Student Complaint Procedure

RUSM is deeply committed to creating a productive learning environment free from harassment or discrimination and which provides students appropriate resources and support. In keeping with that commitment, RUSM has developed this Student Complaint Procedure, which is intended to advise students on how to raise and resolve any complaints or issues with RUSM, including (by way of illustration only) such diverse topics as dissatisfaction with services provided at a campus or clinical location, or discrimination or harassment in violation of RUSM’s policies. Students are expected to adhere to this policy when raising complaints against RUSM or any RUSM colleague.

Students who wish to file a complaint regarding a fellow student’s conduct should consult the Code of Conduct section found in the Student Handbook and may file a complaint by contacting the conduct administrator within the office of Student Affairs.

RUSM takes complaints very seriously and expects students to use good judgment in raising and attempting to resolve a complaint. Students are expected to adhere to the Honor Code and Code of Conduct at all times; raising a complaint that contains false allegations or for an improper purpose, such as to gain an unfair advantage academically, will be deemed a violation of the Honor Code and/or Code of Conduct and may subject the student to disciplinary action.

RUSM also reminds students that, as physicians in training, they are expected to adhere to a set of Technical Standards, which includes social skills such as problem solving and the ability to work as an effective member of a team. Accordingly, RUSM expects that students will attempt to resolve conflicts in a mature and appropriate manner, while being respectful of, and attempting to maintain a collegial relationship with, those involved. In most circumstances, and in keeping with the Technical Standards, RUSM expects students to attempt to resolve their complaints informally and through respectful discourse as outlined below. RUSM acknowledges, however, that not all complaints are amenable to informal resolution, including but not limited to complaints involving sexual harassment, discrimination or other serious allegations of misconduct by an RUSM colleague. Further, because no policy is one-size-fits-all, though, RUSM reserves the right to deviate from this policy if the circumstances of a particular complaint call for additional flexibility.

Informal Complaint Process

This initial process is followed to attempt to resolve the matter orally or in writing with the individual(s) most directly connected to the student’s complaint. If the student is not comfortable discussing the matter with the individuals most directly involved, the student may take his or her informal complaint to a liaison not directly involved, such as the Assistant Director for Student Conduct and Integrity & Academic Accommodations for students in the Foundations of Medicine semesters and the Assistant Director for Clinical Student Conduct and Development for students in the Clinical Sciences semesters. If a complaint pertains to the Assistant Director for Student Conduct and Integrity & Academic Accommodations or the Assistant Director for Clinical Student Conduct and Development, contact the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in Dominica or the Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs in Miramar.

A complainant pursuing informal resolution of his/her complaint usually is not required to submit a written complaint to initiate the process. Under these informal procedures, the student may, at any time, elect to stop further action by withdrawing the complaint, subject to the confidentiality provisions noted below, and with the understanding that, depending on the nature of the allegations, RUSM may be obligated to investigate the complaint with or without the complainant’s involvement.

Complaints addressed informally may not be investigated to the same degree as formal complaints. Mediation may be used as a method for resolving the complaint informally, but not all complaints are appropriate for mediation; for example, allegations of sexual assault typically are not appropriate for mediation.

Adopting informal procedures for addressing complaints does not mean that RUSM does not take these complaints seriously. Informal procedures simply provide an alternative method for addressing complaints, which are in keeping with RUSM’s Technical Standards. The complainant can also decide to file a formal complaint as described below at any time.

Formal Complaint Process

If the informal procedure is not appropriate or does not yield a successful resolution, the student can file a formal complaint in the following manner:

When to File a Complaint

Complaints should be filed by the student as soon as possible and, in any case, within 30 days after the end of the semester or clerkship in which the concern arose. It is the student’s responsibility to raise a complaint in a timely manner such that corrective action, if appropriate, can be taken before the student suffers an adverse consequence such as a poor grade.

What to File

A formal complaint must be in writing and include the following:

  1. The complainant’s name, student ID#, address, email address, and phone number.
  2. A complete description of the concern/issue – including date, location, and all individuals involved, or who witnessed or otherwise have knowledge of the events and circumstances giving rise to the complaint.
  3. A description of what efforts have been made to resolve the issue informally.
  4. A statement of the resolution requested.
  5. Any reference to external source documents (security reports, police reports, physician notes, etc.)

