You are responsible for knowing the published policies governing the curriculum you are pursuing as well as the regulations and procedures of Northeastern State University and the Oklahoma College of Optometry. Every effort is made to provide accurate and current information at the time of publication of this policy. However, the university reserves the right to modify, discontinue, or otherwise change without notice statements in its catalogs or other publications concerning rules, policies, fees, curricula, courses, or other matters. The standards and procedures set forth in this document are those the college follows in disciplinary matters. The college reserves the right to temporarily suspend a student without a hearing when there is an immediate and present danger of damage to life and property or disruption of university life. Such an administrative decision will be effective immediately. This document is published for informational purposes and should not be construed as a contract between a student and the university. These policies pertain to students who are enrolled in the professional optometry program and they have been approved by the Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges. These policies supersede those University policies which do not pertain to students who are enrolled in the professional optometry program.

Students in the professional optometry program are expected to know:

  1. The university's regulations and policies as published in the university catalog.
  2. The college's mission statement and policies as published in the College Catalog and Clinic Manual.
  3. The expectations found in each course syllabus.
  4. The college's policies or revisions to policies as provided on memoranda to all students.

Students who are accused of violations of the following regulations of the university and the Regional University System of Oklahoma may also be subject to concurrent charges of unprofessional or unethical behavior by the Oklahoma College of Optometry. The college may commence disciplinary actions while a university, civil, or criminal proceeding is pending. Sanctions imposed by the college are not subject to challenge on the grounds that university, civil, or criminal proceedings involving the same incident have been dismissed. Sanctions imposed by departments of the university or agencies other than the Oklahoma College of Optometry in no way reduce, replace, or diminish sanctions imposed by the college.

Prior to the commencement of any disciplinary action for violation of university or RUSO policies, the university's dean of Student Affairs or a representative shall explain to the accused student the student's rights under the terms and conditions of these rules and regulations. In the case of concurrent actions or for actions under the college jurisdiction, the dean of the college or a representative shall explain the student's rights under the terms and conditions of these rules and regulations. The regulations for the administrative procedures for student disciplinary matters under the scope of the Student Policies of the Regional University System of Oklahoma are available in the Division of Student Affairs. Regulations for administrative procedures within the Oklahoma College of Optometry are contained herein and additional copies are available in the dean's office of the college.

4.3.1 Scope of University Authority. The presidents of the universities have the responsibility and authority to promulgate rules governing student conduct and rules insuring the order and safety of the campus. Students who are enrolled at the university are to comply with all the rules and regulations of the institutions. Universities may add additional student regulations not included below. Any additions must be submitted for board approval.

4.3.2 Students' Obligations and Regulations. Each student, upon enrollment at the university, assumes an obligation to obey all rules and regulations made by the university, to preserve faithfully all property provided by the state for his or her education, and to discharge duties as a student with diligence, fidelity, and honor. Failure to observe the following regulations will subject the student to disciplinary action.

Public Law. All students are expected to conform to all local, state, and federal laws.

Personal Behavior. Each student shall maintain the highest standards of integrity, honesty and morality and shall obey the University rules and regulations. {In addition, students in the professional optometry program must meet rigorous clinical and professional standards beyond those specified by the university. Unethical or unprofessional conduct will not be tolerated.}

Disorderly Assembly. No group of students may gather in such a manner as to disturb the public peace, do violence to any person or property, or disrupt the function of the university or interfere with its faculty and staff in the performance of their duties. No student shall encourage or in any way participate in the formation or prolonging of such a gathering.

Disturbing the Peace or Destruction of Property. No student, organization, or group of students shall disturb the peace, destroy, molest, deface, or remove state or university property, or intentionally or negligently injure another person (including hazing).

Alcoholic Beverages or Illegal Narcotics. The consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages, or illegal narcotics in any form, on the campus, in Housing & Residence Life (to include sorority and fraternity housing), or at any event sponsored by or for a student organization or other university sponsored activity for students, is forbidden.

Falsification of Records. No student shall falsify or participate in the falsification of any official university record. {Clinical records, medical charts, and documents unique to the Oklahoma College of Optometry are official university records.}

Payment of Accounts. Students shall make satisfactory arrangements for the settling of university accounts promptly. Failure on the part of a student to make satisfactory arrangements for the settlement of a university account by the due date will result in a late payment penalty; continued failure to settle the account will result in either suspension or the placing of a "hold" on the student's records. A student may not re-enroll, receive a diploma, nor obtain a transcript until the student has (1) cleared the account, and (2) paid the assessed service charge to cover the administrative expense involved in placing a "hold" on the record.

