Number: HR 270
Effective: September 30, 2016
Department: Human Resources and Risk Management
Last Revision: April 18, 2017

Purpose

To provide guidelines for identifying, evaluating, and managing potential or actual Conflicts of Interest.

Scope

Applies to all administrators, employees, and persons acting as Public Servants in the interest of the College, including but not limited to community members on college committees, advisory board members, and CWI Foundation board members. Conflicts of interest related to members of CWI’s Board of Trustees are addressed in CWI’s Board of Trustee Handbook.

Definition

Conflict of Interest: Any official action or any decision or recommendation by a CWI employee or a person acting in a capacity as a Public Servant, the effect of which would be to the private pecuniary benefit of the person or a member of the person’s household, or a business with which the person or a member of the person’s household is associated.

Family Member: Any person with whom an employee or Public Servant has a familial or guardianship relationship, including but not limited to a parent, guardian, step-parent, child, step-child, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, sibling, step-sibling, spouse, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, grandparent, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, or any persons living in the same household.

Financial Interest: Anything of monetary value received or held by any member of the College community or a member of his/her family, whether or not the value is readily ascertainable, including, but not limited to: salary or other payments for services (e.g., consulting fees, honoraria, or paid authorships for other than scholarly works); any equity interests (e.g., stocks, stock options, or other ownership interests); and the value of intellectual property rights and interests (e.g., patents, trademarks, service marks, and copyrights), royalties or other income received from such intellectual property.

Public Servant: Any person participating as an advisor or consultant to the College, including volunteers.

Significant Financial Interest: One or more of the following interests of a CWI employee or other Public Servant, or a Family Member of the aforementioned, that reasonably appears to be related to his/her institutional responsibilities:

  1. Where the Financial Interest (including remuneration received in the preceding 12-month period and equity) exceeds $5,000 or equals or exceeds 5% ownership (i.e., as the actual or beneficial owner of more than 5% of the voting stock or controlling interest), for any one enterprise or entity when aggregated for any member of the College community and his/her Family Members.  
  2. The following additional items:
    1. Any equity interest in a non-publicly traded entity.
    2. Any intellectual property and interests (e.g., patents, copyrights), for which income has been received in the preceding 12-month period.
    3. The occurrence of any reimbursed or sponsored travel. This travel shall be disclosed for the subsequent twelve months, and where non-previously-disclosed reimbursed or sponsored travel takes place the Investigator shall disclose it within 30 days. Travel disclosures shall include: the purpose of the trip, the identity of the sponsor, the destination and the duration. Travel that is sponsored or reimbursed by a federal, state, or local government, a U.S. institution of higher education, or an academic medical center, academic teaching hospital, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education, is excluded from the travel reporting requirements.

The following are not included in the term Significant Financial Interest:

  1. Income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, provided these accounts are managed by a third party.
  2. Salary, royalties, or other payments made by CWI

Policy

CWI encourages and supports outside interactions of its faculty, staff, and student employees with federal, state, and local governments, community organizations, non-profit groups, and business and industry as important parts of their research, teaching, and community engagement activities. However, maintenance of the public’s trust is critical to the mission and reputation of CWI. It is vital that employees and Public Servants of CWI demonstrate that they hold themselves to the highest ethical standards, including the disclosure of their participation in any activity that will result in their financial, professional, or personal benefit and may be construed as a Conflict of Interest.

CWI’s approach to identifying, evaluating and managing potential Conflicts of Interest does not attempt to illustrate all possible situations that require disclosure. All employees and Public Servants are expected to be vigilant and ethical in all dealings in order to ensure any potential conflicts are addressed quickly and appropriately.

Guidelines

Conflicts Of Interest For Employees/Public Servants

A Conflict of Interest arises when an employee or Public Servant may benefit personally from dealings with an entity or person conducting business with the College, including indirect benefits such as to family members or businesses with which the person is closely associated. A Conflict of Interest also arises when an employee’s or Public Servant’s personal interests or relationships may compromise his/her professional judgment in the discharge of his/her duties and responsibilities.

CWI employees have an obligation to conduct college-related business transactions and other duties assigned to them without actual or potential Conflicts of Interest. Neither employees nor Public Servants may review, approve, or make any decision relating to a College transaction that may financially benefit themselves or their family members. In accordance with this policy, all employees and Public Servants shall take all necessary precautions to avoid any actual or potential Conflicts of Interest and to disclose any actual or potential conflicts that may exist. An employee or Public Servant who believe that he/she may be in a conflict of interest situation must work through Human Resources or the Risk Management Departments. If it is determined that there is an actual or potential conflict of interest, the employee or Public Servant shall comply with the reporting requirement set forth below.

