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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Misconduct code could be changed

    Faculty members may see changes in how they are investigated for scholarly misconduct after the Faculty Senate discusses the issue at its meeting today.

    Michael Cusanovich, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and director of the Arizona Research Laboratories, will introduce a revised set of guidelines for those procedures, which have been debated at previous Faculty Senate meetings.

    Members asked Cusanovich to look over sections in the code that describe how complaints are handled, specifically anonymous complaints and verbal complaints.

    Cusanovich decided to make it possible for researchers and research employees to make anonymous allegations against faculty members, saying the federal government’s policy allows anonymity.

    If the government investigated an anonymous complaint the UA did not, the entire university would be found at fault, Cusanovich said.

    “”It’s not surprising if you think about it,”” Cusanovich said.

    The same reasoning was used in the decision to allow verbal complaints, though the policy does “”encourage”” written ones.

    Dr. Marlys Witte, a professor of surgery, said she is not aware of anything in federal law that allows anonymous or verbal complaints to be used against faculty and said she does not support using them at the UA.

    “”If things are just floating around verbally and anonymously, they’re just moving targets, and it makes it very difficult for members of the faculty to respond,”” Witte said.

    Witte said she thinks allegations can be handled with confidentiality but not necessarily anonymity. She added that verbal complaints should eventually be documented in writing by the accuser.

    Giving more rights to both the accused and accuser cuts down on unfair investigations, Witte said, adding it could result in fewer lawsuits.

    The Faculty Senate will address the issue during its meeting at 3 p.m. today in the James E. Rogers College of Law building, Room 139.

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