UO administrators waste an hour of Senate Exec time trying to explain why they still can’t decide if they need to involve the Senate in new COI/C policy

This was the saddest presentation I’ve ever heard from Johnson Hall employees, and I’ve heard a lot.

It took Senate Pres Chris Sinclair 5 seconds to give administrators Melanie Muenzer and Cass Moseley the correct answer:

Yes. Why didn’t you start talking to us 5 months ago?

But apparently this debate is still raging on in the bowels of Johnson Hall tonight, 2 weeks after the Senate first got a bootleg copy of this proposal from the union, and 9 years after our administration last brought this policy question to the Senate.

Senate meets 3PM today: VPRI, Conflicts, Learning, Honors, Multicultural

DRAFT from Senate. Livefeed here. Some light live-blogging below.

Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake rooms) 3:00 – 5:00 P.M.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

Introductory Remarks: Senate President Chris Sinclair

The Administration’s view, from Melanie Muenzer: Associate Vice President and Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives, JH liaison to the Senate, Mother of two, Democrat, and generally helpful person.

This will be about the proposed “Conflict of Interest” policy. Some information on the long history of past Senate work on this topic is at the bottom. This time we learned about it from the faculty union. The bootleg copy of the administration’s discussion draft is here.

Muenzer: This comes out of discussions between VPRI David Conover and Provost Banavar that started in fall. She argues that this is in part an attempt to clarify the rules. Actually, it changes them substantially, to give the administration unprecedented control over outside work by the faculty and other UO employees.

The administration’s current plan appears to be to claim that this is *not* an academic matter, and that therefore the administration can impose it on us without Senate approval. Yet here are the first two sentences of the current draft:

Teaching, research, administration, and public service are essential to the mission of the University of Oregon.  This policy recognizes the primary importance of those activities and the value of the application of knowledge outside the institution.

So obviously the Senate is going to have to take this up, as we have in the past, and this process would have been a lot easier if we’d been brought into the loop 5 months ago.

3:30 P.M.   Approval of MinutesMarch 14, 2018

3:30 P.M.   Business/Reports

Report: David Conover, VPRI

High speed internet and computing. 33% increase in start-up funds for new hires in the past two years. (millions) New $2K grants for non-science hires. New bridge funds. Worked with other state universities and faculty unions to reduce the cost of post-docs, enabling UO to hire more of them. (This is not a loss to the post-docs, since they don’t stay long enough to vest.) $5500 FRAC awards. New and continuing awards for seed grants and start-up projects. Large increases in the number of applicants. New grants to support undergraduate and graduate student research. New efforts to reduce time costs for faculty making grant proposals, etc. Ready to streamline human-subjects process as soon as feds give the go-ahead, July 19 2018, we hope. Big improvements in UO’s communication and community outreach about faculty research.

And I have to mention the excellent three-minute thesis competition, which I got to help judge this fall.

Report: Conflicts of Interest; Kevin Reed (General Counsel). [UOM: Reed has re-expressed an old GC concern, dating back to the days of Randy Geller, that faculty participation in shared governance, particularly the Senate Transparency Committee, may create potential or actual conflicts of interest under Oregon Government Ethics law, and the Senate has asked him to elaborate.]

I’m not sure why, but Reed is no longer on the agenda.

Discussion: US17/18-17: Learning Goals for Methods of Inquiry; Chris Sinclair, Core Education Task Force

Discussion revolves around adding explicit language on logic, cleaning up wording, adding “sic” after “big ideas”, and making clear that the specific wording is part of the motion, which will come back for a vote in two weeks.

Vote: US17/18-15: Revisions on Criteria for receiving Department Honors; Frances White (Anthropology), Chair of Academic Council

Perfect. Approved unanimously.

4:45 P.M.    Open Discussion
4:45 P.M.   Reports
4:50 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion

  • Motion Intro: Multicultural Requirement; Lee Rumbarger
  • Motion Intro: Revisions to Faculty Research Awards Committee; Bill Harbaugh

4:50 P.M.   Other Business
5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

In an admirable demonstration of the efficiency with which Pres Sinclair has run the Senate this year, the meeting was concluded about 30 minutes early.

Some history on COI/C:

The Senate Ad-Hoc COI/C Committee

Membership:

Pursuant to an email of 12 December to the UO community, quoted below, the committee is charged with “reviewing and, where needed, suggesting revisions to the draft COI-C policy to meet essential legal and policy requirements with a keen sensitivity to academic freedom and the culture of a public research university”. The committee is to make a focused effort to “consider the policy and associated disclosure form. It is anticipated that the revised draft will be presented at the March 11, 2009 UO Senate meeting.”

Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2008 11:07:43 -0800

MEMORANDUM

December 12, 2008

To: All Officers of Instruction, Officers of Research, and Officers of Administration

From: R. Linton, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies

R. Tomlin, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Paul van Donkelaar, President of the UO Senate

Subject: Continued COI-C Policy Review

There have been a considerable number of thoughtful and substantive comments conveyed by faculty colleagues on the draft policy on Conflict of Interest and Commitment (COI-C). In response, the planned January 2009 roll out of the new disclosure process for COI-C will be suspended for an appropriate period of time to review and address the concerns expressed on the ‘blog’ or that have been communicated directly to Academic Affairs or the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. For the moment, then, the proposed new process is paused and existing policy and procedures will remain in force. Faculty with funding from agencies such as NIH or NSF, or whose research involves human subjects, will need to continue current disclosure practice as required by federal regulations.

We recognize the need to further review the draft policy and to include faculty more extensively in that effort to bring forward an integrated COI-C policy and effective implementation process. We have appreciated the careful and collegial concerns expressed by colleagues such as John Bonine from Law or Alec Murphy from Geography, along with advice from the Faculty Advisory Council (FAC), that supported the need to incorporate additional ideas and insights rather than to press forward prematurely. To that end, we have agreed that Senate President Paul van Donkelaar will convene a small ad hoc committee charged with reviewing and, where needed, suggesting revisions to the draft COI-C policy to meet essential legal and policy requirements with a keen sensitivity to academic freedom and the culture of a public research university. The members of the ad hoc committee will be posted as soon as Paul has confirmed their participation.

To proceed in this manner, the University requested (and received Wednesday afternoon) an extension of the January 31, 2009 deadline previously set with the OUS Internal Audit Division to the start of our next fiscal year, July 1, 2009. This extension permits at least a two-month period (January and February 2009) for a focused effort by the committee to consider the policy and associated disclosure form. It is anticipated that the revised draft will be presented at the March 11, 2009 UO Senate meeting. This permits, as needed, an additional period of review and comment by the faculty between March and June 2009. The new deadline to implement the disclosure policy and process, July 1, 2009, should allow sufficient time for better assimilation of both COI and COC issues. We’re grateful for your help in moving forward in this way.


