Regulation on Conflicts of Interest, Commitment, and External Professional Activities for Pay
|Title||Regulation on Conflicts of Interest, Commitment, and External Professional Activities for Pay|
|Category||Governance and Administration|
|Sub-category||Governance - General|
Chancellor approved January 12, 2016.
Office of Research Integrity and Compliance
(252) 328 - 9474
UNC GA Opinion Letter from David Lombard Harrison dated August 3, 3012
As relationships between ECU employees and students and private industry, federal and state governments, and nonprofit agencies have grown in number and scope, there has been a corresponding increase in concern about conflicts of interest and commitment. While these individuals are encouraged to engage in appropriate relationships with public and private agencies outside of the University, there is a need for commonly understood principles and corresponding procedures that will identify, address, and manage potential conflicts that would detract from or interfere with an employee’s dedication of unbiased primary professional loyalty, time, and energy to University teaching, research, and service.
All members of the University community are expected to avoid conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment that have the potential to directly and significantly affect the University’s interests or compromise their objectivity in carrying out their University Employment Responsibilities, including research, service, and teaching activities and administrative duties, or otherwise compromise performance of University responsibilities, unless such conflicts are disclosed, reviewed, and appropriately managed in accordance with the provisions of this Regulation.
2. POLICY AND SCOPE
2.1 This Regulation sets forth procedures for implementation of the UNC Board of Governors’ policy and guidelines concerning conflicts of interest and commitment and External Professional Activities for Pay (as defined at Section 3.7) affecting University employment. Every individual has an obligation to become familiar with, and abide by, the provisions of this Regulation.
2.2 It is the policy of East Carolina 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 policy.
All Covered Individuals (as defined at Section 3.6), including full-time and part-time EHRA faculty and EHRA non-faculty, are covered by this Regulation. This Regulation covers faculty and EHRA non-faculty employees who are on leave if the leave is funded at least partially from University sources. It covers faculty and EHRA non-faculty employees insofar as their University responsibilities are concerned, with additional specific requirements for individuals that apply for or receive, Public Health Service (PHS) funding by means of a grant or cooperative agreement.
3.1 “Conflict of Commitment” (COC) 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 institution, 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 University Employment Responsibilities.
3.2 “Conflict of Interest” (COI) 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 Individuals’ objectivity in fulfilling their University duties or responsibilities, including research, service and teaching activities and administrative duties. The bias that such conflicts may impart can affect many University responsibilities, including decisions about personnel, the purchase of equipment and other supplies, the selection of instructional material for classroom use, the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, the sharing of research results, the choice of research protocols, the use of statistical methods, and the mentoring and judgment of student work. A Covered Individual 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 or her University Employment Responsibilities.
3.3 “Conflict of Interest Committee” (COIC) is a standing committee appointed by the Institutional Official to make recommendations to the Conflict of Interest Officer regarding this Regulation, associated Standard Operating Procedures, and the management of COI/COC, including the development of appropriate COI/COC management mechanisms. The Committee shall consist of at least five members, four of which shall be faculty members and/or staff. An attorney from the Office of University Counsel will serve as a non-voting ex officio member of the COIC and will be available to advise regarding applicable law and university policies.
3.4 “Conflict of Interest Officer” (COIO) means the individual within the ECU Office of Research Integrity and Compliance who is delegated responsibility from the Institutional Official to implement this Regulation and associated SOPs, including the day-to-day operations of COI/COC management.
3.5 “Covered Employee” is defined as any faculty or EHRA non-faculty person employed by East Carolina University.
3.6 “Covered Individual” includes Covered Employee, Postdoctoral Fellow, or any individual involved in the design, conduct, and/or reporting of sponsored research at ECU, regardless of employee classification (CSS, SHRA) or student status.
3.7 “External Professional Activities for Pay” is defined as any activity performed by a Covered Employee that: 1) is not included within one's University Employment Responsibilities; 2) is performed for any entity, public or private, other than the University employer; 3) is undertaken for compensation; and 4) is based upon the professional knowledge, experience and abilities of the employee. External activities for pay of employees covered by the State Human Resources Act are addressed separately from this Regulation in the State Human Resources Act, Section 3 Employment and Records, Secondary Employment.
3.8 “Department” means an academic department, a professional school without formally established departments, or any other administrative unit designated by the Chancellor for the purposes of implementing this Regulation. “Department Head” refers to the person with supervisory responsibility for the Covered Individual, whether in an academic or non-academic department.
3.9 “Disclosure” refers to a formal statement made by a Covered Individual that a Conflict of Interest or Commitment does or may exist. At a minimum, disclosures are made annually and as specified in the COI/COC SOPs and shall include the Covered Individual’s Financial Interests. The process for making a Disclosure and the review thereof is described in the COC/COI SOPs.
3.10 “Financial Interest” is defined as:
3.10.1 Payment for services to the Covered Individual not otherwise defined as institutional salary (e.g. consulting fees, honoraria, paid authorship, royalties);
3.10.2 Equity or other ownership interest in publicly or non-publicly traded entities (e.g. stock, stock options, or other ownership interest); or
3.10.3 Intellectual property rights and interests upon receipt of income related to such rights and interests, held by the Covered Individual or members of his/her immediate family.
Income from investment vehicles, such as mutual funds or retirement accounts, in which the Covered Individual or member of his/her immediate family do not directly control the investment decisions and intellectual property rights assigned to the Institution and agreements to share in royalties related to such rights are excluded from the definition of Financial Interest. Covered Individuals are required to disclose Financial Interests in a timely manner.
3.11 “Honorarium” means a gratuitous payment of money or anything of value made to a person for services rendered for which fees cannot legally or are not traditionally made. Such payment is distinguished from hire or compensation for service. An example of Honorarium includes, but is not limited to, a payment made to a Covered Individual by an agency of the federal government or a private entity to offset costs incurred by that Covered Individual (such as travel, lodging, and food) incident to the performance of a service for the party paying the Honorarium.
3.12 “Human Subjects Research” means any systematic investigation that (a) is designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge and (b) obtains data through intervention or interaction with living human individuals and/or obtains identifiable private information about living human individuals, including by means of observation or recording of behavior. Intervention includes both physical procedures and manipulations of the human subject or human subject’s environment that are performed for study purposes. Interaction includes communication or interpersonal contact between an investigator and a human subject. Private information includes information that individuals can reasonably expect will not be made public. This definition also encompasses any experiment that involves a test article and one or more human subjects (i.e., a “clinical investigation” per FDA regulations).
3.13 “Immediate Family” of a Covered Individual includes his or her spouse and dependent children.
3.14 “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 University or other Institutional Responsibilities. A Covered Employee 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 this Regulation. Under no circumstances may any employee use the services of another employee during University employment time to advance the externally compensated employee’s professional activities for pay. (See Appendix I)
3.15 “Institutional Official” (IO) means the individual responsible for implementation of this Regulation and associated SOPs and is the institution’s Chief Research Officer. The IO delegates this authority to the COIO, but remains ultimately responsible.
3.16 “Project” means any research, creative activity, testing, evaluation, service, training, and/or instructional plan conducted under the auspices of the University.
3.17 “Public Health Service” (PHS) means the section of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and any components of the PHS to which the authority of the PHS may be delegated. The components of the PHS include, but are not limited to: the National Institutes of Health; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Food and Drug Administration; and Health Resources and Services Administration. Funding overseen by the financial conflict of interest regulations is issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and administered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
3.18 “University Employment Responsibilities” include primary duties and secondary duties.
3.18.1 Primary Duties consist of assigned teaching, scholarship, research, institutional service requirements, administrative duties and other assigned employment duties.
3.18.2 Secondary Duties may include professional affiliations and activities traditionally undertaken by Covered Individuals outside of the immediate University employment context. Secondary Duties may or may not entail the receipt of honoraria, remuneration, or the reimbursement of expenses (UNC Policy Manual, 300.2.2.2 [R]) and include:
188.8.131.52 membership in and service to professional associations and learned societies;
184.108.40.206 membership on professional review or advisory panels;
220.127.116.11 presentation of lectures, papers, concerts or exhibits;
18.104.22.168 participation in seminars and conferences;
22.214.171.124 reviewing or editing scholarly publications and books without receipt of compensation; and
126.96.36.199 service to accreditation bodies.