Firearms. The possession or firing of firearms, fireworks, explosives or weapons including but not limited to bows, crossbows, knives, or guns by students is prohibited on campus, in any student residence, sorority, fraternity, approved private housing or university operated facility, except as they are used in officially approved university programs.

Failure to Comply. Failure to comply with the directive of a university official acting in the performance of his or her duties may result in disciplinary action.

Change of Address. Students must notify the Registrar's Office of their current address.

Off Campus. Actions not committed on university property may also be subject to university disciplinary action.

The Oklahoma College of Optometry, as a professional degree program, has the mission to educate practitioners responsible for the health and welfare of the public. The Oklahoma College of Optometry has the obligation to graduate only those students who demonstrate clinical competence and professional integrity. Students in the optometry program must, therefore, meet rigorous clinical and professional standards in addition to the college's academic standards. Students are subject to expulsion if they fail to meet professional standards. Each optometry student has the responsibility of reporting alleged academic dishonesty or unprofessional behavior exhibited by another student to either the appropriate faculty member or to the associate dean.

Unprofessional conduct is defined as any action to or against a fellow student, faculty, staff, or patient that is generally deemed professionally inappropriate or which is not in keeping with the expectations as delineated for the students in the NSU Student Handbook and NSU Catalog, the Clinic Manual of the Oklahoma College of Optometry, and the NSU Oklahoma College of Optometry Catalog and in the College's Academic and Professional Behavior policies.

It is not possible to quantify all forms of misconduct that can arise in a health professional education environment. The following include, but are not limited to, examples of unprofessional conduct in the clinical setting:

  • Illegal acts or actions
  • Unethical acts or actions
  • Immoral acts or actions
  • Failure to follow the code of ethics of the American Optometric Association
  • Falsifying clinic data or records
  • Lying
  • Excessive un-excused absences
  • Excessive un-excused tardiness
  • Sexual harassment
  • Disrespectful behavior
  • Improper demeanor or attire
  • Inappropriate hygiene standards
  • Failure in a clinical setting to identify self as a student clinician
  • Disregard for patient welfare
  • Failure to follow clinic guidelines as specified in the clinic manual
  • Unauthorized entrance to clinic or other restricted areas
  • Any conduct which a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would recognize as dishonest or improper in an academic or patient care setting
  • Excessive noise and vulgar or crude language
  • Undue familiarity with patients, faculty, other students, or staff
  • Smoking in all clinical areas
  • Abuse of equipment
Everyone with whom you come in contact in your professional program should be treated with respect and concern. Clinicians are not to lounge or congregate for discussions in hallways or work areas (i.e., the receptionist's office of the clinic). No clinician is permitted behind the reception desk or in the file room unless specifically directed to do so by the clinical faculty or staff. Students involved in research and laboratory classes will observe the same rules of appearance, hygiene, and manner as clinicians whenever they are in a patient care area.

Students alleged to have violated recognized ethical or professional behavior standards of the college, university, or profession, or the provisions of the American Optometric Association Oath of Practice, will be referred to the Committee on Ethics and Professionalism (CEP).

Faculty are responsible for ensuring that graduates of the program are able to provide quality eye and vision care to the public. At all times, faculty are responsible for decisions related to patient care and student education. Each student and faculty member is expected to exhibit professional behavior based on integrity, ethical principles, and honor. This includes the expectations of class attendance, being on time to classes and clinics, and not leaving class or clinic unless dismissed. Attention to on-going class proceedings and courtesy in class are expected. Each student is responsible for his or her own education. It is the role of the faculty member to facilitate the learning process through teaching.

The Student Pledge of Professionalism is given to all first-year students during the orientation session which precedes the beginning of classes each fall. Students are required to read and affirm their commitment to the pledge by signing a copy. It states:

  • As a student of optometry, I believe there is a need to build and reinforce a professional identity founded on integrity, ethical behavior and honor. This development, a vital process in my education, will help to ensure that I am true to the professional relationship I establish between myself and society as I become a member of the optometry community. Integrity will be an essential part of my everyday life and I will pursue all academic and professional endeavors with honesty and commitment to service.
  • To accomplish this goal of professional development, as a student of optometry I will:
    1. Develop a sense of loyalty and duty to the profession by contributing to the well-being of others and by enthusiastically accepting the responsibility and accountability for membership in the profession.
    2. Foster professional competency through life-long learning. I will strive for high ideals, teamwork, and unity within the profession in order to provide optimal patient care.
    3. Support my colleagues by actively encouraging personal commitment to The Optometric Oath as set forth by the profession.
    4. Dedicate my life and practice to excellence. This will require an ongoing reassessment of personal and professional values.
    5. Maintain the highest ideals and professional attributes to insure and facilitate the covenantal relationship required of the optometric physician.
  • The profession of optometry is one that demands adherence to a set of ethical principles. These high ideals are necessary to insure the quality of care extended to the patients I serve. As a student of optometry, I believe this does not start with graduation; rather it begins with my membership in this professional college community. Therefore, I will strive to uphold this pledge as I advance toward full membership in the profession.