If a student is hesitant or unwilling to put a complaint alleging discrimination, harassment (including sexual misconduct) or other unlawful conduct in writing, he or she is encouraged to discuss his or her concerns with the Assistant Director for Student Conduct and Integrity & Academic Accommodations, the Assistant Director for Clinical Student Conduct and Development, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in Dominica, or with the Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs in Miramar. Students may also contact Adtalem Global Education Title IX Coordinator directly regarding matters involving sexual harassment or sexual violence including relationship and domestic violence.

Where to File Complaint

The complaint shall be filed with the Assistant Director for Student Conduct and Integrity & Academic Accommodations, if pertaining to the Foundations of Medicine semesters, or the Assistant Director for Clinical Student Conduct and Development if pertaining to the Clinical Sciences semesters The written complaint can be submitted electronically or in person.

If a complaint pertains to the Assistant Director for Student Conduct and Integrity & Academic Accommodations or the Assistant Director for Clinical Student Conduct and Development, contact the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in Dominica or the Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs in Miramar.

Notice of Receipt

Upon receipt of the formal complaint, the designated point of contact (Assistant Director for Student Conduct and Integrity & Academic Accommodations or Assistant Director for Clinical Student Conduct and Development in Miramar), alternate (Associate Dean of Student Affairs in Dominica or the Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs) or his or her designee will initiate an investigation. Through the course of the investigation, the designated point of contact or alternate may interview or consult with and request information regarding issues from the complaining student and any other individuals believed to have relevant information, including faculty, staff, and other students.

Findings and Notification

Upon completion of the investigation, the designated point of contact or alternate will report the findings of the investigation and any proposed resolution to the complainant.

Appeal

Within 7 calendar days of the issuance of the final report, the complainant may appeal to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in Dominica or the Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs in Miramar. Appeals must be submitted in writing and must state a basis for the appeal. Bases on which a student may appeal are:

  1. There is new evidence that was unavailable at the time of the original investigation that would affect the outcome of the original decision.
  2. There were procedural irregularities in the complaint process that affected the outcome.
  3. The proposed resolution was not reasonable based on the evidence compiled during the investigation.

The decision of the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in Dominica or the Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs in Miramar or authorized designee on the appeal is final.

Confidentiality Policy for Student Complaints

RUSM wishes to create an environment in which individuals feel free to discuss and redress concerns and complaints. RUSM understands that complainants, witnesses, and others involved in the investigation process may be concerned about the confidentiality of information they are sharing. In some cases, however, RUSM may be obligated to take action when it becomes aware of information relating to a complaint. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible and consistent with RUSM’s obligations in investigating complaints.

Once an individual discloses identifying information to RUSM through the processes described above, he/she will be considered to have filed a complaint with RUSM. While the confidentiality of information received, the privacy of individuals involved, and compliance with the wishes of the complainant or witnesses cannot be guaranteed, they will be respected to the extent possible and appropriate.

In the event that a student wishes to discuss a matter with greater assurances of confidentiality, they are encouraged to contact the University Counseling Center in Dominica or to seek referral to location specific mental health services stateside.

Retaliation Policy Regarding Student Complaints

RUSM prohibits retaliation against anyone who reports an incident of alleged harassment, discrimination or other unlawful conduct, or any person who assists or participates in a proceeding, investigation or hearing relating to such allegations.

Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment. All complaints of retaliation should be reported in accordance with the complaint procedures outlined above. If the procedures outlined above would result in the student being required to submit his or her complaint to the person whom he or she believes is retaliating against him or her, the student may submit the retaliation complaint to the campus or location leader, who will determine an appropriate party to address the retaliation complaint.

Submission of a good-faith complaint or report of harassment, discrimination or other unlawful conduct will not adversely affect the complainant’s future grades, learning, or academic environment. RUSM will discipline or take appropriate action against anyone who retaliates against any person who reports an incident of alleged harassment, discrimination, or other unlawful conduct, or who retaliates against any person who testifies, assists or participates in a proceeding, investigation or hearing related to such allegations.