Appropriate Treatment in Graduate Education
This document is intended to define the behaviors expected by community members of the Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS) at Boston University School of Medicine in the workplace, laboratory, clinic and classroom. GMS is committed to providing a work and educational environment that is supportive of all personnel, and is professional, collegial, and conducive to providing exceptional training in teaching, research and patient care. We strive to provide environments in which our students, trainees, staff and faculty can flourish.
The school places a high priority on the appropriate treatment of its community and affiliated members, and provides a mechanism for both open and confidential resolution of complaints from students, post-doctoral fellows, staff and faculty by conducting thorough, prompt, and impartial investigation. The following list is not exhaustive, but represents fundamental expectations for appropriate conduct by GMS community members on campus or at off campus sites:
Maintain a respectful and professional environment
- Report any experienced or observed issues including, but not limited to:
- Verbal attacks
- Racial or other profiling behaviors
- Disregard for safety
- Work to manage interpersonal conflict
- Adhere to applicable Human Resources and University workplace policies (bu.edu/hr/policies)
Encourage inclusivity and equity
- Treat all with civility and fairness
- Avoid discriminatory behavior
- Avoid subtle but pervasive unwelcome comments and actions
- Abstain from making spoken or written derogatory and/or discriminatory comments or jokes of any kind related to race, color, religion (creed), age, sex, gender, political views, national origin (ancestry), or disability
Promote a positive educational and/or work environment
- Respect student policies as posted by BU and GMS
- Allow ample opportunity for access to course director/supervisor
- Avoid retaliatory behavior that hinders learning
- Facilitate access to necessary training and resources to maximize success
- Respect other community member’s time (e.g. avoid frequent cancellations, let others know when you’re behind schedule, respect timelines, etc.)
- Avoid assigning tasks or chores that unfairly punish or demean students, trainees, staff or faculty
- Facilitate accommodations for disability and access needs
Define reasonable expectations
- Expectation of personal service requests cannot be required as a condition of employment or academic standing (e.g. purchasing coffee, babysitting, running errands)
- Follow University policies for vacation days, sick days, and holidays each year in accordance with established policies as dictated by Human Resources policies, Department of hire and/or your Program of Study PhD Graduate Student Policies
- Allow accommodation for unforeseen life events that may impact normal working/class hours (e.g. family care, health emergencies, funerals)
Foster an environment for professional growth
- Allow opportunities for professional development and scholarship, etc.
- Ensure that professional growth opportunities including skill building and long-term career development are identified by the advisor/supervisor and provided equitably to staff, faculty and trainees
Ensure adequate and accurate record of academic and or professional standing
- Performance issues should be raised promptly providing opportunity and guidance for improvement
- Changes to funding and resources should be shared in advance of any significant impact to individuals or groups
- Where appropriate, provide an annual performance review that allows both parties to voice praise, concerns and issues.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROCESS
GMS community members who feel that one or more of these expectations are disregarded can seek assistance and advice from BU, GMS, BUSM department or program leaders directly, or by making a formal complaint (with the opportunity to submit anonymously).
GMS community members are encouraged to reach out to their supervisor, mentor, advisor, dean, program director, chair, clinical coordinator or trusted colleague for resolution of conflicts regarding unprofessional behavior or mistreatment in the workplace, laboratory, classroom or clinic. Keep in mind, this process is not intended for complaints around academic issues such as grading unless it relates to unprofessional conduct or deliberate obstruction to learning opportunities.
How to Submit a Report
You may wish to submit a complaint of mistreatment to GMS directly. An online form is available that allows you to describe the situation and the people involved. The form is received in the GMS office by Leadership who will refer it to the appropriate resource and/or the Appropriate Treatment Committee for investigation and response. You can also reach out to any member of GMS leadership by email to ensure a timely response.
As an alternative, you may prefer to submit this anonymous form to GMS. We encourage you to consider that anonymity will prevent us from directly reaching out to you for further questions or to provide assistance and/or support. If you do not feel comfortable submitting a written complaint, please direct any questions or concerns to the Ombuds Office or the Equal Opportunity Office.
An Appropriate Treatment Committee will be convened at the request of the GMS Associate Provost within 2 days of receiving a complaint of mistreatment. It will include the GMS Associate Provost, Assistant Deans and other leadership as relevant to the situation. These leaders may include dissertation advisory committee members, clinical coordinator, GMS Program Director, relevant Department Chair, legal counsel, Ombuds officer, and/or other university leadership as the situation warrants. The committee will respond to, investigate, document and act upon all complaints received. These processes are intended to ensure GMS community member concerns are taken seriously and addressed promptly while also maintaining confidentiality.
NOTE: This process does not apply to complaints relating to sexual misconduct, violence or discrimination. These are addressed by other university policies including the Equal Opportunity and Title IX policies [Policies] and are investigated by other University offices. Submitting a complaint to the GMS Deputy Title IX Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org / 617-358-9541) requires immediate and mandatory reporting.
CONTACTS AND INFORMATION
- Sexual misconduct, Title IX
- Discrimination in the workplace
- GMS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Academic Misconduct
- Emergencies or immediate threats to life or property
- Medical Campus Public Safety
- BU Police Department
- Emergencies only: 617-353-2121
- TTY: 617-353-5387
- Non-emergency: 617-353-2110
- Boston, Brookline, Cambridge
- Protection of university assets (theft and misuse)
- Medical Campus Public Safety
- Asset Management Policy Guide
- Post-doctoral Affairs Office
- Assistant Provost, Sarah Hokanson
- Human Resources- Hiring or Firing
- Spam or phishing scam issues
- Financial or conflict of interest issues
- Disability Services Issues
- Equal Opportunity Office
- Boston University-wide level reporting of improper conduct or violations
- Grading issues
- A recommendation is to first speak with your professor/instructor, if unsatisfied then talk with the program director; you can continue to elevate the issue by speaking with the department chair
- Faculty Affairs
- For all inquiries with regard to Faculty Appointments and Promotions, please contact Faculty Affairs Office at BUSM directly
- Faculty Affairs Office at BUSM
- Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs, Dr. Hee-Young Park
- Faculty/Staff Assistance
- Judicial Affairs