Overview

  • A conflict of interest occurs when a faculty member is in a position to advance one's own interests or that of one's family or others, to the detriment of the university.
  • A conflict of commitment arises when the external activities of a faculty member are so demanding of time, attention, or focus that they interfere with the individual's responsibilities to the university.  Disclosure is a faculty member’s statement of potential conflict of interest as a result of his/her engagement in external activities.
  • For conflicts of interest pertaining to the award or administration of a contract or grant, call (540) 231-8680 or (540) 231-5520
  • General conflict of interest issues should be addressed to the University Legal Counsel; call (540) 231-6293

University policy defines a personal interest as owning more than three percent of the equity in the company or having a commercial arrangement worth more than $10,000 annually. In the case of contracts involving Federal agencies, all Federal guidelines relating to conflicts of interest apply. The Federal Conflict of Interest Guidelines set the maximum allowable commercial arrangement at $5,000 annually.

  • Consulting with faculty who may be considering engaging in an external activity
  • Balancing the predicted pros and cons of any given request to engage in external activities, and to assess the possible public perceptions of those activities.  In any event, and in all applications, the benefits to the university should be evident
  • Assuring that the motivations of a faculty-owner seeking a contractual arrangement with the university are also to net benefit of the university
  • Implementing or imposing any necessary conditions or restrictions to manage, reduce, or eliminate actual or potential conflicts of interest
  • Managing conflicts of interest for classified staff
  • Safeguarding the interest of students employed by or assigned to projects involving a faculty-owned business or other entity in which the faculty member has a financial interest
  • Reviewing and approving (or disapproving) applications for Form 13010A Permission to engage in an External Activity and/or Disclosure of External Activities
  • Reviewing and approving a Memorandum of Understanding as a tool to mitigate the appearance or actually conflict presented by faculty
  • Assuming fiduciary responsibility for research projects where the Principal Investigator has a conflict of interest, if such projects are approved
  • Ensuring completion of required State Disclosure Forms annually on or before January 15 of each year.