Conflicts of Interest; External Activities for Pay; Conflicts of Commitment
Formerly Executive Memorandum 95-112
Initially Approved: October 19, 1995
Revised: December 12, 2005
Revised: July 10, 2006
Revised: July 16, 2012
Posted: August 17, 2012
Revised: December 19, 2016
Policy Topic: Research and Sponsored Activities
Administering Office: Chancellor’s Office
I. POLICY STATEMENT
All employees of Western Carolina University (the “ University”) are expected to avoid conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment (as the
terms are defined below) that have the potential to directly and significantly affect
the University’s interests or compromise their objectivity in carrying out their University
employment responsibilities or otherwise compromise performance of University employment
responsibilities, unless such conflicts are disclosed, reviewed, and appropriately
managed in accordance with the provisions of this policy.
It is the policy of the University that activities undertaken by its faculty, staff
and students in furtherance of the mission of the University shall be conducted in
an ethical and transparent manner consistent with federal and state law and University
of North Carolina (“UNC”) policies and University policy.
II. SCOPE AND APPLICATION OF POLICY
A. Conflicts of Interest. The provisions of this policy pertaining to Conflict of Interest apply to all faculty
and EHRA non-faculty employees.
B. External Activities for Pay. The provisions of this policy pertaining to External Professional Activities for
Pay apply to all faculty and EHRA non-faculty employees who are classified as .75
FTE or greater and work 9 months or more per year.
C. Conflict of Commitment. The provisions of this policy pertaining to Conflict of Commitment apply to all
employees, including SHRA employees.
This Policy does not apply to independent contractors.
This Policy does not apply to student workers. For purposes of this policy a “student worker” is a student who is enrolled in
educational programs and activities but also works on a limited basis for the University
as part of a financial assistance arrangement.
“Conflict of Commitment” relates to an individual's distribution of time and effort between obligations to
University employment and participation in other activities outside of University
employment. The latter may include such generally encouraged extensions of professional
expertise as professional consulting (i.e., External Professional Activities for Pay).
Such activities promote professional development and enrich the individual's contributions
to the University, to the profession, and to society. However, a Conflict of Commitment
occurs when the pursuit of such outside activities involves an inordinate investment
of time or is conducted at a time that interferes with the employee’s fulfillment
of his/her Employment Responsibilities.
“Conflict of Interest” relates to situations in which financial or other personal considerations, circumstances,
or relationships may compromise, may involve the potential for compromising, or may
have the appearance of compromising a Covered Employee’s objectivity in fulfilling
their University duties or responsibilities, including research, service and teaching
activities, and administrative duties. A Covered Employee may have a Conflict of
Interest when he or she, or any member of that person's Immediate Family has a personal
Financial Interest in an activity that may affect decision making with respect to
his/her Employment Responsibilities.
“Covered Employee” is any faculty or EHRA non-faculty employee, including part-time and employees on
leave, with regard to the Conflict of Interest and External Professional Activities
for Pay provisions of this Policy, and all employees, including SHRA employees, with
regard to Conflict of Commitment provisions of this policy.
“Department” means an academic department, a professional school without formally established
departments or any other administrative unit designated by the Chancellor for purposes
of implementing this policy. “Department Head” refers to the immediate supervisor
of the employee, whether in an academic or administrative department.
“EHRA” means an employee who is exempt from the State Human Resources Act.
“Employment Responsibilities” include "primary duties" and "secondary duties." Primary duties consist of assigned
teaching, scholarship, research, institutional service requirements, administrative
duties and other assigned employment duties. Secondary duties may include professional
affiliations and activities traditionally undertaken by Covered Employees outside
of the immediate University employment context. Secondary duties may or may not entail
the receipt of honoraria, remuneration or the reimbursement of expenses, include membership
in and service to professional associations and learned societies; membership on professional
review or advisory panels; presentation of lectures, papers, concerts or exhibits;
participation in seminars and conferences; reviewing or editing scholarly publications
and books without receipt of compensation; and service to accreditation bodies. These
activities, which demonstrate active participation in a profession are encouraged,
provided they do not conflict or interfere with the timely and effective performance
of the individual's primary duties or violate University policies.
