Dismissal

Purpose: To outline conditions or circumstances that may provide sufficient cause for dismissal of a student from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS).

The following conditions or circumstances may provide sufficient cause for dismissal of a student from the GSBS.

These include:

  • Failure to make adequate academic progress, as defined by the program
  • Failure to maintain an acceptable GPA, as defined by the Academic Probation Policy
  • Engaging in academic or research misconduct
  • Engaging in illegal, fraudulent, or unethical behavior, as defined in the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) Institutional Handbook Code of Professional and Academic Conduct
  • Failure to complete the required core courses by the end of the second year

There may be other unusual situations in which a student may be dismissed. In each case, the dismissal should follow the procedures described below.

Failure to Make Adequate Academic Progress

  • Failure to maintain an acceptable GPA will result in academic warning, probation, or dismissal, according to the GSBS Academic Probation Policy.
  • Furthermore, students who have not been placed on probation, but who are not making adequate academic progress, will be warned in writing of the possibility of dismissal.
  • Such students will be given a clear statement about what must be done to alleviate the problem, and a specific time period. These expectations must be reasonable and consistent with expectations held for all students.
  • If the student does not meet the requirements within the specified time frame, he/she may be dismissed. Upon recommendation from the graduate advisor, the GSBS office will notify the student of his/her dismissal.
  • Students may appeal this dismissal via the procedures outlined in the Procedure for Grade and Non-Grade Complaints section of this handbook (page 8).

Academic or Research Misconduct/Illegal, Fraudulent, or Unethical Behavior

The process for dismissing students as a result of academic or research misconduct, or as a result of illegal, fraudulent, or unethical behavior is outlined in the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) Institutional Handbook Code of Professional and Academic Conduct.

A. General Policy

  1. An environment in which the privileges of citizenship are protected and the obligations of citizenship are understood fosters freedom of discussion, inquiry, and expression. Accordingly, the university community has developed standards of behavior pertaining to students and to student organizations.
  2. Students and student organizations are subject to disciplinary action according to the provisions of the student code and/or any other applicable university rules or regulations.
  3. All students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the various regulations of the university and meeting the various requirements outlined below. Written policies are described in university publications, such as this handbook, individual school catalogs, and student affairs handbooks. By accepting an admission offer, the student indicates a willingness to subscribe to and be governed by the rules and regulations of the university, including disciplinary action, such as dismissal or expulsion, as deemed appropriate by university officials, for failure to abide by such rules and regulations.
  4. All students are responsible for their own integrity, and equally responsible for reporting possible violations of this student code by other students. Faculty and staff will take all reasonable steps to prevent violations, and faculty/staff are likewise responsible for reporting violations.

B. Disciplinary Jurisdiction

  1. The student code applies to conduct that occurs on university premises, at university-sponsored activities, and to any off-campus conduct that adversely affects the university and/or pursuit of its objectives. On a case-by-case basis, the dean and his/her designee of each respective school, at his/her sole discretion, will determine whether the student code should be applied to conduct occurring off premises.
  2. All students are expected to subscribe to an honor system, which is implicit in accepting admission to the university. Every student is responsible for his/her conduct from the time of the application for admission through the actual awarding of a degree, even though conduct may occur before classes begin or after classes end, as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment. The student code applies to persons who withdraw after alleged violation of the code; those who are not officially enrolled for a particular term, but who have a continuing relationship with the university; and those who have been notified of their acceptance.

C. Violation of Law and TTUHSC El Paso Discipline

A disciplinary proceeding may be instituted against a student, regardless of whether his/her conduct allegedly violates both the criminal and/or civil law and/or this student code (that is, if both possible violations result from the same factual situation) and regardless of the pendency of civil or criminal litigation in court or criminal arrest or prosecution. Proceedings under this student code may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil and/or criminal proceedings, at the discretion of the dean of the relevant school. Determinations made or sanctions imposed for violations of the student code are not subject to change, even if criminal charges for those same violations are dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the criminal and/or civil law defendant.

D. Misconduct

Any student or student organization found to have committed the following misconduct is subject to disciplinary sanctions, conditions, and/or restrictions. Misconduct or prohibited behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Alcoholic Beverages
    1. The use, possession, sale, delivery, or distribution of alcoholic beverages, except as expressly permitted by university policy and as allowed by law.

