Conflicts of Interest and Commitment
University and Campus Academic Administrators
Vice President for Research
Vice President for Human Resources
Associate Vice President for Procurement Services
University Faculty Council
John R. Baumann
Associate VP for Research Compliance
IU Human Resources
Jill M. Schunk
Associate Vice President for Procurement Services
University Compliance Office
All Indiana University employees, including faculty and academic appointees; student academic appointees; and staff and temporary employees; and all persons at the university who are "Investigators" on university research projects or sponsored programs.
Any amendments to this policy must be made in accordance with the normal procedures for adopting or revising policies that pertain to the particular constituency affected by the amendment. For example, changes to this policy that affect academic appointees must be approved by the University Faculty Council.
The current Gifts and Gratuities Policy and Conflicts of Interest Policy make no allowance for employee participation in activities provided and funded by a for-profit supplier or potential supplier to Indiana University, regardless of the benefit to the university. This appears to be counter to common practice in the higher education industry in general, and also within IU. The consolidation of the nine COI-C policies into one policy creates an opportunity to ensure that our policy and practices are synchronized, and meet the ethical standards laid out in the Principles of Ethical Conduct, §8 .
With regard to the Gifts and Gratuities section of this policy, feedback is solicited on the following questions:
The development of policy language for this Gifts and Gratuities section of the Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment policy will be based on feedback received in response to this inquiry and, following adoption, will be subject to review before this section of the policy becomes final.
The Office of Research Administration may develop procedures that are consistent with this policy. The current procedures and information related to the review process may be found at Compliance Services: Conflict of Interest on the website of the Office of ResearchCompliance, and changes to these procedures must be approved by the University Faculty Council.
1. This policy section shall apply to all academic appointees, both full-time and part-time. The potential for conflicts of commitment is likely to rise in proportion to the particular commitment that exists between an individual academic appointee and the university. For example, the kinds of external activities likely to compete with a full-time appointee’s primary duties may not apply to part-time appointees. Accordingly, this section defines in a consistent manner the types of situations that could pose conflicts and that should be reported. The evaluation of potential conflicts will take into account the particular facts of individual situations, including the nature of the relationship that the university and the academic appointee have with each other.
2. Indiana’s law on ghost employment (I.C. 35-44-2-4) prohibits the hiring by any public institution of any person who is not assigned duties or is assigned duties not related to the operation of such institution when such person is paid by public funds. No person is knowingly to receive public funds in compensation with no duties or for duties not related to the operation of the public employer. Penalties are provided by law which may fall both on the employee and upon the authority who appoints such an employee or permits such payment for duties not related to the public employer.
Any situation which seems to be proscribed by the law, as stated above, should be brought to the attention of the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel so that a determination may be made and appropriate action may be recommended.
3. All academic appointees are required to fully meet the professional obligations of their appointments. Full-time academic appointees are expected to devote their primary professional time and energy to carrying out teaching, research, and service responsibilities on behalf of Indiana University. Academic appointees should avoid conflicts of commitment which arise either when an appointee undertakes outside professional activities that interfere with fulfilling the obligations of the individual’s academic appointment, or when an appointee undertakes, on behalf of another organization, activities that would ordinarily be performed on behalf of Indiana University.
4. Academic appointees may engage in Outside Professional Activities, provided that these activities do not constitute a Conflict of Commitment and comply with all other applicable University policies.
5. Full-time tenure-track academic appointees shall be permitted to spend, on average, one non-weekend day each week, not including official university holidays, during the period of appointment on Outside Professional Activities.
6. Academic appointees shall not use university resources in the performance of Outside Professional Activities without the written permission of their Unit Head and without compensating the university. Where resource usage is de minimis and the cost difficult or impossible to calculate, such use of university resources shall not require reimbursement.
7. Examples of possible Conflicts of Commitment that must be disclosed include:
a. An outside professional activity that may substantially reduce the time available for the appointee to carry out the primary obligations of the individual’s appointment;
b. Teaching for another educational institution, including online teaching;
c. Undertaking externally funded research activities where the financial sponsorship is managed entirely outside Indiana University;
d. Undertaking activities that compete, or have the potential to compete, with Indiana University in areas that are part of the appointee’s University Responsibilities.
8. All academic appointees at Indiana University must annually disclose to their Unit Head, activities that may represent a Conflict of Commitment.
All disclosure statements are to be submitted through the online reporting portal to the appropriate Unit Head. The Unit Head (or designee) will review submitted disclosure statements within 30 days and will work with the academic appointees to determine if a Conflict of Commitment exists and if so, what steps must be taken to eliminate or properly manage that conflict. Administrative decisions will be documented in writing. If the Unit Head and academic appointee disagree, they may seek additional advice regarding the proposed activity from the campus Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Appeals from administrative decisions concerning conflicts of commitment are subject to applicable University policies and procedures.
9. Instances of deliberate breach of this policy, including failure to file or knowingly filing an incomplete, erroneous, or misleading disclosure, or failure to comply with prescribed procedures for managing an identified conflict of commitment, will be adjudicated in accordance with the Code of Academic Ethics and applicable misconduct policies and procedures at the appropriate campus of Indiana University.
