Barnhart, Stuopis Establish Medical Leave and Hospitalization Policy Review Committee

Published in MIT News on September 27, 2016 by Kimberly Haberlin, Chancellor's Office

Co-chairs Saxe and Schulz see “true openness to change,” invite community to lend their voices to the review process.

Responding to one of the key recommendations from last spring’s Committee on Academic Performance’s (CAP) report on undergraduate withdrawal and readmissions practices, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart and Medical Director Cecilia Stuopis have established a committee to review MIT’s medical leave and hospitalization practices and policies for undergraduate and graduate students. This action is one in a series of recent steps the administration has taken to implement the CAP’s recommendations to strengthen the leave and return system for students.

In the charge to the committee, Barnhart and Stuopis wrote, “While MIT has policies and procedures for involuntary medical leave for both undergraduate and graduate students, they are intended to be used only as a last resort. The CAP learned, however, that the specter of an involuntary medical leave creates anxiety in many students.”

Calling this a “clear and pressing issue for the community at large,” Barnhart and Stuopis have tapped Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences professors Rebecca Saxe and Laura Schulz to co-chair the committee of faculty, students, and staff. The committee will consider whether current policies adequately express the approach MIT should follow for students who present a danger to themselves, to the community, or who otherwise are not able to participate in campus life due to mental or physical health issues; whether the implementation of the current policies are adequate and clear; and, if necessary, the committee will make recommendations for improvements...

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