Regents of the University of Michigan v. Ewing
United States Supreme Court
474 U.S. 214 (1985)
Ewing (plaintiff) enrolled in a six-year program at the University of Michigan (defendant) called Interflex, which allowed students to receive both an undergraduate degree and a medical degree upon completion of the program. To qualify to begin the final two years of the program, which consisted of clinical training in hospitals, students must have successfully completed all coursework during the first four years and pass the National Board of Medical Examiners test Part I (NBME Part I), which consisted of a two-day written exam. Ewing completed the first four years of coursework but failed the NBME Part I, receiving the lowest score of any Interflex student in the history of the program. The university’s Promotion and Review Board voted to drop Ewing from the Interflex program, based not only on his NBME Part I score, but also on the entirety of his poor academic career, which consisted of low grades, seven incompletes, and several semesters of irregular or reduced course loads. Ewing appealed to the Executive Committee of the Medical School, which upheld his dismissal from the program. Ewing filed a lawsuit against the university, alleging a violation of state contract law and a violation of his substantive due-process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court ruled in favor of the university on both claims. The court of appeals reversed the district court’s dismissal of Ewing’s constitutional claim. The United States Supreme Court granted the university’s petition for certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)
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