10. Each campus will establish its own implementation procedures that are consistent with the provisions of this university policy.
External Activities can lead to conflicts of commitment with regard to an employee’s university responsibilities, along with the misuse of university resources. As such, this policy is intended to serve as a guide for recognizing and managing employee conflicts of commitment, and whenever possible, to prevent even the appearance of conflicts of commitment.
The participation of employees in External Activities that enhance their professional skills or constitute public service can be beneficial to Indiana University as well as the individual employee. External Activities provide an opportunity to discover and pass on new knowledge, with the formation of alliances that enhance the university’s academic and research missions.
Note that the External Activities of academic appointees are governed by Section B.1. above.
1. University employees are expected to devote their university work activities to official functions of the university, and to use university resources only in the interest of the university. An employee may not commit university resources to activities not in the interest of the university. Employees may engage in External Activities provided that such activities do not detract from the performance of their university duties and responsibilities; for nonexempt employees, this also means that External Activities must be performed outside of the employee’s work time. With supervisory approval and in accordance with university policies, employees may take paid time off or a leave without pay to engage in External Activities.
2. Indiana’s law on ghost employment (IC 35-44.1-1-3), makes it a criminal offense to assign non-university work to another employee or for a university employee to accept compensation for the performance of non-university work. It also is a criminal offense not to assign an employee any duties for any period of work time. Examples of when ghost employment occurs under state law:
a. A supervisor fails to assign an employee duties or assigns to an employee any duties not related to the operation of the university;
b. An employee knows that he or she has not been assigned any duties or assigned duties not related to the operation of the university and accepts compensation or property from the university;
c. Any person who permits the payment of compensation or property in violation of this law is jointly liable.
3. External activities not related to university responsibilities shall take place outside of the employee’s designated work activities or during periods of authorized leave.
4. Employees shall not accept any compensation from another agency or entity or individual for work performed in the course of their employment at the university, except under very limited circumstances such as payments from government or not-for-profit entities for participation on advisory committees or review panels.
5. Employees shall not use any resource (facilities, supplies, equipment or other resources) for External Activities that has a material cost to the university.
6. Except as approved in advance by Office of Sponsorships, Licensing and Trademarks, employees shall not use the university’s name or trademark in such a manner to suggest institutional endorsement or support of an External Activity or non-university product or service, nor use university business cards or stationery in such a manner to suggest institutional endorsement or support of an External Activity or non-university product or service.
7. When engaging in External Activities, employees shall make clear that they are acting and speaking in their individual capacity and not as representatives or agents of the university.
8. Employees shall report any known or suspected violation of this policy to the Unit Head. Unit Heads and supervisors shall establish and maintain a work environment that encourages employees to ask questions about real or potential conflicts of commitment.
9. Unit Heads and supervisors shall ensure there is appropriate monitoring and oversight to ensure that an employee’s university responsibilities are fulfilled and that university resources are used in a manner consistent with this policy.
10. Supervisors shall monitor employee work activities for compliance with this policy and related Indiana state laws; Unit Heads shall ensure that this supervisory responsibility is an expectation assigned to supervisors.
Academic Appointee refers to any person who has either a full- or part-time academic appointment in the University.
Approved Management Plan is a plan approved by University Compliance Office to mitigate the effects of any type of conflict of interest. Such plan must reviewed and signed by the involved parties, the relevant Unit Head, the campus Vice Chancellor/Provost of Academic Affairs (if faculty or academic employees are involved), and the campus HR director (if staff or temporary are involved). Final copies of all Approved Management Plans must be forwarded to the University Compliance Office for retention.
Conflicts of Commitment occur when the time or effort that an academic appointee or employee devotes to External Activities interferes with the academic appointee’s or employee’s fulfillment of assigned University Responsibilities, or when an academic appointee or employee makes unauthorized use of university resources in the course of an External Activity.
Conflict of Interest When an academic appointee’s or employee’s private interests and University Responsibilities are at odds. This means an individual should not be in a position to gain personally as a result of procuring goods or services on behalf of the university, or exerting any influence over financial decisions. Academic appointees and employees engaged in any aspect of the purchasing process are expected to be free of interests or relationships which are actually or potentially detrimental to the best interests of Indiana University. For instance, academic appointees and employees should not conduct university business with a company that individual owns or with businesses owned by relatives until a state conflict of interest disclosure is approved by the Trustees and the requirements of other University conflict of interest policies have been met.
Conflict of Interest Program means the University Research Conflict of Interest Committee and the Office of Research Compliance staff supporting the administration of this policy.
Employees means staff or temporary workers.
External Activity means involvement with any person, trust, organization, enterprise, government agency, or other entity that is not an entity associated with or under the control of Indiana University. (Associated entities include the IU Foundation, ARTI, and physician practice plans.) University appointment or assignment of an academic appointee or employee to an external board or committee does not constitute an “External Activity” for that individual. External Activity for the purpose of this policy also does not mean to reference family activities or authorized professional development activities.
