SGA swears in new senators, discusses research regulations

Six new senators were sworn into office at the last Student Government Association meeting of the year Tuesday.

These six senators will take the places of the five SGA seniors who are graduating in May.

The SGA seniors include Louis Bovan (MIS and decision sciences), Matt Jones (finance and legal studies), Taylor Billman (management), Josh Noble (marketing) and Katie Lasky (biology).

“I just wanted to say that I am super proud of you all for having such a great year,” said SGA adviser Allison Shumar. “In the three years that I’ve been with SGA, this has probably been the best year.”

Shumar commended SGA members on participating in events like the IUPatty’s cleanup and their work in partnership with the borough.

SGA adviser Britany Gallagher also spoke on behalf of the work done this year by SGA members.

She said it’s awesome to see where SGA was at the beginning of the year and where SGA is now.

“You guys have done a great job this year,” Gallagher said. “To the seniors, congratulations, I wish you nothing but the best.”

The guest speaker at Tuesday’s meeting was Dr. Timothy Mack, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research at IUP.

Mack spoke to SGA members about human and animal subject research regulations.

According to a draft of the Policy for the Preparation and Training of Students Working with Human and/or Animal Subjects, “IUP shall require that all students who engage, or plan to engage, in human and/or animal subjects studies that require approval by the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects and/or by the Institutional Animal Care and use Committee first complete ethical training prior to the initiation of their activities.”

The draft also proposes that each student take one hour of training before beginning human or animal subject research.

“After you’ve taken the training, you will have a much better idea of what is and is not work that would trigger any kind of problem for you,” Mack said.

If a faculty member is suspected of breaking policy, he said, the investigation that determines whether or not regulations have been violated includes witnesses and recorded testimonies that are sent to the president and the provost.

The trial that determines a student’s guilt is almost identical to that of a faculty member, he said.

There have been seven issues with human and animal subject research on campus since August.

Two of these problems came from students unknowingly collecting data inappropriately, Mack said, and resulted in them losing all of the data they had collected.

An example given was a master student who went to South America not knowing that her research wasn’t covered under protocol.

When she came back, he said, the board that oversees subject research had to tell her, “via federal regulation,” that she could not use the data in her thesis.

“Her thesis project was thrown out the door,” Mack said. “This is very painful to do, for us and for the student.”

Violations of federal regulations can cause the entire university to lose its approval to do human subjects research.

Universities who do not have these regulations in place, he said, cannot apply for federal grant money.

Clarion University recently lost approval for human subject research because of policy violations, Mack said.

“A little learning and an ounce of prevention, in this case, could really help a lot of people,” Mack said.

Activities Chair Sam Sheets (junior, natural science) reported that the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Relay for Life raised about $13,000.