“External Professional Activities for Pay” is defined as any activity that (i) is not included within one's University Employment
Responsibilities; (ii) is performed for any entity, public or private, other than
the University; (iii) is undertaken for compensation; and (iv) is based upon the professional
knowledge, experience, and abilities of the employee. Activities for pay not involving
such professional knowledge, experience and abilities are not subject to the advance
disclosure and approval requirements of this Policy, although they are subject to
the basic requirement that outside activities of any type must not (i) result in the
neglect of the employee’s primary duties; (ii) create Conflicts of Interest; (iii)
involve inappropriate uses of the University name or resources; or (iv) include claims
of University responsibility for the activity. External Professional Activities for
Pay of employees subject to the State Personnel Act are addressed in University Policy
#87 pertaining to secondary employment.
“Financial Interest” is defined as: (i) payment for services to the Covered Employee not otherwise defined
as institutional salary (e.g., consulting fees, honoraria, paid authorship); or (ii)
equity or other ownership interest in publicly or non-publicly traded entities (e.g.,
stock, stock options, or other ownership interest); or (iii) intellectual property
rights and interests upon receipt of income related to such rights and interest, held
by the Covered Employee or members of his/her Immediate Family.
Income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds or retirement accounts, in which
the Covered Employee or member of his/her Immediate Family do not directly control
the investment decisions and intellectual property rights assigned to the University
and agreements to share in royalties related to such rights are excluded from the
definition of Financial Interest. Covered Employees are required to disclose Financial
Interests in a timely and accurate manner as provided in this Policy.
“Immediate Family” for purposes of this policy a Covered Employee’s Immediate Family includes that
person’s spouse and dependent children.
“Inappropriate Use or Exploitation of University Resources” means using any services, facilities, equipment, supplies or personnel which members
of the general public may not freely use for other than the conduct of Employment
Responsibilities. A person engaged in External Professional Activities for Pay may
not use University resources in the course and conduct of externally compensated activities,
except as allowed by applicable University policies and state law. Under no circumstances
may any employee use the services of another employee during University employment
time to advance the externally compensated employee’s External Professional Activities
“Investigator” means the research project director or principal investigator and any other person,
collaborator or consultant, regardless of title or position, who is responsible for
the design, conduct or reporting of research or who proposes research funded by the
PHS (e.g., National Institutes of Health) or the NSF.
“SHRA” means an employee who is subject to the State Human Resources Act.
“Significant Financial Interest” in the context of PHS and NSF funded research, means a financial interest consisting
of one or more of the following interests of the Covered Employee (and those of the
employee’s spouse and dependent children) that reasonably appears to be related to
the Covered Employee’s Employment Responsibilities:
- With regard to any publicly traded entity, a significant financial interest exists
if the value of any remuneration received from the entity in the twelve months preceding
the disclosure and the value of any equity interest in the entity as of the date of
disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000. For purposes of this definition, remuneration
includes salary and any payment for services not otherwise identified as salary (e.g.,
consulting fees, honoraria, paid authorship); equity interest includes any stock,
stock option, or other ownership interest, as determined through reference to public
prices or other reasonable measures of fair market value; or With regard to any non-publicly
traded entity, a significant financial interestexists if the value of any remuneration
received from the entity in the twelve months preceding the disclosure, when aggregated,
exceeds $5,000, or when the Investigator (or the Investigator’s spouse or dependent
children) holds any equity interest (e.g., stock, stock option, or other ownership
interest); or Intellectual property rights and interests (e.g., patents, copyrights),
upon receipt of income related to such rights and interests.
Investigators must disclose any reimbursed or sponsored travel for them and their
spouse and dependents. The term Significant Financial Interest does not include the
following types of financial interests: (i) salary, royalties, or other remuneration
paid by the University to the Covered Employee if the employee is currently employed
or otherwise appointed by the University, including intellectual property rights assigned
to the University and agreements to share in royalties related to such rights; (ii)
any ownership interest in the University held by the Investigator, if the University
is a commercial or for-profit organization; (iii) income from investment vehicles,
such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the Covered Employee does
not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles; (iv) income
from seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements sponsored by a federal, state, or
local government agency, an institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C.
1001(a), an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute
that is affiliated with an institution of higher education; or (v) income from service
on advisory committees or review panels for a federal, state, or local government
agency, an institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a), an academic
teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with
an institution of higher education.