You are expected to know and adhere to the Code of Ethics of the American Optometric Association which states:

  • It Shall Be the Ideal, the Resolve, and the Duty of the Members of the American Optometric Association
  • To Keep the visual welfare of the patient uppermost at all times
  • To Promote in every possible way, in collaboration with this Association, better care of the visual needs of mankind
  • To Enhance continuously their educational and technical proficiency to the end that their patients shall receive the benefits of all acknowledged improvements in visual care
  • To See That no person shall lack for visual care, regardless of his financial status
  • To Advise the patient whenever consultation with an optometric colleague or reference for other professional care seems advisable
  • To Hold in professional confidence all information concerning a patient and to use such data only for the benefit of the patients
  • To Conduct themselves as exemplary citizens
  • To Maintain their offices and their practices in keeping with professional standards
  • To Promote and maintain cordial and unselfish relationships with members of their own profession and of other professions for the exchange of information to the advantage of mankind.

During orientation for first year students which is held at the beginning of the fall semester, all incoming students are required to read the following optometric oath and to affirm their commitment to the oath by signing a copy. The oath states:
With full deliberation I freely and solemnly pledge that:

  • I will practice the art and science of optometry faithfully and conscientiously, and to the fullest scope of my competence.
  • I will uphold and honorably promote by example and action the highest standards, ethics and ideals of my chosen profession and the honor of the degree, Doctor of Optometry, which will be granted me.
  • I will provide professional care for those who seek my services, with concern, with compassion and with due regard for their human rights and dignity.
  • I will place the treatment of those who seek my care above personal gain and strive to see that none shall lack for proper care.
  • I will hold as privileged and inviolable all information entrusted to me in confidence by my patients.
  • I will advise my patients fully and honestly of all which may serve to restore, maintain or enhance their vision and general health.
  • I will strive continuously to broaden my knowledge and skills so that my patients may benefit from all new and efficacious means to enhance the care of human vision.
  • I will share information cordially and unselfishly with my fellow optometrists and other professionals for the benefit of patients and the advancement of human knowledge and welfare.
  • I will do my utmost to serve my community, my country and mankind as a citizen as well as an optometrist.
  • I hereby commit myself to be steadfast in the performance of this solemn oath and obligation.
  • I, _________, have read and understand the obligations and responsibilities as set forth in The Optometric Oath, and I acknowledge that my signature on this document conveys my acceptance of these principles. I understand that this signed document will become a permanent part of my student records as a member of the College of Optometry.

Student Academic Evaluation Committee

The Student Academic Evaluation Committee is a standing committee of the Oklahoma College of Optometry that reviews academic performance and recommends appropriate actions for students in academic difficulty, including clinical performance. Following the review by the SAEC, a recommendation is forwarded to the dean for final approval and implementation. The SAEC acts as advisor to the dean who may accept, reject, or modify its recommendations. The committee is a standing committee and is comprised of five members. Standing committees are selected by the Executive Council at the beginning of each new academic year. The membership is selected from the faculty and administrative staff of the college and currently is comprised of five faculty and one staff. One of the faculty members serves as chair.

Any issues of unprofessional conduct, including allegations of cheating, are considered by the Committee on Ethics and Professionalism.

Academic Retention Standards 

The following policies apply to retention of students in the professional optometry program.

