Number: HR 270
Effective: September 30, 2016
Last Reviewed: March 20, 2024
Department: Human Resources
Last Revision: February 12, 2024


To provide guidelines for identifying, evaluating, and managing potential or actual conflicts of interest.


Applies to all CWI employees and any person performing a governmental function on behalf of CWI, including but not limited to community members on college committees and advisory board members. Conflicts of interest related to members of CWI’s Board of Trustees are addressed in CWI’s Board of Trustee Handbook.


Conflict of Interest: A situation where an employee’s financial, professional, or personal interest compromises the employee’s professional judgment in the discharge of their duties.

Conflict of Commitment: Refers to an individual distribution of effort between the individual’s appointment at CWI and the individuals outside professional activities.

Family Member: Any person with whom an employee has a familial or guardianship relationship, including but not limited to a parent, guardian, stepparent, child, stepchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, stepsibling, 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 an employee or a member of their family, whether or not the value is readily ascertainable, including, but not limited to salary or other payments of 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); the value of intellectual property rights and interests (e.g., patents, trademarks, service marks, and copyrights), and royalties or other income received from such intellectual property.

Principal Investigator (PI): The individual(s) responsible for the technical and financial performance of a sponsored project. A PI can also be called a Project Director (PD) or a co-PI.


CWI employees have an obligation to conduct College-related business without actual or potential conflicts of interest or commitment. In accordance with this policy, employees shall take necessary precautions to avoid any actual or potential conflicts of interest and to ensure that their activities do not conflict with their obligations to the college and its welfare.

For effective administration of this policy, employees are required to disclose outside activities and interests, through the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form, including financial interests, that might give rise to conflicts.

Other college policies address various types of conflicts of interest:

  • HR 260 – Nepotism: related to hiring, supervising, and instruction of employee family members,
  • HR 020 – Employees and Student Relationships/Fraternization Policy: related to relationships between employees and students.
  • HR 210 – Outside Employment Policy: related to engagements or employment outside of college employment.

There are situations where judgment may differ as to whether there is or may be a conflict of interest, and employees may inadvertently place themselves in a situation where conflict exists. For this reason employees with a personal interest that may have or become a potential conflict of interest should seek advice and guidance by reviewing the specific circumstances with Human Resources or when applicable with the Sponsored Programs Office for conflict of interest under research sponsored projects.


Conflicts Of Interest Principles

Generally, a conflict of interest arises when an employee has a personal interest that may compromise the employee’s professional judgment. This personal interest is often identified as a financial interest, where an employee or a family member of the employee receives a financial benefit from dealings with an entity or person conducting business with CWI. However, personal interests giving rise to a conflict of interest may also involve family, social, or outside professional interests, including membership in or commitments to other organizations, which do not necessarily result in financial benefit.

Conflicts of interest may be direct, where the employee benefits personally, or they may be indirect, where family members or closely associated businesses of the employee benefit. Additionally, conflicts may be actual or potential and, in some cases, the conflict could present as an apparent conflict of interest, which can be just as harmful to the organization’s reputation. All conflicts of interest, whether actual or potential, real or apparent, must be avoided in order to preserve and maintain public trust.

This policy cannot address every situation in which a conflict of interest may arise. However, the guidelines in this policy provide examples of prohibited behavior that can assist employees to become aware of when an actual or potential conflict of interest is present. This policy also provides links to resources addressing unethical behaviors which are prohibited by law, and which carry civil and criminal penalties.

While all care should be taken to avoid a conflict of interest, CWI has provided a process by which employees can disclose actual or potential conflicts of interest. By disclosing the actual or potential conflict of interest, CWI can provide a management plan that allows CWI to continue its business transactions and other community relationships with the integrity and public trust that is essential to the effective operations of a public institution.


Self-dealing involves situations in which an employee can influence a college-related decision that may result in the employee or the employee’s family member realizing a personal financial benefit. Employees who have authority to enter business transactions on behalf of CWI must be particularly aware of the potential for self-dealing. Specifically, employees who exercise discretion with respect to procurement, sale of goods, negotiation, or development of contract, or who make decisions affecting CWI assets, including intellectual property and licenses, must avoid exercising such discretion in a manner that directly or indirectly provides a financial benefit to the employee.