IV. APPLICATION OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS
Although this policy applies to conflicts which may arise with respect to any research
or non-research activity conducted under University auspices, regulations issued by
the National Science Foundation (“NSF”) and Public Health Service (“PHS”) set specific requirements for University research funded by those agencies (regulations
may be accessed in Section XIII below). This policy is intended to comply with those
As a part of its obligations for such federally funded research the University is
required to certify in the application for funding from those agencies that the University
(i) has in place a written and enforced administrative process to identify and manage,
reduce or eliminate conflicting interests; (ii) will, before expending any funds under
the award, make available via publicly accessible web site or via written response
to any requestor information concerning the nature of any Significant Financial Interest
that is disclosed to the University, is related to PHS-funded research, and is a Conflict
of Interest ; (iii) will make available to the federal agency on request information
regarding all conflicting interests identified by the University and how those interests
have been managed, reduced or eliminated to protect research from bias; and (iv) will
otherwise comply with all aspects of the regulations.
The Office of Research Administration shall ensure that appropriate certifications
related to research objectivity and financial conflict disclosures are submitted to
federal agencies and that information concerning Significant Financial Interests is
made publicly available. The Office of Research Administration may develop implementing
procedures as may be necessary to these undertakings.
V. IMPLEMENTING PROCEDURES - CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
A. Categories of Activities that may Create a Conflict of Interest
Activities that may create a financial Conflict of Interest may be categorized under
four (4) general headings: (i) those that are allowable and are disclosed; (ii) those
that are allowable with administrative approval and are disclosed; (iii) those that
generally are not allowable and require an approved Conflict of Interest management
plan; and (iv) those that are not allowable under any circumstances. The following
examples are merely illustrative and do not purport to include all possible situations
within the four (4) categories.
1. Activities that are Disclosed and Allowable
The examples cited below involve activities external to University employment, and
thus may present the appearance of a financial Conflict of Interest, but have little
or no potential for affecting the objectivity of the Covered Employee's performance
of University Employment Responsibilities; at most, some such situations could prompt
questions about Conflict of Commitment.
- A Covered Employee receiving royalties from the publication of books or for the licensure
of patented inventions subject to the UNC Patent and Copyright Policies.
- A Covered Employee receiving compensation in the form of honoraria or expense reimbursement
in connection with service to professional associations, service on review panels,
presentation of scholarly works, and participation in accreditation reviews.
2. Activities Requiring Disclosure for Review and Approval
The examples cited below suggest a possibility of conflicting interests that can impair
objectivity, but disclosure and resulting analysis of relationships may render the
activity permissible and may result in the establishment of an approved management
- A Covered Employee requiring students to purchase the textbook or related instructional
materials of the Covered Employee or members of his or her Immediate Family, which
produces compensation for the Covered Employee or family member.
- A Covered Employee receiving compensation or gratuities from any individual or entity
doing business with the University. Note that no Covered Employee may seek or receive
any gift, reward or promise of reward for recommending, influencing or attempting
to influence the award of a contract by his or her employer (See, G.S. 14-234 and
- A Covered Employee serving on the board of directors or scientific advisory board
of an enterprise that provides financial support for University research and the Covered
Employee or a member of his/her Immediate Family may receive such financial support.
- A Covered Employee or a member of his/her Immediate Family having an equity or ownership
interest in a publicly or non-publicly-traded entity or enterprise.
- A Covered Employee accepting support for University research under conditions that
require research results to be held confidential, unpublished, or inordinately delayed
in publication. Research conducted by faculty or students under any form of sponsorship
must maintain the University's open teaching and research philosophy and must adhere
to a policy that prohibits secrecy in research. Such conditions must be in compliance
with UNC Policy Manual 500.1 and 500.2, and with any applicable University policies
on intellectual property.
3. Activities Generally not Allowable / Approval & Conflict Management Plan
The examples cited below involve situations that are not generally permissible because
they involve potential financial Conflict of Interest or they present obvious opportunities
or inducements to favor personal interests over University interests. Before proceeding
with such an endeavor, the Covered Employee would have to demonstrate that in fact
his/her objectivity would not be affected, University interests otherwise would not
be damaged, and an approved Conflict of Interest management plan is in place.
