Conflict of Interest
The University of Denver’s mission is regularly served by the participation of its representatives in activities outside the University. Interactions with external organizations contribute to the enrichment of University programs. While such interaction is encouraged, these activities may result in a real or perceived conflict of interest ("COI"). It is necessary to assess and manage COIs, so that the integrity and the interests of the University and its representatives are protected.
Complete this Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form to report a COIReport a conflict of interest
"Conflict of Interest" Definition
A conflict of interest exists in situations when a University Representative has a significant financial, personal, or professional interest that is directly or indirectly at odds or inconsistent with the University’s interests. It is not possible to define all situations that might be considered conflicts of interest, and ultimately, the University relies on each University Representative’s sound judgment and common sense. The most likely conflict situation is one in which a University Representative has a financial interest, direct or indirect, in the business dealings of the University. Conflicts of interest occur in situations such as when:
- An individual’s ability to act independently or objectively in the University’s best interests may be impaired, or might appear to be impaired, by an existing or potential financial, personal, or professional benefit received by the individual;
- An individual has a significant financial interest in another entity that supplies, or proposes to supply in the future, funds, goods, or services to the University;
- An individual has a relationship with a third party, such as a vendor of goods or services to the University, that results in, or has the potential to result in, personal gain to the individual because of the third-party’s relationship with the University; or
- An individual derives, or appears to derive, a financial or other material benefit from confidential information learned in the course of work or service on behalf of the University.
University representatives’ individual interests include the interests of their family members, who are defined as a University representative’s spouse, domestic partner, and dependent children.
Annually, key employees and board members are asked to complete a questionnaire regarding conflicts of interest. The results of the questionnaire are provided to the Chair of the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees. However, all employees are obligated to meet the requirements of the Conflict of Interest Policy, which requires employees to report specified information to supervisors as well as complete the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form in any instance where a conflict of interest may be perceived.
When a University representative, other than a trustee or the Chancellor, becomes aware of an interest or relationship that might constitute or give rise to a conflict of interest, the University representative must promptly disclose that individual interest to his or her supervisor and the Office of Internal Audit via the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form. Trustees and the Chancellor must make prompt disclosures to the Chair of the Audit Committee. A University representative must also promptly disclose a significant personal, financial, or other interest in any transaction for which he or she is being called upon to exercise his or her University authority. The University representative must follow up on any verbal disclosures with a written disclosure using the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form maintained by the Office of Internal Audit.
Potential conflicts of interest for employees are evaluated by General Counsel and the Office of Internal Audit to determine whether a reported concern amounts to an actual or apparent conflict of interest. For trustees, the Chair of the Audit Committee makes such determinations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I have to fill out a COI questionnaire?
The University's Conflict of Interest Policy defines who must complete the COI questionnaire. These include:
- Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor;
- Vice Chancellors, Deans, Officers, and the Equivalent;
- Directors (Director 1, 2, and 3 HR Position Titles);
- Academic Department Chairs;
- Head Coaches and Assistant Coaches of University Athletic Programs; and
- All persons not appearing on the above list who are required to complete an annual sub-certification disclosure by the University’s Corporate Governance and Responsibility Policy.
Do I have to complete the COI questionnaire if I am no longer an administrator, director or budget officer?
Please contact Enterprise Risk Management at email@example.com. The questionnaire covers your responsibilities for the preceding fiscal year. In addition, some unique situations may require you to complete the form.
I am leaving DU soon; do I still need to complete the COI questionnaire?
You still need to complete the questionnaire as it covers your responsibilities for the preceding fiscal year.
I completed a COI questionnaire in the spring; why am I asked to complete another one in the summer?
This COI questionnaire is separate from the one administered by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for research. However, you still need to complete this questionnaire.
Why am I receiving a reminder to complete the COI questionnaire even though I already completed it?
Check that the "submit" button was clicked on completing the form instead of the "save for later" button.
Why am I receiving a reminder to complete the COI questionnaire when an initial request to complete it was not sent?
Please log into MyDU (then select Administrative Resources and Processes | Finance & Legal | Conflict of Interest Questionnaire) and complete the COI questionnaire. The system might have accidentally sent the reminder email instead of the original email. However, you still need to complete the form.
What relationships could constitute a COI?
A COI exists in situations when a University Representative has a significant financial, personal, or professional interest that is directly or indirectly at odds or inconsistent with the University’s interests. Individual interests include the interests of family members, including a University representative’s spouse, domestic partner, and dependent children.
Why is it important to manage COIs?
It is important to manage COIs so that the integrity and interests of the University and its representatives are protected.
How often will the COI questionnaire be completed?
This process occurs annually, usually immediately after each fiscal year.
What does DU do with information in the questionnaire?
The Office of the General Counsel and Enterprise Risk Management will evaluate reported concerns to determine whether they amount to actual or apparent COIs and work with affected employees and their supervisors to resolve actual COIs to the fullest extent possible.
What do I do if I am aware of a relationship that may give rise to a COI?
Promptly disclose the individual interest to your supervisor and Enterprise Risk Management via the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form.
What happens if I don't disclose a COI and participate in a transaction related to a COI?
Failure to disclose an actual or potential COI may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
I handle/manage the procurement function for my department; can I accept a gift from a vendor?
We recommend not accepting the gift to prevent the appearance of a COI.
A COI exists in a transaction in which I am called upon to exercise my University authority; what do I do?
Recuse yourself from the decision making process prior to exercising your authority, and disclose the individual interest to your supervisor and Enterprise Risk Management via the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form.
We intend to hire a vendor who has a direct relationship with a member of our department; how do we disclose this?
Have the employee complete the University's Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form and submit to Enterprise Risk Management. Recuse the employee from direct involvement with the business relationship. We also recommend documenting the other bids you received to show that the vendor's pricing was competitive.