Professional Policies & Faculty Responsibilities — Conflict of Interest in Employment (Nepotism)
No faculty member, staff member, or student may participate in a decision in which he or she has an obvious conflict of interest. University policy (Operations Manual, III-8) directs that anyone with a conflict of interest must be removed from the decision-making process and must refrain from influencing those who are responsible for the decision.
An individual who may have a conflict of interest is responsible for reporting it to the DEO, who is then responsible for seeing that appropriate procedures are followed.
Employment of Relatives
It is a conflict of interest for a faculty member, staff member, or student to participate in employment decisions affecting anyone related to him or her by blood or marriage. When such a conflict of interest arises, the department must develop procedures that remove the faculty member, staff member or student from the decision process. The persons involved must agree to and sign a document describing these procedures, and the department must submit the document to the Dean for approval by the UI’s Committee on the Conflict of Interest in Employment. The procedures, once approved, are also reviewed periodically by the Committee to ensure that they are having the desired effect.
Consensual Relationships between Departmental Faculty
When two faculty members in a department are partners in a consensual relationship, conflict of interest issues arise. Neither partner in such a relationship may participate in departmental decisions affecting the other. The DEO must ensure that the department follows the process described above under the UI policy on the Employment of Relatives. The persons in the consensual relationship must agree and sign a document of procedures, which will be reviewed by the UI’s Committee on the Conflict of Interest in Employment.
The faculty members involved in a consensual relationship are responsible for reporting it to the DEO, who is then responsible for seeing that the document of procedures is formulated, approved by the Dean and the Committee, and applied. Some typical examples of consensual relationships that require attention under this policy are: the DEO and a faculty member; two faculty members who hold leadership positions within the department; two faculty members who co-direct a science laboratory; two faculty members who submit joint research proposals for internal or external support; two faculty members who serve on the same faculty committee within the department; two faculty members who serve on the same student committee within the department, e.g., a graduate student committee (in view of the Graduate College policy that requires two negative votes for a student to fail an exam).
For more information on what this document should contain, contact Raúl Curto, Executive Associate Dean.