- A Covered Employee participating in University research involving a technology owned
by or contractually obligated to (by license or an option to license, or otherwise)
an enterprise or entity in which the employee or a member of his/her Immediate Family
has a consulting relationship, has an equity or ownership interest or holds an executive
- A Covered Employee participating in University research which is funded by a grant
or contract from an enterprise or entity in which the employee or a member of his/her
Immediate Family has an equity or ownership interest.
- A Covered Employee assigning students, post-doctoral fellows or other trainees to
University research projects sponsored by an enterprise or entity in which the employee
or a member of his/her Immediate Family has an equity or ownership interest.
4. Activities not Allowable Under any Circumstances
The examples cited below are activities that are not allowable under any circumstances.
- A Covered Employee making referrals of University business to an external enterprise
in which the employee or a member of his/her Immediate Family has a Financial Interest.
- A Covered Employee associating his/her own name with the University in such a way
as to profit financially by trading on the reputation or good will of the University.
- A Covered Employee making unauthorized use of privileged information acquired in connection
with his/her Employment Responsibilities.
- A Covered Employee signing agreements that assign University patent and other intellectual
property rights to third parties without prior University approval.
- Any activity otherwise prohibited by law or University policy.
B. Conflict of Interest Disclosure, Review, and Approval Procedures
1. Annual Disclosure. Covered Employees must submit to their Department Head (or Director in administrative
departments) a complete and accurate Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form (“Disclosure Form” available as Appendix A at Section XIII) on September 1 each year that discloses potential Conflicts of Interest during the upcoming academic year.
Note that the obligation to disclose potential Conflicts of Interest is a separate
obligation and is not excused by the filing of a Notice of Intent for Review of External
Professional Activities for Pay pursuant to Section VI below.
2. Supplemental/Amended Disclosures. Covered Employees also must submit to their Department Head or Director a supplemental
Disclosure Form any time circumstances change which either eliminate a potential Conflict
of Interest previously disclosed or give rise to a new potential Conflict of Interest.
Regarding the latter circumstance, the Disclosure Form must be submitted at least
thirty (30) days before the date of a new activity that may give rise to a Conflict
of Interest, unless the disclosure relates to PHS supported research, in which case
the disclosure must be made at the time of application.
3. Review Process / Determinations. The Conflict of Interest review process is a two-step review and approval process
initiated by the Covered Employee’s immediate supervisor. The Department Head (or
Director in administrative departments) has the initial responsibility to determine
compliance with this Policy and to review potential conflicts identified in the Disclosure
Form. In the event the Department Head or Director determines that the Disclosure
Form was not submitted timely or is incomplete, the Department Head shall obtain full
compliance with this policy. Review and approval by the Department Head or other
reviewing official (as evidenced by the reviewing official’s signature on the Disclosure
Form) does not constitute a representation or warranty by the reviewing official that
the information provided by the Covered Employee is complete or accurate.
If the Department Head or Director determines that the activities disclosed do not
present a Conflict of Interest, he/she shall record the decision on the Disclosure
Form and forward it to the Dean (or Vice Chancellor for administrative departments
or divisions) for his/her review and requisite approval.
If the determination is that a Covered Employee has a Conflict of Interest, the Department
Head or Director shall work with the employee to develop a proposed Conflict of Interest
management plan (“Management Plan”) in accordance with Section V.C below. The Department Head or Director may seek
the advice and counsel of the Dean or Vice Chancellor, other University officials
or the University Conflict of Interest Panel (“COI Panel”) in the development of the Management Plan. The Dean or Vice Chancellor and the
COI Panel must approve the Management Plan prior to the employee’s engagement in the
If the Department Head or Director is uncertain about whether disclosed activities
create a Conflict of Interest, he/she shall consult with the Dean or Vice Chancellor,
other University officials or the COI Panel if necessary. If the determination is
that a Covered Employee has a Conflict of Interest, a Management Plan shall be developed
and approved as described above.
4. Submission and Maintenance of Completed Disclosures. Once the Disclosure Form has been reviewed and approved by all requisite reviewers,
the original Disclosure Form should be submitted to the Office of Human Resources
and Payroll for maintenance in the Covered Employee’s permanent personnel file, and
copies of the Disclosure Form should be submitted to and maintained in confidence
by the Department Head and the Office of Research Administration.
