WHAT IS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST OR COI?
- The risk of a COI arises when a monetary or financial value creates, or appears to create, competing interests for an individual, individual’s family member, friend or other close associate, or an institution.
WHAT IS A CONFLICT OF COMMITMENT OR COC?
- A COC arises when external activities undertaken by a UVM employee will or reasonably can be expected to significantly interfere with their ability to perform obligations to University duties fully or effectively.
- A COC could also arise if external activities are of such nature and/or are conducted in such manner that could be perceived as discrediting the University.
- A COC arises if a Covered Person grants rights in the University’s intellectual property to a third party. For example, a faculty member should make clear when entering into a consulting agreement that the faculty member is an employee of UVM and that the consulting agreement is subject to UVM’s policies, including UVM’s Intellectual Property policy.
WHY DOES UVM NEED A CONFLICT OF INTEREST/CONFLICT OF COMMITMENT POLICY?
- Advancement of the mission of the University requires that all UVM employees avoid both conflicts of interest (COI) that may impair the public trust and conflicts of commitment (COC) that may compromise the performance effectiveness of employees in carrying out their University responsibilities.
WHO IS A COVERED PERSON?
- Under UVM’s Conflict of Interest/Conflict of Commitment Policy (PDF), a covered person is anyone who is a faculty member or an exempt staff member.
- Others as identified by the President may also need to submit a disclosure form. If you have been notified that you need to submit one and are not a faculty member or an exempt staff member, that means you have been identified by the President as being in a position that requires annual disclosure.
WHY DOES UVM REQUIRE DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS FROM COVERED PERSONS?
- It provides a means for both the University and for individual UVM employees to comply with regulations related to conflicts.
- It helps protect both the University and the covered employee against allegations of impropriety by managing conflicts and addressing any concerns.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS AND HOW WILL I KNOW IT’S TIME FOR ME TO RESUBMIT?
- Each year, covered persons are asked to fill out a disclosure form through UVMClick. This form solicits information on whether an individual has interests or participates in activities that could give rise to a conflict.
- Those employees who are required to fill out an annual disclosure will receive an email from UVMClick indicating that it is time to fill out their disclosure form.
- The date that individuals need to submit a COI/COC disclosure is based on the last time they submitted a form.
- If you filled one out last October, and were not required to update it due to a sponsored award submission or due to a change in your circumstances, you will receive a reminder email the following October.
- If you submitted a sponsored award proposal, or if you began a new activity/acquired a new interest that requires disclosure at any time during the year, you will receive your reminder email one year following your most recent update.
- Submission date requirements are different for Financial Conflicts of Interest in Sponsored Research (FCOI). Those are detailed here.
WHO NEEDS TO SUBMIT A DISCLOSURE?
- Under UVM’s Conflict of Interest/Conflict of Commitment Policy (PDF), all employees (faculty and staff) are required to disclose outside activities and interests. The method of disclosure is as follows:
- All Covered Persons and other such officials designated by the President must file a conflicts disclosure form annually through UVMClick. Covered Persons are all faculty and all exempt staff.
- All non-covered staff are required to disclose, in writing, outside activities and interests to their supervisors as they arise. The method of disclosure for non-covered staff is at the discretion of the employment unit.
IF I’M NOT A COVERED PERSON, HOW DO I DISCLOSE MY OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES AND/OR INTERESTS?
- The method of disclosure for non-covered persons is at the discretion of your manager or supervisor. Most non-covered person disclosures occur via email.
- Disclosures done outside of UVMClick must be in writing.
I DON’T PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY. WHY AM I BEING ASKED TO SUBMIT A DISCLOSURE THROUGH UVMCLICK?
- UVMClick was, in the past, used only for research disclosures. Beginning in March, 2021, the system was expanded to include non-research activities/interests.
- If you are a faculty member or an exempt staff member, you are now required to submit an annual conflict disclosure form even if you do not participate in research at UVM.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FCOI AND COI/COC?