  1. As a requirement for graduation, the Oklahoma College of Optometry requires each student to take, but not necessarily pass, Parts I and II of the exam administered by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry and have the exam scores reported to the College. If a student takes Part III of the National Board Exam, he/she must also report Part III scores to the College. Graduates should notify the College once they have obtained licensure in any state. The College is required to report licensure data to the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education for accreditation purposes.
  2. To graduate from the Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry, you must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 in the professional optometry program. If your semester GPA is less than 2.0 you are placed on academic probation.
  3. Receiving a failing grade in any optometry course may result in suspension or dismissal from the optometry program. At a minimum, if you fail any course in the program, you will be placed on academic probation regardless of your GPA. In addition, when you receive a failing grade in a course, you will not advance in the program and your continued enrollment is determined by the SAEC, who will review the student's overall academic performance and make a recommendation to the dean. Among other options, you may be required by the SAEC to re-enroll in the next academic year and retake all of the curricular courses for the academic year in which the failing grade was received. You will receive a new grade in each course. Both grades will be shown on your academic transcript and both grades will be included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average. The SAEC will handle each student's performance on an individual basis and the committee will formulate a recommendation for appropriate remediation, which will be forwarded for final approval to the dean.
  4. To be removed from academic probation following a sub-2.00 semester GPA, a student must earn a 2.25 GPA or higher in the subsequent semester AND raise the cumulative optometry GPA to 2.00 or higher by the end of the subsequent semester. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the optometry program. When a student is placed on academic probation due to receiving a failing grade, removal from academic probation will follow the SAEC recommendations approved by the dean. 
  5. While you remain on academic probation, your academic progress and plan of remediation must be monitored and approved by the SAEC.
  6. We will not modify the curriculum of the optometry program to accommodate a remedial plan for a student who receives a failing course grade, and we do not endorse a reduced class load.
  7. No student may graduate from the program who has a cumulative GPA of less than 2.0 or who is on academic probation.
  8. If you are suspended or dismissed from the optometry program for academic reasons, you may appeal to the Appeal Board for academic sanctions for readmission. Requests for appeal must be made in writing and submitted to the office of the dean by letter post marked within five university business days after the student's receipt of the letter notifying the student of the recommended sanction.
  9. In the event that you request an appeal within the specified period of five university business days, you will continue in the program until the completion of the appeals process.
  10. Upon receipt of the written appeal, an Appeals Board will be selected by the dean's office. Names will be randomly drawn from the pool of potential members. Within one week of receipt of the written request for an appeal, the dean's office will notify you of the date and time of the hearing. The appeal process is completed expediently and should be completed no later than four weeks after the convening of the appeal board.
  11. If readmission is granted, you will be re-entered on academic probation, and continued enrollment will be contingent on meeting all appropriate policies and any specific requirements outlined by the SAEC and approved by the dean.
  12. The appropriateness of a leave of absence longer than two weeks (for academic, health, emergency, military or other reasons) will be reviewed by the SAEC. The SAEC may impose conditions upon the leave (such as requiring you to seek counseling) and conditions to be fulfilled for eligibility to return from leave. In most cases, students granted an extended leave will be required to stay out the remainder of the academic year and will return at the beginning of the same semester of the same year of the program or may be required to repeat some portion of the program. Students returning from leave must notify the dean of their intent to return at least two months before the start of the semester in which they would be enrolled. Students who fail to notify the dean will be considered to have withdrawn from the college. If conditions have been placed upon the your return, you must furnish evidence that those conditions have been met. Failing this proper notification or meeting of conditions, you will lose your status with the college and must apply for re-admission to the Admissions Committee in order to return.
  13. If a leave is taken for medical reasons, the confidentiality of the student-physician relationship will be respected; no medical information will be made available to the SAEC without your consent. A letter from the treating physician supporting the advisability of a leave will assist the SAEC in making its decision. A student returning from leave may choose to release medical information to support the return from leave; however, the SAEC will generally require an examination by a physician or other health care professional of its choosing to document that you are fit to return from leave. The cost of this examination will be borne by the college.

Sanctions

One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed by the SAEC for poor performance demonstrated in academic or clinical education. Following acceptance and approval or modification by the dean, notification of these sanctions will be sent to appropriate college and university officers, including, but not limited to, director of clinical care services, vice president of academic affairs, registrar, and director of student financial services.

  1. Academic Probation: Period of time during which a student's progress is monitored and specific expectations are defined by policy and/or recommendation of the SAEC. The minimum amount of time that a student can be on Academic Probation is one semester.
  2. Suspension: Temporary separation of a student from the college for a specified period of time during which the student shall not participate in any college sponsored activity and may be barred from college premises.
  3. Dismissal: Separation of a student from the college for academic reasons, intended to be permanent. Notification will appear on the student's transcript and will be maintained in the student's permanent file in the Oklahoma College of Optometry.

Student Responsibilities in Academic Sanctions
The SAEC acts upon the fundamental assumption that students in the optometry program are mature, responsible adults who are, in fact, fit candidates for a health-care profession. In this context, a significant proportion of the responsibility for the determination of your status in academic matters rests with you. The following guidelines are not exhaustive, but are instead intended to set the tone of your participation in these proceedings.