Secondary Duties, 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 University Duties or University policies.
4. CONFLICT OF INTEREST
This Regulation informs Covered Individuals about situations that generate conflicts of interest related to employment responsibilities, provides mechanisms for individuals and the Institution to manage those conflicts of interest that arise, and describes situations that are prohibited.
Every Covered Individual has an obligation to become familiar with, and abide by, the provisions of this Regulation. At a minimum, all are required to receive COI/COC training and annually complete a Disclosure. If a situation raising questions of COI/COC arises, Covered Individuals should discuss the situation with the COIO and are encouraged to make a formal Disclosure to the University.
4.1 Categories of Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest.
Activities that may involve financial conflicts of interest can be categorized under four general headings: (1) activities that are allowable and are disclosed; (2) activities requiring disclosure for further administrative review and analysis; (3) activities or relationships that are generally not allowable or permitted unless an approved Conflict of Interest Management Plan is in place; and (4) activities 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 categories:
4.1.1 Activities that are allowable and are disclosed.
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 Individual’s performance of University Employment Responsibilities; at most, such situations could prompt questions about Conflicts of Commitment.
If a Covered Individual meets his/her assigned workload, participation in allowable activities would permit:
188.8.131.52 A Covered Individual receiving royalties from the publication of books or for the licensure of patented inventions subject to ECU Patent and Copyright Policies.
184.108.40.206 A Covered Individual 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.
4.1.2 Activities requiring disclosure for further administrative review and analysis.
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 plan.
220.127.116.11 A Covered Individual requiring students to purchase the textbook or related instructional materials of the employee or members of his or her immediate family, which produces compensation for the employee or family member.
18.104.22.168 A Covered Individual receiving compensation or gratuities from any individual or entity doing business with the University. Note that no university 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 G.S 138A).
22.214.171.124 A Covered Individual serving on the board of directors or scientific advisory board of an enterprise that provides financial support for University research and the employee or a member of his or her immediate family may receive such financial support.
126.96.36.199 A Covered Individual or a member of his or her immediate family having an equity or ownership interest in a publicly or non-publicly-traded entity or enterprise.
188.8.131.52 Covered Individual 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 on publication must be in compliance with UNC Policy Manual, 500.1 and 500.2, and with campus Intellectual Property policies.
4.1.3 Activities or relationships that are generally not allowable or permitted unless an approved Conflict of Interest Management Plan is in place.
The examples cited below involve situations that are not generally permissible because they involve potential financial conflicts of interest or they present obvious opportunities or inducements to favor personal interests over institutional interests. An approved Conflict of Interest management plan is required.
184.108.40.206 A Covered Individual participating in University research involving a technology owned by or contractually obligated (by license, option to license, or otherwise) to an enterprise or entity in which the individual or a member of his or her immediate family has a consulting or an External Professional Activity for Pay relationship, has an equity or ownership interest, or holds an executive position.
220.127.116.11 A Covered Individual participating in University research that is funded by a grant or contract from an enterprise or entity in which the individual or a member of his or her immediate family has an equity or ownership interest.
18.104.22.168 A Covered Individual assigning students, postdoctoral fellows, or other trainees to University sponsored research projects sponsored by an enterprise or entity in which the individual or a member of his or her immediate family has equity or ownership interests.
4.1.4 Activities that are not allowable under any circumstances.
22.214.171.124 A Covered Individual making referrals of University business to an external enterprise in which the individual or a member of his or her immediate family has a financial interest.
126.96.36.199 A Covered Individual associating his or her own name with the University in such a way as to profit financially by trading on the reputation or goodwill of the University.
188.8.131.52 A Covered Individual making unauthorized use of privileged information acquired in connection with one's University responsibilities.
184.108.40.206 A Covered Individual signing agreements that assign Institution patent and other intellectual property rights to third parties without prior Institutional approval.
