Students are expected to be enrolled continuously from their matriculation through graduation. Understanding that unexpected events may occur, however, the College allows for leaves of absence. If a student withdraws from a course during the last five weeks of the semester, the student will receive an F (failure) in the course unless granted a withdrawal for approved medical reasons.
For enrollment accounting purposes, all students will be withdrawn after 180 days from the last day of class attendance. Students who have been suspended, placed on leave, or withdrawn do not have to reapply for admission to the College, but they may be required to submit information for review and approval before being reinstated. Any such requirements will be set forth when the suspension or leave is initiated. Students may also voluntarily, permanently withdraw from the College.
Students who have been suspended, placed on leave, or withdrawn may not remain on campus, may not participate in College activities, and may not visit campus.
Gettysburg College reserves the right to initiate or require a leave or suspension for academic, disciplinary, medical, or behavioral reasons and reserves the right to defer or refuse reinstatement or return.
A student may be suspended for academic or disciplinary reasons. Please refer to the College policy on Academic Standing for additional information on academic related suspensions or the Student Code of Conduct for additional information on disciplinary related suspensions. At the time of suspension, the student will be notified of the semester that the student may be eligible for readmission to the College. A student academically suspended for a second time is not eligible for readmission.
Leaves of Absence
The College has three types of leaves of absence: Personal, Medical, and Behavioral (College-Initiated). All leaves are administered through the Office of Academic Advising. To initiate a leave of absence, a student must submit a leave of absence request form to the Office of Academic Advising. A student who is on leave may petition the Academic Standing Committee to transfer credit for courses taken at another institution. Proposals for such study must be submitted in advance to the Registrar for review by the Academic Standing Committee. All leaves will be refunded in accordance with the College’s refund schedule. For further details about regulations and policies, consult the Academic Advising website. For information about refunding of tuition and fees, please consult Student Accounts or the Withdrawal and Leave of Absence Refund Policy.
1) Personal Leave. A student may request a Personal Leave at any time. If the College has information to suggest that a Medical Leave is appropriate, however, the College may refer the request to Health and Counseling for review and recommendations. At its discretion, the College may transmute a Personal Leave into a Medical Leave.
2) Medical Leave. Medical Leave requires the support and approval of Health or Counseling Services. All applications for medical leave are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Students who are hospitalized during the semester require approval from Health or Counseling before being allowed to return to campus. Students may be advised to take a health leave following hospitalization, pending review on a case-by-case basis.
Students who are granted a Medical Leave are expected to be on leave for any remainder of the current semester and for the subsequent semester. Students who are granted late course withdrawals from some but not all courses are generally expected to take a Medical Leave for the subsequent semester.
3) Behavioral Leave (College Initiated). The College will apply the procedures outlined in this policy to determine, at its discretion, whether a Behavioral Leave is necessary. Behavioral Leave generally carries the expectation that: a) student is withdrawn for the remainder of the current semester and the subsequent semester; and, b) completes associated requirements before being allowed to return to campus. Students are normally encouraged to consider a voluntary leave before the College initiates a Behavioral Leave. The College may implement Interim Measures (see “Interim Measures” below) during this process. Alcohol and Other Drugs leaves are addressed separately in the Student Code of Conduct.
The College may initiate a Behavioral Leave if, in the judgment of the Dean of Students’ Office, the student meets one or more of the following standards:
- The student’s behavior compromises the health and safety of self or others. This may include behavior that necessitates unreasonable measures to ensure the student’s and/or others’ wellbeing.
- The student’s behavior is disruptive to others. This includes behavior that causes emotional, psychological or physical distress substantially above that normally experienced in daily life or that disrupts College operations.
- The student fails to comply with an assessment, intervention or Medical Leave recommended by the College because of academic, medical, or behavioral concerns. Where the recommended assessment is impossible, as with the student’s failure to comply, indirect behavioral observations will constitute the basis for judgment.
- The student requires specialized care or interventions to manage behavioral issues that the College cannot reasonably provide.
- The student is enrolled but has a pattern of class absences demonstrating failure to maintain their enrollment status (full- or part-time).