5. Conflict of Interest Review Panel. The Conflict of Interest Review Panel (“COI Panel”) is comprised of the following individuals, who shall serve by virtue of their office
or shall be appointed for terms of three (3) years by the bodies identified: (1) the
General Counsel or his/her designee; (2) the Provost or his/her designee, who shall
serve as chair of the panel; (3) the Associate Dean for Research and Director of Research
Administration or his/her designee; (4) a representative of the Provost’s Council
appointed upon consensus of the council; and (5) a representative of the Faculty Senate
appointed upon consensus of the senate.
The COI Panel shall be responsible for (i) providing counsel and assistance to Department
Heads or Directors in making Conflict of Interest determinations upon request of the
reviewing official; (ii) reviewing and approving proposed Management Plans regarding
Conflict of Interest management, mitigation or elimination; and (iii) assisting the
Office of Research Administration or applicable Vice Chancellor with investigations
and reporting obligations concerning undisclosed Conflicts of Interest and violations
of this Policy and federal law and regulations.
6. Appeals of Conflict of Interest Determinations. A Covered Employee may appeal the COI Panel’s determination that a Conflict of
Interest exists and/or the terms and conditions of the recommended Management Plan.
The Covered Employee shall prepare a short, plain written statement that describes
the nature of the appeal and the remedy sought. The appeal must be submitted to the
Chancellor within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the COI Panel’s determination.
The decision of the Chancellor shall be final.
7. PHS and NSF Requirements. Research supported by the PHS or the NSF may impose different or additional obligations
on Investigators with regard to disclosure and reporting of Conflicts of Interest
and Significant Financial Interests. More information pertaining to these requirements
may be found at the agency links provided in Section XIII below or obtained in the
Office of Research Administration.
C. Management/Mitigation of Conflicts of Interest
Once a Conflict of Interest is identified through the submission of a Conflict of
Interest Disclosure Form or otherwise, the Department Head or Director should collect
all relevant information necessary to make an informed judgment on the matter. The
Department Head or Director, upon consultation with other University officials or
the COI Panel, must examine a range of research and business alternatives in the development
of an appropriate Management Plan. These alternatives include, but are not limited
- Concluding that while a conflict appears to exist, the nature and degree of conflict
found to be present are not significant and do not warrant action beyond the initial
- Requiring public disclosure of Significant Financial Interests.
- Requiring that the research or other activity be monitored by neutral, independent
- Requiring modification of the research plan or work plan.
- Requiring that a Covered Employee with a conflicting interest be disqualified from
participation in a particular project or activity or specified parts of the project
- Requiring divestiture or severance of significant financial or other interests which
create conflict with the Covered Employee’s Employment Responsibilities.
Department Heads or Directors are responsible for monitoring a Covered Employee’s
compliance with the Management Plan.
VI. EXTERNAL PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES FOR PAY PROCEDURES
A. General Guidance
The University seeks to appoint and to retain employees of exceptional competence
in their fields of professional endeavor. Because of their specialized knowledge,
these employees have opportunities to engage in activities outside of University employment,
including secondary employment consisting of paid consultation or other service to
both public and private entities. Practical applications of specialized knowledge
enhance teaching, research, and administration. Consequently, participation of employees
in External Professional Activities for Pay is an important characteristic of academic
employment that often leads to societal benefits. However, these activities must
be undertaken only if they do not create Conflicts of Interest or Conflicts of Commitment
or involve the Inappropriate Use or Exploitation of University Resources.
External Professional Activities for Pay should generally be limited to no more than
the equivalent of 20 percent (20%) of the Covered Employee’s contracted time during
B. External Activities for Pay Disclosure and Review Procedures
1. Notice of Intent
Any employee who plans to engage in external professional activities for pay must
complete the"Notice of Intent to Engage in External Professional Activity for Pay" ("Notice of Intent" available as Appendix B at Section XIII). A Notice of Intent
must be completed for each proposed activity. Unless there are exceptional circumstances,
the Notice of Intent must be filed in a timely manner and in any event not less than
ten (10) calendar days before the date the activity is scheduled to begin.
2. Review and Approval Process
a. Approval of Activity Consistent with Policy
The Notice of Intent shall be initially reviewed by the employee's Department Head
or Director. If the Department Head or Director determines that the proposed activity
is consistent with this policy, the employee shall be notified in writing of such
determination within ten (10) days of the date the Notice of Intent was filed. .
