Appropriate Treatment of Learners

The University of Massachusetts Medical School (“UMMS”) is committed to providing a supportive and respectful learning environment that fosters mutual trust and understanding between learners and the educational community.  Accordingly, UMMS has developed an Appropriate Treatment of Learners (“ATL”) policy to address concerns regarding the inappropriate treatment of learners by a member of the educational community.  The educational environment supports optimal teaching, learning and professional development of learners when the ATL standards are upheld.  The ATL policy defines some behaviors that represent inappropriate treatment of learners.  It also describes the procedure for reporting complaints and the follow-up of such allegations.  UMMS is committed to conducting investigations thoroughly, promptly and impartially.

As a student, you should expect to be treated with respect, and to learn and work in a safe environment. All individuals who interact with students are expected to behave in accordance with the ATL policy, which applies to all UMMS faculty, staff, residents, fellows, nurses, administrators and others who interact with learners.

Inappropriate treatment of learners occurs when behavior by a member of the learning community shows disrespect for the dignity of learners such that it interferes with their learning process.  Examples of such behaviors include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Humiliation of learners
  • Verbal attacks towards learners
  • Inappropriate anger or harsh language when addressing a learner
  • Lack of communication with a learner
  • Requiring a learner to perform tasks that belittle the learner
  • Requiring a learner to perform personal services, e.g. babysitting, errands, shopping, etc.
  • Insulting conduct to a learner
  • Disregard for learner safety

The ATL policy does not address sexual harassment complaints. The reporting and investigation of such complaints are addressed in the Title IX Incident policy, number 02.01.09. In addition, other UMMS polices address the reporting and investigations of other complaints, including but not limited to:

Violence and Hostility in the Workplace, Volume II, policy number 01.01.07

Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedure, Volume II, policy number 02.01.10.

Learners who believe they have been subject to inappropriate treatment in the learning community are responsible for reporting their complaint to the DIO as soon as possible.  In addition, any member of the learning community who becomes aware of inappropriate treatment of a learner is strongly encouraged to report the issue to the DIO for further investigation. The DIO is responsible for the ongoing oversight and periodic review of this policy. The DIO is responsible for investigating ATL complaints filed with the DIO. 

For more information, including definitions, policies and procedures for reporting suspected inappropriate treatment, students are encouraged to contact the Diversity and Inclusion Office (DIO).  The policy and procedure is also available in the Office of Student Affairs.

(revised 02/17)

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