- At UVM, “FCOI” stands for “Financial Conflict of Interest in Research”. Certain federal and other funding agencies require the review and management of financial conflicts of interest in research.
- Investigators are required to submit an FCOI disclosure prior to the submission of proposals for any sponsored research.
- More information related to FCOI can be found here.
- At UVM, “COI” stands for “Conflict of Interest” and “COC” stands for “Conflict of Commitment”. COI/COC includes interests of a financial nature, including employee responsibilities to invention disclosure and intellectual property ownership and also includes activities that are not financial. This policy supplements federal and state law requirements as well as professional ethics and other conduct standards that may apply to particular professions or disciplines.
- Covered persons are required to submit a COI/COC disclosure annually.
I AM NEW TO MY ROLE AND I AM A COVERED PERSON UNDER THE POLICY. WHEN DO I FILL OUT MY DISCLOSURE FORM?
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COI/COC TRAINING?
- UVM COI/COC Policy outlines the training requirements related to COI/COC. Training should be completed at least once every 4 years. Beginning in the fall of 2021, covered persons will receive notification to complete training. You will still be able to submit a disclosure form even if you have chosen not to complete the COI/COC training.
- New hires or individuals who transfer into the covered person category from a non-covered category will be notified to complete training. They will then fall into the same 4-year cycle. This means that new hires/transfers may receive their first notification sooner than 4 years in order to get them into the University-wide training cycle.
- FCOI training is required and those involved in research will not be able to submit a disclosure form if their training is not current.
IS THERE A MONETARY THRESHOLD FOR DISCLOSING?
- A conflict can arise even in situations where money is not being exchanged.For purchases related to research, a good rule of thumb is to use the federal limit of $5,000 in a one-year period.
- For internal purchases, other financial related services, and those purchases not related to research, there is no threshold. Even small dollar amounts can create a conflict if it is between related parties.
- Most disclosures under the federal threshold will not rise to the level of improper; however, covered persons should consider the activity and whether a reasonable person would think that the activity is improper and report those conflicts even if they are less than $5,000 in a one-year period.
WHO IS CONSIDERED A FAMILY MEMBER UNDER THIS POLICY?
- Under UVM’s COI/COC Policy, a family member is a spouse or civil union partner, a member of your same household, a parent, a grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, cousin, aunt or uncle. Step and in-law parents, grandparents and siblings, as well as step-children and step-grandchildren are also considered family members.
- If you are involved in research and disclose a significant financial interest (SFI) as defined by federal awarding agencies, an immediate family member includes yourself, your spouse and any dependent children. However, under UVM’s COI/COC and Nepotism Policies, family member includes all of those individuals listed above.
WHERE DO I GO TO SUBMIT MY DISCLOSURE FORM?
I SUBMITTED MY FORM. WHO IS MY REVIEWER AND WHO CAN I CONTACT FOR A STATUS UPDATE?
- Your Dean or their designee (for academic units) or your Vice President or their designee (for administrative units) is the reviewer for non-sponsored research related COI/COC disclosures. Contact them directly for questions.
- A list of COI/COC Reviewers can be found here and will be periodically updated.
- The Research Compliance Officer in Research Integrity is the reviewer for sponsored research related FCOI disclosures. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
I SUBMITTED MY DISCLOSURE FORM. WHEN CAN I EXPECT A RESPONSE?
- You may not receive a response. If you are not disclosing activities or if, after review, the activities you’ve disclosed do not rise to the level of a conflict, you will not receive a response. You can always log back in and check the status.
- If you have activities/interests to disclose, your disclosure form will be reviewed and, if there are questions or if any of your disclosures create, or are perceived to create, a conflict, you will receive a response in a timely manner. If you are awaiting a response, you should reach out to your reviewer directly. See FAQ entitled “Who is my reviewer?” for more information.
- If your submission is related to a pending award submission, you should proactively reach out to your reviewer to notify them that their timely review and response is requested in order to prevent delays with your award submission.
MY CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE CHANGED SINCE I SUBMITTED MY DISCLOSURE FORM. DO I NEED TO DO ANYTHING?