220.127.116.11 Any activity otherwise prohibited by law or university policy.
4.2.1 Honorarium Received Performing Secondary Duties.
Except as otherwise noted in this section, Covered Employees who receive an Honorarium while performing Secondary Duties, and not secondary employment, may receive and retain the Honorarium; provided, however, that all Honoraria, including the nature and amount, must be disclosed to the Covered Employee’s supervisor and to the COIO.
Covered Employees who are Senior Academic and Administrative Officers are subject to special regulations regarding honoraria which require leave to be taken when External Professional Activities for Pay will take place during the regular work week. Please refer to the UNC Policy Manual, 300.2.2.2[R].
4.2.2 Honorarium Received Performing Activities Related to University Employment Responsibilities.
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 University Employment Responsibilities on behalf of the State, the employee shall not receive any financial consideration, including Honoraria. In these instances, the employee may request that the Honorarium be paid to the University. The Honorarium may be retained by the employee only for activities performed outside of normal working hours, as defined by the University, or while the employee is on earned paid or annual leave, and all expenses are the responsibility of the employee or a third party that is not a State entity.
Specifically, Covered Employees may not receive any financial consideration, including Honoraria, for engaging in activities that are related to general University Employment Responsibilities, but which are not Secondary Duties as defined in this Policy. For example, a University employee may be invited to speak at an event unrelated to the University, unrelated to research or field of study, and unrelated to that Covered Employee’s Primary and Secondary Duties. In this case the Covered Employee may receive an Honorarium, but may not request reimbursement or perform the activities on work time, without taking leave. Another example would be if a Covered Employee were asked to speak at a privately-sponsored symposium at the University, because of the Covered Employee’s position on the faculty or the administration, but not in the course of performing Secondary Duties. Even if all speakers were to be given Honoraria at the symposium, the Covered Employee could not accept it because this activity would be considered related to that Covered Employee’s University Employment Responsibilities.
4.3 Gifts and University Grants and Contracts
4.3.1 Gifts Regulated. Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 133-32(a), University employees who are charged with the duty of: 1) preparing plans, specifications, or estimates for public contract; or 2) award or administer public contracts; or 3) inspect or supervise construction may not willfully receive or accept any gift or favor from a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier who currently has a contract with a governmental agency, or has performed under such a contract within the past year, or anticipates bidding on such a contract in the future; provided, however, unless the gift or favor is permitted under N.C. Gen. Stat. 133-32(d). Further, pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-234, no University employee may solicit or receive any gift, favor, reward, service, or promise of reward, including a promise of future employment, in exchange for recommending, influencing, or attempting to influence the award of a contract by the University. Violation of these laws is a criminal offense.
4.3.2 No influencing of contract maker/administrator. Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-234(a)(2), no University employee who will derive a direct benefit from a contract with the University (i.e., if the employee or his or her spouse) (1) has more than a ten percent (10%) ownership or other interest in an entity that is a party to a contract with the University; (2) derives income or commission directly from such contract; or (3) acquires property under the contract, may attempt to influence any person who is involved in making or administering the contract (i.e., if he or she: 1) participates in the development of specifications or terms or in the preparation of the contract; or 2) oversees performance of the contract or has the authority to make decisions regarding the contract or to interpret the contract). This includes, but is not limited to, contracts for employment of an employee’s spouse.
4.3.3 Although customary honoraria and reimbursement for actual costs generally are not considered to be gifts, if reimbursements or honoraria are significantly in excess of fair market value or customary amounts (e.g., expensive resort sojourns, coverage of family member expenses, etc.), they are de facto gifts and must be disclosed as such. Receipt of Honoraria or reimbursement is conditioned upon such being in compliance with all applicable laws and University policies, including Standard Operating Procedures adopted by University Departments.
4.3.4 University employees may not accept any financial or other favors in exchange for privileged access by current or potential University vendors to University facilities or employees. Covered individuals must report any personal compensation a project sponsor pays to or for the benefit of a covered individual outside contracted project support to the University.
