Assignment of duties to a Faculty by the Administration (with reference to the review of research grants)

[Advice to Peter Rodman, Chair of the Faculty of the College of Letters and Science 2/12/2004]

Professor Rodman highlighted two concerns:  First, that the proposed process bypasses the normal responsibilities of Senate committees in a way that might violate Senate bylaws; and, second, that it might impose costs on Faculties that they are not able to bear.

Academic Senate Bylaw 200 and Davis Division Bylaw 99 establish the Committees on Research at the systemwide and divisional levels as the appropriate bodies with which the Administration should consult when it seeks Senate advice on research matters.  Research funding, however, is not an area in which the Senate maintains firmly protected rights as it does, for example, with respect to the curriculum or admissions.  Thus, while prudence and good management might indicate that the Vice Chancellor for Research should consult with the Senate in undertaking grant review, we do not see that he is obligated to do so.  In this case, Vice Chancellor Klein appears (on the basis of his memorandum) to have consulted with the Committee on Research.  That committee seems to have agreed that Senate review should have occurred at a more local level.  This may or may not be a wise judgment, but we do not find that there is any barrier to consultation occurring with some other body than the Committee on Research provided that it agrees.

Where there may be a problem is the imposition of an obligation to review proposals on a Faculty.  It is unclear from Vice Chancellor Klein's memorandum whether the new process requires review of grant proposals by College Executive Committees or other Faculty committees or merely by Senate members (i.e., "faculty").  Your letter to Dean Langland [of the Division of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies] strongly suggests that you perceive that the process imposes an obligation on your Faculty -- in a sense, that you have been subject to an unfunded mandate.  If this is in fact what has happened, then CERJ agrees that it would violate Senate bylaws.  Neither an Administrator nor another Senate committee may impose a duty on a Faculty or any of its committees outside the duties set out in the Faculty's or committee's enabling bylaw.  If the Vice Chancellor or the Committee on Research want the Faculty or its committees formally to undertake review of grant proposals, then they would have to reach a mutually acceptable agreement with the Faculty or committee.  It cannot be a unilateral imposition.