Board of Curators of the University of Missouri v. Horowitz

United States Supreme Court

Argued November 7, 1977 Decided March 1, 1978




Background: In August of 1971, Charlotte Horowitz was admitted to the University of Missouri-Kansas City Medical School. During Horowitz’s medical rotations faculty members filed complaints against her for lack of performance. In 1976, before her final year of Medical School, Horowitz was put on probation due to the many complaints being filed against her. Upon poor examination results and the many complaints filed against her the Board of Curators dismissed Horowitz from Medical School for failure to meet academic standards. Horowitz then filed suit against the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri in 1976 for denying her fourteenth amendment rights, or the right of due process. The argument was based on her being denied a property or liberty rights as a result of being expelled from school.

Decision and Rationale: The Supreme Court decided that Horowitz was afforded all of her rights in accordance with the 14th amendment. She claimed she was not when she was dismissed from the University of Missouri after reevaluation in her senior year. She had been evaluated and given ample time to make changes while on probation, where she had been declared “unsatisfactory” once again. The court upheld their decision on the grounds that it would not keep Horowitz from being accepted into another medical school or hinder her from finding employment in the future. Since the decision still allowed for her future in the field, the ruling guaranteed fundamental fairness, justice, and liberty, thus upholding due process.

Impact on Teaching: Teachers and administrators in our school systems should be accountable to meet high standards and expectations previously set by school system. If either were to consistently show over a period of time to lack in such standards they could be fired. This idea is to create an environment in which teachers strive for excellence and not just satisfactory. The fourteenth amendment gives both teachers and administration the right of due process upon the act of dismissal. The final ruling also brought into account the appropriate dismissal of students from an academic setting. Students should also be afforded the same fourteenth amendment rights as the teachers and administrators upon not meeting the standards placed by the academic setting.

Quiz Question: Horowitz dismissal from the University of Missouri was declared unconstitutional, because it violated her rights according to the 14th amendment.

True or False

Completed by: Chynna Seymour and Mariah Kerlick