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Cell Biology and Physiology Curriculum

All graduate students have a right to a safe, respectful working environment free of harassment. Students also have a right to an ethically responsible scientific environment, and as UNC scientists they have a responsibility to conduct their own science ethically. The links below point to UNC policies governing ethical and professional behavior relevant to biomedical graduate students, as well as options for reporting policy violations.

Though rare, conflicts can occasionally arise and we have created the following chain of communication guidelines for managing different types of conflicts. When a conflict arises, whether with a student’s advisor, a fellow student or someone else in the University, it is recommended that students first talk to their thesis advisor. If the thesis advisor is considered to be in conflict, then the student should contact either a member of their Thesis Committee or the Director of Graduate Study (DGS). One function of the DGS is to address student concerns and any grievances and be available when students are experiencing academic difficulty. The DGS is also knowledgeable about resources available to students experiencing work, financial, or health difficulties. The DGS wants all students to succeed!

If the student or DGS has a conflict of interest or they require additional input, or the concern is not sufficiently resolved, the student’s Department Chair (or Center Director) is the next resource. In the case that a student is unable to achieve appropriate resolution from these program members, the next resource is the BBSP Director of Biomedical Student Affairs, David McDonald, PhD. Dr. McDonald handles student conflict issues and works directly with the academic school Associate Deans and faculty, as needed. If the conflict goes beyond the scope of the Cell Biology and Physiology Training Program, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has excellent resources that are available to all students. Some of these resources are outlined below.

DGSs, department Chairs, BBSP staff, and School of Medicine Deans can treat students concerns confidentially unless the concerns involve harassment or discrimination based on any protected status, in which case they are obligated to report the issue to the appropriate University office(s). Be aware that typically the only office not required to report regardless of the violation is the Ombuds Office (see below).

UNC-CH Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct UNC’s portal for information and reporting incidences of discrimination, harassment, interpersonal violence, and stalking. more information about reporting options including anonymous support. Most individuals employed by UNC to whom a student might choose to make a report are considered Responsible Employees and must report these incidences to the Title IX office. This helps the university coordinate a response. Anonymous reporting options are described here:
Gender Violence Services Coordinators: confidential support staff in the UNC Women’s Center (the GVSC are not responsible employees and can keep conversations confidential)
Guide to getting support [pdf]

UNC-CH Policy on Research Misconduct
Detailed guide for Responsible Conduct of Research at UNC-CH
Report a Research Ethics Violation
UNC-CH Research Integrity Officers (RIO)

UNC-CH Policy on ADA Reasonable Accommodations
Register with Accessibility Resources for accommodations in class.
Register with EOC for workplace accommodations including religious, accessibility, or medical conditions.

Report any Policy Violation:

UNC Ombuds :

The UNC Ombuds a confidential resource for all UNC-CH students, faculty, and staff. The Ombuds office can offer advice, coach individuals on responding to a situation, mediate conflicts, and more. Contacting the Ombuds office is not necessarily a ‘last resort’. It can be a first step, a place to get advice and present options to you. This office knows the functions of other relevant UNC offices and is not a mandatory reporting agency. Their resources page contains many helpful links on conflict resolution. Resources page:

UNC Ethics and Policies: