Policy on Appropriate Student Treatment

I. Standards for Conduct in the Teacher-Learner Relationship

The academic environment, particularly in medical education, requires civility from all participants, regardless of role or level, and a particular respect for the values of professionalism, ethics, and humanism in the practice of medicine.

The relationship between teacher and learner is based on mutual respect and trust.  Faculty must respect students’ level of knowledge and skills, which students have the responsibility to represent honestly to faculty.  Faculty are obligated to evaluate students’ work fairly and honestly, without discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, disability or veteran status.  Faculty have a duty not only to promote growth of the intellect but at the same time to model the qualities of candor, compassion, perseverance, diligence, humility, and respect for all human beings.

Because this policy pertains to students as learners, references to “teachers” or “faculty” shall also include residents and fellows in their teaching and supervisory role with regard to students.

Examples of unacceptable behavior include but are not limited to:

  • Physical or sexual harassment or abuse
  • Discrimination or harassment based on race, gender, age, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability
  • Speaking in disparaging ways about an individual including humor that demeans an individual or a group
  • Requesting or requiring students to engage in illegal or inappropriate activities or unethical practices
  • Loss of personal civility, such as shouting, displays of temper, publicly or privately abusing, belittling, or humiliating a student
  • Use of grading or other forms of evaluation in a punitive or retaliatory manner

Students are also expected to maintain the same high standards of conduct in their relationships with faculty, residents, support staff, and fellow students.

II. Procedures for Reporting and Investigating Violations

Students enrolled in the Medical School (or Medical School portion of the M.D./Ph.D. program) should report abuse or mistreatment to the anonymous web portal.

UTHealth policies concerning misconduct by faculty and staff, including allegations of discrimination (including harassment) and retaliation, are outlined in the Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOOP).  Relevant policies that can be found at https://www.uth.edu/hoop/index.htm include Policies 39, 59, 108,109, 183 and 186. The Vice Dean for Student Affairs will advise and assist the student in following applicable procedures of the institution.

III. Dissemination and Education

In order to make sure that faculty, residents, fellows, and students are aware of the Policy on Appropriate Student Treatment, several mechanisms for dissemination will be used.

The Policy will be added to the Medical School website on the main student, faculty, and house staff web pages.

An electronic copy of the Policy will be provided to all house staff and fellows including visiting residents.

An electronic copy of the Policy will be provided to current students, and thereafter to entering students at orientation. The policy will be reviewed and discussed at orientation for entering students and at the third-year orientation.

An electronic copy of the Policy will be provided to faculty and distributed at faculty orientations.  Department Chairs and Directors will be responsible for ensuring that the Policy is discussed at departmental/division meetings.

Each course director, clerkship director and/or Program Director will be responsible for providing an electronic copy of the Policy to their respective teaching faculty and to all students at the start of each course, clerkship or rotation.