Approval may be granted for a period not to exceed the balance remaining as of the
date of approval of either: (i) the fiscal year in the case of 12 month employees
and employees with contract service periods that include the summer session; or (ii)
the academic year in the case of 9 month employees with no summer session contracts.
If the approved activity will continue beyond the end of the relevant fiscal or academic
year in which it was begun, the Covered Employee must file and additional notice at
least ten (10) calendar days before engaging in such activity in the succeeding year.
b. Approval/Disapproval of Activity Involving Financial Interest
Covered Employees must disclose their financial interests consistent with the University
and UNC Conflicts of Interest policies.
If the Covered Employee intends to engage in activities (i) with an organization
that also provides funding that directly or indirectly supports the Covered Employee’s
Employment Responsibilities (i.e., may create a potential Conflict of Interest); or
(ii) with a private entity in which the Covered Employee or member of the Covered
Employee’s Immediate Family holds an equity or ownership interest or holds an office,
then the procedure described in Section IV.B.2.a above shall be modified as follows:
(i) the decision of the Department Head or Director to approve the activity must
be reviewed promptly and approved or disapproved within ten (10) calendar days of
receipt by the administrative officer to whom the Department Head or Director reports,
and (ii) an appeal of a disapproval by that officer shall be to the Chancellor or
his/her designee. The decision of the Chancellor or his/her designee shall be final.
3. Appeals of Decisions
In the event of such notification by the Department Head or Director, the Covered
Employee shall not proceed with the proposed activity but may appeal that decision
to the administrative officer to whom the Department Head/Director reports, and then
to the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee. Appeals shall be made in writing
within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of notification.
The administrative office shall make a recommendation to the Chancellor or his/her
designee regarding such appeal, and a decision on the appeal shall be given by the
Chancellor or his/her designee to the Covered Employee within ten (10) calendar days
of the date on which the appeal is received.
C. Reporting Requirements
Annual departmental summaries of all Notices of Intent filed and of actions taken
during the preceding fiscal year shall be submitted by Department Heads or Directors
to the Chancellor or his/her designee (the Provost’s office has been designated to
receive and report on these activities) each July 1. On or before September 1 of
each year, UNC General Administration’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
will initiate the submission of annual summary reports from the Chancellor to the
D. SPECIAL PROVISIONS
1. External Professional Activities for Pay performed for another state agency also
must comply with state policies regarding dual employment and compensation, unless
an exception to those policies is expressly authorized by the Chancellor or his/her
2. Additionally, senior academic and administrative officers may be subject to special
regulations regarding honoraria. Regulations for Senior Academic and Administrative
Officers on External Activities for Pay and Honoraria may be found at UNC Policy Manual
3. These procedures shall not be required of Covered Employees serving on academic
year appointments if the External Professional Activity for Pay is wholly performed
and completed outside the academic year and the activity does not conflict with University
policy, and the activity is not conducted concurrently with a contract service period
during a summer session. Notwithstanding this provision, Covered Employees are expected
to disclose financial interests in accordance with the University’s Conflicts of Interest
4. In those instances when State-reimbursed travel, work time, or resources are used
or when the activity can be construed as related to the Covered Employee’s State position
or official duties on behalf of the State, the Covered Employee shall not receive
financial consideration, including an honorarium. In these instances the Covered Employee
may request that the honorarium be paid to the University. The honorarium may be retained
by the Covered Employee only for activities performed during non-working hours or
while the Covered Employee is on annual leave, and all expenses must be the responsibility
of the employee or a third party that is not a State entity. Third party support
must be disclosed on the Notice of Intent.
VII. CONFLICTS OF COMMITMENT PROCEDURES
Conflict of Commitment relates to an employee’s distribution of effort between obligations
to Employment Responsibilities and his/her participation in other activities outside
of the University. The issue, in each case, is whether the employee is meeting the
requirements of the job. For example, if presented with evidence that a faculty member
is not meeting full-time responsibilities to the University, the UNC Code prescribes
that "neglect of duty" is a ground for disciplinary action, including the possibility
of discharge. In another related context, Section VII of this Policy addresses External
Professional Activities for Pay. In another example of special legislation, the Board
of Governors has established rules for monitoring and regulating the involvement of
university employees in political candidacy and office holding that could interfere
with full-time commitment to University duties.
