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Report Student Mistreatment

  1. Purpose – The purposes of this policy are to outline expectations of behaviors that promote a positive, supportive, learning environment for Wayne State University School of Medicine medical students and other learners and to identify grievance procedures to address alleged violations. This policy offers a definition of appropriate expectations, provides examples of unacceptable treatment of medical students, and describes the procedures available to report incidents of mistreatment in a safe and effective manner.
  2. Policy – Wayne State University School of Medicine is committed to maintaining an educational and professional environment that is free of all forms of harassment and discrimination. The School of Medicine strives to create a safe and supportive learning environment that reflects the Institution’s values: professionalism, respect for individual rights, appreciation of diversity and differences, altruism, compassion and integrity. Mistreatment of medical students is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

    The policy applies to all members of the School of Medicine community including all students, administrators, faculty, staff, clinical teaching faculty, medical personnel, guest lecturers, and volunteers. All members of the School of Medicine community must adhere to this mistreatment policy and report violations. Mistreatment of students can occur by other medical students, university employees and non-university employees. All three types of mistreatment will be addressed in this policy.

  3. Procedures – Please note: When one party has any professional responsibility for another’s academic or job performance or professional future, the university considers sexual relationships between the two individuals to be a basic violation of professional ethics and responsibility; this includes but is not limited to sexual relationship between faculty and student or between supervisor and student, even if deemed to be mutually consenting relationships. Because of the asymmetry of these relationships, “consent” may be difficult to assess, may be deemed not possible, and may be construed as coercive.
    1. Distribution by the Office of Student AffairsThis policy is available in the Student Policy Handbook. It will also be reviewed with the medical students in the Year 1, 2, 3 and 4 Orientation sessions and will be distributed to the faculty, course/clerkship directors, and clinical campus medical education directors annually. Students will also receive education on the University Student Code of Conduct Policy as well as the LCME standards as it pertains to student mistreatment
    2. Examples of Mistreatment – Students should use this Mistreatment Policy to address discriminatory, unfair, arbitrary or capricious treatment by faculty, staff, students, clinical teaching faculty and medical personnel. The school adheres to the professional standards of behavior established by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Wayne State University Nondiscrimination Policy (referenced in III.c.). Students are expected to report behavior which interferes with the learning process. Students should consider the conditions, circumstances and environment surrounding the behavior. Examples of discriminatory, unfair, arbitrary or capricious treatment include, but are not limited to: *
      1. Physical
        1. Physically mistreated causing pain or potential injury
        2. Pushed/slapped hand (“get out of the way communication”)
        3. Exposed to other forms of physical mistreatment used to express frustration, make a point or get attention
      2. Verbal
        1. Accused
        2. Threatened/intimidated
        3. Yelled at/snapped at
        4. Degraded/ridiculed/humiliated/sworn at/scolded/berated
        5. Exposed to inappropriate conversation/comments (of nonsexual and nonracial nature)
      3. Sexual harassment
        1. Making unwelcome sexual comments, innuendo, jokes, or taunting remarks about a person’s protected status as defined in the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy Statement. (referenced in III.c.)
        2. Making unwelcome and unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature as per the University Sexual Harassment Policy.
        3. Ignored because of gender
        4. Stalking of a sexual nature; i.e. persistent and unwanted contact of any form whether physical, electronic or by any other means.
      4. Ethnic
        1. Exposed to racial or religious slurs/jokes as defined in the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy Statement. (referenced in III.c.)
        2. Stereotyped
        3. Neglected/ignored (because of student’s ethnicity)
      5. Power
        1. a. Dehumanized/demeaned/humiliated (nonverbally)
        2. b. Intimidated/threatened with evaluation or grade consequences
        3. c. Asked to do inappropriate tasks/scut work
        4. d. Forced to adhere to inappropriate work schedules
        5. e. Neglect/ignored