4.3.5 A University employee may not receive compensation from an external source for performance of University work except through a University contract or grant. Any situation that involves a grant or a contract and an External Professional Activity for Pay requires careful COI/COC management.
4.3.6 For purposes of this Regulation, gifts and donations that have been made to the University or to a University-affiliated foundation for the benefit of the professional activities of a covered individual, are considered to be a financial interest of the intended beneficiary and must be disclosed.
4.4 Intellectual Property Transactions
4.4.1 Required Action:
18.104.22.168 All Covered Individuals who are University inventors are required to disclose their and their Immediate Family’s personal or financial interests related to the invention in the course of the licensing process.
22.214.171.124 Covered Individuals who are inventors of technologies licensed or otherwise made available by the University to a third party must complete and submit an applicable Conflict of Interest Disclosure before execution of the license or other agreement by the Office of Technology Transfer. Any Covered Individual who is an inventor and who holds equity in, is an officer or director of, or provides consultative services to, an entity that has licensed or otherwise acquired rights to University invention(s) or copyright(s) will be deemed to have a Conflict of Interest under this Regulation.
126.96.36.199 External consulting relationships between a Covered Individual who is an inventor and the licensee of that invention are permitted only when reviewed and approved in accordance with this Regulation and the COI/COC SOPs.
4.5 Managing Conflicts of Interests and Commitment
The Conflict of Interest Officer (COIO) administers the University’s program to manage conflicts of interests and conflicts of commitment. The COIO will work with faculty, unit heads and other appropriate administrators, and the COIC to define appropriate management mechanisms for identified COI/COC or to determine that a COI/COC may not be managed. Possible measures to be taken in managing COI/COC include, but are not limited to:
• Public disclosures of Financial Interests
• Reformulation of the work plan
• Close monitoring of the project by an independent review committee
• Substituting supervisors and/or other personnel
• Termination or reduction of involvement in the project where a COI/COC cannot be managed
• Termination of inappropriate student involvement in projects
• Severance of relationships that pose actual, potential, or the appearance of conflicts
• Separation of the Covered Individual from involvement in Human Subjects Research in the critical areas of recruitment, inclusion/exclusion evaluation, enrollment, and adverse event evaluation and reporting
Covered Individuals shall comply with management mechanisms established by the COIO, including the COIO’s determination that conflicts cannot be managed for a particular activity/activities. If a Covered Individual disagrees with management mechanisms established by the COIO, or the COIO’s determination that conflicts cannot be managed for a particular activity/activities, the Covered Individual may appeal to the Institutional Official in accordance with applicable ECU COI/COC Standard Operating Procedures. The decision of the Institutional Official is final.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures, review information, and any related management plans containing information having direct bearing on a Covered Employee’s employment are considered, generally, to be a part of that Covered Employee’s Personnel File; provided, however, in certain circumstances, federal or state law may require or permit the University to disclose such information to third parties.
5. CONFLICT OF COMMITMENT AND EXTERNAL PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES FOR PAY
5.1 Although full-time faculty and other non-faculty EHRA employment is not amenable to precise, time-clock analysis and monitoring, administrators at the department and school levels regularly evaluate the work of employees within their units. The formal occasions for determining whether a Covered Employee/Individual is devoting sufficient time and energy to University employment include regular reviews of performance. In addition, complaints from students, colleagues, or administrators about possible failures to meet assigned responsibilities may arise and require investigation. The issue, in each case, is whether the employee is meeting the requirements of the job. If presented with evidence that a faculty member is not meeting full-time responsibilities to the University, the UNC Policy Manual Chapter 100.1 prescribes that "neglect of duty" is a ground for disciplinary action, including the possibility of discharge. The following describe instances of activities that require specific monitoring to demonstrate the absence of conflict of commitment.