    2. Being under the influence of alcohol and/or intoxicated, except as allowed by law.

      NOTE: State law will be strictly enforced at all times on all property controlled by the university and is inclusive of all regional sites and its components.
  1. Narcotics or Drugs
    1. The use, possession, sale, delivery, or distribution of any narcotic, drug, or medicine prescribed to someone else; or chemical compound, controlled substance, or drug-related paraphernalia, except as expressly permitted by the laws of the state of Texas

    2. Being under the influence of narcotics or drugs, except as permitted by law

    3. Failing a drug test, whether required by the university or any health care facility to which a student is assigned or has any type of patient care, contact, or responsibility

  2. Firearms, Weapons, and Explosives
    Use or possession of firearms, ammunition, explosive weapons, illegal knives, or other deadly weapons is prohibited on university property, except as specifically authorized by federal, state, or local laws
  1. Theft, Damage, or Unauthorized Use
    1. Attempted or actual theft of property of the university, students, or members of the university community or campus visitors

    2. Possession of property known to be stolen or belonging to another person without the owner’s permission

    3. Attempted or actual damage to property of the university, university students, members of the university community, or campus visitors

    4. Attempted or actual unauthorized use of a credit card, debit card, automated teller machine card, telephone card, or personal check; alteration, forgery or misrepresentation of any form of identification, including, but not limited to, a social security number or driver’s license number

  2. Actions Against Members of the University Community
    1. Physical harm or threat of harm to any person

    2. Intentional or reckless conduct that endangers the health or safety of any person, campus visitor, or volunteer

    3. Behavior that disrupts the normal operation of the university, including that of its students, faculty, staff, or volunteers; or conduct that otherwise interferes with or creates a hostile or intimidating environment for a student’s academic pursuits or a faculty or staff member’s work environment
      Note: Such conduct does not necessarily have to be in violation of the law to violate this section.

    4. Sexual conduct that involves:
      1. Unwelcomed touching of a sexual nature
      2. Deliberate sexual invasion of another without consent
      3. Deliberate constraint or incapacitation of another, without that person’s knowledge or consent, so as to put another at risk of sexual injury (see TTUHSC El Paso Title IX)

    5. Unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that expressly or implicitly imposes conditions upon, threatens, interferes with, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment for an individual’s:
      1. Academic pursuits
      2. University employment
      3. Participation in activities sponsored by the university or organizations or groups related to the university
      4. Opportunities to benefit from other aspects of university life (see TTUHSC El Paso Title IX)

    6. Excessive pressure, threats, or any form of conduct, coercive tactics, or mind control techniques used to recruit, initiate, retain, or otherwise intimidate a student for membership in an organization

  3. Gambling, Wagering, or Bookmaking
    Gambling, wagering, or bookmaking on university premises is prohibited.
  1. Hazing
    Hazing means any intentional or reckless act directed against a student, occurring on or off campus, by one or more individuals acting alone or collectively, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging or associating, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or seeking and/or maintaining membership in any organization whose members are, or include, students. Consent or acquiescence by a student or students subjected to hazing is not a defense in a disciplinary proceeding. Hazing includes, but is not limited to:
    1. Any type of physical or emotional brutality, or the threat of such activity, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity

    2. Any type of physical activity, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics, or other activity that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of a student
    3. Any activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance that subjects a student to an unreasonable risk or harm, or which adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of a student
    4. Any activity that intimidates or threatens a student with ostracism; subjects a student to extreme mental stress, shame, or humiliation; adversely affects the mental health or dignity of a student; discourages a student from entering or remaining registered at the university; or that may reasonably be expected to cause a student to leave the organization or the university, rather than submit to acts described above
    5. Any activity that a person engages in to solicit, encourage, direct, aid, or attempt to aid another, whether directly or indirectly, in hazing; intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly permitting hazing to occur; or having firsthand knowledge of the planning of a specific hazing incident that has occurred and failing to report the incident in writing to the appropriate school’s student affairs office
    6. Any activity in which hazing is either condoned or encouraged; or actions of any officer or combination of members, pledges, associates, or alumni of the organization that commit or assist in the committing of hazing
    7. Any act that is unlawful, as designated by the local, state, or federal government

      NOTE: See Texas Education Code, Sections 37.151-37.157 and Section 51.936 for more information.
  2. False Alarms or Terrorist Threats
    Intentionally or recklessly sounding a false alarm of any kind or character; making a false emergency call or terrorist threat; issuing a false bomb threat; constructing mock explosive devices; or improperly possessing, tampering with, or destroying fire equipment, automatic external defibrillators (AED), or emergency signs on university premises

  3. Financial Irresponsibility
    Failure to meet financial obligations to the university, including, but not limited to, writing checks on accounts with insufficient funds (see 4d above)

  4. Unauthorized Entry, Possession, and/or Use
    1. Unauthorized entry into or use of university facilities

    2. Unauthorized possession or duplication, processing, production, or manufacture of any key or unlocking device or access code for use in any university facility
    3. Unauthorized use of the university name, logotype, registered trademarks, or symbols
    4. Use of the university’s name to advertise or promote events or activities in a manner which suggests sponsorship by the university without prior written permission