  1. The college administration will make reasonable efforts to notify a student who is placed on probation or suspended for academic reasons. However, you must recognize that academic probation and suspension are administrative actions in response to published academic standards. They are effective regardless of whether you actually receive notification or not. Since a GPA is easy to compute, you can easily determine what your academic status is at a particular time. If your calculations generate any doubt about your status, you should consult with the assistant dean for academic affairs.
  2. It is prudent for you to report to the dean, associate dean, assistant dean for academic affairs or to your faculty mentor circumstances which you feel may negatively impact your academic performance before they result in failing grades, probation, or suspension.
  3. You should seek tutoring in areas of weakness before they become matters of academic record.
  4. In the event that you are suspended or dismissed, it is your responsibility to respond, if warranted or necessary, to the written notification in a timely manner.
  5. You should ensure that the address on file with the College offices is a current address.
  6. You should meet with the associate dean to discuss your rights, responsibilities, and time line for hearings or other actions.

Appeal Board for Academic Sanctions

You may appeal an academic sanction by submitting a request in writing to the dean within five university business days (defined as days when the university business and academic offices are open) after receipt of the written decision. The appeal will be heard by an ad hoc appeal board. The Appeal Board for academic sanctions serves as the last arbiter in the process of appeal of academic sanctions and its decision is final.

At the beginning of each academic year, a pool of potential members comprised of eight or more faculty and four third or fourth-year students in the Oklahoma College of Optometry will be selected from persons who have expressed an interest in serving on the Appeal Board for academic sanctions. From the pool, the names of two faculty members and one student will be randomly drawn. If a faculty member or student asked to serve on the board feels he or she has a conflict of interest that would compromise his or her objectivity as a member of the committee, another name will be drawn from the pool. In instances where the number of available faculty or students in the pool is inadequate to fill the board, the dean may name additional faculty or students to the pool. It is the dean's responsibility to assure that an appeals board is selected through the above process. The members of the board will select a faculty member to serve as the chair.

Process for Appeal Board

The Appeal Board will determine the actual process of the appeal and review but in general will follow the guidelines below:

  1. The Appeal Board for academic sanctions will meet and privately review the charge of the board and the process to be followed. Should any member selected to serve on the board have any reason which compromises his or her ability to serve objectively, he or she shall request to be excused or the chair of the board may request that the member be replaced. If a student appearing before the board has any reason to feel that a board member will be unable to serve objectively, the student may request that the member be excused and if the board grants the student's request a replacement will be selected in the same manner as stated above.
  2. The proceedings of the appeal will be recorded on audio tape and maintained for five years in the college administrative office.
  3. The student requesting the appeal and the SAEC chair or the chair's designee will appear before the board. If the SAEC recommendation has been modified by the dean, then the dean and the SAEC chair or designee will appear to present the sanction and justification for the sanction. The student will present his or her reasons for an appeal of the sanction.
  4. The board may call any witnesses or request any information or material deemed by it to be relevant to the issue. The board will request that any faculty, student, or staff member having information relative to the matter under review be easily accessible to the board. Both the SAEC representative and the dean, if applicable, as well as the student will be present during any testimony given in the hearing.
  5. The board may meet in executive session at any time.
  6. All decisions will be made by simple majority vote (51 percent). The chair is a voting member.
  7. The Appeal Board will prepare a written summary and decision and submit it to the dean. The dean's office will notify all parties of the decision of the Appeal Board.
  8. The Appeal Board for academic sanctions serves as the final arbiter in the process of appeal and the Appeal Board's decision is final.

At the beginning of each academic year, a pool of potential members comprised of eight or more faculty and four, third or fourth-year students in the Oklahoma College of Optometry will be selected from persons who have expressed an interest in serving on the Grade Appeals Committee. From the pool, the dean's office will randomly draw the names of two faculty members and one student. If a faculty member or student asked to serve on the committee feels he or she has a conflict of interest which would compromise his or her objectivity as a member of the committee, a replacement will be selected in the same manner as above. In instances where the number of available faculty or students in the pool is inadequate to fill the committee, the dean may name additional faculty or students to the pool. It is the dean's responsibility to assure that a Grade Appeals Committee is selected through the above process.

