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Student Handbook

Academic Policies and Regulations

Leaves of Absence

A student may request from the associate dean of students (academic) an academic or personal leave of absence. A student may request from the dean of students a medical or psychological leave. Students should consult with their academic advisor and the appropriate dean prior to requesting leave. Leaves of absence may be granted for a specified period of time, normally one or two semesters. Students on leave are expected to return to Hamilton at the conclusion of the approved leave.

While on leave, students will be informed of preregistration at the appropriate time in the semester preceding their return, and are responsible for meeting the same deadlines as currently enrolled students. Arrangements for housing must be completed before students leave campus. In order to do this, students must complete a proxy form and register it with the Office of Residential Life. Students who fail to preregister or who leave Hamilton without formally being granted a leave of absence will be withdrawn and must reapply to the dean of students. A request for a change in a student's leave, or cancellation, must be made to the appropriate dean. Should the dean approve the request to cancel a leave, the student must pay the continuation fee and then may exercise his or her own on-campus options, to the extent that the College schedule allows.

All requests for a leave of absence must be received by the published deadlines. Students with an approved leave do not pay the registration fee, preregister or participate in the housing or meal plan lotteries. The registration fee is refundable until May 1; after that date it is forfeited.

Students may occasionally need to arrange a leave of absence after the spring or fall deadlines for reasons beyond their control. These students should apply to the dean of students, who may allow financial and other regulations to be waived. When a leave is granted, the dean of students may also specify special conditions for the student's readmission to Hamilton.


Academic Leave of Absence

Students intending to pursue an academic program at another institution, either at an American college or in a foreign study program, must request in writing an academic leave from the associate dean of students (academic).


Personal Leave of Absence

Students may request in writing a leave for personal or financial reasons from the associate dean of students (academic).


Medical or Psychological Leave of Absence

Students who have a professionally diagnosed medical or psychological condition that interferes with their academic or social life at Hamilton may request from the dean of students a medical or psychological leave of absence. For such a leave to be considered, the student must authorize the director of Student Health Services and/or the director of Counseling and Psychological Services, as appropriate, to provide confirmation of the presence and severity of the condition to the dean of students.

In extraordinary circumstances when a student is unable or unwilling to take a voluntary leave of absence, the dean of students or a designee may place a student on an involuntary leave of absence if it is determined that the student's actions pose a direct threat to the safety of others or disrupt the learning environment for other students.  Before an involuntary leave is considered, the dean of students will consult with the student and his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) and encourage a voluntary leave of absence.

Prior to placing a student on an involuntary leave, the dean of students or a designee will meet with the student and explain the reasons why it is under consideration.  The student will have an opportunity to respond.  In determining whether an involuntary leave is necessary, the dean of students will confer with campus officials who can help evaluate whether a student’s behavior poses a direct threat to the safety of others or disrupts the learning environment for other students.  The dean of students or designee may require an assessment by health care professionals who can assist in making an informed decision.  In all cases, reasonable accommodations that would mitigate the need for an involuntary leave will be considered.  In a case where a student’s behavior is judged by the dean of students or designee to pose an immediate and substantial disruption or threat to the safety of others, the dean or designee may take immediate action to place the student on an involuntary leave, providing the student an opportunity to respond to the action in a reasonable period of time.

Students who take a leave during a semester will normally be on leave for the remainder of that semester plus the subsequent semester. Students who have been on medical or psychological leave of absence must apply to the dean of students to return. Normally this request should be made 30 days in advance of the proposed date of return. Requests will be granted only after the director of Student Health Services and/or the director of Counseling and Psychological Services informs the dean of students that he or she is satisfied that the student is ready to return; this will normally require the student to supply documentation from appropriate professionals confirming that the condition leading to the leave has been resolved.

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