UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH POLICY 07-05-02
SECTION: Staff Performance
SUBJECT: Conflict of Interest for Designated Administrators and Staff
EFFECTIVE DATE: December 14, 1994
The following policy applies to all full-time and part-time University staff and administrators
who are classified as Administrator IV or V or above, or who are “designated employees,” as
defined below (hereinafter, collectively, "Staff" or "Staff Member").
II. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
Staff Members stand in a relationship of trust and confidence to the University. They shall
act in good faith with due regard for the best interests of the institution, and shall comply
with the principles of conduct hereinafter set forth.
A potential or actual conflict of interest exists when a Staff Member's commitments and
obligations to the University may be compromised by his/her other interests or commitments,
especially economic, and particularly if those interests or commitments are not disclosed.
Although not all conflicting interests are impermissible, those involving the potential for
self-gain or gain by a third party to whom the Staff Member is related can serve to
undermine the judgment or objectivity of Staff such that their primary obligation to the
University is compromised. Furthermore, bias or the appearance of bias may undermine
public trust in the University.
The University believes that full and timely disclosure by Staff, pursuant to the requirements
set forth below, will sensitize them and their supervisors to potential conflicts of interest and
promote resolution of actual conflicts. Even if disclosure is not explicitly required below, the
Staff Member should discuss with his/her supervisor any affiliation, interest or other matter
that presents a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest.
Affiliation: of a person to or with an organization includes (a) holding the position of officer,
director, trustee, partner (general or limited), employee or regularly retained agent of such
organization; (b) actual or beneficial ownership of stock, equity, debt or other financial
interest of such organization; or (c) expected receipt in the current or a future year of
remuneration for services (other than salary as an employee) from such organization in
excess of $500.
Designated Employee: means an employee below the level of Administrator IV, who is
designated by his/her supervisor to comply with this policy because the employee is in a
position to make, direct, or materially influence University business decisions.
Organization: includes any corporation, partnership, proprietorship, association, trust,
government agency or other entity.
Permitted Interest: means the ownership of (a) shares of stock listed on the New York
Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange or any other recognized stock exchange,
so long as the amount of such stock of any one issuer is less than five percent of the
outstanding voting shares; (b) shares of mutual funds; (c) an interest in a blind trust; or
(d) any debt instruments of publicly-held companies.
Related Person: of a Staff Member means a spouse, registered domestic partner or
dependent child of such Staff Member. The term extends to siblings, parents and non-
dependent children (including step- and in-law variants of those relationships) in
circumstances where the Staff Member has actual knowledge that such relative is likely to
or will benefit from a particular University transaction.
University Transaction or Transaction: means any transaction of the University (or an
organization closely affiliated with the University) with a person or an organization other
than (a) a transaction with the University itself or an organization closely affiliated with the
University; (b) a transaction for which the University will receive competitive bids from two
or more companies; (c) a transaction that involves the rendering of services of a common
carrier, contract carrier or public utility, at rates or charges fixed in conformity with law or
governmental authority; or (d) a transaction that involves services of a bank depositary of
funds, transfer agent, registrar or trustee under a trust indenture, or similar services.
Disclosure of Interested Transactions
As soon as a Staff Member receives knowledge of a University Transaction or proposed
a. to which such Staff Member or Related Person is a party, regardless of the dollar
amount of the Transaction, or
b. with an organization with which such Staff Member or a Related Person has any
Affiliation other than a Permitted Interest and in which the amount involved in the
Transaction exceeds or is likely to exceed $500,
such Staff Member shall disclose the nature of his/her or the Related Person's interest in
the Transaction and Affiliation with such organization. Such disclosure shall, if possible,
be made prior to the time the Transaction is entered into or approved by the Board of
Trustees or appropriate administrator of the University.
Disclosure of Affiliations
Each Staff Member shall annually disclose the nature of his or her Affiliation (or the
Affiliation of a Related Person) other than a Permitted Interest with each organization with
which (a) the University (or an organization closely affiliated with the University) had
business dealings during the past year or (b) there is a reasonable possibility the
University (or an organization closely affiliated with the University) may in the next year
have business dealings. This disclosure shall be made on the attached Disclosure Form
upon hiring and annually thereafter. (The fact that an Affiliation or interest is not required
to be listed on the Disclosure Form does not mean that it is exempt from conflict of interest
evaluation under this Policy.)
