Jul 18, 2024  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Non-Academic Policies: College of Optometry

Colleges  > College of Optometry  > Non-Academic Policies: College of Optometry



Rules of Conduct

Except for the following rules of conduct and those relating to academic matters, students promulgate their own behavior codes through approved student organizations and student committees established in cooperation with the Office of Optometry Relations. The college assigns great importance to self-discipline, the ability to work effectively with others, and the ability to conduct oneself in a professional manner. A demonstration of deficiency in any of these qualities will be deemed as evidence that the student is not suited to a professional career. The faculty of the college has the authority to establish and maintain standards of ethical and personal conduct for students in the professional degree program. The Dean is responsible either for enforcing all rules governing student affairs or for delegating the enforcement to others.

By accepting admission to the College of Optometry, students indicate their willingness to subscribe to and to be governed by these rules and regulations. They acknowledge the right of the college and the university to take disciplinary action, determined through regular process, either for failure to abide by such rules and regulations or for conduct determined by such process to be detrimental to the college or the university. The college may terminate enrollment of any student at any time for what the college faculty and administration believe to be good and sufficient reasons, such as cheating, plagiarism, misuse of university property, or unprofessional conduct.

It is the responsibility of students to become familiar with the various regulations of the university and the college and to meet the conditions they impose.

Sexual Harassment Policy

Sexual Harassment is unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. “Unwelcome” behavior is determined by the recipient. It is not the intent behanind the sexual behavior that counts, but its impact on the recipient that constitutes sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment may include:

  • Use of graphic or degrading verbal, written, or electronic comments of a sexual nature about a person;
  • Verbal remarks of a sexual nature, including sexually offensive jokes;
  • Any unwelcome physical contact (touching, pinching);
  • Actual or threatened physical assault;
  • These behaviors constitute sexual harassment when such conduct is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual; or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive envronment.

Protection from sexual harassment applies not only to instructional and workplace settings, but also to clinical settings, where the person exhibiting the inappropriate behavior may be a patient, relative of a patient, or anyone working in the clinic. Sexual Harassment is illegal. Specifically, it is a form of sex discrimination that violates Titles VII and IX of the Civil Rights Act which prohibits sex discrimination and harassment of students and all employees in academic institutions. The University of Houston and the College of Optometry prohibit all forms of sexual harassment by its employees, students, off-campus personnel, and campus visitors. Sexual Harassment is not limited by gender or by superior-subordinate relationships. Although most frequently experienced by women in subordinate positions, it may also be experienced between peers, members of the same sex, or by subordinate to superior.

Course of Action

Harassment by a Patient:  If you believe you are being sexually harassed by a patient in a UHCO clinic, you should excuse yourself from the examination room and notify the service director immediately. This person will assist you in managing or resolving the situation. No student is ever expected to remain in a harassment situation in a clinic (internal or external), a classroom, or any other setting of the college. Sexual harassment is rare, but it does occur and is unacceptable in the college and the university. Students, like other professionals, are expected to understand what constitutes sexual harassment and to act accordingly.

Other Circumstances: If you believe you have been sexually harassed by someone other than a patient, you may seek to resolve the complaint with the Dean of the college or the Associate Dean of Professional Studies. You may also contact the University Affirmative Action Office (713-743-8835) to receive counseling or to file a formal complaint. Ignoring sexual harassment does not make it go away. Students should speak up, tell someone, keep a record of what happened, and seek support and counseling.

Code of Ethics

UHCO follows the Code of Ethics approved by the American Optometric Associate in 1944. It shall be the Ideal, the Resolve, and the Duty of the Members of the American Optometric Association:

the visual welfare of the patient uppermost at all times;
in every possible way, in collaboration with this Association, better care of the visual needs of mankind;
TO ENHANCE continuously their education and technical proficiency to the end that their patients shall receive the benefits of all acknowledged improvements in visual care;
TO SEE THAT no person shall lack visual care, regardless of his financial status;
TO ADVISE the patient whenever consultation with an optometric colleague or reference for other health professional seems advisable;
TO HOLD in professional confidence all information concerning a patient and to use such data only for the benefit of the patient;
TO CONDUCT themselves as exemplary citizens;
TO MAINTAIN their offices and their practices in keeping with professional standards;
TO PROMOTE and maintain cordial and unselfish relationships with members of their own profession and of other professions for the exchange of information to the advantage of mankind.