Related documents:
    1. Conflict of Interest and Committment home page.
    2. Letter 1 December 2008 to OIs, ORs and OAs from James Bean, Richard Linton, and Russ Tomlin concerning COI.
    3. Section 4 of the OUS-IMD relating to Staff and Faculty Personnel (as of 17 Dec 2008).
    4. Oregon Revised Statues. Chapter 352 -State and Independent Institutions of Higher Education (as of 17 Dec 2008).
    5. Oregon Revised Statues Chapter 244 -Government Ethics (as of 17 Dec 2008).
    6. Email dated 17 Dec 2008 from Prof. Bonine.
    7. Email dated 7 January 2009 from Prof. Bonine.
    8. AAUP Policy statements on conflict of interest.
    9. Draft UO Policy on COI-COCC.
    10. Faculty Employment Outside of the University: Conflicts of Commitment (2004) AAUP.
    11. Archival documents
    12. Document dated 7 January 2009 from Prof. Horner “Considerations for COI/COC policy and process”.
    13. Information Email to C. Bybee concerning the town hall meeting.
    14. Document from Prof. Bonine concerning “Preliminary criticisms of Proposal (page 1 only) 10 January 2009.
    15. Document critique of page 2 of the UO’s draft policy 12 January 2009.
    16. Information on the town hall meeting 21 January 2009.
    17. Preliminary Report to the UO Senate 13 January 2009.
    18. COI-COC Briefing Book. This contains MANY materials:
    1. Announcement of town hall meeting.
    2. Campus Email 14 Jan 2009.
    3. Email from P. Gilkey to G. Bolt 15 Jan 2009.
    4. Email 16 Jan 2009 from William T Harbaugh.
    5. Agenda 16 Jan 2009 Committee meeting.
    6. Email from J. Bonine 16 January 2009.
    7. Email from A. Murphy 16 January 2009.
    8. Nine points to consider in licensing University Technology a document produced by the Association of University Technology Managers
    9. Document from Prof. Ian McNeely 16 January 2009.
    10. Email correspondence 18 January 2009 between John Bonine and Rob Horner. See also Oregon State Short Form
    11. Stanford COIC Form
    12. COI policy without COC policy as of 20 January 2009. Also see Document indicating deleted material.
    13. Remarks by COI/COC Chair Gilkey at the Town Hall Meeting 21 January 2009.
    14. Email of 21 Jan 2009 from Professor R. Mann concerning COIC
    15. Letter as of 21 Jan 2009 from Professors Paris and Moffitt.
    16. Email as of 22 Jan 2009 from Professor Jaeger.
    17. Blog posted on the COI-C web page 22 January 2009 concerning the town hall meeting.
    18. Email from Prof. McNeeley 22 Jan 09
    19. Email correspondence between Professors Tomlin and Lininger 23 January 2009.
    20. Minutes of the COI-COC committee meeting 16 January 2009 (posted 24 January 2009).
    21. Tab 6.12 U Indiana at Bloomington (added 25 January 2009). See also Tab 6.12 6.12-a, Tab 6.12 6.12-b, Tab 6.12 6.12-c.
    22. Email of 27 Jan 2009 transmitting a “lite” COI disclosure form to the committee for consideration.
    23. Email as of 27 January 2009 from C. Phillips concerning the “lite” COI disclosure form.
    24. Email as of 27 January 2009 from D. Koch concerning the “lite” COI disclosure form.
    25. Town Hall Feedback
    26. Email as of 27 January 2009 from S. Clark concerning the “lite” COI disclosure form.
    27. Email as of 27 January 2009 from R. Horner concerning the “lite” COI disclosure form.
    28. Email as of 27 January 2009 from H. Sadofsky concerning the “lite” COI disclosure form.
    29. Email as of 27 January 2009 from I. McNeeley concerning the “lite” COI disclosure.
    30. Email as of 27 January 2009 from R. Melnick concerning the “lite” COI disclosure.
    31. Email as of 27 January 2009 from D. Hulse concerning the “lite” COI disclosure.
    32. Email as of 27 January 2009 from B. Shelton concerning the “lite” COI disclosure.
    33. Email as of 27 January 2009 from Yuan Xu concerning the “lite” COI disclosure.
    34. Email 29 January 2009 by P. Gilkey.
    35. Email dated 29 January 2009 from M. Jaeger.
    36. Email dated 29 January 2009 from H. Lin
    37. Email dated 30 January 2009 from C. Jones.
    38. List of “Big Issues” related to the COI-COC as of 1 February 2009.
    39. Correspondence 4 Jan 2009 concerning Notice of Motion at the March Senate Meeting.
    40. Minutes of the 23 January 2009 meeting.
    41. Letter from Russ Tomlin 4 February 2009 concerning COC.
    42. Minutes 4 February 2009. concerning COI.
    43. Minutes12 February 2009 concerning COI.
    44. Minutes19 February 2009 concerning COI.
    45. Minutes26 February 2009 concerning COI.
    46. Cover letter 9 March 2009 from COIC COmmittee chair John Bonine to the campus community enclosing Sample COI financial disclosure form and Sample disclosure form.
    47. Minutes4 March 2009 concerning COI.

Bootleg versions of proposed Conflict of Interest Policy and Procedures

The Senate leadership first heard about these proposals late last week, although they have apparently been under development by the administration for months. The “discussion drafts” below have not been released to the Senate – these are bootleg copies.

These proposals involve substantial changes to current UO policy and procedures regarding outside work for faculty and all UO employees. Among other things they eliminate the default “one day in seven” consulting work allowance, require faculty to notify the administration in advance of much outside work, and give the administration the power to decide whether that work is in the best interests of “the university”, or not.

I do not understand the administration’s motivation for these proposed changes, or their decision to keep their development secret from the Senate. See the bootleg policy here, procedures here, or read the cut and paste versions below.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST POLICY DRAFT

DISCUSSION DRAFT – 4/2/18

Reason for Policy

To set forth the University’s standards, as required by ORS 352.232, governing outside employment and activities, including actual and potential conflicts of interest, and procedures for reporting and managing conflicts of interest.

Responsible Office

For questions about this policy, please contact the Office of the Provost.

Enactment & Revision History

Approved by University President Michael Schill on _________ __, 2018.

Scope 

This policy applies to all University of Oregon employees, officials, and agents.  It does not in any way alter the requirements contained in the Financial Conflict of Interest in Research Policy.

