Section 6.8.1

Interpersonal Conflict of Interest Management Plan

The College of Arts & Sciences takes seriously its duty to provide a place to study and work free of situations that may be construed as abuse of authority, an inappropriate conflict of interest, preferential treatment, or other unprofessional and unethical conduct.

Employees in the College of Arts & Sciences must disclose conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest to the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and the Chief Human Resources Officer.  The employee will work with the Dean and the Chief Human Resources Officer to develop a plan to manage that conflict; the plan will require the approval of the Dean.  This plan should include the employee’s name, title and department, the supervisor’s name and title, specific information describing the relationship or situation that poses the conflict, and a detailed description of how the conflict is to be addressed.

Conflicts of interest arise when a faculty administrator, faculty, or staff member uses his/her position to influence decisions in such a way that the individual’s family member or close associate (e.g. an individual involved in a consensual amorous relationship, a business partner) benefits. The relevant university policy, which derives from Ohio Revised Code 2921.42 (A)(1) is the University Code of Ethics 3341-1-2:

Please also refer to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 30, Section 6, and to the Academic Charter, Section B-I.E.5, which is appended to this document.

For your reference, the following Definitions and Examples of Conflicts of Interest are provided below:

Definitions

A family member is defined as a spouse, ex-spouse, parent, child, step-child, sibling, step-sibling, parents-in-law, children-in-law, siblings-in-law, grandparent and legal guardian or other person who stands in place of a parent. Modified from BGSU policy 3341-5-17 on Nepotism, https://www.bgsu.edu/content/dam/BGSU/general-counsel/documents/Nepotism.pdf

Faculty is defined as any person possessing a full- or part-time academic appointment or rank and are not administrators.

Faculty administrators include the President, the Provost, Vice Presidents (holding faculty rank), Associate and Assistant Deans, Provost Associates, Associate and Assistant Vice-Provosts and all individuals holding appointments as Dean, Chair or Director.

Staff means any individual, other than faculty, who is employed by BGSU.  This includes classified and administrative staff and students who are employed by the university.

A student is any individual who is currently enrolled in a credit or non-credit class at one of the colleges or campuses of BGSU, matriculated or non-matriculated, or prospective students (including applicants and accepted applicants).

A consensual amorous relationship is one involving individuals who mutually and consensually understand a relationship to be romantic and/or sexual in nature; it does not include married persons. BGSU policy 3341-5-7 Consensual Amorous Relationship Policy, https://www.bgsu.edu/content/dam/BGSU/general-counsel/documents/Consensual-Amorous-Relationships.pdf

Examples of Conflicts of Interest

  1. Personal relationships: Within the University community, supervisors and faculty are not to have supervisory, evaluative, instructional, coaching, advisory, or other relationships with family members or with either students or employees with whom they have or have had a consensual amorous relationship.  An individual has direct evaluative, supervisory or decision- making authority when that individual is responsible for, or makes or could make contributions to evaluating, assessing, grading, assigning, promoting, disciplining, or otherwise determining the terms, conditions, or benefits of the other participant’s academic or employment performance, progress, or potential.
    1. No faculty member, faculty administrator, or staff may have evaluative or supervisory authority over a family member or an individual in a consensual relationship.  This includes decisions involving
      1. hiring, supervising (assigning duties, assigning space, approving leave, evaluating), or taking disciplinary action against faculty, administrators, staff, graduate assistants, or students or
      2. assessing, determining, influencing, overseeing or managing academic performance (e.g. grading material, assigning grades), or
      3. overseeing, managing, assessing, influencing or determining research performance , or
      4. directing co-curricular, athletic, or other institutionally prescribed activities, or
      5. recommending admission to the university or determining entitlement, eligibility or providing an opportunity for any institutionally conferred award, right, or benefit
  2. Significant financial interest: Employees must disclose significant financial interests in any entity, including nonprofit and charitable organizations, that has business with BGSU.
  3. Business decisions: No faculty member, faculty administrator or staff may make or influence business decisions with entities, including nonprofit and charitable organizations, that do business with BGSU that would benefit the individual, a family member, or a close associate.
  4. Use of university resources: CBA article 30, item 5 “When engaging in professional activities outside the University, BUFMs may not make more than incidental use of University facilities and other resources unless the University is appropriately compensated”
  5. Use of faculty, staff and students: When engaging in activities outside the University, an employee may not assign faculty members, students, graduate assistants or staff to assignments that would advance the employee’s personal or financial interest.
  6. Gifts:  Ohio ethics law states state employees cannot accept gifts from any party that is doing or seeking to do business with, regulated by, or interested in matters before the public agency.
  7. Conflict of conscience
    1. strong religious, ethical or moral convictions that influence decisions
  8. The BGSU Research Conflict of Interest Policy can be found at http://www.bgsu.edu/research-economic-development/office-of-sponsored-programs-and-research/policies.html
  9. External evaluation for promotion and/or tenure
    1. No dissertation advisors, former professors, or other mentors, graduate school colleagues, co-authors or other collaborators, personal friends, family members, former students or associates with commercial ties may write a letter for external evaluation to be included in the faculty member’s dossier.  The candidate and the chair/director have a shared responsibility to avoid conflicts of interest and appearances of conflicts of interest.  If there are questions regarding the eligibility of an individual to write a letter, the candidate and chair/director should contact the Dean for a decision.

Endorsed by C&D Council and A&S Council September 2018

This page was last modified 01/2021