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UIT Conflict of Commitment Policy

October 18, 2013

Within University Information Technology (UIT), many employees frequently come into contact with outside companies as an essential part of their normal business activities and/or during off-hours activities. Examples of these types of interactions include, but are not limited to, non-disclosure technology discussions, open product briefings, requests for quotes, formal procurement processes, and other similar activities. University employees are subject to the enhanced requirements for purchasing, ethics, and associated transparency outlined in the recently enacted update to state procurement law (Utah Code Chapter 63G‐6a). Additionally, as UIT has increased its focus on the use and development of open source software (e.g., the Kuali administrative systems software suite), many UIT employees now are actively engaged in the development of intellectual property (IP) that will be contributed into community source efforts with corresponding in-kind benefits accruing to the University. Finally, some UIT employees are working closely with University faculty members in externally sponsored research projects that also may result in IP development.

The growing complexity of the environment in which UIT employees operate daily requires all employees to be increasingly cognizant of potential conflicts of commitment – whether they are actual or potentially perceived by reasonable external observers. In order to enable UIT leadership to make the most informed decisions about the relationships of staff members with outside companies, a critical first  step is the prompt disclosure of all external relationships held by all UIT employees.

Requirements

  1. Within thirty business days of the adoption of this policy and on at least an annual basis thereafter, all UIT employees shall complete and subsequently keep current the Business Reporting Relationship (BRR) questionnaire developed by the University Office of Research Compliance and Integrity. The current web link for this disclosure process is: 
    http://research.web.utah.edu/integrity/conflict
  2. In addition to making any required BRR updates, any UIT employee who has established or changed a relationship with a company (or other for‐profit entity) in any material way (e.g. gaining founder, officer, board member, employee, consultant, contractor, or vendor status) and/or who discovers an actual or potentially perceived conflict of commitment with a company must notify his or her direct manager within no more than ten business days after such  an event. If the employee has not previously disclosed any outside business relationship or other potential conflict prior to the adoption of this policy, this information must be disclosed to the direct manager within thirty business days after the date when the policy becomes effective. In the event that the employee, for whatever reason, does not feel comfortable disclosing this information to his or her direct manager, the employee retains the responsibility to disclose and must do so to either the manager of the direct manager or a member of UIT senior leadership (Deputy CIO and/or CFO) under these same time constraints.
  3. The requirements contained in this policy apply to all UIT staff members working under the traditional “work for hire” arrangement (i.e., non‐tenure track faculty) and are in addition to all other applicable University policies and regulations, including  Policy 5‐204: Remunerative Consultation and Other Employment Activities. The current web link for this policy is:
    http://regulations.utah.edu/human‐resources/5‐204.php
  1. Upon the disclosure of an external relationship, the employee’s manager, together with the UIT senior leadership (Deputy CIO and/or CFO), shall evaluate the external relationship and determine whether that relationship has the potential to interfere with the employee’s ethical performance of his/her duties to the University of Utah. If a determination is made that the relationship  has  such potential, UIT senior leadership will determine whether the relationship can be managed so as to avoid an actual conflict of interest and/or conflict of commitment. If the relationship cannot be effectively managed, the employee will be required to eliminate the conflict. Determinations by the Deputy CIO and/or the CFO may be appealed by the employee to the CIO. The decision of the CIO on these matters is final.
  2. Failure to abide by this policy will be considered actionable  from a UIT Human Resources perspective and may subject the employee to discipline, including and up to termination.
Last Updated: 9/18/17