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GILES v. HOWARD UNIV.
March 17, 1977
WILLIAM S. GILES, II, Plaintiff,
HOWARD UNIVERSITY et al., Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: PRATT
This is an action alleging denial of fifth amendment procedural due process rights and a common law claim for a breach of contract or tort. The matter now before the Court is the defendants' motion for summary judgment.
The undisputed facts are as follows:
During the 1973-1974 and 1974-1975 academic years, the Howard University College of Medicine had in effect a "Student Promotions Policy" which provided, inter alia :
III. A student who fails in an anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology and/or physiology course will be given a passing grade if he obtains a standard score of 380 or more in that subject in a "special" National Board Examination or regular National Board Examination.
IV. A student who has failing grades in one or two courses which terminate at the end of the first semester will be given an opportunity to participate fully in second semester work and to attend the Directed Study Program. Such student, however, should understand the implications of failing any additional course . . . .
VIII. If the student fails to remove the one deficiency or two deficiencies at the end of the Directed Study Program he will be dropped from the College of Medicine or may be allowed to repeat the year (as determined by the Promotions Committee). . . .
If allowed to repeat the year, the Promotions Committee may also require such student to audit any course, including a course already passed to enable him to maintain his fund of basic science knowledge.
Plaintiff enrolled in the Howard University College of Medicine in August 1973. He passed all his first semester classes except biochemistry, which he failed. The College permitted him to participate fully in the second semester program, however, provided he agreed to retake biochemistry in the Directed Study Program during the summer of 1974. He passed all his second semester courses but failed biochemistry in the Directed Study Program during the summer. Plaintiff then received a letter from the Dean of the Medical College, Marion Mann, M.D., informing him that he would be allowed to continue as a medical student if he repeated biochemistry and retook and obtained satisfactory grades in the other courses in his curriculum that he had already passed. Dean Mann's letter also stated:
Section IV of the Student Promotions Policy is applicable only to students who begin the academic year in good academic standing. The Committee hereby informs you that you are not in good academic standing but are on probation; and that if you fail any course during the first semester, you will be dropped from the College of Medicine.
Plaintiff repeated the courses and passed biochemistry, but failed anatomy. On March 7, 1975, he was dropped from the College of Medicine. He thereupon requested readmission. By letter of July 7, 1975, Dean Mann informed the plaintiff that his request for readmission had been considered and that the committee considering the request would be reconvened if the plaintiff passed special National Board Examinations in anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, and physiology. ...
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