- Yes. You must submit an updated form. You should submit updates prior to beginning the new activity.
- The University will not provide assistance in the event there are allegations of impropriety for activities that are not disclosed.
- Depending on the nature of the conflict, the University may need to take personnel action if a conflict was not disclosed.
WHAT IF I CHOOSE NOT TO SUBMIT A DISCLOSURE FORM?
- If you do not submit a disclosure form, you will not be eligible for assistance from the University in responding to or defending against allegations of impropriety.
- If you choose to submit a form but do not disclose a conflict that later results in allegations of impropriety, the University will not provide assistance to you.
- Depending on the nature of the conflict, the University may need to take personnel action if a conflict was not disclosed.
- If you are an investigator on a sponsored project, there may be additional sanctions issued by the granting agency. Any legal fees, fines, penalties or other costs will be borne by you for any activities not disclosed.
- You will be solely responsible for any fines, penalties or disciplinary actions taken in response to conflicts that have not been disclosed.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS OR COULD BE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST/CONFLICT OF COMMITMENT?
- If there is an activity disclosed that presents a conflict, the reviewer will forward this to email@example.com for further review.
- If, after review, it is determined that the conflict can be managed, a management plan will be developed with input from you and from your reviewer.
- If the conflict either cannot or should not be managed, you, your manager and your reviewer will be advised on the steps that are needed to eliminate the conflict. Examples of these steps include stopping the activity or changing your role and/or responsibilities.
- A determination that an activity cannot be managed and that discontinuation of the activity is required is the option of last resort.
- The process for reviewing and managing FCOI is separately coordinated through the Office of Research Integrity.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DISAGREE WITH THE DECISION OR THE TERMS OF THE MANAGEMENT PLAN?
- You may submit a written appeal to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide additional information. A review team will include, at a minimum, a representative from the Office of Compliance Services and the Office of General Counsel. The decision after an appeal will be final.
DOES THIS MEAN THAT I CAN NO LONGER HAVE MY OWN BUSINESS?
- No. However, you must include this on your disclosure form and should be aware of the following:
- If your business does business with the University, you must include this on your disclosure form and you are prohibited from signing contracts, providing any goods or services, or otherwise engaging with the University unless or until the activity has been approved.
- If you are also an investigator on a sponsored research project, you may be required to disclose your income from your business if it meets the definition of a Significant Financial Interest.
- Only incidental use of any of the University’s facilities, personnel, equipment, IT resources, or other resources for the purpose of your outside business is allowed. Using confidential information/protected data for your outside business is prohibited and depending on the type and use of the data, the University may be obligated to report this as a breach to law enforcement agencies.
CAN I USE MY OFFICE, LAB, OR OTHER UVM FACILITY OR CAN I USE UVM EQUIPMENT, TECHNOLOGY OR OTHER RESOURCES FOR MY BUSINESS OR FOR OUTSIDE ENDEAVORS?
- Only incidental use is allowed. Anything more than infrequent or a minor portion of the total use time of University’s facilities, personnel, equipment, IT resources, confidential information/protected data or other resources for the purpose of your outside business is prohibited.
- Refer to the Protecting University Assets and Appropriate Use of University Resources section of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for additional information.
WHO CAN I CONTACT FOR TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE?
CONFLICT OF INTEREST:
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF INTERESTS THAT SHOULD BE DISCLOSED?
- You should disclose any known financial interests that you or members of your family have in any of these areas:
- Any University purchase or procurement of goods or services (whether or not pursuant to a formal contract) or in any investment or loan made by the University.
- Ownership interest in a company that does business with UVM.
- Serving as a board member of an entity that has business dealings with UVM.
- Providing consulting services to outside entities.
- A donor that contributes a monetary gift or gift-in-kind designated to be in support of the Employee's scholarly activities.
- Employment outside of UVM while employed by UVM.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CONFLICT OF INTEREST (COI) AND A FINANCIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST (FCOI)?