A Conflict of Commitment occurs when the pursuit of such outside activities involves
an inordinate investment of time that interferes with the employee's obligations to
students, colleagues, and to the mission of the University. For example, an employee
engaged in private consulting for pay during normal University business hours may
be deemed to have a Conflict of Commitment. On the other hand, a faculty member engaged
in professional activities related to his/her field of academic or research expertise
for up to 8 hours per work week would generally not be deemed to have a Conflict of
VIII. ENFORCEMENT AND REPORTING VIOLATIONS OF THIS POLICY
Covered Employees who do not comply with the provisions of this policy regarding Conflicts
of Interest, External Activities for Pay, and Conflicts of Commitment will be subject
to disciplinary action.
Every Covered Employee is responsible for complying with this policy and applicable
federal law and regulations pertaining to Conflicts of Interest. A member of the
University community who has reason to believe that another employee has an undisclosed
Conflict of Interest or is otherwise violating University policy or federal law and
regulations must report the concern to his or her immediate supervisor. Should the
allegation(s) be considered by the supervisor to constitute a possible undisclosed
Conflict of Interest or other serious violation of this Policy or federal law and
regulations, the supervisor shall report the matter to the Office of Research Administration
for investigations related to sponsored research, and to his/her Vice Chancellor for
investigations related to all other matters. The COI Panel will assist in all investigation
and enforcement activities as appropriate.
IX. OFFICE OF RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION
For purposes of implementation and administration of this Policy, the Office of Research
Administration is responsible for: (i) providing appropriate certifications for federally
funded research; (ii) providing information pertaining to Significant Financial Interests
as prescribed by federal regulation; (iii) assisting with the activities of the COI
Panel; (iv) training Investigators, Department Heads, Directors, and Deans on the
requirements of this Policy; and (v) serving as the public disclosure contact as prescribed
by federal regulation.
Contact information for the Office of Research Administration is:
Office of Research Administration
Western Carolina University
Cordelia Camp Building, Room 110
Cullowhee, NC 28723
It shall be the responsibility of every academic and administrative Department Head
or Director to provide training to his/her Department at the beginning of each academic
year on the requirements of this Policy.
The Office of Research Administration shall provide training to Department Heads and
Additionally, Investigators who participate in research funded by the PHS must complete
required training prior to engaging in agency supported research and at least every
four (4) years thereafter. An Investigator must immediately complete training when
he/she is new to the University or when the Investigator is found to be in violation
of this Policy or an applicable Management Plan. Additional compliance obligations
related to the National Institutes of Health are summarized in an agency training
tutorial found in Section XII below.
XI. CONFIDENTIAL RECORDS; REQUIRED REPORTING
Completed Disclosure Forms and Notices of Intent, including attachments and supplemental
documentation, are confidential personnel records as defined by the State Personnel
Act. The provisions of that Act governing access to and confidentiality of personnel
records shall be strictly observed; provided, however, that the University may be
obligated to report disclosed or undisclosed Conflicts of Interest and make certain
information publicly available under federal regulations.
XII. POLICY REVIEW
This Policy shall be reviewed and revised as necessary in the event UNC policies are
XIII. RELATED POLICIES AND RESOURCES
University Policy #87, SHRA Employee Secondary Employment Policy: https://www.wcu.edu/discover/leadership/office-of-the-chancellor/legal-counsel-office/university-policies/numerical-index/university-policy-87.aspx
UNC Policy 300.2.2: Conflict of Interest and Commitment http://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/policy/index.php?pg=dl&id=283&format=pdf&inline=1
UNC Policy 300.2.2 [G]: Guidelines on Implementing UNC Policy 300.2.2 http://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/policy/index.php?pg=dl&id=13546&format=pdf&inline=1
UNC Policy 300.2.2.1 [R]: External Activities for Pay http://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/policy/index.php?pg=dl&id=18166&format=pdf&inline=1
UNC Policy 300.2.2.2 [R]: External Activities for Pay / Honoraria for SAAOs http://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/policy/index.php?pg=vs&id=277&added=1
WCU Office of Research Administration Conflicts of Interest web page: research.wcu.edu
Appendix A - Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form
Appendix B - External Professional Activities for Pay Notice of Intent