Senate debates important new policies

By McGill Reporter Staff

University policy dominated the agenda at the third Senate Meeting of the academic year, where a revised Anti-Doping Policy was up for approval, and policies on sustainability and the conduct of research were presented for discussion.

Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson introduced a revised Anti-Doping Policy, which he said is “more streamlined and straightforward” than the current policy, in that it is “tied to existing policies of various university sporting federations,” and more seamlessly aligned with various other University regulations. The policy was handily approved.

Prof. Jim Nicell, Associate Vice-Principal (University Services), introduced a draft version of McGill’s new Sustainability Policy, which has been in the works since the Sustainability Policy Workgroup was struck in the spring of 2008.

Among other things, Nicell said the new policy would commit McGill to “striking an appropriate balance between the needs and aspirations of current and future generations of the McGill and broader communities,” to “advancing individual and collective efforts and accountabilities throughout the McGill community to make sustainability a priority in the life of the University,” and to “minimizing the use and consumption of energy and material resources in recognition of the limited capacity of the biosphere to accommodate human activities.” The policy was presented with the intent of soliciting feedback from community members and bringing a final version for adoption in the spring of 2010.

Finally, Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) Denis Thérien introduced a revised Regulation on the Conduct of Research, explaining that “research integrity is front and centre.” The new policy, said Thérien, draws on the current one and, as necessary, reaffirms it (as with a clause forbidding secret research), modernizes it (as with an updated clause on image manipulation), or clarifies it (as is the case with the clause on ownership). The policy’s preamble calls on all research to be “informed by the principles of honesty, integrity, trust, accountability and collegiality,” to meet “high scientific and ethical standards,” and to seek “to increase knowledge in ways that do not harm society.”