The Grade Appeals Committee is an ad hoc committee of the Oklahoma College of Optometry which is charged with conducting a review when a grade appeal is filed by a student for one of the following three reasons:

  1. Allegations that an instructor's policy in assigning final grades is not applied consistently to all students within a class and section
  2. Allegations that the method of assigning grades differs from the method described in the instructor's course syllabus or in other material made available by the instructor to the students
  3. Allegations that the instructor's policy on assignment of grades was not made known to students
A grade appeal may be filed by a faculty member when an allegation is made that the student achieved a grade through plagiarism, cheating, or misrepresentation. However, these grade appeals are referred to the Committee on Ethics and Professionalism for review.

Grade Appeals Process for Student
  1. The Grade Appeals Process must be formally initiated by the student with a written appeal to the dean within two months of the grade being posted with the registrar.
  2. The first step in appealing a grade is for the student to consult with the instructor to seek a satisfactory explanation or resolution. For purposes of clarification and documentation, if the issue is resolved, a written understanding and agreement between the student and instructor should be prepared by the instructor and signed by both parties.
  3. If, after talking with the instructor, the student feels that his or her complaint has not been resolved, the student shall petition the assistant dean for academic affairs to review the matter. The assistant dean for academic affairs shall discuss the matter with the instructor involved seeking resolution of the complaint. If an agreement is reached, a written understanding of the agreement between the student and instructor should be prepared by the instructor and signed by all parties.
  4. If no resolution is reached, the student may submit a formal request in writing to the dean that the complaint be referred to the Grade Appeals Committee. The formal request must include all evidence that the student desires to present to the Grade Appeals Committee. The date of the receipt of the formal request will establish subsequent dates in the appeal process as explained in the Rules of Procedure.
  5. In all cases in which a grade was assigned due to allegations that the student achieved the grade through plagiarism, cheating, or other means of misrepresentation, the matter must be referred to the Committee on Ethics and Professionalism.
Procedure for Grade Appeals Committee
  1. Committee members will select one of the faculty members to serve as chair. The chair will call the meetings to order and conduct the meetings.
  2. All decisions will be made by a simple majority (51 percent) . The chair is a voting member.
  3. The complainant shall carry the burden of proof by the weight of the evidence that the grade is incorrect or unjustified.
  4. The proceedings of the Grade Appeals Committee shall be tape-recorded and retained in the college administration office for a minimum of five years.
  5. Appeals shall be kept confidential.
  6. All appeals shall be submitted to the dean in written form and should state the student's allegations in detail.
  7. The faculty member will be asked to respond to the written appeal and shall submit a written statement to the dean within five university business days.
  8. The Grade Appeals Committee shall convene within 10 university business days of receipt of the complete written formal appeal and written response from the faculty. The committee will first meet to determine whether or not the written appeal statement and the supporting documents include sufficient justification for further consideration by the committee. If further consideration by the committee is warranted, a formal review will be held within 10 university business days.
  9. If a formal review of the appeal is conducted, copies of the written student complaint and the faculty member's written response will be provided to both parties prior to the review.
  10. The first step of the review process shall be a presentation of the complaint by the complainant followed by a presentation by the other party. Both the student and the faculty member shall have the opportunity to hear the testimony, to present his or her case, and to ask any questions germane to the complaint. Either party may be accompanied by one person. This individual will act only in the position of observer and will not participate in the deliberations of the meeting. All meetings shall be closed to the public. If either the student or the faculty member is to be accompanied by another person, this information and name of the individual is to be given in writing to the chair of the committee at least two days prior to the scheduled committee meeting.
  11. The Grade Appeals Committee will consider the evidence and make a decision concerning the grade. If the Grade Appeals Committee decides that a grade in a course should be changed, they shall attempt to reach an agreement mutually acceptable to the student and the instructor who assigned the grade. Should the acceptable agreement involve a change of grade, the instructor will submit a change of grade to the dean. If no agreement is reached between the instructor and the student, the committee will forward a complete and final written report of their decision to the dean. If a grade change is decided by the committee, any actual grade change will be processed by the dean and forwarded to the vice president of academic affairs. Copies of this communication shall be sent by the dean to the faculty member and the student.
  12. The decision of the Grade Appeals Committee is final.

The Oklahoma College of Optometry, as a professional degree program, has the mission to educate practitioners responsible for the health and welfare of the public. We have the obligation to graduate only those students who demonstrate clinical competence and professional integrity. Students in our program must, therefore, meet rigorous clinical and professional standards in addition to our academic standards. You are subject to expulsion from the college and university if you fail to meet professional standards. You have the responsibility of reporting alleged academic dishonesty or unprofessional behavior exhibited by another student to either the appropriate faculty member or to the associate dean.

