Involuntary Administrative Break in Enrollment and Return Policy & Procedure
Nova Southeastern University is committed to the safety, health, and well-being of all members of the University community. NSU recognizes that students may experience situations that significantly inhibit their ability to function successfully or safely in their role as students. When such circumstances arise, NSU encourages students to explore the availability of a voluntary administrative break in enrollment or leave of absence from their academic program so that the students may address the issues precipitating the need for the break/leave of absence and later return to NSU with an enhanced opportunity to achieve their educational goals. Students will be provided the option to take a voluntary administrative break in enrollment and/or leave of absence before a decision is made by NSU with respect to an involuntary administrative break in enrollment; however, there may also be circumstances where NSU may place a student on an involuntary administrative beak in enrollment, without providing the student the option for a voluntary administrative break in enrollment or leave of absence, in accordance with this procedure.
Nothing in this policy shall preclude NSU from utilizing other applicable policies and procedures such as those in the Student Code of Conduct and academic program handbooks, or from immediately removing a student from class or campus in the event of an emergency. In situations involving an imminent or ongoing threat of harm to the student or any other member of the University community, the Assistant Dean for Student Development, in the exercise of their reasonable judgment, may remove a student immediately from campus and prohibit them from entering NSU’s campus or facilities utilized for University programs or activities while the individualized assessment and review described in section III of this Policy are taking place. While on an administrative break in enrollment under this policy, students must follow the NSU Code of Student Conduct and all NSU policies and procedures.
II. Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy Summary
Consistent with NSU’s nondiscrimination policy, NSU prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of any type of disability or characteristic protected by applicable law. NSU also offers a range of resources, support services, and accommodations to address the physical and mental health needs of students.
However, in rare cases, a student’s needs may require a level of care that exceeds the care that NSU can appropriately provide. Requiring a student to take an administrative break in enrollment may be necessary where current knowledge about the individual student’s medical condition and/or the best available objective evidence indicates that:
- A student is unable or unwilling to carry out substantial self-care obligations and poses a significant risk to their own safety, and/or the safety of others; or
- A student’s behavior severely disrupts the NSU educational process, environment and/or community; and
- The student does not want to take a voluntary break or leave of absence; and
- No reasonable accommodations can adequately reduce the risks, threats, or disruption at issue.
NSU utilizes the Student Behavioral Concerns Committee (SBCC), which is a subset of the Student CARE team, to determine if an involuntary administrative break in enrollment is warranted based upon the above criteria. If the above criteria are met, the SBCC has the authority to place the student on an involuntary break in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section III below. An involuntary administrative break in enrollment is not a disciplinary sanction and may not be intended or interpreted as punitive in nature.
III. SBCC Procedures for Placing a Student on an Involuntary Administrative Break in Enrollment
1. The NSU Assistant Dean for Student Development may be notified about a student who may meet the criteria of an involuntary administrative break in enrollment from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, the student, faculty, academic advisors, residence hall staff, coaches, or administrators. The Assistant Dean for Student Development will use this policy when (a) a student demonstrates lack of clear judgment, suicidality, self-destructive behavior, or has untreated or uncontrollable medical or mental conditions which result in actual or possible imminent danger of injury to self or members of the NSU community, b) fails to comply with requirements to adhere to the instructions and guidelines of the counseling, clinical, or medical staff of the providers at the NSU Center for Student Counseling and Well-Being or private treatment provider, as a result of an episode of mental or medical crisis intervention c) the student behavior interferes with the educational process and/or the orderly operation of the University in-person or virtually; or (d) deemed appropriate by the Assistant Dean for Student Development based upon the best interest of the student.
2. The Assistant Dean for Student Development will issue a written notice to the student that an involuntary administrative break in enrollment is under consideration. The written notice will include the reason(s) why the student is being considered for an involuntary break, contact information for various NSU resources, including but not limited to, the NSU Office of Student Disability Services (which can provide information about accommodations), and a copy of this policy. Generally, the notice will be provided at least 24 hours prior to the imposition of involuntary break. The notice will encourage the student to respond within a specified time period with any information they would like the SBCC to consider. In addition, the notice will include a request to meet with the NSU Assistant Dean for Student Development. The Assistant Dean for Student Development a member of the SBCC is also an administrator with knowledge of NSU’s involuntary administrative break in enrollment process who will serve as a resource to answer any student questions about the process from referral through return to NSU.
