(Previous discussion continued)
Re: Grant submissions and academic freedom Mary Watson 17 Aug 1998 09:00 EST

Re: Grant submissions and academic freedom Mary Watson 17 Aug 1998 09:00 EST

This is a question that has only once reared its head for me since I came
to VSU.  In that instance it was the VPAA who simply refused to sign the
proposal, held it without comment until after the due date and then
returned it to the Dean of the College.  While it was not good, handled
this way, and we have all agreed that this particular situation will not
re-occur the reasons behind the refusal were solid and appropriate.  Since
the PI never raised an objection and left the employ of the university soon
after, the issue really died.  However, I always felt there was good reason
for a litigious faculty person to file a grievance, and even a suit, based
on freedom issues.

Charlei - how are you, haven't seen or heard from you in ages.  Good to
know you are still here!

At 11:58 AM 8/14/98 -0500, Charles E. Graham sent a message saying:
*An interesting question. I cannot address the legal issues, except to point
*out that the grantee would be the institution, not the faculty member: in
*the instance of a proposal, the person is acting as an agent of his/her
*employer. My supposition would be that the faculty member would have the
*right to do research within the terms of his/her apppointment, but that the
*university cannot be forced to enter into a contracual relationship that is
*deemed inappropriate. But courts sometimes interpret "freedoms" in
*unexpected ways.
*Al LSU, our policy is that a dept head or dean cannot hold up a proposal by
*refusing to sign the routing sheet; if s/he declines to sign and approve,
*s/he must attach a memo explaining the reservations, forward it promptly to
*the next level. However, it is part of the dept Head/Deans' job to decide
*on the appropriateness of the application. The matter would likely be
*resolved at the Vice Chancellor for Reseach level. We have not had an
*instance like this in the almost 5 years I have been here that I am aware
*of. Often, reason can prevail, if the process is not arbitrary.
*Charlie Graham
*At 01:21 PM 8/13/98 -0500, you wrote:
*>I have a question and will appreciate any input subscribers to the ncurase
*listserv may
*>have.  The following brief scenario sums up the situation.   A faculty
*member has found a
*>foundation that may fund her research.  However, the dean of the college
*will not sign
*>the routing sheet allowing the faculty member to submit the grant because
*he does not
*>think that the work fits within the mission of the college and also does
*not like the
*>agenda of the foundation.  The faculty member has a right to do research
*as a part of
*>academic freedom.  The legal council for the school says that this is a
*legal right and
*>that the dean cannot stop the submission of the grant if the reason is
*only that the work
*>does not fit within the mission of the college and that the agenda of the
*foundation does
*>not appear to be compatible with that mission.  I concur that faculty have
*>rights under the umbrella of academic freedom, but I also am concerned
*about the
*>potential breadth of the lawyer's interpretation.  My question is under what
*>circumstances might a dean or department chair be legally safe in stopping
*a grant?
*>(Other than the obvious e.g. not following policy on indirect cost
*recovery, unacceptable
*>language in the contract such as indemnification and hold harmless and
*legal jurisdiction
*>clauses in the case of state schools).  I am quite interested to know if
*at schools where
*>the annual evaluation process for faculty includes outlining their
*research interests in
*>a plan and the plan is approved by the chair, etc. if a grant outside of
*this plan could
*>be stopped on the grounds that it was not in the faculty member's yearly
*plan.  Finally,
*>is anyone aware of any court cases that are relevant to this issue.  Thanks.
*>Michael L. Woodruff, Ph.D.
*>Associate Vice President for Research
*>East Tennessee State University
* ****************************************************
* * Charles E. Graham, PhD., DSc.
* *
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* * Director, Office of Sponsored Research/OSR
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Mary H. Watson, Ph.D.           xxxxxx@valdosta.edu
Director, Grants and Contracts  Phone: (912)333-7837
Valdosta State University       FAX:  (912)245-3853
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