Policy Manual

Conflict of Interest

This policy on conflict of interest is divided into two parts, the first dealing with faculty and the second dealing with other employees of the University.


Certain categories of potential conflict of interest as to faculty are addressed in existing University policies, including the Conflict of Interest Policy for Faculty Members adopted by the Faculty Senate on November 17, 1982, approved by the Provost on March 1, 1983 and printed in the 1983 Handbook for Faculty and Academic Administrators. University Council also recommended a Policy on Outside Financial Interests on September 24, 1969 which is as follows:

A member of the faculty may have a significant investment or interest, or hold an official position, in an outside firm or organization but has not undertaken to perform continuing work or services for it. Such an economic or official relationship is of concern if 1) the firm or organization is engaged in activities which parallel activities in which the University is currently or prospectively engaged and in which the faculty member plays (or might appropriately play) a role in an academic capacity; or 2) the firm or organization has a present or prospective relationship with the University, e.g., as a supplier of goods or services or as a party to a research contract, and the conduct of that relationship may involve the faculty member in his academic capacity. In either of these situations, the faculty member shall be required to report the facts and circumstances to the Department Chairman and the Academic Dean or Director so that appropriate steps may be taken to avoid a conflict of interest.

These policies are recognized to govern those areas of potential conflict of particular concern to faculty.

A number of other existing University policies pertaining to conflict of interest apply to faculty members unless they are intended by their terms to apply only to other employees. These policies include but are not limited to policies on patent and copyright, purchasing, nepotism, and sexual harassment.


Employees of the University shall avoid any conflict between their personal interests and the interests of the University; furthermore, they shall avoid any situation where it would be reasonable for an objective observer to believe that the person's judgment or loyalty might be adversely affected. For purposes of Paragraphs III(a) and (b) below, reference to the University is intended to include also reference to all entities controlled or owned in substantial part by the University.

If an employee has any power of influence to approve or disapprove a transaction proposed to be entered into between the University and that person or between the University and any entity or individual having a significant relationship to that person, he or she has a potential conflict of interest and may not participate in the process leading to the approval or disapproval of the transaction unless the underlying facts giving rise to the potential conflict of interest are disclosed and approval for participation is obtained pursuant to the procedures described below in paragraph (e).

An employee also has a potential conflict of interest if that person, or any entity or individual having a significant relationship to that person may benefit from information considered by the University to be confidential and learned in his or her capacity as an employee of the University.

A significant relationship exists as to an entity if a person is a director, trustee, officer, or employee of, a partner or member in, or has a material financial interest in, the entity in question.

An entity is a corporation, partnership, unincorporated association, or any similar group.

Determination of a material financial interest is a matter of personal judgment but, at a minimum, would be required for an aggregate interest for the person and for all entities or individuals having material relationships with the person of more than:

1 percent of any class of the outstanding securities of a firm or corporation, or

10 percent interest in a partnership or association, or

5 percent of the total direct and beneficial assets or income of the person.

A significant relationship exists as to an individual if that individual is in the immediate family of a person subject to this policy. The immediate family includes parents, siblings, spouse and offspring.

An employee who has a potential conflict of interest covered by this policy shall immediately disclose the potential conflict in writing to a superior. The employee may continue participation in the transaction only on terms approved in writing by the superior.

A number of other University policies pertaining to conflict of interest remain in effect and may, depending on their terms, apply to employees of the University. These policies include but are not limited to policies on extramural consulting by administrative staff, purchasing, sponsored research, patent and copyright, nepotism, and sexual harassment. Note: Contact the Office of the Secretary of the University Conflict of Interest Policy for Trustees and Officers of the University.

Policy Number: 005
Effective Date: 3/31/2010
Supersedes Policy Number(s): N/A
Applicability: All Faculty & Staff
Cross-reference: Policy 006

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