HR-507 Conflict of Interest
University employees shall faithfully discharge their duties and shall refrain from knowingly engaging in any outside matters of financial interest incompatible with the impartial, objective, and effective performance of their duties. They shall not realize personal gain in any form which would influence improperly the conduct of their University duties. They shall not knowingly use University property, funds, position or power for personal or political gain. They shall inform their supervisors in writing of reasonably foreseen potential conflicts. Conduct by an employee that violates the University's policies, regulations or rules pertaining to conflict of interest will lead to disciplinary action.
Employees shall avoid accepting gifts for personal use, directly or indirectly, from prohibited sources, except as permitted below.
For the purposes of this policy, gift shall mean any tangible or intangible item or items having a monetary value in excess of $75. Prohibited source shall mean any person or entity, public or private, outside the University, with interests, financial or otherwise, that may be substantially affected by the recommendations, decisions, performance or non-performance of the official duties of the employee.
The following shall not be considered a violation of this policy:
- Gifts that are available to the employee on the same conditions as for the general public.
- Educational materials utilized in the performance of the employee’s University job.
- Awards or honoraria administered by or through the University.
- Gifts from the employee’s relatives, by blood or marriage.
- Any item of food, refreshment, entertainment or other benefit provided to the employee while attending a meeting, conference or convention provided on the same conditions as for other attendees, provided that if the item could be considered as lavish, then approval must be obtained as described below.
Any gift if approved in writing in advance by an administrative superior who is a University General Officer, or in the event of the President, then approval of the Chair of the Board of Curators. Each General Officer approving acceptance of gifts shall report all such approvals annually to the President.
Employees shall not use confidential information about the University obtained by reason of their employment with intent to cause financial gain to themselves or unfair advantage for another person.
Outside Business Interests
An employee's outside employment or business activities and interests must not interfere with the employee's regular duties nor represent a conflict of interest. When it is proposed that the University of Missouri enter into (1) contracts for the sale of goods or services, or (2) research contracts or grants, or (3) other contracts, including those for technological transfer, with private firms or corporations in which a University employee knows he/she has a direct or indirect financial interest, the appropriate procedure shall be followed:
- Before the proposed contract is executed by the University, the University employee shall make a full disclosure of such financial interest, in writing, which disclosure shall be forwarded to the official having contract approval authority. This disclosure shall also be filed in a registry appropriately located for public scrutiny for a period of at least ten (10) days prior to the approval of the contract.
- If there is a change in the financial interest of a University employee during the term of the contract, the change shall be reported immediately, in writing, and forwarded to the official having contract approval authority, and shall also be filed as required above.
- If the financial interest of the University employee in the private firm or corporation is such that it could influence the decision-making process of the private firm or corporation and the employee could also influence the decision-making process of the University in entering into or performing the contract: the University shall not enter into the contract or shall cancel the contract, if the terms of the contract so permit; or the University employee shall take such action as is necessary to remove her/him from a relationship with the private firm or corporation which could influence the decision-making process of the private firm or corporation; or the University shall establish a procedure to remove any opportunity for the University employee to influence the entering into the contract by the University or the manner in which the contract is performed by the University.
- Before an employee enters into a business activity which overlaps with the University's teaching, research, or service missions, the employee shall make full disclosure, in writing, to her/his immediate chairperson/supervisor, and such disclosure shall be filed as required above. The chairperson/supervisor and her/his dean/director/supervisor must approve or disapprove in writing the proposed activity.
- Full-time faculty and regular exempt personnel may not be concurrently employed full-time with another employer.
- An employee of the University who teaches either credit or non-credit courses not connected with the University may have a conflict of interest. To avoid conflicts of interest, an employee must disclose the proposed teaching activity and secure written approval in advance from her/his department chairperson/supervisor and dean/director. Approval for such teaching shall be granted unless the proposed teaching is not in the best interests of the University. In reaching the decision, the department chairperson/supervisor and dean/director should consider all relevant matters including such concerns as duplication of University courses or programs and accreditation standards.
- Textbooks, tapes, software and other materials authored by the course instructor may be assigned to be purchased by students for a course taught by the author if the royalties arising from the purchase of the assigned materials are returned to the University of Missouri, another educational institution, a charitable organization, or a not-for-profit foundation. Any proceeds from other University uses of such materials, such as purchase by the library, shall be the property of the faculty member.
Consultation, whether income producing or otherwise, is the application of professional and scholarly expertise in the external community. It is a significant means of professional improvement as well as a form of community service. However, consultation may, in some instances, also constitute a business interest requiring disclosure and approval when the entity for which the employee consults, transacts business with the University or is in competition with the University, or where the consultation itself competes with the work of the University. In these instances the employee shall make full disclosure, in writing, to her/his immediate chairperson/supervisor, and such disclosure shall be filed as required above. The chairperson/supervisor and her his dean/director/supervisor must approve or disapprove, in writing, the proposed activity.
It is the policy of the University to permit consulting activities which: are related to the professional interest and development of the faculty member or other exempt person; do not interfere with regular duties; do not utilize University materials, facilities or resources except as provided in the University Business Policy Manual, Section 405, Use of University Equipment and Resources; are in agreement with the American Association of University Professors/ American Council on Education (AAUP/ACE) Statement on Conflict of Interest and with the requirements of accreditation for the particular school or unit in question; do not compete with the work of the University, and are not otherwise contrary to the best interest of the University; do not violate federal or state law; and do not represent a conflict of interest under other policies of the University.
Each division shall make an annual report to the Chancellor, or appropriate Vice President, indicating the aggregate time and the nature of the service performed for each individual engaged in consulting, including the area of technological transfer. These reports shall be transmitted annually to the President.
Official University stationery may not be used in outside business, personal, and other private or political activities of employees. However, for use in such activities, faculty may have printed at their own expense personal business stationery carrying their academic title, university address and telephone number.
It is a violation of University policy to employ the name of the University or any of its graphic identification symbols in printed materials intended to endorse or promote individual enterprises or to otherwise enhance private gain without the written permission of the University President.
Appeals of decisions made under these procedures should be brought to resolution informally and at the lowest possible administrative level. Should attempts to resolve appeals informally fail, procedures set forth in Collected Rules and Regulations, 370.01, 370.010 - UMSL, and 380.010, shall be followed.
Date Created: 9/26/97
Last Updated: 10/5/07