The article Institutional Review Boards—An Academic and Professional Matter was published in the November 2009 Rostrum. This resolution is completed.
Whereas, The Belmont Report of 1979 stated that the Institutional Review Board (IRB) guidelines are grounded on the principles of (a) respect for persons by obtaining informed consent of all human subjects to participate in research studies or grants; (b) concern for the well-being of subjects by reducing the risk of harm; and (c) justice by fair and equal selection of human subjects with particular concern for subjects whose personal status or conditions places them in a vulnerable or dependent status;
Whereas, Lack of compliance with federal regulations from the Office of Human Research Subjects Protection (OHRSP) and Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) at the institutional level when writing National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, conducting sabbatical research projects, or pursuing advanced studies to gain professional advancement within the local colleges can result in potential lawsuits such as the $50 million dollar lawsuit filed by Havasupai Tribe against the University of Arizona or a lawsuit filed by workers in the spirit medium and psychic industry against Bluefield State College for loss of wages and steady employment;
Whereas, The OHRSP and the Department of Health and Human Services now "strongly encourages" federal grantees to provide training in the particulars of theoretical and applied research (http://chronicle.com/daily/2008/07/3642n.htm) in addition to the OHRSP (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/) also now requiring community colleges to come into compliance with regulations governing research involving human subjects;
Whereas, The Federal government requires colleges to have a process of institutional review that minimizes inadvertent abuses and ensures a culture of compliance with regulations, and effective models of such processes exist such as that used by the Maricopa Community College District in Arizona, which has established individual and independent college IRB committees under a district IRB committee;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges strongly encourage local senates to consider the development of local college and district IRB Committees as a preventive measure to litigation and for the protection of the students and community that they serve; and
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges recommend that development of IRB Committees be a faculty driven collegial consultation process through each local senate in an effort to establish a culture of compliance regarding protection of human subjects when conducting research and writing grants.
MSR Disposition: The Executive Committee to seek more information about Institutional Review Boards and the impact to faculty and to bring back information in Spring 2010.