Familial Relationship means a relationship between two individuals by blood, adoption, marriage or domestic partnership to the following degrees: parent, child, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, first cousin, grandparent or grandchild, spouse, domestic partner, step-parent, step-child, step-brother, step-sister, father-in- law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law or the equivalent for individuals in a domestic partnership. Note: this list of relationships is not to be considered an exhaustive list; other close, personal relationships between two individuals could be considered on a case-by-case basis to be subject to this policy.
Financial Interest is defined as anything of monetary value, whether or not the value is readily ascertainable, including, but not limited to, salary, commissions, consulting fees, honoraria, equity interests, interests in real or personal property, dividends, royalties, rent, capital gains, intellectual property rights, and forgiveness of debt, other than:
Ghost Employment: As defined in Indiana Code (IC 35-44.1-1-3):
Gratuity: Any gift, or invitation to entertainment venues, travel, room or housing, meals, transportation, and any other such action whereby the academic appointee or employee or family of the academic appointee or employee sustains Personal Gain from its acceptance.
Immediate Family includes the academic appointee’s or employee’s spouse, domestic partner, and dependent children and stepchildren.
Investigator means university faculty, students, and staff who have responsibility for designing research, collecting research data, performing other substantive research activities, or reporting research. Investigator also includes the project director or principal investigator and any other person, regardless of title or position, who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of Research funded by the PHS or other federal agencies, or proposed for such funding which may include, for example, collaborators or consultants.
Investigator’s Dependent is defined as any person who receives more than one-half of that individual’s annual support from an Investigator, whether or not related to that Investigator.
Manage and Managing means an affirmative action by supervisors and managers to monitor and direct an academic appointee or employee with regards to specific expectations.
Material Cost means a calculable cash equivalent for an asset belonging to the University.
Nepotism means the supervision or influence over an academic appointee or employee by another university academic appointee or employee with whom they have a familial or personal relationship. Influence in the employment situation may concern issues such as hiring, promotion, supervision, evaluation, determination of salary, or working conditions.
Outside Professional Activities refers to external activities within the scope of an academic appointee’s professional qualifications that are not undertaken in fulfillment of the University Responsibilities of an academic appointee, but which enhance the performance of those responsibilities.
Personal Gain anything received and accepted, regardless of value, which is provided to an academic appointee or employee or family of the academic appointee or employee, by a supplier or potential supplier to Indiana University.
Personal Relationship means a romantic/intimate relationship.
Reciprocity: An act whereby something is offered to a person or entity with the understanding that there will be a quid pro quo action that will benefit both parties e.g. where an exchange of goods or services is contingent upon the other, such as a favor for a favor. Reciprocity can be viewed as a reward, mutual dependence or an action of influence.
Research means a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. The term encompasses basic and applied research and product development and any activity for which research funding is available from a PHS Awarding Component.
Research Conflict of Interest means a Significant Financial Interest that could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of Research or a Sponsored Program.
Significant Financial Interest means one or more of the following Financial Interests of the Investigator (and those of the Investigator’s Family Members) that reasonably appear to be related to the Investigator’s University Responsibilities:
Sponsored Program means projects or activities, other than Research, undertaken within the University pursuant to funding from an external source.
Supplier: any individual, company, corporation or other entity that provides goods or services to the University.
Unit Head means the applicable dean, vice chancellor, chancellor, provost, associate or assistant vice president, vice president, or president, who has executive management responsibilities for supervising the academic appointee or employee.
University means Indiana University.
University Activities refers to activities related to the research, teaching, and service mission of the University. Service activities include service to an academic appointee’s profession and service to the community that is related to the academic appointees’ professional qualifications.
University Conflict of Interest Committee consists of University faculty and administrators, appointed by the Vice President for Research, who are responsible for evaluating disclosures from Investigators.
University Funds means funding from any sources including sponsored funds or donations that are held or disbursed through Indiana University accounts.
University Research Official is the Vice President for Research who provides oversight in the solicitation and review of disclosures of Significant Financial Interests from Investigators and is the institutional official for purposes of administering the duties outlined in applicable federal regulations.
University Responsibilities are defined as the responsibilities of an academic appointee, employee, or Investigator to perform University Activities as defined by university or unit policy, contract, or collective bargaining agreement and, are defined as activities that are undertaken directly to perform University Activities.
Violations of this policy will be addressed in accordance with applicable university policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including termination from the university and/or criminal prosecution.
This policy is a consolidation of the following policies:
Appropriate Duties of Academic Employees (ACA-42)
Conflicts of Commitment Involving Outside Professional Activities for Academic Appointees (ACA-29)
Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research (ACA-74)
Conflicts of Commitment (HR-07-30)
Conflicts of Interest (HR-07-40)
Purchasing Ethics (FIN-PUR-3.0)
State Conflict of Interest for Procurement Transactions (FIN-PUR-3.3)
Gifts and Gratuities (FIN-PUR-3.4)