- A conflict of interest (COI) is any interest that will, could, or is intended to lead to a profit or increase in the income or net worth of an employee and/or their family member.
- A Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) means that it could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of eternally funded research. More information can be found here.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FINANCIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST (FCOI) AND A SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL INTEREST (SFI)?
- Nothing. FCOI means that there is a Significant Financial Interest (SFI). It is defined/regulated by the federal government. FCOI’s only apply to PI’s and Investigators and only apply to those interests of the PI/Investigator, their spouse, and/or their dependent children that reasonably appear to be related to the PI’s/Investigator’s institutional responsibilities. More information can be found here.
I’M AN INVESTIGATOR AND I’VE ALREADY FILLED OUT MY FCOI DISCLOSURE. WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO DO?
- Nothing until you receive notification.
- You will need to fill out a new disclosure form when you receive your notification from the UVMClick-FCOI system. The functionality is the same and should look familiar to you, but any submissions after February 26th will include additional COI/COC questions.
DO I NEED TO DISCLOSE EVERY INTEREST THAT I HAVE?
- You are only required to disclose those interests that you or a member of your family has that could create a conflict. Keep in mind, however, that should you fail to disclose a potential conflict, the University cannot provide assistance in the event there are allegations of impropriety for activities that are not disclosed. If you are unsure, you should disclose it.
- Depending on the nature of the conflict, the University may need to take personnel action if a conflict was not disclosed.
DO I NEED TO DISCLOSE ALL OF MY INVESTMENTS AND HOLDINGS?
- No. You are only required to disclose your ownership interest in a company if (1) you or a member of your family controls the interest, and (2) the company is related to your institutional responsibilities. For example, if you are able to influence the decision to enter into an arrangement with the company, or if you participate in the recommendation or selection of a company, or if you interact with the company as part of your UVM job, you should disclose it. If you’re not sure, contact your reviewer for guidance.
- You do not need to disclose mutual funds or other retirement accounts where the plan decides where to invest and what stocks to buy.
WHERE DO I GO TO SUBMIT MY DISCLOSURE FORM?
MY WORK AT THE UNIVERSITY IS SUPPORTED BY A GIFT IN WHICH I AM NAMED AS A BENEFICIARY. DO I NEED TO DO ANYTHING TO BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH THIS POLICY?
- You are only required to disclose those interests and activities that you or a member of your family has that could create a conflict. To protect yourself and the University, if you are unsure, disclose it. Should you fail to disclose a potential conflict, the University cannot provide assistance in the event there are allegations of impropriety for activities that are not disclosed.
- Additional information can be found in UVM’s Gift Policy.
I HAVE AN INVENTION THAT WILL BE LICENSED THROUGH UVM INNOVATIONS. WHAT IS REQUIRED OF ME UNDER THIS POLICY?
- If you have an equity interest, serve as an officer or are involved in a management role for the third party to which UVM Innovations is considering licensing the invention, you must disclose this through UVM Click. Following submission, your reviewer will determine whether a management plan is needed. If so, this will be referred to the COI/COC Committee to work with you to develop a management plan.
CONFLICT OF COMMITMENT:
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF ACTIVITIES THAT SHOULD BE DISCLOSED?
- Examples of activities to disclose include:
- Participation in any business enterprise as owner, partner, officer, supervisor, manager or in any capacity with management responsibilities, regardless of compensation
- Service as an officer, director, trustee or public representative of a professional association, educational institution, nonprofit organization, national commission or board, or foundation
- Consulting (see FAQ re: consulting for additional information)
- Having responsibility for any course, or representing oneself as a faculty member, at any other school or university
- Conducting external research related to the type of research for which you receive salary compensation at the university or for which you receive external support through university sponsored programs
- Service on an advisory council or scientific advisory board of a company or organization other than a state or federal agency
- Service for a professional society
- Uncompensated service to a journal advisory board
- Volunteer/other unpaid work that involves a commitment of time that may interfere with the employee's ability to fulfill their responsibilities to the University
- Any other employment with or service to an outside entity by a covered person where compensation in the form of money, services, goods or other consideration of value is received
- Examples of activities that do not require disclosure:
- Volunteer/other unpaid work that does not interfere with the employee’s ability to fulfill their responsibilities to the University (e.g., volunteer work that takes place on Saturday or Sunday or outside of the regular business or instructional hours of the University generally will not pose a Conflict of Commitment).