Jurisdiction over all issues in the Oklahoma College of Optometry rests within the college. Students in the Oklahoma College of Optometry who are accused of unprofessional or unethical behavior may also be subject to other sanctions as a result of processes and procedures covered by rules of the university, state, or federal agencies. Sanctions imposed by those agencies in no way reduce or diminish sanctions imposed by us.

Disciplinary action within the college may commence while a civil or criminal proceeding is pending. College disciplinary proceedings are not subject to challenge on the grounds that civil or criminal proceedings involving the same incident have been dismissed. If you are involved in offenses outside the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma College of Optometry, the dean may appoint a faculty member to appear at any campus hearing before which the student is required to appear. The faculty member's role will be observational and to advise the college.

Unprofessional conduct is defined as any action to or against a fellow student, faculty, staff, or patient that is generally deemed professionally inappropriate or which is not in keeping with the expectations as delineated for the students in the NSU Student Handbook and NSU Catalog, the Clinic Manual of the Oklahoma College of Optometry, and the NSU Oklahoma College of Optometry Catalog. It is not possible to quantify all forms of misconduct that can arise in a health professional education environment. The following include, but are not limited to, examples of unprofessional conduct:

  • Illegal acts or actions
  • Unethical acts or actions
  • Immoral acts or actions
  • Failure to follow the code of ethics of the American Optometric Association
  • Using notes to aid in answering questions during an exam
  • Giving or receiving aid during an exam
  • Falsifying results in laboratory work
  • Seeking or giving information about exam questions on an exam already administered to any members of the class
  • Falsifying clinic data or records
  • Plagiarism, falsifying documents, or obtaining any grade or certification by misrepresentation
  • Lying
  • Excessive un-excused absences
  • Excessive un-excused tardiness
  • Sexual harassment
  • Disrespectful behavior
  • Improper demeanor or attire
  • Inappropriate hygiene standards
  • Failure in a clinical setting to identify self as a student clinician
  • Disregard for patient welfare
  • Failure to follow clinic guidelines as specified in the Clinic Manual
  • Unauthorized entrance to clinic or other restricted areas
  • Any conduct which a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would recognize as dishonest or improper in an academic or patient care setting

If you are alleged to have violated recognized ethical or professional behavior standards of the College, University, or the profession, or the provisions of the American Optometric Association Oath of Practice, you will be entitled to a hearing which is conducted pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act. The hearing will be held before the Committee on Ethics and Professionalism (CEP), an ad hoc committee. Grade appeals by a faculty member in which there is an allegation of plagiarism, cheating, or misrepresentation are also referred to this committee rather than to the Grade Appeals Committee. There is no time limit for an instructor to take corrective action as a result of a grade received through plagiarism, cheating, or misrepresentation.

Sanctions
One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed by the CEP.

  1. Expulsion: Separation of the student from the college, intended to be permanent. Notification will appear on your transcript and will be maintained in your permanent file in the Oklahoma College of Optometry. You may also be barred from the college premises.
  2. Suspension: Separation of the student from the college for a specified period of time during which you shall not participate in any college sponsored activity and may be barred from college premises.
  3. Disciplinary Probation: Disciplinary notation for a specified period of time during which you shall not represent the college in any extracurricular activity or run for or hold office in any student group or organization.
  4. Disciplinary Reprimand: Disciplinary warning that further misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary action.
  5. Restitution: Requirement that you make payment to the college or to other persons, groups, or organizations for damages incurred as a result of a violation of any codes of ethics or professional behavior.
Process for Selection of Committee on Ethics and Professionalism
At the beginning of each academic year, a pool of potential members comprised of eight or more faculty and four third or fourth-year students in the Oklahoma College of Optometry will be selected from persons who have expressed an interest in serving on the committee. From the pool, the names of two faculty members and one student will be randomly drawn as needed. If a faculty member or student asked to serve on the committee feels he or she has a conflict of interest which would compromise his or her objectivity as a member of the committee, a replacement will be selected in the same manner as stated above. In instances where the number of available faculty or students in the pool is inadequate to fill the committee, the dean may name additional faculty or students to the pool for random selection. It is the dean's responsibility to assure that a Committee on Ethics and Professionalism is selected through the stated process.