Conflict Of Interest Principles

Conflicts of Interest are situational and can arise under many different circumstances. This policy does not attempt to provide an exhaustive list of every possible situation but provides requirements for CWI employees and Public Servants to avoid, minimize and manage a real or potential Conflict of Interest. If an employee or Public Servant ever feels that he or she is, or may appear to be conflicted in a given situation, it is appropriate to report that real or potential conflict as provided below so that the situation may be reviewed and a management plan may be developed if necessary.

Employees with administrative responsibilities should be aware of the potential for Conflicts of Interest when making CWI business decisions. Employees who have duties involving procurements, sale of goods, negotiation or development of contracts or who make decisions affecting CWI assets, including intellectual property and licenses, should be particularly conscious of Conflicts of Interest. In general, when employees or their family members have a financial interest in a business, they must acknowledge that a Conflict of Interest exists if that business has a relationship with CWI. CWI employees may not review, approve or make any decision related to a CWI transaction that may financially benefit the employee or his or her family members.

CWI Resources

CWI’s resources should not be used for personal gain. CWI personnel, laboratories, space, services, equipment or intellectual property should not be used in connection with the outside employment or for the personal benefit of a CWI employee without prior written authorization from the Vice President of Finance and Administration. Similarly, CWI employees or Public Servants may not use CWI’s name for advertising purposes except to the extent authorized by CWI. An employee or Public Servant may identify a factual association with CWI, but shall take care that CWI’s name is not used in any way that implies endorsement or approval by CWI. Employees or Public Servants may not use any CWI logo or trademark for non-CWI activity without prior written approval from CWI’s Vice President of Communication and Government Relations.

Conflict Of Interest Disclosure

Annual Reporting

Employees

All employees must complete and submit a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form (hereafter called “Annual Disclosure”) within thirty (30) days of hire and annually thereafter. The purpose of the Annual Disclosure is to solicit information that allows the College to determine whether an employee has a potential Conflict of Interest, financial or other, as defined in this policy. When the College determines that the information submitted indicates that a Conflict of Interest does exist, the College may require the employee to submit additional information and explanation regarding that conflict.

Public Servants

Public Servants serving on college committees, boards, or advisory groups may be required to submit an Annual Disclosure form, if so required in committee charters or bylaws.

Outside of an Annual Disclosure, all employees and Public Servants must submit an ad hoc notification if an actual or potential Conflict of Interest, financial or other, arises within 30 days of becoming aware of the actual or potential Conflict of Interest.

Review and Notifications

The disclosure of a non grant-related Conflict of Interest, financial or other, will be reviewed promptly by Human Resources and Risk Management for a determination of whether it constitutes a Conflict of Interest. Human Resources and Risk Management may seek legal guidance regarding the actual or potential conflict of interest from CWI’s attorney. If a Conflict of Interest, financial or other, exists, the Risk Manager will meet with the employee and the employee’s supervisor within thirty (30) calendar days to address the conflict. The Risk Manager will report Conflicts of Interest, financial or other, or non-compliance with this policy to President’s Cabinet, for mitigation.

Administration and Record-Keeping

Risk Management will administer this policy to the extent that a Conflict of Interest, financial or other, is non grant-related, and maintain records of all filed disclosure forms and associated documents, including, but not limited to, documentation of actions taken by college administrators and committees to eliminate, reduce and/or manage Conflicts of Interest. All such records will be retained for a period of three years following completion or termination of the activity that prompted the filing of the disclosure form. In the event of any sanction, copies of such records will be provided to Human Resources and maintained as part of the employee file.

Violations Of Policy

Sanctions

Failure to comply with this policy may subject an employee to corrective action, up to and including dismissal.

Additional sanctions may apply under applicable State Board of Education policies and state and federal law.

Violations of this policy must be reported to the Office of Risk Management or through the ethics hotline.

Reviews

An employee may request a review of a decision regarding a Conflict of Interest by the President. All requests for review shall be initiated in writing within five (5) business days of decision notification. A request for review shall set forth pertinent facts. The employee will be notified of the President’s decision within ten (10) business days of the request for review.