June 27, 1995

To:         The Board of Trustees

From:     Thomas A. Bartlett

Subject: Approval of Policy on Conflict of Interest

I recommend that the Board of Trustees adopt the following resolution:

Resolved that the “State University of New York Policy on Conflict of Interest, “dated June 27, 1995, be, and hereby is, approved (copy of policy on file in the Office of the Secretary); and, be it further

Resolved that the Chancellor, or designee, be, and hereby is, authorized to develop and issue appropriate procedures for the implementation of this policy.


The faculty and staff of the State University of New York are subject to the conflict of interest provisions of the New York State Public Officers Law as well as the policy on conflict of commitment in Article XI, Title H, Section 4, of the Policies of the Board of Trustees, Section 335.26 of Title 8 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York (8 NYCRR Section 335.26).

Effective October 1, 1995, Federal regulations impose conflict of interest rules and financial disclosure requirements on applicants for specific federally sponsored research funds.  This resolution meets the new Federal requirement that colleges and universities applying for funds from two Federal agencies, the Public Health Service and the National Science Foundation, have a written institutional policy for identifying and managing financial interests, which create potential or apparent conflicts of interest.

The policy statement incorporates the statutory requirements of the New York State Public Officers Law on conflict of interest and mandated financial disclosure for employees earning over a statutory threshold.  It also provides for financial disclosure by investigators and co-investigators applying for Federal research funding from the Public Health Service and the National Science Foundation.  Campuses are required to identify financial disclosure designees who will be responsible for maintaining and reviewing the disclosure statements and resolving actual or potential conflicts of interest.  The policy and its implementing procedures should involve little additional administrative responsibility since the New York State Ethics Commission already mandates a disclosure procedure which will be continued to meet the Federal requirements.

This policy has been shared with campus presidents and with the campus officers responsible for administering the policy.  Several revisions to earlier drafts were made as a result of these consultations.  In addition, the policy has been shared with the University Faculty Senate, the New York State Ethics Commission, the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations and United University Professions.

                        State University of New York

                        Policy on Conflict of Interest

I.                   Introduction

  Consistent with the mission of the State University of New York, all faculty and staff are encouraged to pursue free and open enquiry and the unrestricted dissemination of knowledge.  Open exchange of scholarly knowledge is integral to SUNY’s goals of instruction, research and scholarship, and public service.  Moreover, as members of a public university, the faculty and staff of SUNY have a responsibility to ensure integrity in all aspects of the performance of their assignments.

  This policy represents a restatement of existing University policy and pertinent State and Federal law and regulations including:

  Policies of the Board of Trustees, Article XI, Title H, Section 4; New York State Public Officers Law, Section 73-a, and 73 and 74; 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 50, Subpart F; and National Science Foundation, Grant Policy Manual (GPM), Section 310

II.                Definition

             A conflict of interest is any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect; participation in any business, transaction or professional activity; or incurring of any obligation of any nature, which is or appears to be in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of an employee’s duties in the public interest.  A conflict of interest is also any financial interest that will, or may be reasonably expected to, bias the design, conduct or reporting of sponsored research.

III.             Policy

Faculty and staff of the University are encourage to foster an atmosphere of academic freedom by promoting the open and timely exchange of scholarly knowledge independent of personal interests.  In keeping with this obligation, they are also required to avoid conflicts of interest.  In instances where potential or actual conflicts exist, faculty and staff are expected to consult with appropriate University officers and abide by this University policy.  It is the responsibility of campus officials charged with implementing this policy to identify potential or actual conflicts of interest and take appropriate steps to manage, reduce or eliminate them.

1)   SUNY faculty and staff may not engage in other employment which interferes with the performance of their professional obligation (Policies of the Board of Trustees Article XI, Title H, Section 4).

2)   SUNY faculty and staff are expected to comply with the New York State Public Officers Law provisions on conflict of interest and ethical conduct (Section 73 and 74).

3)   SUNY faculty and staff, to the extent required by law or regulation, shall disclose at minimum whether they (and their spouses and dependent children) have employment or financial interests or hold significant offices, in external organizations that may affect, or appear to affect, the discharge of professional obligations to the University (as required and subject to the limits of NYS Public Officers Law 73-a, and 73, 74; 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart F; and, NSF, GPM, Section 310).

4)   SUNY campuses shall ensure that all faculty and staff subject to pertinent laws and regulations disclose financial interests in accordance with procedures to be established by the Chancellor or designee.  Campuses shall retain the reported information as required, identify actual or apparent conflicts of interest and seek resolution of such conflicts.

5)   Each campus President shall submit to the System Provost the name and title of the person or persons designated as financial disclosure designee(s) and shall further notify the Provost when a change in that assignment occurs.  The Provost shall also be notified of any reports regarding Conflict of Interest that are forwarded to State or Federal agencies.


June 27, 1995