Policy 

OVERVIEW

Teaching, research, administration, and public service are essential to the mission of the University of Oregon.  This policy recognizes the primary importance of those activities and the value of the application of knowledge outside the institution.  The function of the University may be enhanced by ethical relationships between employees and outside entities, and this policy seeks to protect the academic and personal freedoms involved in choosing those outside activities.  Prompt disclosure of outside activities, and management of conflicts of interests, are essential to protect the interests of the University and to ensure compliance with state and federal law.  To this end, the University encourages employees to engage in outside activities that advance the mission of the University, with the condition that those activities be proactively disclosed, reviewed and, if determined to be a conflict of interest by the University, managed in a manner that protects integrity, ensures legal compliance, and promotes good stewardship of public resources.

Employees, officials, and agents of the University have an individual legal obligation to provide advance, written notice to the University that describes the nature of their outside activities so that the University can make a determination of whether a COI exists.  This policy describes the outside activities at issue, requires the disclosure and review of such activities, and, if appropriate, provides for appropriate action by the University to manage actual, potential or apparent COIs. This policy also provides an appeal process and a process for reporting complaints about COI.

APPLICABLE LAW

Oregon law defines conflicts of interest (“COI”) as any action, decision, or recommendation by a person acting in their capacity as a University employee that would (for actual conflicts) or could (for potential conflicts) have a private financial impact on the person or their relative, or any business with which either is associated.  ORS 244.020(1), (13).

The University may authorize employees to receive outside compensation. However, the University is prohibited from authorizing outside compensation that “does not comport with the mission of the public university or substantially interferes with an officer’s or employee’s duties to the university.”  ORS 352.232(2).

GENERAL GUIDELINES

Employees must generally refrain from having financial interests incompatible with the impartial, objective, and effective performance of duties. University employees, officials, and agents generally may not:

  1. Engage in private business interests or other outside employment activities, whether compensated or not, on University time.
  2. Make use of University supplies, facilities, equipment, employees, records or any other public resources (other than incidental use) to engage in private business interests.
  3. Use information gained as a University employee to obtain a financial benefit for the employee, a relative or member of the University employee’s household or a business with which any are associated.
  4. Subject to the review and approval process described herein, participate in making University recommendations or decisions involving the employment, compensation, promotion, leave of absence, grievance adjustment, termination, or in the supervision of a relative or member of their household.
  5. Undertake any other outside business or employment activities that substantially interferes with the employee’s duties to the University, or other activities related to University employment, for compensation, that do not comport with the mission of the University.

REPORTING AND APPROVAL

Approval is generally not required for “exempt” activities identified below and described in the Procedures. However, if any these activities does not comport with the mission of the University, substantially interferes with one’s duties to the University, or creates a COI, the employee must disclose the activity in accordance with Sections III and IV below.  The Provost or designee(s) is charged with deciding whether the disclosure constitutes a COI. Employees must err on the side of caution and provide advance disclosure of any such activity.

  1. Exempt Activities for Which Prior Approval Is Not Required
  2. Exempt Activities Unrelated to University Employment

Employees are generally not expected to disclose outside activities unrelated to their University employment, unless the outside activity may interfere with the employee’s duties to the University (e.g., overlapping time commitments). If there is any doubt whether the outside activity may interfere with the employee’s duties to the University, or may be related to the employee’s University employment, the employee must disclose the activity pursuant to this policy.

  1. Exempt Activities Related to University Employment

Employees are not expected to disclose reimbursed or sponsored travel for seminars, lectures, teaching engagements, or service on advisory committees or review panels that a) when aggregated, does not exceed $5,000 per individual entity, or b) is travel reimbursed or sponsored by a federal, state or local government agency, an institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institution affiliated with an institution of higher education. In addition, pursuant to this Policy, employees are generally not expected to disclose professional, religious or political associations, appearances and publications related to University employment, and expert witness service related to their academic or professional work. Such activity may be subject to University policies and procedures concerning inventions and educational and professional materials development. This Policy does not in any way alter requirements in those policies. 

  1. Activities for Which Prior Approval Is Required

An employee must disclose, pursuant to Section III, non-exempt outside activities.  This includes, for example:

  • Consulting related to employee’s University work
    • Outside consulting undertaken on personal time will generally require disclosure if the value of any remuneration received from any single entity in the twelve months preceding the disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000.
  • Closely related enterprises
    • Outside compensation from, or ownership of equity in, an entity (including consulting firms) that carries on activities closely related to the University employee’s area of work and/or field of expertise.
      • This excludes publicly-traded equity unless the employee has a majority ownership in that entity.
    • Managing, or participation in the day-to-day operations of, an entity that carries on activity related to the employee’s University employment.