- Hobbies or recreational activities
- Religious activities
- Preparing and publishing scholarly communications such as books, articles and other creative works
- Peer review of manuscripts and grant proposals
- Editing of scholarly or professional publications or service on editorial boards for scholarly or professional publications
- Service without compensation, or with honoraria less than $1,000 annually, 1) on U.S. federal or state government agencies and boards, 2) on U.S. federal or state granting agency peer-group review panels, 3) on advisory groups for other U.S. universities or 4) in similar capacities primarily for the purpose of providing a public or University service within the United States
MY SUPERVISOR EXPECTS ME TO BE INVOLVED IN SOME OF THE EXAMPLES OF ACTIVITIES THAT COULD CONSTITUTE A COC. DO I STILL NEED TO INCLUDE THEM?
- If you are a covered person, yes. You must include them on the disclosure form.
- If you are not a covered person and, therefore, not utilizing the disclosure form, you are not required to disclose these to your supervisor if the activity does not interfere with your UVM job responsibilities/duties.
I AM NOT SURE WHETHER I NEED TO SUBMIT A DISCLOSURE FORM. WHO SHOULD I CONTACT?
- Your Dean or their designee (faculty) or your Vice President or their designee (staff) is the reviewer for conflict of commitment disclosures. Contact them for questions.
- A list of reviewers can be found here and will be periodically updated.
WHERE DO I GO TO SUBMIT MY DISCLOSURE FORM?
I SUBMITTED MY DISCLOSURE FORM LAST YEAR. DO I NEED TO DO IT AGAIN?
- Yes. Disclosure forms need to be submitted annually. They also need to be updated when your circumstances change.
- If you update your form within the year, your due date will reset to one year after your most recent submission.
I DIDN’T HAVE ANY REPORTABLE ACTIVITIES WHEN I SUBMITTED MY FORM, BUT I DO NOW. DO I NEED TO SUBMIT ANOTHER ONE BEFORE MY ANNUAL DISCLOSURE IS DUE?
- Yes. You must submit an updated disclosure form before you begin the activity. If you’ve already begun, you must submit a new form before continuing to engage in the activity.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED CONSULTING?
- Consulting is when an employee uses their professional capabilities and knowledge for the benefit of a third party in return for immediate or prospective gain.
- Consulting is generally not service without compensation or with honoraria less than $1,000 annually or service primarily for the purpose of providing a public or university service (for example, on U.S. governmental agencies and boards, on U.S. granting agency peer-group review panels, on advisory groups for other U.S. universities).
- Disclosure for conflict purposes and for tax purposes differs. For conflicts, there is generally a $1,000 threshold; however, the IRS requires that all compensation or honoraria in excess of $600 annually be reported.
ARE OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES, SUCH AS CONSULTING, NOW PROHIBITED?
- No. As long as the activity does not present a conflict of interest, a conflict of commitment, or otherwise exceed any previously agreed upon workload plans, the activity would be allowed.
- Even if a disclosure presents a conflict, if the conflict can be managed, it would still not be prohibited as long as the requirements of the management plan are met.
DOES THE CONFLICT POLICY PROHIBIT ME FROM BEING A PAID CONSULTANT FOR A CORPORATION OR A FOR-PROFIT COMPANY?
- Consulting is not prohibited as long as it does not present a conflict of commitment that interferes with your ability to perform the job for which you were hired at UVM.
I PROVIDE ADVICE FOR A COMPANY AND DO NOT RECEIVE COMPENSATION. THEY DO REIMBURSE ME FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES. IS THAT CONSIDERED CONSULTING?
- If you are providing services without compensation or honoraria, it does not qualify as consulting and does not need to be reported.
