The Dean or a person designated by the Dean (Associate Dean) reviewing an annual or other disclosure is to review the information in the disclosure to determine if a conflict of commitment exists, before forwarding it to the Office of VPRD.
Conflict of Commitment: If the initial review suggests that a conflict of commitment exists, the initial reviewer (or the Dean) should discuss the conflict with the individual and take steps to assure that any actual conflict is eliminated. If the initial reviewer (or the Dean) is unable to assure the elimination of the conflict of commitment, he/she is expected to consult and work with the Office of the VPRD to resolve any remaining issues.
Conflict of Interest: When the disclosure relates to research activities, the initial reviewer (the Dean or Associate Dean) is not required to review the substance of the disclosure for possible conflict of interest; he/she may instead merely note that the disclosure was received and forward it to the Office of the VPRD. The initial reviewer is encouraged, however, to assist in the review process by commenting on the substance of the disclosure based on his or her knowledge of the circumstances. In some cases, the clarification of the facts by the initial reviewer may significantly accelerate the review of a potential conflict of interest.
Non-research activities: When the disclosure relates to University financial decisions or other non-research activities, the initial reviewer is to review the disclosure, identify actual and apparent conflicts, and develop a written plan that would eliminate or manage the identified conflicts. This plan could, among other possibilities, (i) authorize the individual to participate, under the reviewer’s oversight, in a matter as to which the conflict exists, or (ii) instruct the individual not to participate in the decision or other matter relating to the conflict. The plan and disclosure is to be forwarded for a final decision to the VPRD Office.
Whether or not the initial review indicates that an actual or apparent conflict of interest exists, the initial reviewer forwards the disclosure form (or a written record of an oral disclosure), together with any comments by the initial reviewer, to the Office of the VPRD.
Review by the Office of the VPRD: Review of disclosures forwarded to the Office of the VPRD may be conducted by the VPRD or delegated to the CHR or to an ad hoc Committee on Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment depending on the nature of the conflicts. The ad hoc Committee consists of the Director of Research and Development Office and one or more faculty members selected by the VPRD. If necessary, the CHR or VPRD or the Committee may discuss disclosure-related matters with the individual involved and may also consult with others who may have relevant information.
The review process handled by the Office of the VPRD as outlined above determines whether an apparent or actual conflict of interest exists, and, if so, by what means – such as the abstention of the individual from the external activity, modification of the activity, and/or monitoring of the activity – the conflict may be avoided or managed. In making those determinations, the CHR or VPRD or committee is to be guided by the principles discussed in the Faculty Handbook.
If it is determined that a conflict exists, this determination and the means identified for eliminating or managing the conflict are communicated, in writing, to the individual and the initial reviewer who referred the case. The Office of the VPRD keeps a record of the disclosure and other relevant information for at least three years. If monitoring of the activity is prescribed, the VPRD describes specifically how the monitoring is to be performed and what records are to be kept.
Rebuttal: If the individual is not satisfied with the decision of the Office of the VPRD, he/she may request that the matter be referred to the President for review. Any matter referred to the President in this manner is to be accompanied by a written statement of the findings and recommendations of the VPRD, with copies to the individual, and the appropriate Dean. The Office of the President then notifies the individual, the VPRD, and the Dean of his/her decision, ordinarily within three weeks after receiving the report from the VPRD.
The decision of the President is final, and failure by the individual to adhere to the decision is cause for disciplinary action, including, in severe cases, termination of employment.