III.        Reporting Requirements; Reporting Concerns

It is important to record conflicts centrally to assess their impact on the functions of the University.

  1. Annual Outside Activity (“AOA”) Disclosure Requirement for University Employees: All employees must submit an AOA disclosure each year. The Provost or designee(s) shall ensure a reminder is sent annually to all employees.
  2. Reporting Concerns about Potential or Actual COI of Another: Any University employee who has concerns about the permissibility of an activity on the part of an employee is encouraged to consult with their unit/department head pursuant to the reporting process set forth in the procedures accompanying this policy. Confidential reports can also be made to the Office of Internal Audit using its Fraud & Ethics Hotline.

Approval Process

  1. Review Process: The Provost or designee(s) will conduct the Initial Review of all AOA disclosures to determine whether the information disclosed presents an actual, apparent, or potential COI.
  2. Requests for Approval: The Provost or designee(s) shall create procedures for the review and management processes, and for the complaint and appeal processes.  Activity that creates an actual or potential COI is subject to a management plan and/or a decision that the activity may not be authorized. The Provost or designee(s) may work with a COI Committee to evaluate AOA disclosures that require further review.
  3. Approval Process: In approving or denying requests, the Provost or designee will (1) determine whether the activity constitutes a COI (actual, apparent, or potential), (2) notify the employee if the activity constitutes a COI, and (3) if warranted, develop a management plan, in consultation with the employee and their supervisor/department head, to mitigate the conflict.

APPEALS

Decisions under this policy may be appealed in writing to the Provost or designee within 10 days of the receipt of the decision.

ACCOUNTABILITY

This policy has the force of law pursuant to ORS 352.087.  Failure of a University employee to comply with this policy and its associated procedures will subject the employee to discipline up to and including termination.  Discipline shall be imposed consistent with applicable University policies and/or applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Related Resources

Policies and Procedures Related to this Policy:

Contacts

Topic Office Phone
Policy and procedure interpretation; reporting of COI concerns; complaints; appeals; general inquiries

 

Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs 541-346-3186

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST PROCEDURES DRAFT

DISCUSSION DRAFT – 4/2/18

As set forth in the Conflicts of Interest (“COI”) Policy, University of Oregon employees, officials, and agents must report all non-exempt outside activities so that the University can make a determination of whether an actual, apparent, or potential COI exists and, if appropriate, help manage that COI. The following procedures outline the disclosure process and the review, approval and management of COI.

These procedures in no way alter the requirements contained in the Financial Conflict of Interest in Research Policy.  Thus, University employees, officials or agents with outside activities that involve design, conduct, and reporting roles in sponsored research will likely be required to provide both disclosures.

I. ACCOUNTABILITY

Failure to comply with the COI Policy includes, but is not limited to, failure to disclose a known non-exempt outside activity, or failure to abide by the terms of a finalized management plan.

II. DISCLOSURE PROCESS

A. Annual Outside Activity (“AOA”) Disclosure

  1. Each year, employees shall submit an AOA disclosure. Subsequent AOA disclosures must includes any activity governed by the COI Policy that was not disclosed in prior disclosures.
  2. New employees: All employees engaging in non-exempt outside activities shall submit an AOA disclosure annually—within 30 days of the date of hire and on the anniversary of that date. Before engaging in new, non-exempt outside activities, employees must supplement the AOA disclosure.
  3. Current employees: The Provost or designee will send notification to all employees to submit an AOA disclosure. All employees engaging in non-exempt outside activities shall submit an AOA disclosure annually—within 30 days of receipt of the Provost’s notification and on the anniversary of that date.
  4. AOA disclosures should be completed online at:
  5. For questions involving the AOA disclosures please contact createaroleaccount@uoregon.edu.
  6. The failure to report is construed as a representation by the employee that the employee is engaged in no outside activities that give rise to any actual, apparent, or potential COI.