3. The Assistant Dean for Student Development will convene the SBCC to review the behaviors of concern and any other relevant information regarding the student. The SBCC is responsible for conducting individualized assessments of students who meet the criteria outlined in Section II of this Policy. The SBCC is the deciding body and will make the decision whether to place a student on an Involuntary administrative break in enrollment. The SBCC’s standing members consist of
the University Student CARE Team, which includes the following University personnel: the Assistant Dean for Student Development, NSU Title IX Coordinator, NSU Director of Public Safety, Case Manager for Student Conduct & Mental Health Services, NSU Director of Residential Life Director of Student Disability Services, NSU Director of Henderson Student Counseling, NSU Assistant Director of Henderson Student Counseling, NSU Associate Director of Field Operations, and the NSU Director of Campus Life & Student Engagement. However, the Assistant Dean for Student Development may appoint other and/or alternative University officials to join the SBCC on a temporary ad hoc basis as the circumstances may warrant. The Director of Student Disability Services, the Director of Henderson Student Counseling and the NSU Assistant Director of Henderson Student Counseling are non-voting members of the SBCC and are present to offer resources, recommendations, and assistance to the SBCC. The Assistant Dean for Student Development is also a non-voting member. At least 3 members of the SBCC, excluding the Assistant Dean for Student Development, must be convened to issue an involuntary break. The SBCC’s decision need not be unanimous but a simple majority of those convened is required to render a decision.
4. The SBCC will consider all relevant information including the following:
a. any relevant information from the student’s educational record, including student conduct or other documented behavioral issues,
b. any recent reports of behavioral concerns,
c. any other relevant information, such as public or arrest records,
d. all documentation and information provided by the student.
e. any information provided by healthcare providers (see below)
f. any potential modifications or accommodations appropriate to the situation.
5. As the SBCC seeks information regarding the student’s ability to function academically and safely at the University with or without reasonable accommodations, the SBCC may request information from the student’s healthcare providers. To that end, the SBCC may request that the student execute a release of information providing NSU personnel temporary authority to obtain information from the student’s healthcare provider(s), and/or documentation from a third-party provider, regarding issues relevant and appropriate to the consideration of an involuntary administrative break in enrollment when there is a need for NSU to have access to that information as part of the interactive process and individualized assessment. If the student refuses to execute a release of information, the SBCC may proceed with the assessment based on information in their possession at the time.
6. The SBCC may also request to speak with the student’s treatment providers. The SBCC will give significant weight to the opinion of the student’s treatment provider(s) regarding the student’s ability to function academically and safely at the University with or without reasonable accommodations. If the SBCC determines that the information provided by the treatment provider is incomplete, requires further explanation or clarification, or is inconsistent with other information in the student’s record, the SBCC, with proper authorization, may contact the treatment provider(s) to obtain additional information. In certain circumstances, the University
may require the student to undergo an additional evaluation by an objective professional designated by NSU, if the SBCC believes it will facilitate a more informed decision.
7. The SBCC will consider potential reasonable accommodations and/or modifications that could obviate the need for an involuntary administrative break in enrollment, such as the option to take a leave of absence, a voluntary administrative break in enrollment, academic accommodations, housing and dining accommodations, and modifications to University policies, rules, and regulations. This includes consulting with the NSU Office of Disability Services, and/or other appropriate offices as needed, to determine if there are reasonable accommodations that would permit the student to participate in the NSU community without taking an administrative break in enrollment
8. When conducting an individualized assessment regarding a student’s status, the SBCC may also confer, as feasible and when appropriate in a particular matter, with individuals regarding the need for an involuntary administrative break in enrollment. This may include, but is not limited to, faculty, academic advisors, residence hall staff, coaches, administrators, and/or other individuals as may be appropriate in an individual matter.
9. The SBCC will pay particular attention to the factors established in Section II of this policy. Before placing any student on an involuntary administrative break in enrollment, the SBCC will conduct an individualized assessment as to each factor, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or the best available objective evidence, should ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk or disruption, the probability that the risk or disruption will actually occur, and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will adequately mitigate the risk or disruption so as to eliminate the need for an involuntary administrative break in enrollment.
