Department of Microbiology Policy on the Appropriate Treatment of Faculty, Staff, Students and Trainees

The Department of Microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) is strongly committed to the purposeful cultivation of an academic community that is representative of society, and the inclusion of individuals of all backgrounds, traditions and individual differences. We believe that diversity enhances the outlook, day-to-day well-being and academic richness of our Department’s teaching, mentoring, and research missions, and enhances the free exchange of ideas.

The Department thus strives to provide a nurturing, supportive and respectful environment for our faculty, staff, students and trainees. By doing so our community creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and collegiality and a positive learning and professional environment for every member of the Department.

Every member of the Department of Microbiology is expected to:

  • Contribute to a welcoming and respectful academic atmosphere;
  • Promote the educational goals of BUSM through example by treating all others in a respectful manner grounded in civility and honesty;
  • Maintain an inclusive learning environment that encourages open inquiry and expression among community members while recognizing and respecting diversity of background, values, and views.
  • Respond in the moment (where possible) to comments or actions by members of the department that are clearly discriminatory or disrespectful of others
  • Report observations of clearly discriminatory comments or actions immediately to the department Chair (and/or the University Ombuds or EthicsPoint if preferred)

The department has developed an explicit plan to support an environment conducive to learning and professional development by creating a mechanism to investigate reports of mistreatment and responding promptly and appropriately. The policy provides a process for non-adversarial and respectful responses to complaints of mistreatment by any member of the department, including graduate and medical students whom we teach, by addressing all reports promptly and fully. In cases where any member of the department acts in a manner inconsistent with our values or engages in conduct that is explicitly prohibited (below), a report must be made -that same day if possible- to the Chair (and/or, if preferred, the BU Ombuds or BU EthicsPoint). A decision may then be made to refer the incident to the appropriate BUSM or University-wide committee (e.g. Equal Employment Opportunity or Title IX office) for an investigation.

Conduct that is explicitly prohibited by the Department’s policy on the appropriate treatment of faculty, staff, students and trainees includes:

  • Making spoken or written derogatory and/or discriminatory comments of any kind (i.e. “jokes” are not acceptable) related to race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin (ancestry), or disability
  • Humiliation, harassment or intimidation
  • Verbal attacks
  • Deliberate and repeated exclusion of others from reasonable learning or other professional opportunities
  • Requests or expectations by faculty for students to perform personal services (e.g. errands)
  • Refusal to grant reasonable and legitimate requests for time off
  • Assignment of tasks or chores to punish or belittle students, trainees, staff or junior faculty
  • Disregard for faculty, staff and/or student safety

This policy is posted on our website and reviewed annually at a Department meeting.