6.13 Professional Suitability
Within the University community there is an individual and collective responsibility to maintain a high level of scholarly integrity. While professional programs across the University are unit specific, students enrolled in all professional programs must adhere to those principles and/or codes of ethics, which inform conduct suitable for their profession. Professional programs are found in the following Faculties/Schools at Memorial campuses:
- Business Administration
- Business Administration Program, School of Arts and Social Science, Grenfell Campus
- Engineering and Applied Science
- Human Kinetics and Recreation
- Nursing, including Western Regional School of Nursing and the Centre for Nursing Studies
- Social Work
While each professional program has unique expectations of suitable conduct, there is agreement that students will conduct themselves with integrity, fairness, courtesy, and good faith in an honourable, equitable, respectful, and ethical manner towards others. In each of these professional programs, professionally suitable conduct is an academic expectation of registered undergraduate students. Each professional program is expected to make available to incoming students all documents related to professional suitability.
Expectations of conduct suitable for the profession apply to students throughout their period of enrollment in their program including when enrolled, either part-time or full-time, in classes or practice-based learning settings (e.g., internships, practica, laboratory sessions, work terms, clinical placements, and field placements), and when enrolled in the program but not currently registered in classes. These expectations apply to behaviours in structured learning, professional or public settings whether in-person or through various communication media and/or social media platforms.
While the intent of this regulation is to uphold professional suitability and respond to concerns of alleged unsuitable profession conduct, the University has a responsibility under law to accommodate students as defined in the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act. Furthermore, the intention of this regulation is not to prevent students from exercising their right to free speech with reasonable limitations as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In the following section, the plural also includes the singular.
- Conduct unsuitable for the profession
- can be a single event or an ongoing pattern of unprofessional conduct.
- can occur in-person and/or through various communication media and/or social media platforms.
- Conduct unsuitable for the profession includes but is not limited to, the following:
- Failure to follow relevant University/Faculty/School guidelines on ethics or codes of conduct.
- Failure to follow relevant professional principles, including governing or regulatory principles and/or codes of ethics.
- Failure to follow relevant unit specific professional suitability policies.
- Examples of conduct unsuitable for the profession are:
- Evidence of such conduct which, if participated in by a practicing professional, would result in suspension or expulsion from the practice of the profession or other such disciplinary actions available to the governing body of the profession;
- Failure by the student to identify, avoid or remove themselves from a real, perceived or potential conflict of interest relating to their professional judgement;
- Dishonesty or untrustworthiness;
- Falsification, forgery, fraud or misuse of any record or document, or through false statements or representations;
- Harassment, or any threat, intimidation, or attempt to harm another person;
- Behaviour which impedes the proper operation of placement/work-based settings;
- Behaviour by the student that poses a risk to the health, safety or well-being of others;
- Substance use that interferes with the student’s ability to function within a professional context;
- A pattern of inconsistent, unreliable or inappropriate behaviour that negatively impacts others in a learning or study environment
6.13.3 General Information Regarding Procedures for Resolution of Alleged Conduct Unsuitable for the Profession
- The procedures to address conduct unsuitable for the profession shall apply to all conduct relating to undergraduate studies, which occurred during a period when the student was enrolled in a professional program at the University.
- All matters that are sexual in nature must be referred to the Sexual Harassment Office. If the Sexual Harassment Advisor believes, after consultation with relevant parties, that an allegation of conduct unsuitable for the profession based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression would be better handled under the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures, the Sexual Harassment Advisor will so advise.
- Notification of an allegation of conduct unsuitable for the profession will be forwarded by the academic unit of the student to the official University email address of the student and/or to the last known mailing address of the student as noted on the files at the Office of the Registrar. The University reserves the right to begin proceedings under these procedures where an allegation has been made against a student but where reasonable efforts to contact the student are unsuccessful. The non-participation of a student in proceedings under this regulation is not an indication of guilt.
- Individual academic units will provide early intervention initiatives to prevent potential unprofessional behaviours. Whenever appropriate, the principles of restorative justice will be used in determining the approach to resolving an allegation of conduct unsuitable for the profession.
- Investigations of alleged conduct unsuitable for the profession will be conducted according to the procedures specific to each academic unit and determinations made based on a balance of probabilities. Information about procedures for investigations are made publicly available by each academic unit to their students. As part of the procedures, each unit will create a review panel that has member assignment determined each year or created as need arises. The manner of formation of the review panel, the number of members, and who is to be included on the review panel will be determined by each unit.