- Travel reimbursement is not considered compensation; however, if you are involved in sponsored research, it could constitute a financial conflict of interest (FCOI).
I OWN MY OWN BUSINESS BUT I DO NOT HAVE ANY INCOME FROM IT. DO I NEED TO REPORT IT?
- Yes. Whether or not you are receiving income is not the decision point. If you are an owner or a partner in a business enterprise, it must be reported.
I AM SOMETIMES ASKED TO PARTICIPATE IN ONLINE SURVEYS RELATED TO MY EXPERTISE AND I DO RECEIVE A SMALL AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR DOING THIS. IS IT REPORTABLE?
- This would not likely rise to the level of a conflict of commitment but it would be reportable since you are being compensated.
CAN I ACCEPT AN HONORARIUM FOR GIVING A LECTURE?
- Yes. This is allowed; however, if the honorarium reaches or exceeds $5,000 in a one year period, it must be disclosed prior to giving the lecture.
- If you are involved in sponsored research, the honoraria, regardless of the amount, may need to be disclosed.
I RECEIVE ROYALTIES OR COMPENSATION FOR PUBLISHING WORKS. IS THIS REPORTABLE?
- Work on scholarly publications does not need to be reported. If the publication is not a scholarly communication, then it must be disclosed.
- If you are involved in sponsored research, the royalties or compensation, regardless of the amount, may need to be disclosed.
I AM INVOLVED IN A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION RELATED TO MY UNIVERSITY DUTIES. IS THE WORK THAT I PERFORM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND MY ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS REPORTABLE?
- If you are an officer, director, trustee or public representative for the organization then yes. It must be reported.
- Otherwise, you do not need to report the activity.
DOES A CONFLICT OF COMMITMENT APPLY TO WORK RELATED TO MY SABBATICAL?
- If the activities that you will engage in during your sabbatical are reportable then it must be disclosed and the disclosure form must be submitted in advance. If it is unrelated then you do not need to report it.
- You must also follow the requirements of UVM’s sabbatical process.
WHAT IS NEPOTISM?
- Nepotism is when favoritism is applied, without regard to merit, through authority or influence by someone in a position of power, toward Family Members or others for whom the employee is legally responsible.
- Favoritism is shown by giving preferential treatment in any employment action by Family Members.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE UVM COI/COC POLICY AND THE NEPOTISM POLICY?
CAN TWO PEOPLE FROM THE SAME FAMILY WORK IN THE SAME DEPARTMENT?
- Family members are allowed to work in the same department as long as there isn’t a direct reporting line and as long as one family member is not making employment decisions for or directly supervising the other family member.
I HAD BEEN IN THE SAME DEPARTMENT AS MY FAMILY MEMBER BUT WAS RECENTLY PROMOTED TO A SUPERVISORY POSITION. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
- You cannot directly supervise a family member or otherwise make employment decisions for a member of your family.
- The reporting line will have to be changed. If it cannot be changed then a management plan will be needed to manage the conflict.
CAN MY CHILD, WHO IS A GRADUATE STUDENT, WORK ON A RESEARCH PROJECT WITH ME IF I AM THE PI?
- No. You are not allowed to supervise or otherwise have administrative authority over family members including in a research setting.
- An alternative research project can be an option as long as you are not supervising or evaluating your family member and you do not have authority over them. If there is no other option, a management plan is needed.
CAN MY CHILD, WHO IS A GRADUATE STUDENT, BE A TEACHING ASSISTANT IN MY CLASS?
- No. You are not allowed to supervise or otherwise have administrative authority over family members including in a classroom setting.
- An alternative class taught by different faculty can be an option as long as you are not supervising or evaluating your family member and you do not have authority over them.
AM I ALLOWED TO HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER AS A STUDENT IN ONE OF MY CLASSES?
- No. You are not allowed to be in a position to evaluate or supervise family members. This is true for faculty members, teaching and research assistants.
- An alternative class or an alternative section taught by someone else can be an option as long as you are not supervising or evaluating your family member and you do not have authority over them.