10. Following the SBCC’s review of the relevant information, the SBCC will make a determination regarding the imposition of an involuntary break. The three (3) possible outcomes of this process are the SBCC determines that the student
a. may remain at NSU without conditions,
b. may remain at the University with conditions to be described in writing which, if violated, would cause a re-evaluation of the student’s status, or
c. should be placed on an involuntary break if the student does not elect or is unable to take voluntary break or leave of absence.
11. Upon review of the SBCC’s decision, the SBCC Chair will provide written notice to the student of the final decision. The written notice of decision will include information about the student’s right to appeal and to any applicable reasonable accommodations during the appeal process. The review and notice of decision under this policy should be done in a reasonably timely manner.
a. If an involuntary break is imposed: the written notice will set forth the basis for the decision, a timeframe for when the student must leave NSU, a timeframe for when the student may be eligible to return to NSU, and the conditions/requirements the student will needed to satisfy in order to be eligible to return.
b. If an involuntary break is not imposed: The University may impose conditions and/or requirements under which the student is allowed to remain at NSU.
c. During a voluntary or involuntary break, a student shall be barred from the main campus, regional campuses, and denied access to classes and classrooms, residence halls and University events and activities.
12. Within five (5) business days of receiving the decision of the SBCC chair or designee, the student may submit an appeal in writing to the NSU Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee. The written request for appeal must specify the particular substantive and/or procedural basis for the appeal and must be made on grounds other than general dissatisfaction with the decision. The permissible bases for appeal are as follows: :
a. Improper or inaccurate facts and criteria were brought to bear on the decision
b. New information not previously available to the student that may change the outcome of the decision-making process
c. Procedural irregularities that materially affected the outcome of the matter to the detriment of the student.
After reviewing the matter fully, the Vice President of Student Affairs will issue a written decision affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision to place the student on an involuntary administrative break in enrollment. The Vice President of Student Affairs’ decision will be final, and no other appeals or grievance procedures are available.
IV. Request for Return
A student will not be allowed to return to NSU until the break period in the involuntary administrative break in enrollment notification has elapsed and all conditions and/or requirements have been met.
Thereafter, a student must make a written request to the NSU Assistant Dean for Student Development to apply to return to the University. An involuntary administrative break in enrollment will remain in effect until the SBCC determines, following an individualized assessment conducted by the SBCC based on the best available objective evidence, that the student is
a. able to return in person to the University with or without reasonable accommodations;
b. has complied with any University requirements applicable to all NSU students returning from time away from NSU; and
c. has complied with any special conditions or limitations mandated upon commencement of the break .
The SBCC may require the student to provide evidence that the student, with or without reasonable accommodations, has sufficiently addressed the issues that previously established the criteria for imposing an involuntary administrative break in enrollment . The SBCC may also ask, confer with, or seek information from others in making the determination.
All returning students must meet the essential eligibility requirements and any technical standards of the University, as well as, any applicable standards of the relevant school or department, with or without reasonable accommodations.
If the SBCC determines that the student is not ready to return to NSU, the student will be notified in writing of the decision, including the reason for the decision, within a reasonable amount of time after the student has submitted the request for return and required documentation. The student is not permitted to appeal the decision.
Nothing in this policy precludes commencement of student conduct processes upon return.
V. Related Resources
Students who are placed on an involuntary administrative break in enrollment may want to consult with the following offices, where appropriate:
Office of Student Disability Services - https://www.nova.edu/disabilityservices/index.html
Office of Student Financial Assistance- https://www.nova.edu/financialaid/index.html
NSU Residential Life and Housing- https://www.nova.edu/housing/index.html
NSU Health Clinics- https://clinics.nova.edu/index.html
Center for Academic and Professional Success - https://www.nova.edu/ugadvising/index.html
Center For Student Counseling And Well-Being- https://www.nova.edu/studentcounseling/index.html
Additionally, the NSU Assistant Dean for Student Development will be available to assist all students who are placed on an involuntary administrative break in enrollment p with their questions about the process to return to NSU.