The identification of a potential or actual conflict of interest through the conflict of interest disclosure process does not imply wrongdoing. While there may be circumstances in which the university determines that a conflict cannot be managed, the university makes every effort to help employees manage and mitigate potential, actual, or perceived conflicts of interest.
Increasingly, industry and the government rely on contributions from higher education institutions. Such contributions allow employees to use their knowledge and talents constructively, to strengthen their competence through a greater variety of professional experiences, to enhance the employees and the university’s reputation, and to serve the public interest. Outside professional activities that support the university’s academic interests and commitment to a robust and innovative community while maintaining the highest ethical standards are generally acceptable but may necessitate employee guidance or management of potential or actual conflicts.
The following are potential outcomes implemented by the university as a result of identifying a potential or actual conflict of interest.
A counseling letter is developed and distributed as a response to the identification of a potential conflict of interest. The letter outlines the circumstance that could be a potential conflict and the steps that are to be taken by the employee to ensure that the circumstance does not become an actual conflict of interest. The letter outlines the employee’s responsibility to work with their supervisor in ensuring that the steps are followed and that the conflict is avoided.
A management plan is developed and implemented as a response to the identification of an actual conflict of interest and the determination by the university that the conflict can be managed. The plan describes the circumstances which results in the conflict of interest and the steps that will be taken by the employee and the employee’s supervisor to actively manage, reduce, or eliminate the conflict. The plan also establishes the responsibilities of the supervisor to monitor ongoing compliance with the plan and the employee’s responsibility to inform the supervisor of any changes in the situation that caused the conflict.
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