fall term will receive a bill for the administrative fee in July. Students who intend to be away in a spring term will receive the administrative fee bill in November. Failure to pay this fee will void the leave of absence and result in loss of the privileges granted with it. Students are urged to discuss their academic and enrollment plans with their academic adviser and administrative dean well before the deadline to request a leave. Students going on an approved program do not need to request an academic leave of absence.

Policy for Student Presence on Campus While a Student Is Separated from the University

Students who have been separated from the University through academic dismissal, suspension, or expulsion for disciplinary reasons, or placed on involuntary leave of absence, do not have the rights and privileges accorded to full-time enrolled Colgate students. Students separated from Colgate for other reasons, including medical reasons, may be subject to this policy, as determined by Colgate on an individual basis. Students subject to this policy are expected to leave the campus and to visit only with permission, given in advance, by their administrative dean. Failure to abide by this expectation may adversely affect the decision to readmit a student (where applicable).

Organizational structure and copy for this handbook was revised in the summer of 2019. The information contained in this publication applies to the academic years 2019–2020 but this handbook is not to be regarded as a contract between the student and the University. The University reserves the right to change requirements, policies, rules, and regulations without prior notice in accordance with established procedures.

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