  5.  Traffic and Parking
    1. Violation of university traffic or parking regulations

    2. Obstruction of the free flow of vehicle, pedestrian, or other traffic on university premises

  6.  Student Recreation
    Violation of any rules governing behavior in the student lounges or exercise areas

  7. Failure to comply with the reasonable directions or requests by a university official acting in accordance with his/her duties

  8. Failure to Present Student Identification
    Failure to present student identification or identify oneself to any university official acting in accordance with his/her duties upon request the student identification card is the property of the university

    Note: Students may neither allow their student identification card to be used by other persons, nor alter their student identification in any way. Students are responsible for a replacement charge for lost, stolen, or damaged student identification cards.

  9. Abuse, Misuse, or Theft of University Computer Data, Programs, Time, or Computer or Network Equipment
    1. Unauthorized or non-academic use of computing and/or networking resources

    2. Unauthorized accessing, copying, or removing of programs, records, or data belonging to the university or another user or copyrighted software
    3. Attempted or actual breach of the security of another user’s account and/or computing system; depriving another user of access to university computing and/or networking resources; compromising the privacy of another user; or disrupting the intended use of computing or network resources
    4. Attempted or actual use of the university’s computing and/or networking resources for personal or financial gain
    5. Attempted or actual transport of copies of university programs, records, or data to another person or computer without written authorization
    6. Attempted or actual destruction or modification of programs, records, or data belonging to the university or another user, or destruction of the integrity of computer-based information
    7. Attempted or actual use of university computing and/or networking facilities to interfere with the normal operation of the university’s computing and/or networking systems; or causing a waste of such resources (people, capacity, computer) through such actions
    8. Allowing another person, either through one’s personal computer account or by other means, to accomplish any of the above
    9. Attempted or actual addition or modification to, or removal or circumventing of institutionally-approved computer security products or processes
    10. Participation in any computer-related activity that may cause the university to incur legal liability or embarrassment
    11. Violation of any policy defined in the university’s IT security policies

  10. Providing False, Misleading, or Untrue Statements or Misuse of Records
    Knowingly providing to the university, or to a university official acting in accordance with his/her duties, either verbally, or through forgery, alteration or misuse of any university document, record, or instrument of identification

  11. Skateboards, Roller Blades, and Similar Devices
    Use of skateboards, roller blades, or other similar devices in university buildings or on university premises in such a manner as to constitute a safety hazard or cause damage to university or personal property, or disrupt the normal operation of the university

    NOTE: Refer to HSCEP OP 76.32, Traffic and Parking Regulations.

  12. Academic Misconduct
    1. A student who witnesses academic misconduct or is approached with an offer to gain unfair advantage or commit academic misconduct is obligated to report that violation to the appropriate authority (see Misconduct)

      Note: Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action. Faculty and staff are equally responsible for reporting academic misconduct in accordance with the Misconduct policy herein.

    2. Academic misconduct refers to any activity that tends to compromise the academic integrity of the university, or subvert the educational process, including, but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, falsifying academic records, misrepresenting facts, any act designed to give unfair academic advantage to the student, or the attempt to commit such an act

    3. Cheating includes, but is not limited to:
      1. Using any aid, source, and/or assistance in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out assignments beyond those authorized by the instructor or administrator of the relevant course, laboratory, field assignment, quiz, test, or examination

      2. Failing to comply with instructions given by the test administrator

      3. Using, buying, stealing, transporting, or soliciting, in whole or in part, the contents of an examination, test key, homework solution, or computer program

      4. Seeking aid, receiving assistance from, or collaborating with another student or individual (collusion) during a course, quiz, test, or examination, or in conjunction with other assignment (including, but not limited to, writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or making presentations), unless specifically authorized by the instructor

      5. Discussing the contents of an examination with another student who has yet to take the examination

      6. Divulging the contents of an examination

      7. Substituting for another person, or permitting another person to substitute for oneself to take a course, test, or any course-related assignment

      8. Paying or offering money or other valuable(s) to, or coercing another person to obtain an examination, test key, homework solution, or computer program, or information about an examination, test key, homework solution, or computer program

      9. Falsifying research data, laboratory reports, and/or other academic work offered for credit

      10. Taking, keeping, misplacing, or damaging university property, or the property of another, if the student knows or reasonably should know that an unfair academic advantage would be gained by such conduct

      11. Possession, at any time, of current or previous test materials without the instructor’s permission

      12. Acquisition or dissemination, by any means, without written permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the university community