Disclosure Review Procedure
All disclosures required under this Policy shall be directed in writing to the next higher
administrator in the Staff Member's supervisory line who is at least at the level of director
or department chairperson. Review after disclosure must take place promptly and help the
Staff Member determine which interests are not in conflict, which conflicting interests may
be permissible, and which conflicting interests must be eliminated or addressed in some
The choice of full disclosure in place of rigid prohibitions in this Policy is based on the
assumption that once a conflict is recognized, it can often be avoided or resolved.All administrators who receive disclosures shall:
a. review the disclosure forms for real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest;
b. request and document additional details including precise dollar figures for ownership
interests or remuneration, if such details appear necessary for sound determination of
the presence or absence of impermissible conflicts of interest;
c. determine whether their superiors wish to review the detailed information provided by
the Staff Members;
d. meet with individual Staff Members to discuss collegially how potential or actual
conflicts shall be resolved;
e. recommend and initiate action to resolve the apparent, potential or real conflict;
f. report to the head of their responsibility center at least annually on how any significant
real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest have been resolved.
Any Staff Member who disagrees with the recommendation of his/her reviewing
administrator for resolving conflicts of interest may appeal to the next higher administrator
in the supervisory line. If the Staff Member is dissatisfied with the determination of the next
higher administrator, he/she may request that administrator to refer the matter to the
Senior Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, the Senior Vice Chancellor for Health
Sciences or the Provost, as appropriate, whose decision shall be final.
Annual Summary Reports
All administrators who review conflict of interest disclosures shall transmit an annual report
to their respective superiors by December 31 each year that shall include the following:
a. the number and percentage of Staff in units the administrator supervises who have
had to submit detailed Disclosure Forms;
b. the number and percentage of Staff who answered each Question 1, 2 or 3
affirmatively or responded to Question 4;
c. the number and percentage of Staff whose outside interests and activities were found
to constitute conflicts of interest which were resolved;
d. the number and percentage of Staff whose conflicts of interest were not resolved;
e. details regarding remedial action recommended and taken.
In order to encourage full disclosure of potential conflicts without unduly intruding on the
privacy of University personnel or their families, disclosures shall be treated confidentially
and disclosed only to the extent necessary for review and resolution of conflicts.
Withdrawal from Decisions
Staff shall not exercise University decision-making authority or exert influence concerning
any organization or Transaction in which they or a Related Person have a personal interest.
Misuse of Information
No Staff Member shall, for personal gain or for the gain of others, use any information not
available to the public that was obtained as a result of service to the University. No Staff
Member shall personally exploit any business opportunity in which the Staff Member knows
or reasonably should know the University is or would be interested, unless the University
first consents thereto in writing.
Gifts and Favors
No Staff Member shall solicit or accept for personal use, or for the use of others, any gift,
favor, loan, gratuity, reward, promise of future employment or any other thing of monetary
value that might influence or appear to influence the judgment or conduct of the Staff
Member vis-a-vis University business. Staff Members may accept occasional unsolicited
courtesy gifts or favors (such as business lunches, tickets to baseball games or Christmas
baskets) so long as the gifts or favors have a market value under $200, are customary in
the industry, and will not influence or appear to influence the judgment or conduct of the
Staff Member vis-a-vis University business. A Staff Member may be exempted from the
restrictions in this paragraph by his/her supervisor as to a specified gift or favor. The
exemption shall be in writing with a statement of the basis therefore. Individual
administrative units within the University may impose further restrictions on gifts and favors
for Staff Members within the unit.
Reporting Suspected Violations
An allegation of violations of this Policy and the basis for the allegation shall be
communicated, confidentially and preferably (but not necessarily) in writing, to an
administrator in the supervisory line of the alleged violator or, if that would be problematic,
to the Internal Audit Department or the Office of General Counsel. Measures shall be
taken to ensure that no adverse action is taken, either directly or indirectly, against a
complainant who makes allegations in good faith.
Non-compliance with the provisions of this Policy may be sanctioned in the same way as
non-compliance with any other University policy, including a letter of reprimand, probation,
suspension, salary reduction, change of classification or termination of employment.