B. Required Disclosures

a. Exempt Activities Unrelated to University Employment

Pursuant to the COI Policy, employees are generally not expected to disclose outside activities unrelated to their University employment. For example, the following would be exempt from the advance disclosure and approval requirements of this policy:

    • College of Arts & Sciences faculty with outside yoga business (unless it is related to their University employment because, for example, the faculty member solicits University students to attend the yoga class);
    • Housing employee who runs youth baseball camps (unless it is related to their University employment because, for example, the employee uses access to University resources to bolster camp enrollment);
    • Employee invests in mutual funds or retirement accounts and does not directly control the investment decisions made in these accounts.

b. Exempt Activities Related to University Employment

Pursuant to the COI Policy, employees are generally not expected to disclose professional, religious or political associations, appearances related to University employment, and expert witness service related to their academic or professional work, including, for example:

  • Professional associations 
    • Participation in scholarly, professional, expressive (including performances), and philanthropic activities outside the University (This includes publications and the sale of goods, unless the material is prepared in compliance with University contractual provisions, as a specific University work assignment, or with the use of significant University resources.)
  • Appearances related to University employment
    • Seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements sponsored by a federal, state or local government agency, an institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institution affiliated with an institution of higher education;
    • Travel to other institutions or conferences for the purpose of:
      • giving speeches, presentations, lectures, performances, etc.;
      • serving as a panelist;
      • leading seminars or workshops;
      • visiting the laboratories of colleagues.
  • Service as an expert witness before a court or tribunal

c. Initial Review of AOA Disclosure

  1. The Provost or designee(s) will conduct an Initial Review of AOA disclosures to determine whether the information disclosed presents a matter for further review. Pursuant to the COI Policy and state law, ORS 352.232, to make this determination, the Provost or designee(s) will consider whether the activity disclosed may present an actual, apparent, or potential conflict of interest, whether the activity may not comport with the mission of the University, and whether the activity may substantially interfere with an employee’s duties to the University.
  2. The Provost or designee(s) will notify the employee if an AOA disclosure reflects a matter for further review. That determination will be documented.
  3. If the Provost or designee(s) determines that the AOA disclosure may require approval and/or a management plan, the disclosure constitutes a matter for further review. The Provost or designee(s) will forward AOA disclosures requiring further review to the COI Committee to further review the matter for consideration of steps to eliminate, reduce, or manage the conflict(s). If appropriate, the Provost or designee(s) will, with notice to the employee, develop a draft management plan to be reviewed by the COI Committee.

III. COI COMMITTEE REVIEW AND APPROVAL PROCESS

Reviews by the COI Committee will be conducted by a preponderance of evidence standard.

Timelines

The COI Committee will review AOA disclosures that reflect matters for further review. The COI Committee will conduct its review based on, among other factors, the date of the disclosure, the likelihood of COI and the need to institute a management plan or sever the outside relationship to avoid a violation of law or UO policy. The COI Committee will complete its review within 60 days; however, this timeframe may be extended for good cause.

Criteria for Approval

In conducting the review, the COI Committee will consider whether the activity disclosed presents an actual, apparent, or potential conflict of interest, whether the activity comports with the mission of the University, and whether the activity substantially interferes with an employee’s duties to the University.

In determining the appropriateness of a management plan, the COI Committee may also consider whether the activity is significant (including time commitment and responsibilities), relatedness to University employment (including likelihood of interference with employee objectivity, integrity, and duties to the University, impact on the University, and consistency with the policies and objectives of the University), and adequacy of mitigation measures (including disclosure to supervisor, informed consent, and screening and/or recusal options).

In developing a management plan, the COI Committee will consult with the employee and, as appropriate, with the employee’s supervisor. The management plan, once finalized, will reflect appropriate management of the conflict. The management plan, once finalized, will be adopted by the Provost or designee(s) responsible for reviewing AOA disclosures.

The Provost or designee(s) will be responsible for notifying the employee when the management plan is finalized. The employee must comply with the terms of the finalized management plan. Examples of conditions that may be created by a management plan include:

  1. Public disclosure of actual, apparent, or potential COI
  2. Disclosure of COI directly to individuals or entities impacted
  3. Periodic monitoring of the scope and impact of the activity, including updates from the employee
  4. Recusal from University recommendations or decisions that may be directly and significantly impacted by the outside activity
  5. Adoption of an interim or modified management plan as circumstances change

All reviews, recommendations, denials, modifications and/or management plans shall be made by following the applicable state ethics law, the University’s COI Policy, and these procedures.

Appeals 

An employee may challenge a decision by Provost or designee(s)  by filing a written appeal with President of designee(s) within ten (10) days of receipt of the decision. The appeal must include a copy of the decision, the grounds for appeal, the issue in dispute, a full statement of the employee’s position related to the grounds for appeal, and any documents supporting the employee’s claim.

Decisions subject to appeal

An employee may appeal a final, written decision:

  • that the activity does not comport with the mission of the University;
  • that the activity substantially interferes with an employee’s duties to the University;
  • that the activity cannot be appropriately managed; or
  • setting forth a finalized management plan.