Procedures for a Behavioral Leave
Any individual who believes that a student meets one or more of the standards described above should contact the Dean of Students’ Office, which will refer the matter to an administrator designated as the Coordinator of the student’s case. The Coordinator will appoint other personnel to form a Review Committee, which the Coordinator heads.
The Review Committee may require an assessment of the student by a medical/psychiatric provider on- or off-campus to determine if the student meets the standards above. An assessment is not required in determining whether the standards above have been met, however. The Review Committee will consider all medical, psychological, observational and academic reports submitted with regard to or on behalf of the student that are relevant to determining the appropriateness of a Behavioral Leave. Treatment and evaluation reports should include information pertaining to diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. With the information available, the Review Committee will also determine if a reasonable accommodation can be made to maintain the student’s enrollment.
If the Review Committee concludes that the student does not meet any of the standards for a Behavioral Leave, it will inform the student in writing and this process will terminate. Generally, a member of the Review Committee will meet with the student to consider appropriate alternatives, including a behavioral contract or disciplinary action.
If the Review Committee concludes that the student does meet one or more of the standards for a Behavioral Leave, the Review Committee will notify the student of its decision in writing and will include reasons for its conclusion. The Review Committee’s decision will become effective immediately.
Appeal Process for a Behavioral Leave
A decision reached by the Review Committee may be appealed by the student to the Dean of Students’ Office within five (5) calendar days of the decision. Such appeals should be in writing and include specific points the student wishes the Dean of Students’ Office to consider. The Dean of Students’ Office has five (5) calendar days to review the information presented and inform the student of the decision in writing. The Dean of Students’ Office may (1) uphold the decision of the Review Committee, (2) adjust the finding, (3) refer the matter back to the Review Committee for further proceedings, or (4) reverse the decision of the Review Committee and reinstate the student. The appeal decision is final.
To ensure the safety of individual students and the community, the College may take interim measures while working through disciplinary and Behavioral Leave reviews. Interim measures include residential separation or relocation, class schedule changes, restrictions from College activities and/or facilities, work or job assignment changes, “no contact” directives, temporary separation from the College, a health evaluation (see “Health Evaluation” below), or other measures to ensure the well-being of all students.
Health evaluations must address 1) attendance dates of the evaluation and any previous dates of contact; 2) a description of the evaluation procedures (tests, interviews, etc.); 3) specifics about recommended courses of treatment; 4) an opinion about the fitness of the student to return to residential living OR suggestions for alternative arrangements; 5) an opinion about whether and under what circumstances the student appears to represent a danger to self or others. Based on the information submitted, the Director of Health or Counseling may refer students for additional evaluation if it is determined by the Director that more information is needed to determine eligibility for reinstatement.
Students undergoing health evaluations must sign releases of information that allow 1) their medical/psychiatric providers to communicate with Health and/or Counseling Services; and, 2) Health and/or Counseling Services to communicate information to College Life. Releases are available on the Counseling Services website at https://www.gettysburg.edu/offices/health-counseling-services/counseling-services/general-releases
Note that securing a valid health evaluation can take weeks; thus when a health evaluation is required, the student may be advised/required to take a leave.
Process for Reinstatement after Suspension or Leave
Students must resolve all incomplete coursework before they will be permitted to return from leave.
Students placed on Suspension or Leave must follow the requirements set forth in writing at the time they left. Failure to do so or to provide accurate and complete information is grounds for denying reinstatement. Return may include stipulations concerning class schedule, extracurricular activities, place of residence or other conditions as may be judged to be in the best interest of the student and the College community. While the College seriously considers the opinions of external individuals (medical providers, e.g.), the ultimate decision about reinstatement belongs to the College. Thus, a recommendation for return from a student’s healthcare provider(s) is not in itself sufficient grounds for reinstatement.
Students may participate in upcoming registration activities after being officially approved for reinstatement.
All students wishing to return from suspension/leave must notify Academic Advising of their intent to return per the following dates:
Notification to Academic Advising
Suspension April 15 for fall return
November 1 for spring return
All other leaves May 1 for fall return
November 1 for spring return
All students must then submit required supporting materials (set forth in writing at the time the leave was taken) to these offices by the designated dates:
Suspension Academic Advising May 15 for fall
Dec 1 for spring
All other leaves Counseling & Health June 1 for fall
December 1 for spring