AM I REQUIRED TO DISCLOSE ALL FAMILY MEMBERS WHO WORK AT OR WHO ARE PAID BY THE UNIVERSITY?
- Yes. If you are a covered person, as part of your annual disclosure form, you are required to disclose this information. If you are not a covered person, you must disclose this in writing to your manager or supervisor.
- If you or your family member have any supervisory or administrative authority over one another or if you or your family member are in a position to make any sort of employment decisions for each other, the authority must be eliminated.
- If eliminating the authority is not possible, a management plan will be required.
I APPROVE EXPENSES FOR MY DEPARTMENT. WHILE I DO NOT DIRECTLY SUPERVISE MY FAMILY MEMBER, BY VIRTUE OF MY POSITION, I RECEIVED A FAMILY MEMBER’S EXPENSES TO APPROVE. IS THIS OK?
- No. You may not approve expenses or otherwise make any employment decisions for a member of your family.
- The matter must be bumped up to your supervisor for approval.
MY FAMILY MEMBER IS APPLYING FOR A POSITION OUTSIDE OF MY DEPARTMENT. DOES THIS NEED TO BE DISCLOSED?
- Yes. Your family member needs to disclose this as part of the job application.
CAN THE UNIVERSITY EMPLOY FAMILY MEMBERS OF CURRENT EMPLOYEES?
- Hiring of family members is not prohibited. Directly supervising or otherwise making employment decisions is prohibited but there is nothing that prevents a family member from being hired in a position outside of your direct supervision.
FOREIGN SUPPORT FOR INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES:
WHAT IS A FOREIGN ENTITY?
WHAT IS A FOREIGN INDIVIDUAL?
WHY DO WE NEED A POLICY ON FOREIGN SUPPORT AND INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES?
- UVM is committed to cultivating its research, growing its partnerships and enhancing its research portfolio both nationally and globally and UVM is also required to comply with federal and state laws as well as with our contracts and agreements.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Education (DOE), and the Department of Defense (DOD), as well as others, require that we disclose certain activities with foreign entities or foreign individuals.
WHAT FOREIGN SUPPORT AND INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES AM I REQUIRED TO DISCLOSE?
- All resources made available to a researcher in support of and/or related to research endeavors, including financial and in-kind contributions that are not part of a sponsored project that is already being managed by UVM’s Sponsored Projects Administration.
- Any activity where a recipient of federal funds is serving as an employee or agent of a foreign entity/individual.
IN MY RESEARCH, I AM COLLABORATING WITH A FOREIGN ENTITY. CAN YOU GIVE SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT NEEDS TO BE DISCLOSED?
- The following activities must be disclosed:
- Serving as an employee or agent of a Foreign Entity or Foreign Individual;
- Collaborating in research with a Foreign Entity or Foreign Individual, including designing experiments, collecting and analyzing data, preparing manuscripts for presentation or other publication, and presenting or otherwise publishing the results of research;
- Providing consulting services to a Foreign Entity or Foreign Individual, whether or not such services are compensated;
- Developing partnerships or other business relationships with a Foreign Entity or Foreign Individual;
- Acceptance of an academic appointment or title in any non-US institute, lab, university or research facility;
- Accepting gifts, including donations of funding, accommodations, travel-related expenses, equipment, software, or any materials to be used in support of research or clinical activities, from a Foreign Entity or Foreign Individual; and
- Any other activity or relationship subject to a disclosure requirement under UVM policy or state or federal law that involves a Foreign Entity or Foreign Individual including designing experiments, collecting and analyzing data, preparing manuscripts, and presenting or publishing research results.
WHEN AM I REQUIRED TO DISCLOSE THESE ACTIVITIES?
I AM ALSO A NAMED INVESTIGATOR AT ANOTHER INSTITUTION BUT AM NOT COMPENSATED BY THEM. HOW DO I LIST MY UVM AFFILIATION?
- If you are a named investigator at another institution, foreign or domestic, it doesn’t matter whether you are compensated or not. All publications must include your affiliation with UVM as your home institution and primary affiliation.
