A task force commissioned by Provost Peter Stearns will take part in an open forum with faculty Tuesday to discuss the implications of administrative regulation and the prospect of overregulation.

“The forum is an open house for faculty to give a list of concerns so the task force can follow up and see what needs to be done,” Stearns said.

The open forum is the first step in the task force’s investigation of overregulation.

“These regulations range from accounting regulations if you have an outside grant, to what you have to do with human subjects for research, to new staff and faculty members training for sexual harassment,” Stearns said. “The list is pretty long.”

Stearns said some members of the faculty have been concerned for the past few years that various George Mason University offices keep imposing new regulations on faculty, causing them to feel restricted. He said some members of the faculty do not feel some of the edicts are needed.

“Many faculty have been concerned with the increased demands on faculty and staff to engage in activities to satisfy external regulations placed on the university (e.g., by federal or accrediting agency requirements),” said Deborah Boehm-Davis, chair of the psychology department, in an e-mail. “Although faculty members recognize that the university must comply with these regulations, they are asking that the administration consider the cumulative impact of these requirements.”

Boehm-Davis said the concern with these regulations is that faculty and staff are “being taken away from the primary goals of teaching and doing research with students.”

“I don’t feel that there’s overregulation from the environmental health and safety office,” said Julie Zobel, executive director of the Environmental Health and Safety Office.

“Most of the environmental health and safety policies that we put forth carry through to students to ensure that we’re adequately protecting that population,” Zobel said. “I haven’t yet heard the faculty concerns, so I think we’ll know more after the Feb. 1 forum.”

Stearns said one area that has concerned faculty is the regulation for protection of human subjects.

“If you’re a member of the faculty or a student doing that [type of research], we’ve required extensive review,” Stearns said. “An outside consultant came in and said we weren’t doing it right and were too heavy-handed and were proposing needless amount of regulation, so we’re already scaling back.”

Stearns said he hopes the bulk of the issue is resolved during this semester.

“We agree that down the line we should set up some committee to which regulations are submitted before they’re enacted on faculty,” Stearns said. “We don’t have a group that oversees the whole field. We’ll likely do that as a permanent adjustment.”

Stearns said such a committee would likely come to fruition during the fall semester if there is a favorable sentiment in the faculty. Under this plan, the task force holding the forum will carry out the duties of the proposed committee for this semester.

The forum is open to the public. It will take place at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Dewberry Hall and will be videoconferenced to the Arlington and Prince William campuses.