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About This Policy

Responsible Office
University President

Policy Owner
Director of Human Resources

Policy Contact
Jan Serumgard



Policy Statement

North Central University community members must avoid any situation, conflict, or appearance of conflict, between their personal interest and the interest of the university in dealing with any organization or individual having, or seeking to have, any business relationship with the university or with any organization or individual whose objectives or interest may be adverse to university interests.

Conflicts of interest occur when university members are in a position to influence a decision on policy or any business decision they might directly or indirectly receive financial benefit, financial interest, or give improper advantage to associates. Conflicts of commitment arise when university members’ involvement in outside activities substantially interfere with their primary commitments to the university.

University community members must not use their official university positions or influence to further gain or advancement for themselves, parents, siblings, spouse or partner, children, dependent relatives, or other personal associates at the expense of the university.

Favors of any value should be recognized for their potential to influence the objectivity of the recipient. Employees are prohibited from soliciting or accepting gifts or offers of hospitality when such solicitation or acceptance may influence, or have the appearance of influencing, the performance of university duties.

The university allows and encourages faculty and staff to engage in outside activities and relationships that enhance the mission of the university. All university community members are to act with honesty, integrity, and in the best interest of the university when performing their duties, and to abide by the highest standards of research, educational, professional, and fiscal conduct. Given that the university allows and encourages outside activities and relationships that enhance the mission of the university, potential conflicts of interest and commitment are inevitable.

If an employee has any power of influence to approve or disapprove a transaction proposed to be entered into between the university and that person or between the University and any entity or individual having a significant relationship to that person, he or she has a potential conflict of interest and may not participate in the process leading to the approval or disapproval of the transaction unless the underlying facts giving rise to the potential conflict of interest are disclosed and approval for participation is obtained.

Members of the university community have an obligation to address both the substance and the appearance of conflicts of interest and commitment and, if they arise, to disclose them to the appropriate university representative and withdraw from debate, voting, or other decision-making processes where a conflict of interest exists or might arise. Real, suspected, or potential conflicts of interest or commitment must be immediately disclosed t in writing to a superior and to the Office of Human Resources.

All employees must complete a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form at the time of their hiring, even if they have no reportable external activities, financial interests, or business interests. Key employees must complete a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form annually.

Investigation and Mitigation
All conflicts of interest or commitment, actual or suspected, must be investigated by the appropriate university official; evaluated; and, if found to be significant, eliminated or managed by an appropriate approved action plan.

Violations and Sanctions
Violations, as determined by the appropriate dean, director, supervisor, or university official, are considered misconduct on the part of a faculty or staff member and may be subject to institutional sanctions up to and including termination of appointment in accordance with applicable disciplinary procedures.

The university prohibits any form of retaliation against any individual because of the individual’s good faith participation in reporting or otherwise expressing opposition to, suspected or alleged misconduct, or participating in any process designed to review or investigate suspected or alleged misconduct or noncompliance with applicable policies, rules, and laws. No employee will be adversely affected because they refused to carry out a directive which constitutes fraud or is a violation of local, state, federal or other applicable laws and regulations.

Individuals who believe that retaliation is occurring or has occurred, as a result of their good faith participation, must report those acts to the appropriate university official.

Disputes and Appeals
When a university community member disputes any action or decision related to a potential conflict of interest or conflict of commitment, existing university policies for disputes will be used.

Reason For Policy

It is inevitable that conflicts of interest will sometimes arise. The purpose of this policy is to set out a mechanism for identifying and addressing potential and actual conflicts of interest so that the university’s constituencies can be confident that its decisions and actions are untainted by personal interests.

Policy Scope

All employees of university including full-time, part-time and student employees, and any other person while acting on behalf of or at the request of the university including, but not limited to, members of a university community, board members, and persons giving advice to the university at the request of the university and anyone involved in a university decision-making process.


  • Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form (obtain from Office of Human Resources)


  • There are no appendices associated with the policy.

Additional Contacts

Primary ContactJan
Policy Clarification and InterprettationJan


Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest exists where there is a potential or actual divergence between the personal interests of a university member and that member’s obligation to uphold the interests and mission of the university. In a conflict of interest situation, an impartial observer might reasonably question whether actions or decisions taken by the university member on behalf of the university are influenced by consideration of personal interests. A conflict of interest depends on the situation, and not on the character or actions, of the individual.

Conflict of Commitment
When a university community member’s outside activities interfere, or would reasonably appear to interfere, with their institutional responsibilities. This includes any outside services, dual employment, consulting or other activity, regardless of the location of those activities (on or off campus), the type of entity (for-profit, not-for-profit or government), or the level of compensation (compensated or unpaid).

Any item, product, or service, regardless of the nature, purpose, or value. The term includes also includes entertainment such as tickets to events, golf, and other sports outings; hotels, transportation, and other travel expenses, stock, equity, ownership interests, and discounts on products or services.

Financial Interest
Anything of monetary value, including but not limited to, salary or other payments for services (e.g., consulting fees or honoraria); equity interests (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interests); and the value of intellectual property rights (e.g., patents, copyrights and royalties from such rights).

Key Employee
An officer making over $180,000 for 2019.

Personal Interest
The personal, private, or financial interest of a university member or closely associated person or related business.

Report in Good Faith
A report made with an honest and reasonable belief that a university-related violation of law or policy or other instance of non-compliance or related misconduct may have occurred.

Adverse action against an individual because she or he has made a protected disclosure or has participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing involving a protected disclosure.

University Community Members
All employees of university including full-time, part-time and student employees, and any other person while acting on behalf of or at the request of the university including, but not limited to, members of a university committee, persons giving advice to the university at the request of the university and anyone involved in a university decision-making process.


Approve exceptions to this policy and review conflicts as needed.

Deans, Directors, and Vice Presidents
In consultation with the Office of Human Resources, approve management plans.

Office of Human Resources

  • Establish and manage procedures for this policy.
  • Advise and educate departments and individuals on resolutions conflict of interest and commitment.
  • Draft language for management plans and gain approval for plans by appropriate university officials.
  • Store documentation and disclosure forms.
  • Work with the president and other university officers to resolve or mitigate real or potential conflicts.

University Community Members
Inform their supervisor of any workplace personal relationship involvement, conflicts of interest, or conflicts of commitment.

Key Employees
Annually complete the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form

Consult with each individual with the conflict or potential conflict, either jointly or separately. Contact Office of Human Resources. Protect the employment or academic interests of the subordinate. Document consultation regarding conflicts. Keep all documentation secure.