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Manoa Faculty Senate Committee on Research Minutes of December 14, 2005

Date and Location: Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2005, Hawaii Hall 208
Time: 3:05 PM-4:45 PM

Members in Attendance: Dave Duffy (Chair), Michael Garcia, Jerry Russo, Jim Tiles (SEC Liaison), Robert Bley-Vroman (MFS Chair), Steve Ward;

Guest: Tom Humphrey

Agenda

1. Meeting convened by Committee Chair, Dave Duffy at 3:05 PM

2. Minutes of CoR Meeting, Nov. 2, 2005 were approved

3. From last meeting, Tom Humphrey was invited by Steve Ward as suggested by CoR members to discuss issues pertaining to the request by Gary Ostrander (Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, VCRGE) for CoR to review a business proposal from Center for Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics (CGPB). The business plan is in response to the VCRGE's request from the Director of CGPB's for additional RTRF funds to support the CGPB facility. Mr. Humphrey chaired a committee organized by the VCRGE to assess the overall status of sequencing facilities at Manoa and make recommendations. Mr. Humphrey informed the committee about CGPB and other facilities on campus. There are currently four core sequencing facilities (three plus the services by CGPB) on campus that provide services to various units on campus. For CGPB, its main function was to sequence the papaya genome and it provided sequencing service to other units at nominal costs, for less than 1% of all sequences that were performed on campus. Therefore as a sequencing facility for service, Mr. Humphrey felt that this was a non-issue.

Regarding justification for additional support from RTRF funds, he informed CoR that the initial $3 million given to CGPB was spent on: $2.4 million for 6 high throughput sequencers and $400-500k to have the papaya DNA prepared by a facility in China. There are additional funds provided to use the Maui high performance computer to analyze the data from the papaya sequences from the Hawaii Agricultural Research Center.

One of the main questions still remains, "Should the University continue to use RTRF to run the facility?". In comparison to the amount of sequencing support by the 3 other UH facilities (100-150k sequences/year), CGPB can do 3 million sequences/year. There was a general sens of the committee that start-up funds had already been provided to CGPB and that the facility should apply for independent funds other than RTRF. However since a business plan is expected to be submitted to the VCRGE in the next month, the CoR felt that it would be willing to review it. The VCRGE committee has not reviewed a business plan by CGPB, but agreed to review it when the business plan is presented to CoR for their review.

Other issues related to RTRF fund for similar requests: Steve Ward suggested that the RTRF be made competitive for genetic projects (genomes, EST library, transcriptomes, etc.) in order to be fair and accountable.

4. Formal record of the Electronic vote of the CoR Resolution:

Whereas academic freedom is one of the core values of American universities and, Whereas meaningful pursuit of knowledge requires unfettered expression, discussion and testing of ideas, and

Whereas, faculty members must be free from the corrosive fear that others, inside or outside the university, may threaten their professional endeavors because their views may differ, and

Whereas, academic freedom has been under assault through recent attempts to limit teaching in areas such as Islamic, gender, evolutionary studies and environmental law, and to limit research in areas such as stem cell, gender, genetics, climate change and epidemiological studies, therefore,

The Senate affirms the right of individual professors, researchers and staff of the University of Hawai`i to conduct research within the limits of law and the stated policies of the Board of Regents.

Results of the electronic vote of the Resolution by CoR on 11/28/05: 6 Yes; 3 No response. Therefore a majority of CoR approved the Resolution.

5. Next step for the Senate Resolution

Steve Ward stated that the 2002 Senate resolution, already passed, covers most of the issue in the proposed Resolution. Jim Tiles suggested that the 2002 Resolution emphasized publication, but other members voiced concern that additional issues needed to be clarified and to emphasize certain areas. The general intent of the proposed Resolution was to assure that research in general is supported by MFS because the UARC vote was an emotional issue. A general consensus felt that MFS should try to learn from the process that took place so that it does not happen again. Therefore can the SEC make efforts to facilitate future discussions on all issues particularly controversial issues? One suggestion was for the SEC to assist with setting up educational sessions for future potentially controversial issues.

Recommended that action on the Resolution be defer until the next CoR meeting: Jan. 11 2006.

6. Follow up with the UARC issue/contract; Jerry suggested that the UARC proposal may still be alive, and that the UARC, in some form may be presented at the system level. Therefore is CoR willing to look at the contract? There was a general consensus that CoR should look at the contract, which is available on line, and David will provide links by email to access the document. There was also a recommendation by David to ask Shirley Daniels to review the UARC business plan. CoR members are asked to provide feedback (by email) on the contract to David Duffy prior to the next CoR meeting.

7. Follow up and clarification regarding UH faculty consulting guidelines. There is apparently a State Ethics Policy that faculty are "not allowed to consult or do business with entities that do business with UH". To clarify the issue, members suggested that Ruth Tsujimura (UH counsel; System General Council's Office who works with Manoa) be invited to CoR meeting.

8. Dave Duffy asked for clarification of the SEC's liaison role with CoR. Both Jim Tiles and Robert Bley-Vroman emphasized that communications with the CoR and SEC should be through Jim Tiles, the appointed SEC liaison. They said that SEC members not affiliated with committees should not be involved in committee deliberations regarding Committee issues.

9. Outstanding issues: Dave Duffy will explore UHM Campus resources that deal with conflict resolution for future deliberations.

Meeting adjourned at 4:45 PM
Minutes submitted by Bruce Shiramizu <bshirami@hawaii.edu>
Dec. 17, 2005


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