        *list adapted from Fried et. al, Academic Medicine, Sept 2012

    3. Medical students who themselves experience or observe other students experiencing possible mistreatment are encouraged to discuss it with someone in a position to understand the context and address necessary action. Those who believe they have experienced mistreatment, sexual harassment or discrimination by an administrator, faculty, staff member, student or a teaching hospital or clinic employee can pursue one or more avenues for resolution. Suggested options for medical students include:
      1. DISCUSS it with a Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSUSOM) Counselor in the Office of Student Affairs, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, the Assistant Dean of Basic Science, the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education, the WSUSOM clerkship/course director, hospital system clinical campus Director of Medical Education, or the Office of Ombuds on main campus. These staff will meet with the student and hear the details of the alleged incident. Students are encouraged but not required to try to resolve the matter by involving a WSUSOM counselor and the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.
      2. FILE a School of Medicine Report:
        1. File a report with the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs using the student mistreatment form above.
        2. File an anonymous report via the School of Medicine Care Report Program using the student mistreatment form above.
      3. Formally REPORT it:
        1. If the event involves another student, the Office of Student Affairs at the School of Medicine will assist the student in filing charges under the University Student Code of Conduct Process http://doso.wayne.edu/student-conduct-services.html as per University Policy.
        2. If the event involves a WSU administrator, faculty or staff, and involves sexual harassment or discrimination the student must also report the incident to the Office of Equal Opportunity, who will investigate and respond accordingly. Refer to University Policy 2005-03 Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Process. If the event involves a WSU administrator, faculty or staff, and does not involve sexual harassment or discrimination the student may also report the incident to the Office of Equal Opportunity.
        3. If the event involves clinical faculty/medical personnel (non-university employee) at a clinical campus, the student may also report the event to the Human Resources Department of that Hospital.

      All complaints should be filed within 30 business days of the event. A School of Medicine Care Report includes the following:

      • Your name (optional)
      • Your email (optional)
      • Your phone number (optional)
      • Date of the event
      • Time of the event
      • Location
      • Statement and description of the alleged event
      • Name(s) of person(s) involved
      • Witnesses, if any
      • Other facts considered to be relevant

      Rights of the Accuser and Accused:

      • To confidentiality
      • To have the allegations investigated in a thorough and timely manner
      • To be informed of the outcome of the process
      • To modify a schedule as indicated

      If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of their complaint, the student should meet and discuss the issue with the Vice Dean for Medical Education

      Medical Students requesting complete anonymity should be made aware that doing so may interfere with the University’s ability to investigate the concern and their ability to receive information about the follow up investigation.

      The University’s Nondiscrimination Policy Statement is:

      “The University, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination and affirmative action. In furtherance of this policy, the University is also committed to promoting institutional diversity to achieve full equity in all areas of University life and service and in those private clubs and accommodations that are used by University personnel. No off-campus activities sponsored by or on behalf of Wayne State University shall be held in private club facilities or accommodations which operate from an established policy barring membership or participation on the basis of race, color, sex (including gender identity), national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, familial status, marital status, height, weight, disability, or veteran status. Affirmative action procedures, measures, and programs may be used to the extent permitted by law to establish, monitor and implement affirmative action plans for all budgetary units and the University as a whole.”

    4. Responding to Concerns of MistreatmentAll complaints will be considered thoroughly and promptly. Every effort will be made to resolve complaints in an expeditious, discreet and effective manner. The University, including the School of Medicine, will attempt to maintain confidentiality to the extent possible within legitimate conduct of an investigation and/or as required by law. Every effort will be made to avoid negative repercussions as a result of discussing an alleged offense and/or filing a complaint.

      If a student reports mistreatment through the School of Medicine Student Care Report, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs will automatically be provided with written notice of reported concerns of mistreatment and will conduct an initial inquiry into the circumstances of the alleged mistreatment. The Assistant Dean of Student Affairs will assist the student in filing a report with the appropriate office. When another student is involved and the Student Code of Conduct Policy has been activated, the University Student Conduct Officer will render a corrective action plan after discussion and collaboration with the Chair of the Professionalism Committee and/or the SOM Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.

      Aggregate and de-identified data on reports of mistreatment of Medical Students will be shared with the Vice Dean for Medical Education, The Student Senate, and the WSUSOM Curriculum Committee on an annual basis.

  4. No Retaliation – Retaliation is strictly prohibited against persons who in good faith report, complain of, or provide information in a mistreatment investigation proceeding. Retaliation includes behavior on the part of the accused or the accuser and other related persons, including, but not limited to, acquaintances, friends and family members. Individuals who believe they are experiencing retaliation should immediately contact the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs or a WSUSOM counselor so that prompt remedial action can be taken.
  5. References
    1. University Policy 2005-03 Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Process
    2. University Policy Nondiscrimination/Affirmative Action Policy
    3. University Sexual Harassment Policy
    4. University Student Code of Conduct Policy

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