Approved by the:	University Senate February 19, 1998

RESOLUTION CONCERNING UNIVERSITY POLICIES

WHEREAS during the past few years the Senate Committee on Research has been asked to provide comments and make suggestions for changes to various University and Regents policies and procedures which come under its purview. The overall goal of reviewing all the policies and procedures in a systematic way to bring them into compliance with present agency requirements and other regulations as well as ultimately to simplify (and even eliminate) those policies and procedures and make them more uniform is a noble one which the committee heartily endorses.

WHEREAS during the course of the committee's deliberations it has become increasingly clear that policies and procedures imposed on the University often deal with progressively finer detail and regulation. Such policies and procedures range from financial procedures to protection of human and animal subjects; the committee is concerned with the increase in regulation above and beyond the needs to meet normal fiscal, moral and ethical responsibilities in the conduct of research. The increase has come about in two ways: 1) increased regulation on the part of the federal government and its funding agencies and 2) overinterpretation of those regulations by the University in setting its own policies and procedures.

WHEREAS implementation of these policies and procedures exact a substantial cost on the University, both in terms of specially dedicated personnel, together with the necessary support for them, and a substantial distraction of its other personnel from their principal missions (which is another form of significant cost). Full compliance with such policies and procedures may therefore result in a counterproductive drain of resources with an incommensurately small recognizable benefit, even for those situations which the policies and procedures were designed to address. It is not at all clear that the regulations and reporting requirements actually result in a clear benefit to the University.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Senate recommends that the administration undertake a systematic cost/benefits analysis of all major existing and new policies and procedures to see whether there is really any net gain from the complex regulations imposed upon the research community. If the costs outweigh the benefits then changes in policies and procedures would be clearly called for. The Senate recognizes the complexity of this task and recommends that the first step be a realistic assessment of all the costs involved, including faculty and staff time. The benefit side of the analysis would clearly be more difficult to carry out but should estimate the value of the actual changes in outcomes produced by the University's regulatory activities.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate recommends that the President recommend to the American Association of Universities and other appropriate national organizations the urgent undertaking of a similar cost/benefit review on a national scale.


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