University News

Dean hears concerns about new PLME rule

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Students in the Program in Liberal Medical Education are seeking to be exempted from a new policy about applying to other medical schools and have taken their objections to an Alpert Medical School official.

Four junior PLMEs met with Associate Dean of Medicine Philip Gruppuso on Friday to lobby against the policy, according to Arune Gulati ’11. He and the other students kept their discussion focused on the principle of fair implementation of the policy, he said.

Under the new rule, which was announced earlier this month, PLME students who apply to medical schools elsewhere would forfeit the spots that are reserved for them at Brown’s medical school from the time they enter as undergraduates — though they would be permitted to re-apply and be considered with the rest of the applicant pool.

The students have two main objections to the recent decision, Gulati said, both of which they emphasized in the meeting with Gruppuso. First, some juniors have already shaped their academic plans around “applying out” by taking a second semester of organic chemistry and other medical school prerequisites not required by PLME, he said.

The program’s original leniency may have also been a selling point for some current students, who said they might have enrolled elsewhere if the new policy had been in place when they matriculated, according to Gulati.

In an e-mail to The Herald, Gruppuso wrote that, in response to students’ concerns, “discussions are being undertaken by a number of individuals in both BioMed and University Hall, which I think is a testament to how seriously we view this issue.” He declined to discuss the details of his conversations with students until he meets with other Med School administrators later this week.

The PLME handbook does not address the subject of students applying out of the program and does not include a guarantee that students’ spots would be reserved. But Gulati said some deans have traditionally told applicants to the program that they will be able to apply elsewhere without losing their spot.

He and the other students who met with Gruppuso argued that the Med School should take responsibility for what students were told.

During a PLME Senate meeting on Sunday, students discussed the meeting with Gruppuso and strategies for getting the policy adjusted.

PLME Senate members went over the rationale that the Med School administration has provided for implementing the policy, which includes the uncertainty empty spots would bring to the school’s admissions process and the possibility of losing some of the program’s brightest students to other schools.

At the meeting, some PLMEs said they would start a petition and talk to President Ruth Simmons if Med School administrators do not adjust implementation of the policy after their meetings this week.

“I guess now we’ll just wait and see what they come up with,” Gulati said.