Examples of self-dealing activities include the following:

  • Approving or influencing College-related purchases from businesses in which an employee or family member has a financial interest.
  • Accepting gratuities or special favors from a person or organization known to contract with the College where the employee exercises discretion in connection with such contract or contracts.
  • Evaluating responses to requests for bids from vendors to whom the employee is related or in which the employee holds a financial interest.
  • Purchase of CWI property by an employee absent fair and open bidding.
Use of College Name or 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 outside employment or for the personal benefit of a CWI employee without prior written authorization from the Vice President of Finance.

Similarly, CWI employees may not use CWI’s name for advertisement purposes except to the extent authorized by CWI. An employee 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 may not use any CWI logo or trademark for non-CWI activity without prior written approval from CWI’s Communications and Marketing Department.

Examples of improper use of CWI’s name or resources include the following:

  • Using CWI equipment in furtherance of private research unrelated to assigned duties.
  • Using the CWI name, logo, or brand to promote a commercial service or product, regardless of whether that employee has any interest in the promotion.
  • Using the CWI name or letterhead in connection with the employee’s personal business.
Use of Confidential Information

An employee may not use or disclose confidential information gained by reason of the employee’s College-related activities with the intent to obtain a financial benefit for the employee or for any other person or entity, or for any purpose which may be detrimental to CWI.

Conflict of Commitment

A conflict of commitment occurs when an employee’s outside activities, including private consulting, business activities, external professional endeavors, pro bono work, or outside employment compromise or may compromise the employee’s ability to meet their obligations to CWI. For further explanation on when outside employment may constitute a conflict of commitment, please refer to HR 210 – Outside Employment Policy.

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.

In addition to the Annual Disclosure, all employees must submit an ad hoc notification if an actual or potential conflict of interest arises as soon as becoming aware of the actual or potential conflict of interest and no later than thirty (30) days after becoming aware of the actual or potential conflict of interest.

Persons performing governmental functions on behalf of CWI, including those serving on college committees, boards, or advisory groups, may be required to submit Annual Disclosures and/or ad hoc notifications, if so, required in committee charters or bylaws or as directed by CWI.

Review and Notifications

The disclosure of a conflict of interest will be reviewed promptly by Human Resources for a determination of whether it constitutes a conflict of interest. Human Resources may seek legal guidance regarding the actual or potential conflict of interest from the Office of General Counsel. If a conflict of interest exists, Human Resources will meet with the employee and the employee’s supervisor within thirty (30) calendar days to address the conflict. Interim measures to manage the actual or potential conflict of interest may be taken during the time period it takes to assess the conflict and establish a management plan.


CWI employees must comply with any applicable requirements regarding conflict of interests in their sponsored programs/projects agreements. Before a proposal is submitted to a sponsor or funding organization, employees acting in the capacity of Principal Investigators (PI) under the sponsored program are required to certify the appropriate disclosures of any significant financial interest related to the proposal.

When required by a sponsor or funding organization, and for those sponsored programs directly related to research activities, additional disclosures may be required and the Sponsored Programs Office in cooperation with Human Resources will be responsible for reviewing the possible conflicts of interest, making determinations if a management plan is needed, and reporting the conflict to the appropriate sponsor or funding organization prior to the expenditure of any sponsor funds. Please see Process and Guidelines for Conflict of Interest in Sponsored Programs.


Human Resources will administer this policy 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 at least three (3) years following completion or termination of the activity that prompted the filing of the disclosure form. For conflicts of interest related to sponsored programs/projects the retention period will be determined by the terms and conditions of the sponsored agreement.  In the event any sanction, copies of such records will be provided to Human Resources and maintained as part of the employee file.



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

Violations of this policy must be reported to Human Resources or through the CWI Ethics Hotline.

Additional sanctions may apply under applicable State Board of Education policies and state and federal law and regulations. Employees must comply with all applicable statutes and rules governing conflicts of interest. For a complete list of applicable state law governing ethics in government, please review the following resources:

  • Bribery and Corrupt Influence Act, Idaho Code § 18-1351 et seq.
  • Prohibition Against Contracts with Officers Act, Idaho Code § 74-501 er seq.
  • Ethics in Government Act of 2015, Idaho Code § 74-401 et seq.
  • Public Integrity in Elections Act, Idaho Code § 74-060 et seq.
  • See also Idaho Ethics in Government Manual