The University is giving the distinct impression they do not expect Associate Psychology Professor John Broida to be penalized for his questionable research methods.
His current research is suspended while the Institutional Review Board (IRB) sends its recommendation to the Provost’s office for a final decision about what should be done.
There are still unanswered questions which need to be addressed. Broida suggests he assumed his research was exempt from federal guidelines. As a professor who had regularly conducted research at this University, how is it possible that he was unaware of whether or not he must adhere to federal and University guidelines? If a professor who has conducted research since 1987 is unfamiliar with the laws which apply to him, the University must conduct further investigations to determine if this is an isolated case. Students must be assured that research conducted on them is regulated by the University.
Dave Johnson, the student who brought forth the complaint, wants an assurance from the University that Broida’s research will not be used if it was collected by unethical, and potentially unlawful means.
If the IRB concludes he did violate the law, he should be forced to turn over the data collected. If they allow him to use the data, it will send a message to the community that ethical and legal standards are secondary to gathering data.
No response from University leaders
The editorial last week stated there is an obvious lack of administrative leadership at this University. After citing a number of oversights, ethical questions, and legal concerns, I expected some kind of response from the University. It came, in the form of a meeting focused on keeping the lines of communication open between the administration and The Free Press. The editorial suggested a lack of leadership affects all areas of the University including faculty, students, and staff. I encouraged members of the administration to address this concern directly in the pages of the paper. They chose not to do so.
Response from student leaders
If leadership is lacking from the administration, maybe it should check out what the Gorham Events Board (GEB) is up to. The GEB was recognized earlier in the year for achievement in events planning and student leadership. The National Association for Campus Activities New England Region recognized the GEB for Excellence in Programming this year, for the third time in four years. Publicity Chair Diane Smith received the Student Leader Award for the state of Maine. Way to go GEB!