According to A, the university’s economics teachers B and C had given an illegal assignment in their course. It was alleged that completing the assignment required the student to disclose private matters. In A’s view, the teachers should have asked the students for their informed consent. A also claimed that the teachers did not have permission from the Ethics Committee to conduct an investigation, survey or data collection that measures and tests psychological matters.
The rector of the university decided not to launch a preliminary inquiry, as they considered that decisions on university teaching activities and the teaching itself did not fall within the scope of the RCR guidelines. A was dissatisfied with the rector’s decision and requested a statement from TENK on the matter.
Freedom of research and teaching fall within the scope of the autonomy of universities, and TENK is not competent to take action in matters related to the content of teaching. However, researchers must comply with responsible conduct of research when acting as teachers and instructors. In addition to research activities, these policies also apply to teaching materials.
After receiving A’s notification, the university had established that it was a study attainment related to the course, not data collection for research purposes. As a result, the activities were not covered by TENK guidelines for ethical review.
In the view of TENK, the rector had exercised the discretion afforded him by the RCR guidelines as to legitimate reasons for not initiating an RCR preliminary inquiry and transferring the matter to be handled elsewhere, in this case by the University Examination Board.