      13. Alteration of grade records

      14. Bribing, or attempting to bribe, a member of the university community or any other individual to alter a grade

      15. Falsification, fabrication, or dishonesty in reporting laboratory and/or research results

      16. Submitting substantially the same work to satisfy requirements for one course that has previously been submitted to satisfy requirements for another course, without specific permission of the instructor of the course for which the work is being submitted

      17. Possession, during an exam, of prohibited materials, including, but not limited to, study/review materials, class notes, or review questions

    4. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, appropriating, buying, receiving as a gift, or obtaining, by any other means, another’s work (such as words, ideas, expressions, illustrations, or products), in whole or in part, and submitting that work as one’s own for academic credit or to satisfy a requirement

      Note: When a student presents the works of another (published or unpublished) in his/her academic work, the student must fully acknowledge the sources according to methods prescribed by his/her instructor.

    5. Falsifying academic records includes, but is not limited to, altering or assisting in the altering of any official record of the university and/or submitting false information or omitting requested information that is required for, or related to, any academic record of the university

      Note: Academic records include, but are not limited to, applications for admission, the awarding of a degree, grade reports, test papers, registration materials, grade change forms, and reporting forms used by the Office of the Registrar.

    6. Misrepresenting facts to the university or an agent of the university includes, but is not limited to, providing false grades or resumes; providing false or misleading information in an effort to receive a postponement or an extension on a test, quiz, or other assignment for the purpose of obtaining an academic or financial benefit for oneself or another individual; or providing false or misleading information in an effort to harm another student academically or financially

  13. Violation of Published University Policies, Rules, or Regulations
    Violation of any published university policies, rules, or regulations that govern the behavior of a student or student organization, including, but not limited to, applicable school publications, such as student handbooks, catalogs, professional and ethical standards, and course syllabi

  14. Violation of Federal, State, and/or Local Law
    Misconduct that constitutes a violation of any provisions of federal, state, or local laws

  15. Abuse of the Discipline System
    1. Failure by an accused student to comply with or respond to a notification to appear before the dean of his/her school, dean’s representative, and/or an official of the university, including, but not limited to, the student conduct administrator, during any stage of a disciplinary proceeding

      Note: Failure to comply with or respond to a notice issued as part of a disciplinary procedure and/or failure to appear will not prevent the dean or dean’s representative and/or an official of the university from proceeding with disciplinary action.

    2. Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information in disciplinary proceedings

    3. Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a disciplinary proceeding

    4. Filing an allegation known to be without merit or cause

    5. Discouraging or attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the discipline system

    6. Influencing or attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a disciplinary body prior to and/or during a disciplinary proceeding

    7. Causing harm to, threating to cause harm to, or intimidating, whether verbally, physically, or in writing, a member of a disciplinary body prior to, during, and/or after disciplinary proceeding

    8. Failure to comply with the sanctions, conditions, and/or restrictions imposed under this student code

    9. Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the discipline system

    10. Retaliating against any person or group or people who file a complaint of misconduct in accordance with the student code or file a grievance under the applicable school grievance policy

E. Scientific Misconduct

Allegations of scientific misconduct (fraud, dishonesty, or any kind of misconduct in science) will be investigated by the university’s research integrity officer as outlined in HSCEP OP 73.07 Honesty in Research & Allegations of Scientific Misconduct-Attachment A.

Scientific misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results; or other practices that materially deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific and academic communities for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It also includes other material deviations from accepted scientific practices, such as failure to report unethical research practices, obstruction of another’s research, violation of confidentiality; intentional deception, omission, or research dishonesty; repeated incidents of regulatory noncompliance and misuse of research funds. It does not include honest errors or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

  1. Fabrication refers to making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

  2. Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results, such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.

  3. Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

  4. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

Other Grounds for Dismissal

A regularly admitted student who has not been registered for three consecutive semesters will be dismissed unless a leave of absence has been approved.

Any student who does not complete all requirements for a graduate degree within the time limit will be dismissed. Per reporting guidelines established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), students seeking master’s degrees are expected to graduate within five years.

The course director may recommend dismissing students for situations other than those specified above. When doing so, the dean must notify the student in writing of the possibility of dismissal. If it is possible for the student to rectify the situation, he/she must be given a clear statement about what must be done within a specified time period to alleviate the problem. These expectations must be reasonable and consistent with expectations held of all students. If the student does not meet the requirements within the specified time frame, he/she may be dismissed.

If the situation cannot be rectified, the dean will send justification for the dismissal to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) office. If warranted, the GSBS office will notify the student in writing of the grounds for dismissal and the date when the dismissal will be effective. This will normally be the end of the semester in which the student is currently enrolled, but the circumstances of the dismissal will be considered in determining this date.

Students may appeal their dismissal by following the procedures outlined in the Procedure for Grade and Non-Grade Complaints outlined in this handbook (page 8).