Appointment of the Inquiry Committee and Committee Charge

A.        Appointment of Inquiry Committee

1.         If the RIO has determined that an inquiry will be conducted, the Provost will appoint an inquiry committee.

2.         The inquiry committee will consist of two or more members of the faculty together with such technical, administrative, or other staff as may be deemed appropriate.  The Provost should generally designate a member to serve as chair of the committee.  In selecting members of the committee, the Provost will seek to ensure that the committee has available to it the necessary and appropriate expertise in relevant disciplines and has an appropriate understanding of the process and procedures that must be followed.  The Provost, in consultation with the committee, may add or replace members of the committee as needed to ensure the timely completion of the inquiry and the committee’s competence to review the allegations.  The RIO will be responsible for making available to the committee appropriate administrative and clerical assistance to facilitate a prompt and thorough inquiry and the preparation of an appropriate report.

3.         Individuals selected to serve on the inquiry committee or to provide professional assistance to the committee will be expected to disclose to the Provost any factors, including but not limited to unresolved personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest, which would prevent them from serving fairly, objectively, and without bias, or which reasonably would give the appearance of a lack of fairness, lack of objectivity, or the presence of bias.  All persons who participate in the inquiry as committee members, administrative or clerical staff, witnesses, or in any other capacity shall maintain the confidentiality of the inquiry and of all information obtained in the course of the inquiry, except as may be necessary in conjunction with the conduct of the inquiry, including subsequent related reports or proceedings, and reports to officers of the University.

B.        Committee Charge

1.         The RIO will prepare a charge for the inquiry committee that:

(a)        describes the allegations and any related issues identified during the allegation assessment;

(b)        states that the purpose of the inquiry is to conduct an initial review of the evidence, including the testimony of the respondent, complainant and key witnesses, to determine whether an investigation is warranted, not to determine whether research misconduct definitely occurred or who was responsible;

(c)        states that an investigation is warranted if the committee determines that there is a reasonable basis for concluding that the allegation falls within the definition of research misconduct and the allegation may have substance, based on the committee’s review during the inquiry;

(d)       informs the committee that they are responsible for preparing or directing the preparation of a written report of the inquiry that meets the requirements of this policy and any applicable federal regulations; and

(e)        sets the time for completion of the inquiry.

A copy of the charge will be provided to the respondent.

2.         If during the course of the inquiry, the committee determines that the scope of the inquiry should be expanded beyond that covered by the initial charge, the committee will so notify the RIO and, with the approval of the RIO, will give appropriate notice to the respondent of the expansion of the inquiry.  The RIO and/or Provost may meet with the committee at any time to review the progress of the inquiry and to assist its focus.  The inquiry committee may direct that additional research documents or materials be sequestered with the assistance of the RIO.