GIFTS AND GRATUITIES:
AN ORGANIZATION THAT DOES BUSINESS WITH UVM IS A SPONSOR OF A CONFERENCE THAT I’M ATTENDING. THEY HAVE OFFERED TO PAY FOR MY TRAVEL (AIRFARE AND HOTEL). CAN I ACCEPT THIS?
AS AN EXPERT IN MY FIELD, I HAVE BEEN ASKED TO SPEAK AT A CONFERENCE. THE ORGANIZERS HAVE OFFERED TO PAY FOR MY TRAVEL (AIRFARE AND HOTEL). CAN I ACCEPT THIS?
- Yes. If your travel expenses are incurred in consideration of a speaking or comparable appearance made or given by an employee in their professional or official capacity, payment can be accepted.
- If you are attending but not speaking then payment cannot be accepted.
WHILE ATTENDING A CONFERENCE, I WON A LAPTOP. CAN I KEEP IT?
- If you attended the conference in your capacity as a UVM employee and costs were paid for by the University:
- If you won the laptop by participating in a raffle or random drawing that was open to all attendees, you may accept it; however, you should discuss this with your manager or supervisor to determine the best use of the laptop.
- If the raffle or drawing was only available to a limited number based on some sort of criteria, you cannot accept the laptop.
- If you attended the conference on your own (unaffiliated with UVM) and paid for all of the conference costs yourself then you can accept the laptop.
WHILE AT A CONFERENCE, A VENDOR IS SPONSORING A COCKTAIL HOUR. CAN I ATTEND?
- Yes. As long as it is open to all attendees, you may attend.
WHILE AT A CONFERENCE, A VENDOR INVITED ME AND TWO OTHER UNIVERSITY REPRESENTATIVES OUT TO DINNER. CAN I ACCEPT THE INVITATION?
- No. Unless the invitation is open to all attendees at the conference, you cannot attend.
- If the invitation was open to all attendees but only a small number accepted, you can accept as long as the meal is not lavish or prices substantially more than the current per diem rate listed in the Travel Policy.
AM I ALLOWED TO ACCEPT GIVE-AWAYS OR OTHER PROMOTIONAL ITEMS FROM VENDORS WHILE AT A CONFERENCE?
- Yes. Promotional items with a nominal value (i.e., bags, pens, water bottles, t-shirts, cups) may be accepted as long as they are available to all conference attendees.
I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR NEGOTIATING VENDOR CONTRACTS FOR MY DEPARTMENT. ONE VENDOR HAS JUST SENT ME A HOLIDAY BASKET. MAY I ACCEPT IT?
- By virtue of your position, you should not be personally accepting gifts from vendors. However, after reporting the gift to your manager, you can accept the gift on behalf of the office and share with other staff members in your department
A VENDOR THAT WE WORK WITH HAS OFFERED TO LET ME USE HIS LAKE CABIN FOR A WEEK FREE OF CHARGE. MAY I ACCEPT THIS OFFER?
- No. This would be considered a gift of more than nominal value from a vendor and otherwise cannot be accepted.
AS A THANK YOU, A CONTRACTOR THAT WORKS CLOSELY WITH MY DEPARTMENT HAS OFFERED TO TAKE DEPARTMENT STAFF TO A RED SOX GAME AND CHARTER A BUS FOR THE DAY. CAN WE ACCEPT THIS OFFER?
- No. This would be considered a lavish event, the cost of which (travel, meals and ticket) exceeds nominal value. In addition, attendance would not serve a legitimate business purpose.
MY FRIEND OF SEVERAL YEARS OWNS A COMPANY THAT JUST ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT WITH THE UNIVERSITY. WE OFTEN GO OUT TO DINNER AND SOMETIMES THEY PAY. IS THIS NOW PROHIBITED?
- No. UVM’s policy does not prohibit employees from accepting these types of benefits from those with whom they have a relationship outside of the University. As long as it is not intended to influence the University and is not because of your role with the University, it is not prohibited.