Five Questions Submitted to the Agenda Committee for September Senate (10 September 2012)

1. Question for the Provost concerning the Provost’s Investigation.  Submitted by Senator Morelli.

What is the state of the Provost’s investigation into the allegations of research misconduct by HEQCO and Queen’s?  When can Senate expect to receive a preliminary report and/or a final report?  And what are the terms of reference of the investigation (i.e. what specifically is the Provost looking into)?  More specifically:

a.    Does the investigation seek to determine whether Queen’s revisions to the Report subsequently published under the names of Massey and Field involved departures from academic integrity on the part of Queen’s University Administration and/or Staff?

b.    Does the investigation examine Queen’s practice in relation to research contracts that stipulate waivers of moral rights, both in general and in the specific case of Jennifer Massey and Sean Field?  Were the researchers in this case adequately advised by Queen’s ORS staff as to the possible consequences of signing a contract with a moral rights waiver included?  Is it general practice for Queen’s to advise researchers who are signing research contracts about the implications of moral rights waivers?

c.     Was it Queen’s University or HEQCO that invoked the terms of the moral rights waiver to revise the original conclusions of Massey and Field?  What options did the University explore to avoid this outcome?  What actions did Queen’s University take to protect its employees in this matter?

2. Question for the Provost concerning student-initiation of AI investigationsSubmitted by Senator Bridges.

What is the procedure by which a student or anyone else may initiate an investigation or file an allegation of a departure from academic integrity by a fellow student, by a faculty member, or by Administrators?

Background: Senate’s Academic Integrity Policy Statement (approved by Senate 26 January 2006) states that “Queen’s students, faculty, administrators and staff […] all have ethical responsibilities for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity.”  Likewise, as Jim Lee, then Academic Integrity [AI] Advisor to the Vice-Principal (Academic), emphasized in 2009, “the principles of academic integrity should apply to all members of the university community” (“The broader scope of academic integrity”).

Yet the Senate Policy on Academic Integrity Procedures (approved by Senate Oct. 2008; revised Oct. 2010; amended Oct. 2011) repeatedly references “students” as the only parties to be investigated for departures from AI (e.g., “Preamble, para. 1; sec. 2.1.1, sec. 4 passim).  It offers procedural guidelines for instructors and administrators to investigate departures by and impose sanctions upon students, but offers no procedural guidelines for anyone to investigate departures by instructors and administrators.

Likewise, the Arts and Science webpage “Departure from Academic Integrity: Guidelines for Instructors” repeatedly references “students” as the only conceivable offenders.  No mention or provision is made concerning possible departures from AI by instructors or administrators.

In the 2012-13 Arts and Science Calendar, Academic Regulation 1: Academic Integrity likewise assumes throughout (e.g., secs. 1.3.1, 1.3.2, 1.3.3(iii), that departures from AI will be by students, and considers instructors and administrators only as potential investigators and disciplinarians.  The procedures section (1.4 – Processes for Investigation of Departures from Academic Integrity) envisions only two processes: “Investigation by an Instructor of Suspected Departures from Academic Integrity in a Class” (1.4.1) and “Investigation of Suspected Departures From Academic Integrity by the Associate Dean (Studies)” (Sec. 1.4.3).  In both, the only “suspected departures” under consideration are departures by students.

In short, Queen’s procedures documents concerning AI are asymmetrical and appear to belie in practice the statement of the Senate Policy that “Queen’s students, faculty, administrators and staff […] all have ethical responsibilities for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity,” as well as Queen’s AI Advisor Jim Lee’s affirmation that “the principles of academic integrity should apply to all members of the university community.”

3.  Question for the Principal concerning Justice Iacobucci’s advice to Senate.  Submitted by Senator Jones. 

Would the Principal please explain to Senate when it might expect to receive the legal advice of Justice Iacobucci concerning the relative authorities of Senate and the Board of Trustees over decisions that have both financial and academic impacts?

4.  Question for the Principal concerning Strategic Mandate Agreements.  Submitted by Senator Jones. 

In early August, the MTCU sent the executive officers of Ontario colleges and universities a directive to file Strategic Mandate Agreements, or SMAs, with the Ministry by 30 September.  As OCUFA’s Mark Rosenfeld has explained, these will apparently be used for purposes including allocation of resources and “differentiation” of Ontario’s institutions of post-secondary education. Would the Principal please explain to Senate how he views the agenda behind this directive, and how he intends to respond?

5.  Question for the Provost concerning commercial advertisements on campus.  Submitted by Senator Jones. 

Floor-to-ceiling advertisements for corporations including Apple, Bell Canada, and Target have recently appeared in Mac-Corry, and perhaps in other campus buildings.    This is an issue of interest to Senate since it is apt to compromise the academic credibility of the institution.  I submit that it is wrong for an institution of public education to run commercial ads in its educational space or in connection with its academic mission because this confers the public institution’s educational authority (purchased by decades of public funding and merited by principled academic conduct) on ads that bring monetary profit to private investors–and moreover because it does so at the cost of undermining that very authority in its more proper support of actual education.  Hosting commercial ads implies, and indeed publicly proclaims, that the University is reliant upon private corporations for its support.  It implies that the University’s scholarly and pedagogical endorsement is open for purchase by those with the money to buy it. This is very apt to discredit the institution as a centre of disinterested academic teaching and learning, whatever its actual academic practice may be.  Endorsement decisions by a publicly funded educational institution should therefore be based only on academic criteria, not on ability-to-buy.  Would the Provost please respond to this position and explain to Senate the decision to use our University’s public educational name and spaces to support corporate advertising and private profit?

This entry was posted in Academic Integrity, Advertising on Campus, Agendas and Agenda Committee, HEQCO, Misconduct, Senate's Jurisdiction, Strategic Mandate Agreements (SMAs). Bookmark the permalink.

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