- Meetings and interviews stipulated in unit procedures related to this regulation will be held in person, or at a distance using telephone or other interactive technologies if in-person meetings are not possible.
- A student can attend classes or other educational activities while an investigation by their academic unit is carried out unless there are legitimate concerns for the health and safety of the student, other students in the class, clients in a practice setting, instructors, staff, other members of the University community or the general public. The academic unit may put reasonable restrictions on participation in certain elements of a course or other educational activity to ensure health and safety. Removal of a student from a class or educational activity should be the last resort.
- Although a student may be granted permission by the unit Dean or delegate to continue in a program of studies for a period of time while an investigation is being carried out by the unit, it is possible that there may be consequences to the student's progress during this process. In those situations, the University will take these consequences into account, as appropriate and to the extent feasible, in cases where the student is not found guilty of the allegation. The consequences arising from an investigation and any negative decision rendered may include retroactive effects on grades, participation in courses or promotion within a program.
- A student accused of a conduct unsuitable for the profession has the right to meet with the review panel accompanied by a registered student or a member of the faculty or staff of the University. The student may also request to be accompanied by a support person who is not a student, faculty or staff, at the discretion of the review panel. Such requests shall not be unreasonably denied. The name and contact information of support people shall be provided to the designated unit person prior to the student's meeting with the review panel. The use or presence of a support person is not an indication of guilt.
- Where an allegation of conduct unsuitable for the profession relates to research and the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, as amended from time to time, the Framework applies. The procedures shall be applied in a manner consistent with the minimal requirements of the Framework.
- If an allegation of conduct unsuitable for the profession has been made, the individuals involved will follow the Procedures for Resolution of Alleged Conduct Unsuitable for the Profession specific to their academic unit.
- In all cases, it is the responsibility of the academic unit to ensure fairness and impartiality in the treatment of students.
- The Unit Procedures must identify the need for co-ordination between units and other University procedures (e.g., Student Life, Sexual Harassment Office, Academic Misconduct Procedures, etc.), as necessary and appropriate, in situations where the same conduct is the subject matter of the complaint or concern under more than one policy, procedure or regulation.
- The principles of restorative justice between accuser and accused will be used at the academic unit level to determine the most suitable approach to resolving particular issues. Students are accountable to the people and communities harmed by their conduct and whenever possible will be given the opportunity to participate in the resolution of their impacts. Restorative justice interventions may be used independently or in combination with other procedures and policies for any single offence.
- When it is determined that informal resolutions are not possible, more formal procedures and outcomes may apply.
- A student who has been found guilty of conduct unsuitable for the profession will be subject to outcomes commensurate with the conduct as determined by the unit.
- Some situations may warrant more than one outcome for the same conduct. Previous conduct unsuitable for the profession or multiple violations will be considered in determining the severity of outcomes.
- Outcomes will be assessed according to the Promotion Regulations of the academic unit, including promotion and continued enrollment in the program.
- The range of outcomes and their determination will correspond with the offense and include but are not limited to:
- Demonstration of accepting accountability towards the person(s) or group(s) affected by the conduct unsuitable for the profession.
- Reprimand in the nature of a warning by the head of the academic unit to the student that the student's behaviour has been unacceptable to the University.
- Resubmission of work with appropriate reduction in grade.
- Completion of a remediation program or other training.
- Repetition of all or part of a practice-based learning experience (e.g., internships, practica, laboratory sessions, work terms, clinical placements, and field placements).
- Reduction of the grade applied to an examination, test, assignment, or course to which conduct unsuitable for the profession is relevant, and will be decided by the head of the unit.
- Removal from a course or practice-based learning setting.
- Removal from the professional program for a determined period of time.
- Removal from the professional program with the opportunity to be considered for admission as a new applicant to the program.
- Removal from the professional program with no opportunity to be considered for admission to the program in the future.
- All records will be handled in accordance with the University’s Retention and Disposal Schedules, Information Management Policy, and other related laws, policies and regulations.
- When a student is removed from a professional program:
- a brief description of the conduct unsuitable for the profession and the outcome(s) applied shall be forwarded by the head of the academic or administrative unit to be retained by the Office of the Registrar, separate from the student files.
- the Registrar’s Office will be notified, and will include the appropriate notation on the student’s transcript.
- Appeals against findings of guilt and/or outcome(s) assigned by the academic unit will follow the unit procedures.
- If the unit decision is appealed, it will be reviewed by the Senate Committee on Academic Appeals (SCAA).