Personal Attire and Hygiene

Since the treatment of patients occurs in close proximity to classrooms and laboratories, each student is expected to dress appropriately and in a professional manner, and in accordance with the clinical attire policy whenever in patient care areas. Students who are not properly attired or who have not observed adequate personal hygiene may be barred from patient areas by the faculty.


Initiations by organizations may involve NO action that is either dangerous or degrading to students.

Non-Academic Disciplinary Action

Any student who engages in an act that violates existing student life policy is subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal. Moreover, students who demonstrate blatant disregard for the rights of others or who show other unprofessional conduct may be dismissed from the college.


Students have the right to appeal any action they feel is unfair or in error. The Office of Optometry Relations will work closely with students to initiate the appeals procedure and to give advice. All appeals must be presented in writing to the Dean. If an appeal is determined to warrant a hearing, the Academic Committee will serve as the hearing committee. Finally, the student may appeal an unfavorable decision by the Dean to the university’s Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. Contact the Office of Ombudsman Services (713-743-9112) for additional information.


Providing Information

All students are responsible for keeping the college’s Office of Optometry Relations informed of their current local address, telephone number, home address, home telephone number, and where they may be reached if employed. This includes keeping information updated in PeopleSoft and responsible for checking UH and UHCO messages which are sent through approved system accounts.

External Clinic Rotations

Students spend 32 weeks in interdisciplinary clinic rotations during the fourth year. Several of these clinics are in or near Houston and require not extra expense except for transportation. Other externship sites are located in other regions, states, or countries.  A complete list of current externship sites is avilable through the office of Optometry Relations. Students should plan ahead for additional transportation and room and board expenses for extern assignments outside the Houston area.

I.D. Cards

Each student is required to have in his or her possession a photo-I.D. card issued by the University of Houston. Students may go online to www.uh.edu/cougarcard/ and upload a picture or stop by the CougarCard office located next door to the UH Welcome Center parking gararge. If you have any questions regarding your CougarCard, please contact 713-743-2273.


There are a variety of parking options available for students through the Parking and Transportation Office.  To view otpions and purchase parking permits, visit www.uh.edu/pts for more information. There is NO student parking allowed in the UHCO-designated patient lot. Student vehicles parked in any unauthorized spaces on campus will be towed at the owner’s expense. Optometry students who park in the patient parking area may be changed with unprofessional conduct.

Right To Privacy

 Privacy of student records and other personal information is protected under the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (PS. 93-380), and by policies issued by the university. Students who have specific questions concerning government and university policies on privacy should consult the Office of Optometry Relations. Transcripts and other personal information will be released by that office only upon receiving written permission from a student or from persons authoized by law.

Optometric Services

Current students, faculty, staff, and members of their immediate families (spouse, children, step-children, parents, step-parents, and siblings) may obtain examinations at the clinic center operated by the college. Faculty and Staff covered through United Healthcare (UH insurance policy) will receive Well VIsion examinations, copays waived. For covered dependents, copays will be collected and then refunded back through the Dean’s Office. NOTE: Covered children and medical exams require a referral from their PCP for billing purposes. If you are unable to obtain this referral, services are rendered at no cost. Extended family members (grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws) may also receive courtesy reductions on services provided. Insurance policies will be billed, and copays will be collected when applicable.

Courtesy reductions for ophthalmic materials are provided when applicable. The service director alone has the authority to extend professional courtesy to a patient, in the form of a total or partial waiving of the examination fee.