Grounds for appeal

The request for appeal must identify the decision being challenged and state one of the following grounds for appeal:

Procedural error: Failure to comply with the COI Policy and these procedures, such as failure to consult with the employee in the development of a management plan, that would more likely than not (by a preponderance of evidence) have changed the outcome of the decision;

Unreasonable based on the evidence: The decision that the outside relationship must be severed, or the management plan, is unreasonable based on the evidence provided, such as undue hardship to the employee;

New information: New information not previously known to the employee would more likely than not change the decision.

President or designee will notify the employee within 10 days whether the employee has stated grounds for appeal. If President or designee determines that the employee has failed to state grounds for appeal, the decision is deemed final. If President or designee determines that the employee has stated grounds for appeal, President or designee will notify the employee of the anticipated appeal decision date, which will be within 60 days of the appeal.

Before the decision date, President or designee will provide the employee the opportunity to present evidence and to be heard, in person, by telephone, or in writing, at the discretion of President or designee. President or designee may also consult with the COI Committee, the Provost or designee(s), and/or the employee’s supervisor or department head as appropriate.  If President or designee will rely upon information other than that submitted by the employee, the employee will have the opportunity to review the information to be relied upon and to provide a supplemental response to that information. President or designee will inform the employee of the deadline to provide any information to be relied upon, but all information relied upon must be received by President or designee no later than two days before the appeal decision date. President or designee will decide the appeal. President or designee will notify the employee and Provost or designee of the appeal decision, in writing.

Management Plan

COI Committee Review

A. Committee Appointment and Composition:

  1. The Provost or designee(s) shall appoint a COI Committee composed of at least one employee in each of the following categories: tenured faculty member, non-tenure track faculty, officer of administration, classified employee, and a representative from Office of the Provost. An attorney from the Office of the General Counsel shall serve as an ex-officio member.
  2. The Provost or designee(s) shall designate one of the appointed members to serve as a COI Committee Chair.
  3. The Provost or designee(s) shall appoint members for specific terms, generally three years from the date of appointment. Successive terms are permitted.
  4. Each COI member shall complete an annual government ethics training.
  5. Each COI Committee member shall recuse themselves in any proceeding in any matter before the COI Committee wherein their impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

B. Meetings

The COI Committee shall meet monthly as necessary. A quorum is a simple majority of the COI Committee. A quorum must be convened for the COI Committee to issue a finalized management plan and/or to recommend that any COI cannot be managed.  The committee makes decisions on the basis of a simple majority of those present at the meeting.

C. Responsibilities

The COI Committee will review all actual, apparent, or potential COIs referred to it by the Provost or designee(s). The COI Committee is responsible for:

  1. Assessing actual, apparent, or potential COIs in light of the employee’s institutional responsibilities.
  2. Making recommendations to the Provost or designee(s) regarding management of actual or potential COI. Steps of a such a plan may include, but are not limited to the following examples:
    1. Public disclosure of employee’s (or relative’s) financial interest;
    2. Use of COI Committee to closely monitor the activity and assist in avoiding conflicts;
    3. Recusal of the employee in any decision making involving the activities described in the AOA disclosure;
    4. Restructuring of University supervisory/management by employee over persons and/or activities described in AOA disclosure (e.g., limiting the employees’ involvement in personnel decisions on behalf of UO;
    5. Reformulation of activities described in AOA disclosure;
    6. Divestment of personal financial interest causing the COI;
    7. Severance of those outside relationships that cannot be adequately managed to prevent actual or potential COI;
  3. Taking appropriate action in response to reports of concerns about COI that have been forwarded to the COI Committee by the Provost or designee(s). Such action may include conducting a retrospective review of circumstances and recommending mitigation measures.

IV. Reporting Concerns About COI of Others

Any employee who has concerns about another employee’s potential conflict should consult with Provost of designee. If, after examining the report, the Provost or designee determines that a COI may exist, they shall refer the matter to the COI Committee for further evaluation pursuant to the process set forth above in Section III. Anonymous reports can be made to the Office of Internal Audit using its Fraud & Ethics Hotline.

V. RECORDKEEPING

The University will maintain records relating to AOA Disclosures, and the University’s review and response to such disclosures, for at least three years.

VI. CONFIDENTIALITY

Within the constraints imposed by state law, in order to protect privacy rights, a personally identifiable request by an employee for approval, and the written disposition of that request, may be part of the employee’s personal record, subject to disclosure only to employees who have a demonstrably legitimate need for particular information in order to fulfill their official, professional responsibilities.

