UMass Boston

Student Resources


Updated September 3, 2021

We provide this information to assist and advocate for our students in their academic lives on three fronts: (1) academic matters, (2) anti-harassment and anti-discrimination concerns, and (3) mental, emotional, and physical health.

I) Academic concerns

The Department of Anthropology and its instructors are committed to the highest quality of education and a learning environment that is inclusive, responsive, transparent, and fair. However, undergraduate students occasionally wish to have a minor or major concern heard and reviewed by the Department. Concerns may be about a professor, a faculty advisor, a staff member, a teaching assistant, or a fellow classmate. In most cases, you should follow these steps. Note that if you have issues with another department, it is likely that you would follow a similar protocol but with different people.

Step 1: Talk to your professor or staff supervisor in the class, laboratory, or advising capacity where you feel an issue is present. Usually, many issues can be resolved with some open communication.

Step 2: If you feel uncomfortable speaking with such an individual or if you feel the issue is unresolved even after doing so, you should communicate with the Department Chair, currently Professor Ping-Ann Addo. The Department Chair: 

  •  is the next in the supervisory reporting line for Department faculty members and staff;
  •  is equipped to handle a wide variety of student concerns and complaints;
  •  may be able to mediate on behalf of the affected parties to resolve the issue;
  •  may have additional information to contextualize the perceived issue;
  • will be able to advise on subsequent steps;
  • may or may not be able to keep concerns or complaints anonymous, depending on the issue and students’ wishes;
  • will always strive to protect the student and ensure that they face no retribution from faculty, staff, or students.

Step 3: If the Department Chair, student, and faculty or staff member involved cannot reach a reasonable resolution, then the Department Chair may convene a Department Grievance Committee to hear the student’s concerns and help to seek resolution. Such a committee may work for certain situations involving professor-student interactions, but it may be inappropriate for others if the case needs to move upward or elsewhere.

Step 4: If a student or the Department feels that the issue has not been resolved in a satisfactory manner, or if convening a Grievance Committee is not deemed appropriate, then either the Department Chair or you may convey the case to the office of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts for further review and action. This is the supervisory office for all departments in the College of Liberal Arts.

Always try to follow steps 1 through 4 in order. If you skip previous steps, the next level may refer the case back down the line for resolution.  However, students may, at any time, contact the Dean of Students for assistance with difficult or unresolved situations or to seek basic advice on procedure and resources.  This office is not one that supervises departments (unlike the collegiate dean), but instead is, as stated in their mission, “a central resource for students, staff, faculty, and families. We assist our community in navigating academic, personal, and social challenges through support, advocacy, and accountability.”

II) Gender and sexual discrimination, harassment, or assault

You are encouraged to speak to anyone in the Department if you have any concerns or issues related to any aspect of your university experience, and they can advise you on potential options. However, for issues clearly related to gender or sexual discrimination and harassment or sexual misconduct and assault, cases will be handled by the Title IX Office on campus. Title IX, read as the Roman numeral “9”,

  • refers to federal anti-discrimination law applied to educational institutions to ensure that students have equal and safe academic environments,
  • deals with reports by or against any employee or student at the university, and
  • can be initiated directly by the student, faculty member, or Department Chair at any time, on a relevant issue.

If you or someone you know has such a case, please review the resources offered by the Title IX Office, along with the specific Title IX grievance procedures. The latter document also includes a variety of resources available on- and off-campus that students have at their disposal. There are several key privacy and confidentiality clauses in there, and you can ask a professor or the Title IX Office for help with understanding those:

Brigid Harrington

Director, Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, and Title IX Coordinator
Phone: 617-287-7391              Email:

Ashlee Carter

Interim Associate Dean of Students and Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Phone: 617-287-5800             Email:

III) Health, wellness, and personal crises

You may wish to talk to faculty or staff in the Department of Anthropology or to the Dean of Students (noted above) about personal circumstances such as health, mental health, domestic issues, housing, and economic hardships. In fact, we encourage it, as part of our commitments to the university being a health-promoting institution. All of us can serve as resources for you – the university and its employees are not just here solely for your “academic” experiences.

As part of practicing care for our students, a professor, staff member, or Department Chair may report serious concerns about a student through the University’s reporting system, which is designed to bring more skilled personnel to bear on issues that might have mental, emotional, or physical health implications. This does not require student permission. Our department members are not trained mental health professionals or major conflict mediators, and we want you to receive the best treatment possible if the situation warrants this particular action. The Department member may also be able to refer students to the Counseling Center in University Health Services, or students may turn to them as needed. We highly recommend taking advantage of that campus resource.

If you feel like you might harm yourself, you should call the Counseling Center immediately at 617-287-5690 (regular hours) or 617-287-5660 (after hours). If you don't reach someone right away, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. 

University Resources for Behavioral and Educational Skills Training, or UMB-UR-BEST, is another valuable resource available to you and other campus community members to promote learning and success on our inclusive, diverse campus. As stated on their website,

“Our mission is to assist students and the campus community in creating a positive learning environment for the diverse student population at UMass Boston. We strive to promote student mental health, wellbeing, and academic success through a range of culturally sensitive and inclusive services. We are dedicated to helping our students with the intersection of their academics and wellness in ways that recognize the whole person, including all of the complexities of their identities, cultural values, and aspirations. This includes actively resisting systemic inequities, creating resources to increase access for marginalized students, and constantly reassessing the ways in which we and our services equitably meet the needs of our diverse campus community. Our focus is on wellness promotion and preventative services; however, we aspire to create proactive resources that help students thrive both personally and academically.”

They have compiled and offer support and workshops in mental health and wellness, basic needs insecurity, academic success and remote learning, and the needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups. You can visit their “Resources” for more information and assistance.

One of those resources is the Office of Urban and Off-Campus Support Services, known as U-ACCESS. They are set up to help students facing chronic poverty, food insecurity, temporary homelessness, domestic violence, and financial hardship. They even have a food and supply pantry that you may be eligible to access. You can reach them at or 617-287-3190 or 781-951-2724. You will need to fill out an intake form to have access to these services and items.