5.2 External Professional Activities for Pay
The University of North Carolina and its constituent institutions seek to appoint and to retain, as employees, individuals of exceptional competence in their respective fields of professional endeavor. Because of their specialized knowledge and experience, these individuals have opportunities to apply their professional expertise to activities outside of their University employment, including secondary employment consisting of paid consultation with or other service to various public and private entities. These practical compensated applications of professional qualifications enhance capabilities in teaching, research, and administration. Thus, participation of covered individuals in External Professional Activities for Pay, typically in the form of consulting, is an important characteristic of academic employment that often leads to significant societal benefits, including economic development through technology transfer. However, such External Professional Activities for Pay are to be undertaken only if they do not:
5.2.1 Create a Conflict of Commitment by interfering with the obligation of the individual to carry out all primary University Employment Responsibilities in a timely and effective manner;
5.2.2 Create a Conflict of Interest because of the individual's status as a Covered Individual of the University;
5.2.3 Involve any inappropriate use or exploitation of University resources;
5.2.4 Make any use of the name of the University of North Carolina or ECU for any purpose other than professional identification;
5.2.5 Claim, explicitly or implicitly, any University responsibility for the conduct or outcome of the External Professional Activities for Pay.
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 the appointment. Please refer to the UNC Policy Manual, 300.2.2.1[R].
5.3 Monitoring Process
The UNC Policy Manual, 300.2.2.1 [R], contains provisions established to monitor possible Conflicts of Commitment. A faculty or non-faculty EHRA employee who wishes to engage in External Professional Activities for Pay must adhere to this regulation to provide satisfactory assurances that such activity will not interfere with University Employment Responsibilities. This regulation may not apply to faculty and non-faculty EHRA employees serving on academic year (9-month) contracts, if the External Professional Activity for Pay is wholly performed and completed outside of the contract service period and the activity does not conflict with the policies of ECU or the UNC Board of Governors and is not conducted concurrently with a contract service period for teaching, research, or other services to the Institution during a summer session.
5.4 Use of Annual Leave. Covered Employees who are faculty do not need to take annual leave for External Professional Activities for Pay so long as the faculty member complies with the notice and approval procedures of this Policy and that of the UNC Board of Governors (UNC Policy Manual 300.2.2.1[R]). In contrast, Senior Academic or Administrative Officers usually have to take annual leave for External Professional Activities for Pay.
5.5 Faculty and EHRA non-faculty may only engage in External Professional Activities for Pay when it does not interfere with the individual’s University Employment Responsibilities with express approval from the appropriate Department Head, as stated in UNC Policy Manual, 300.2.2.1[R].
5.6 Political Activities. 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 fulltime commitment to University duties. Please refer to UNC Policy Manual, 300.5.1 for specific policy details.
6. ENFORCEMENT OF REGULATIONS
6.1 Possible sanctions for violation of this Regulation and associated COI/COC SOPs can range from administrative intervention to termination of employment or of enrollment in accordance with applicable University policies, including the Faculty Manual (Part IX, Section I, VI). Violations may include, but are not limited to: (a) failure to timely disclose personal or financial interests as required, failure or refusal to respond to requests for additional information, providing incomplete, misleading, or inaccurate information; (b) failure to comply with a prescribed management or monitoring plan; or (c) engaging in an External Activity for Pay without receiving prior approval.
APPENDIX I. Inappropriate use or exploitation of University Resources
1. “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 University or other Institutional Responsibilities. A Covered Employee 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 the ECU Regulation on Conflicts of Interest, Commitment, and External Professional Activities for Pay. Under no circumstances may any employee use the services of another employee during University employment time to advance the externally compensated employee’s professional activities for pay.
2. Except where the use is in compliance with all of the following requirements, Covered Employees may not use University resources for the conduct of External Professional Activities for Pay. Examples of such resources include, but are not limited to, offices, laboratories, classrooms, athletic facilities, materials, property, equipment, scientific instruments, software, databases, IT resources, or the services of another University employee. By using any University resource in the conduct of an External Professional Activity for Pay, a Covered Employee is deemed to have agreed to the requirements specified in this Appendix I. The requirements for the use of University resources for the conduct of External Professional Activities for Pay include:
2.1 The use must comply with all laws, regulatory requirements, applicable University policies, and the terms and conditions of university contracts. For example, if a software license states that software may only be used by the University for its business use, said software may not be used by a Covered Employee in his or her conduct of an External Professional Activity for Pay. Covered Employees must comply with all applicable Export Control laws and regulations.