VII. DEFINITIONS

Activity Related to the Employee’s University Employment: activity that reasonably appears to be related to the employee’s responsibilities to the University.

Agent: any individual performing governmental functions, which are services provided on behalf of the University, as distinguished from services provided to the University. This may include private contractors and volunteers, depending on the circumstances. It also can be a volunteer.  Volunteers are “public officials” when they are i. Elected or appointed to a governing body of a public body; ii. Appointed or selected for a position with a governing body or a government agency with responsibilities that include deciding or voting on matters that could have a pecuniary impact on the governing body, agency or other persons; or iii. The volunteer position includes all of the following: 1. Responsible for specific duties and 2. The duties are performed at a scheduled time and designated place.

Disclosure: an employee’s formal or explicit statement disclosing outside activity to the University.

Employee: as referenced in the COI Policy and these procedures, employee refers to employees, officials or agents.

Entity: a natural person capable of being legally bound, sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, limited liability company or partnership, limited partnership, profit or nonprofit unincorporated association, business trust, two or more persons having a joint or common economic interest, or any other person with legal capacity to contract, or a government or governmental subdivision.

Management Plan: the prospective plan for COI mitigation.

Preponderance of the Evidence: proof that leads to the conclusion that the fact at issue is more probably true than not.

Relative:  as defined in ORS 244.020:  (a) the spouse, parent, stepparent, child, sibling, stepsibling, son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the employee or official; (b) the parent, stepparent, child, sibling, stepsibling, son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the spouse of the employee or official; (c) any individual for whom the employee or official has a legal support obligation; (d) any individual for whom the employee or official provides benefits arising from the employee’s public employment or from whom the employee or official receives benefits arising from that individual’s employment; (e) a member of the employee’s household.

 

UW Provost on Nike Board

12/17/2009: Here’s a long and interesting article from Insidehighered.com on UW Provost Phyllis Wise’s decision to accept an offer to join the Nike board. I’m not a Nike basher – the way to improve the lives of low wage workers in poor countries is to buy what they make, not boycott it – but the time commitment is an issue. Someone already receiving a large salary from taxpayers and students should keep their focus on the academic issues they are paid to work on. With stock options, the Nike job pays a hundred thousand a year or so. Administrators typically argue that these board positions are a way to network with rich potential donors – but Wise refuses to discuss donating this to charity. Former UO President Frohnmayer was (and is) on the Umpqua Bank board, and also apparently kept the $50,000 or so he earned. We don’t know how many current UO administrators are doing this.

5/31/2009:

Greg Bolt has an article in the RG on overcomittment problems at UO. He mentions Edward Kame’enui’s $400,000 from Reading First, but not the $200,000 of UO money Melinda Grier spent lobbying the congressional committee (one invoice here) to get that investigation closed. Or so the timeline suggests. Charles Martinez comes in for special attention: he refuses to answer questions, but Provost Bean says he’s doing a heckuva job as Diversity VP, and it’s fine for him to ignore the 1 in 7 day rule, not run his grants through UO, have two jobs, and pull in over $250,000 – these rules aren’t for administrators! OSLC’s latest 990 form came out 5/15, but they’ve been ignoring our requests for it. As usual with Greg’s articles, you wish he would follow up on the quotes: “Really, Provost Bean – you think it is appropriate for one of your VPs to have a 29 hour per week job on the side? Would you offer the same deal to a professor?”

In fairness to Provost Bean he inherited Martinez from Provost Moseley, who had to hire a diversity VP on the quick, after he lost a discrimination lawsuit. So quick that UO didn’t even do an affirmative action compliant search. Rumor is that Bean and Lariviere intend to replace Martinez soon, hence all Bean’s effusive praise. One of the biggest problems with UO’s current administrators is they can never admit to the smallest mistake or tolerate any criticism. I’d think it would be hard accomplishing anything productive in an office where no one ever tells anyone the truth, but they really seem to enjoy it that way.

But probably the biggest conflict of interest at UO is Frohnmayer’s. Oregon law seems pretty clear:

… a public official … may not solicit or receive, directly or indirectly, any gift or gifts with an aggregate value in excess of $50 from any single source that could reasonably be known to have a legislative or administrative interest in any governmental agency in which the public official holds … any authority. (ORS244)

But half of Frohmayer’ pay from comes big time donors like Phil Knight, who certainly has a large interest in the UO President’s decisions. Phil apparently sends another $1 million or so a year to the Fanconi Foundation – except when Dave misbehaves. That’s a serious and very sad conflict of interest, in every sense.