Senate Bill No. 0203-4

UNIVERSITY SENATE

UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK


Introduced by:          Special Committee for Evaluation of Campus Policies and
                                Procedures in Handling Misconduct Cases

Co-Sponsored by:    Council on Educational Policy (EPC)
                                Council on Research (RES)
                                Council on Academic Freedom and Ethics (CAFE)


Date:                         March 10, 2003


RECOMMENDATIONS AND POLICY FRAMEWORK ON RESPONDING TO
MISCONDUCT IN RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP


IT IS HEREBY PROPOSED THAT THE FOLLOWING BE ADOPTED:

1.   The University Senate approves the creation of a new University Senate Committee, Committee on Ethics in Research and Scholarship (CERS). The charge       and composition of this committee are as outlined in the Preamble of the recommendations from the Special Ad hoc Committee for Evaluation of Campus       Policies and Procedures in Handling Misconduct Cases.

2.   The University Senate approves and adopts the recommendations of the Special Committee on the policy framework, its philosophies, its procedures, and its       recommendations for remaining work in finalizing a full policy. The procedures in the new policy framework should be implemented at the time the bill is       approved.

3.   The bill will be referred to the President for approval.


Rationale

The bill addresses recommendations and a policy framework developed by the Special ad hoc Committee. The report of this committee is appended. The core items in the bill are found in that appended document. A preamble in the report provides some rationale. Additional rationale is provided here.

Historical Background

The Special Committee that crafted this proposal was appointed by the Senate Chair and approved by the Senate Executive Committee in Spring 2002. Faculty representation from came from EPC, RES, CAFE, CPCA. The Vice President for Research and the (current) Interim Vice President for Research were also members. Consultation was provided both from the University Counsel’s office and the University Compliance officer.

The Committee was asked (by the Senate Executive Committee) to address three points regarding campus policy for responding to allegations of plagiarism and misconduct in research and scholarship:

Faculty concerns arose regarding existing University procedures as employed in a recent case. In a faculty forum in Spring 2002, the President concurred that our existing procedures require examination.

Our existing policy should be evaluated in light of ongoing revisions of federal guidelines regarding handling of research misconduct cases .

Our current campus policy may be incomplete.

Institutional Administration of the Current and Proposed Policy

The current University policy governing handling of misconduct cases is found in the Faculty Handbook under “Policies related to faculty obligation.”

The current policy is not part of the faculty bylaws.

It is not specifically part of the charge of any Senate Committee or Council, although the Council on Research and CAFE may have charges that are loosely related to the topic of misconduct in research.

The University President can authorize/change the policy as she/he sees fit.

The current version of the campus policy was approved by the University Senate (1989) and adopted by the President. A 1995 amendment by the Council on Research was also adopted by the President.

What Problems Exist in Our Current Procedures?

The VPR can receive allegation and decide, alone, whether to proceed. No faculty or governance involvement is required by the current policy.

There is no requirement for formal faculty or governance involvement in either Inquiry or Investigation committees.

Final determination by the President: No formal mechanism exists for consultation with faculty or governance.

Penalty/sanctions decision by the President: No mechanism is currently present for the President to formally consult with faculty or governance.

Disclosure of information in cases where misconduct is found (e.g., informing relevant public constituencies) is not well addressed.

Core Aspects of the Proposal Address the Issues Outlined Above

The committee recommends a new policy framework to guide a full revision of the current policy. In the interim, the proposed framework supplements the current policy and solves several of the problems outlined above.

The proposed framework ensures clear faculty involvement at each stage of the process.

A new Senate committee (CERS) is proposed to provide a governance body that will review and recommend policy and procedures for the University’s response to allegations of misconduct. This committee will also supply members to participate in the handling of all University cases where misconduct is alleged.

The Senate can create such a committee at its discretion.

The President and VPR can begin using such a committee in any investigations of misconduct without change in the current policy.

Why Is There an Urgent Need for This Framework?

If adopted, the proposal would establish a way for immediate faculty involvement in all misconduct cases.

Training in the handling of such cases is an important and unique aspect of the proposal and could begin immediately.

With the adoption of this bill, consultation with faculty/governance on disciplinary actions could begin immediately with all cases arising after the framework adoption.

A process for addressing disclosure of misconduct and sanctions is recommended for cases where misconduct has been determined.