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The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (UCCOM), including all its academic departments and programs, is committed to providing a supportive learning environment to promote the development, education, training, and success of graduate students. To effectively achieve this goal, UCCOM has established standards of conduct based on mutual respect of all persons involved in the learning and development processes. No form of student abuse, mistreatment, or harassment is allowable.
Faculty mentorship is a critical part of student learning, growth, and development. Students work very closely with faculty mentors on research and academic projects, and the relationship between a student and their advisor can mean the difference between success and failure for the trainee. Ultimately, graduate student mentors are powerful role models and play an essential part in shaping the professional identity of the trainee. As such, UCCOM expects its faculty and students to work together to create a positive mentoring relationship. An ineffective mentoring relationship neither assists with student development nor with achieving faculty goals.
Teaching professors also provide essential education and training to graduate students and must also avoid any behaviors that negatively impact students, including abuse/harassment, and mistreatment.
Definition of Abuse/Harassment/Mistreatment:
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) defines mistreatment as “Mistreatment arises when behavior shows disrespect for the dignity of others and unreasonably interferes with the learning [well-being, and graduation] process. It can take the form of physical punishment, sexual harassment, psychological cruelty, and discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, sex, age, or sexual orientation.”
*Mistreatment/Harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following behaviors:
*Any behavior that may be perceived as sexual or gender harassment will be addressed according to the University Title IX policy. https://www.uc.edu/about/equity-inclusion/gender-equity/title-ix/title-ix-sexual-harassment-policy.html
Our goal is to have multiple ways for graduate students to raise any concerns about mistreatment/harassment. Along with the policy stated above, there are several levels at which a student may address problems and issues with mistreatment/harassment including:
Contacting their Graduate Program Director/ Co-Director
We encourage students to first raise any concerns with their Graduate Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator can then go to the Program Director if the issue still cannot be resolved. Students may also contact their Program Director or Co-Director directly. Students who are uncomfortable discussing a problem with their program may contact (by email) the Associate Dean or Assistant Dean in the Office of Graduate Education. The student may also submit a report through a centralized URL which will be handled as detailed below.
Handling of Mistreatment/Harassment Reports:
All reports of mentor mistreatment/harassment of graduate students are sent to the Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean of the Office of Graduate Education for centralized tracking of incidents and interventions. Those reports made through the URL prompt an email notification to the Associate Dean. The reports are documented on a spreadsheet that maintains cumulative student mistreatment/harassment reports pertaining to specific departments or mentors or professors.
Only the Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean will have authorized access to the reports, however, they may share the reports with appropriate stakeholders at their discretion and in accordance with the procedures outlined herein. Given the nature of the relationship between faculty mentor or teaching professor and graduate student and the potential need for swift action, reports of mistreatment/harassment will not be anonymous. The Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean will make every reasonable effort to de-identify the reporting student, to the extent permissible under the circumstances, when sharing the report with stakeholders outside of the Office of Graduate Education.
Upon the receipt of a student report of mentor mistreatment/harassment, the Associate Dean will have five (5) business days to contact the reporting student and give notice of the report to the mentor’s Program Director or if teaching professor the chair of the department. If the mentor is also the Program Director, then the chair of the department will be notified. If the mentor is a department chair, then the Dean will be notified. The Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean will schedule separate meetings with the student making the report, the mentor/ teaching professor, and the Program Director/Chair. After discussing the report, the Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean may, at their discretion, require that the mentor or teaching professor participate in remediation activities, outlined below. The Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean may also dismiss the allegation of mistreatment if they determine that the report does not meet the criteria to be considered mistreatment. In this case they will provide written responses to the student, mentor/professor, and program director/chair outlining the reason(s) for dismissing the report. The student has the right to file a grievance with the graduate college if they do not accept the dismissal of the report. A student who submits a false report of mistreatment/harassment may be subject to disciplinary action by the graduate college.
Remediation of mistreatment/harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Formation of Mentor Mistreatment/Harassment Disciplinary Committee
If, during the twelve (12) month remediation period, the Senior Associate Dean or Associate Dean determines that the mentor/professor has failed to attend the relevant course or follow the remediation plan, the Senior Associate Dean or Associate Dean may initiate the formation of a disciplinary committee. The disciplinary committee will be composed of the following members appointed by the Senior Associate Dean or Associate Dean:
The disciplinary committee will first meet within two (2) to four (4) weeks of its formation and will meet regularly, but no less than monthly, thereafter, until it comes to a final decision regarding the potential discipline of the mentor/professor. Only after the committee has made its final decision, may the Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean dissolve the committee. At the discretion of the Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean and upon the failure of satisfactory remediation by the mentor, the ad hoc committee may be reconvened to discuss further discipline of the mentor in accordance with the aforementioned procedures. The committee may also be reconvened if the student reports that they are still being mistreated despite the mentor going through remediation.
Discipline of mistreatment/harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Retaliation for Reporting
Retaliation for reporting mistreatment or harassment is not tolerated. Any incident of alleged retaliation toward a graduate student should be reported to the Associate Dean for further investigation. The Associate Dean will also provide recommendations to the student for which University policies and procedures are most pertinent and appropriate to their situation. Students should familiarize themselves with University policies and procedures relating to discrimination and harassment that are available on these UC websites:
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