2.2 The Covered Employee is responsible for the use of the University resource(s) and shall indemnify and hold harmless the University for any damages, losses, costs, or other injuries sustained by the University, as a result of third party claims or otherwise, that result from or are related to such use. A Covered Employee shall always exercise reasonable care and use University resources in a safe and professional manner. In its sole discretion, the University may require a Covered Employee to purchase insurance coverage in connection with her/his use of University resources for an External Professional Activity for Pay, naming the University as an insured party, if the University determines at any time that the institution has any material risk of liability because of the employee’s activity. The amount and other requirements of such a policy shall meet or exceed any parameters the University deems appropriate for the situation.
2.3 The overall cost to the University must be negligible, i.e., the marginal cost of the use is nearly zero. There should be no financial consequence to the University for use of a University resource by a Covered Employee in the conduct of an External Professional Activity for Pay.
2.4 The use must not interfere with a Covered Employee’s ability to carry out University Employment Responsibilities in a timely and effective manner. Time spent engaged in the use of a University resource for the conduct of an External Professional Activity for Pay is not considered to be University work time.
2.5 The use must in no way interfere with the use of University resources for University purposes. The use of such resources in the support the University’s teaching, research, service missions will at all times take priority.
2.6 The use neither expresses nor implies sponsorship or endorsement by the University of the Covered Employee’s conduct of the External Professional Activity for Pay. Mere identification of the University as the Covered Employee’s employer is permitted, provided that such identification is not used in a manner that implies sponsorship or endorsement by the University. Any other use of the University’s name, marks, or other indicia by the Covered Employee is prohibited.
2.7 Covered Employees do not have any expectation of privacy in the use of University Resources for the conduct of External Professional Activities for Pay. Employees are prohibited from storing confidential information associated with his/her External Professional Activity for Pay on any University device or in any University facility, including but not limited to, computer hard drives, remote storage, or campus office space. The ECU Office of Internal Audit and Management Advisory Services, the State Auditor and others (including government regulatory agencies) may examine uses of University resources, including reviewing any and all information related to an External Professional Activity for Pay that may be found in or on any University facility or device, and the Covered Employee should not expect notification of such reviews.
2.8 The use of specialized equipment and/or facilities by a Covered Employee requires advance approval, in writing by:
2.8.1 Administrator with the appropriate authority to approve External Professional Activity for Pay use of a facility or site;
2.8.2 The Covered Employee’s Immediate Supervisor or Department Chair;
2.8.3 The Covered Employee’s next highest University Administrator; and
2.8.4 Final Approval from the Chief Research Officer.
2.9 Documentation that the Covered Employee has received any specialized training necessary to appropriately conduct activities with said equipment, facilities, or site must be provided as part of a Covered Employee’s request to use specialized equipment or facilities.
2.10 Employees must consult their supervisors and the COIO, in advance, regarding use of University resources for External Professional Activities for Pay to ensure that said use is appropriate under University policy and applicable law.
2.11 The University may require a Covered Employee, or his or her affiliated legal entity, to enter into a Facility Use Agreement with the University that specifies the terms and conditions under which the Covered Employee may use University facilities, which may include payment of use fees and other charges. For example, such an agreement would be required where an Athletic Coach or a faculty member may wish to operate a for-profit summer camp on University property.
2.12 Confidential information in the possession of the University, including that to which the Covered Employee may otherwise have access to in the performance of University Employment Responsibilities, may never be used by a Covered Employee for the conduct of an External Professional Activity for Pay. Such information includes, but is not limited to, education records, protected health information, personally identifiable information (such as social security numbers and credit card information), personnel file materials, university research records and information relating to University owned intellectual property, generally, and any other information that is made confidential by law.
2.13 Under no circumstances may any employee use the services of another employee during University employment time to advance the externally compensated employee’s professional activities for pay.
2.14 Covered Employees acknowledge that violation of these requirements is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including, termination of University employment.