Procedure for Hearing
  1. A faculty member who has reasonable grounds to believe that a student has engaged in academic dishonesty or unprofessional behavior is required to notify the student about the accusation, specifically identifying and describing the alleged offense.
  2. A student who alleges misconduct by another student should alert the faculty member of the course in which the incident occurred or report the incident to the assistant dean for academic affairs.
  3. The student or faculty member reporting the possible occurrence of unethical and unprofessional conduct shall submit a signed written statement specifying in detail its basis to the assistant dean for academic affairs or the dean, both of whom are available to those seeking clarification of the policy and procedures.
  4. A committee will be selected by random drawing from a pool of faculty and students.
  5. The dean will give the accused student written notice, either by serving the student in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice will inform the student that he or she is required to appear before the committee at a specified date, time, and place, and will inform the student of the accusation, specifically identifying and describing the alleged offense and the grade penalty determined by the instructor, if a course is involved.
  6. The notice will also inform the student that he or she may have an adviser or other counsel present during the conference; that an adviser or counsel is limited to the role of advising the student; and that an adviser or counsel may not participate in the conference or make any statements during the conference.
  7. If the student fails to respond within the prescribed time or fails to meet as directed, the student shall be in default and thereby waives the right to all college hearings, appeals, and challenges.
  8. College hearings will be tape recorded and the tapes maintained for a minimum of five years. Any evidence that the committee considers relevant may be received at a hearing.
  9. All decisions are made by a simple majority (51 percent). The chair is a voting member.
  10. The first step of the review process shall be a presentation of the complaint by the complainant followed by a presentation by the other party. Both the student and the faculty or other complainant shall have the opportunity to hear the testimony, to present his or her case, and to ask any questions germane to the complaint. Either party may be accompanied by one person. This individual will act only in the position of observer and will not participate in the deliberations of the meeting. All meetings shall be closed to the public. If either the student or the faculty member is to be accompanied by another person, this information and name of the individual is to be given in writing to the dean's office at least two university business days prior to the scheduled committee meeting.
  11. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable in these disciplinary proceedings. The presiding chairperson shall give effect to the rules of confidentiality and privilege, but shall otherwise admit all matters into evidence which reasonable persons would accept as having probative value in the conduct of their affairs. Unduly repetitious or irrelevant evidence may be excluded.
  12. The CEP will send a comprehensive report of its decision to the dean, complete with enforcement guidelines.
  13. The dean will give the student written notification of the CEP's sanction and will inform the student of his or her right to file an appeal and the time frame for the appeal process.

A student may appeal a sanction by the Committee on Ethics and Professionalism by submitting a request for an appeal in writing to the dean within five university business days after receiving a written copy of the committee's decision.

Process for Appeal Board for Committee on Ethics and Professionalism Sanctions

  1. The student's written request for an appeal to the dean must state why the student believes the sanction should be re-considered.
  2. An Appeal Board composed of two faculty members and one student in the Oklahoma College of Optometry will be selected by a random drawing from a pool of potential members.
  3. The appeal board will review the written appeal and the record of proceedings of the CEP, and any other evidence it deems appropriate. The appeal board shall determine whether the sanction of the CEP is supported by any competent evidence and should be upheld or whether the sanction is not supported by any competent evidence and forward its written summary and decision to the dean.
  4. The appeal board will determine the process to be followed, but in general will follow the guidelines stated here.
  5. Should any member selected to serve on the board have any reason which compromises his or her ability to serve objectively, he or she shall request to be excused.
  6. If a student appearing before the board has any reason to feel that a board member will be unable to serve objectively, the student may request that the member be excused, and if the board grants the student's request a replacement will be named in the same manner stated above.
  7. The proceedings of the appeal will be recorded on audio tape and maintained for five years in the college's administrative office.
  8. Both the student requesting the appeal and the CEP chair or the chair's designee will appear before the board. The CEP representative will present the sanction and justification for the sanction. The student will present his or her reasons for an appeal of the sanction.
  9. The board may call any witnesses or request any information or material deemed by it to be relevant to the issue. The board will request that any faculty, student, or staff member having information relative to the matter under review be easily accessible to the board. The regulations for the administrative procedures for student disciplinary matters are available in the Division of Student Affairs. Regulations for administrative procedures within the Oklahoma College of Optometry are contained herein and copies are available in the dean's office.
  10. Both the CEP representative and the student will be present during any testimony given in the hearing.
  11. The board may meet in executive session, at any time.
  12. The appeal board shall consider and render a decision to the dean as to whether or not the sanction of the CEP is supported by evidence and should be upheld or whether the sanction should be modified or changed.
  13. All decisions will be made by simple majority vote (51 percent). The chair is a voting member.
  14. The appeal board will prepare a written summary and the decision and submit it to the dean. The dean will notify all parties of the decision of the appeal board.
  15. The appeal board for CEP sanctions serves as the final arbiter in the process of appeal of CEP sanctions and the decision of the board is final.