A student friend of mine e-mailed me and said that posters with the following messages are plastered on the buildings all over campus. I suggest we take PSU up on its offer of reporting conflicts of interest. BTW, the BOT policy on COI is not mentioned on the flyer.
A MESSAGE TO FACULTY, STAFF AND STUDENTS ABOUT REPORTING RESOURCES
As we welcome new and returning students to campus for the fall semester, all members of the Penn State community are asked to be mindful of their individual responsibility to help keep the University a safe and ethical institution. Members of the University community are urged to speak up if they see or suspect illegal or unethical conduct.
The following resources are available for faculty, staff, students and others to report any suspected illegal or unethical conduct, and to seek assistance:
Reporting a crime: Contact the campus police or security office. In an emergency, dial 911.
Assistance for victims of sexual violence, sexual abuse or sexual harassment:
The Penn State Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Hotline at 800-550-7575 (TTY 866-714-7177), available 24/7.
There also are other ways to report acts of intolerance. For students at University Park, call the Lion Support Help Line at 814-863-2020, while students at campuses other than University Park may contact their campus Student Affairs office.
If it is not clear where to turn for assistance, any of these offices will guide the individual to someone who can help.
Training is available on many of the above topics. Please contact the Office of Human Resources' Center for Workplace Learning and Performance at 814-865-8216.
The University does not condone wrongful conduct by any member of the Penn State community no matter what position he or she may hold. Members of the University community are urged to speak up if they see or suspect illegal or unethical conduct, and to be assured that the University will protect them from retaliation.
PSU BOT CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY
- selected passages-
Note: Most legitimate organizatons have conflict of interest policies that prohibit ANY transactions or dealings that could be perceived as a conflict of interest. The PSU BOT's policy allows board members to conduct business with PSU up to certain dollar or shareholder levels. Not so ironically, this is one of the few policies recommended by the Freeh Report that is LAGGING in implementation.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
(d) Related Entity. A “related entity” means a corporation, partnership,
association or other entity where the Trustee or family member serves as an officer, director,
partner or employee; expects to receive $5,000 or more in compensation for services in a
calendar year; holds any equity in a non-publicly traded entity; or holds an interest of 5% or
more in a publicly traded entity.
(e) Known. “Known” means that the Trustee has actual knowledge of the
conflict of interest.
Section 8.04 Recusal. If a matter in which a Trustee has a known conflict of
interest comes before the Board for discussion or decision, the interested Trustee shall leave the Board meeting while the matter is discussed and voted upon. The Trustee’s interest and recusal shall be noted in the minutes, which shall be publicly available.
Section 8.05 Contracts or Transactions with the University.. (a) A contract or transaction between the University and a Trustee, family member or an entity in which a Trustee or family member has a beneficial interest of ten percent (10%) or more and the
contract or transaction is valued at $10,000 or more must be approved by the Board of Trustees
in accordance with this Section. The University official responsible for the matter must first
conclude that it is in the best interests of the University to consider entering into such a contract
or transaction. In circumstances where the Trustee, family member or related entity is
purchasing goods or services from the University, as opposed to selling such goods or services,
the matter is presumptively in the University’s interests if the price is fair and reasonable and the
contract or transaction does not foreclose a similar transaction with another individual or entity.
In other circumstances where the University is purchasing goods or services, the officer must
first explore alternatives that do not involve an interest of the Trustee, family member or entity in
which the Trustee or family member owns a beneficial interest of ten percent (10%) or more. If,
after exercising such due diligence, the official determines that it is in the best interests of the
University to proceed, the matter must be submitted to the Board for approval. The written
materials submitted to the Board shall include a description of the contracting process, including
the use of open and public bidding if possible and practical, and the official’s analysis of why it
is in the best interests of the University to proceed with the agreement or relationship. The
interested Trustee shall leave the meeting during the discussion and voting. The Board shall
determine by a majority vote of the disinterested Trustees whether the transaction or arrangement
is in the University’s best interests, the price and value provided are fair and reasonable to the
University and whether to approve the transaction or arrangement. Any such decision shall be
recorded in the minutes, which shall be publicly available.
(b) Contracts or transactions of less than $10,000 between the University and a Trustee,
family member or an entity in which the Trustee or a family member has a beneficial interest of
ten percent (10%) or more will be disclosed to the Board of Trustees annually in a written report
which shall be available to the public. The report shall include a certification by the appropriate
officers of the University that such contracts or transactions were made in the normal course of
business and were fair to the University.
Section 8.06 Annual Statements. Each Trustee shall annually sign a
statement that affirms that such Trustee (a) has received a copy of the Board’s conflict of interest
policy as expressed in this Article VIII, (b) has read and understands the policy, and (c) has
agreed to comply with the policy.
Section 8.07 Fiduciary Duty. Members of the Board of Trustees stand in a
fiduciary relationship to the University which reposes special confidence in each member.
Members of the Board of Trustees shall act in good faith, with due regard to the interests of the
University, and shall comply with the fiduciary principles of conduct in addition to any other
state or federal requirements. Trustees bring to their roles varied backgrounds and expertise, and
they are selected in different ways, but they must keep the welfare of the entire University, not
just a particular constituency, at all times paramount.
Section 8.08 Misuse of Information. No member of the Board of Trustees
shall for personal gain or benefit or for the gain or benefit of others use any information not
available to the public at large and obtained as a result of service to the University.
Section 8.09 Gifts and Favors. No member of the Board of Trustees shall
solicit or accept for personal use or for the use of others any gift, loan, gratuity, reward, promise
of future employment or any other thing of monetary value based on any understanding that the
vote, official action or judgment of the member would be influenced thereby.
Section 8.10 Pre-Existing Contract or Transaction. A contract or
transaction that would be required to be disclosed under this Article but which was entered into
before the interested Trustee assumed office, or which became subject to this Article as a result
of amendments to the Article, and which remains to be performed in whole or in part, shall be
disclosed by the Trustee pursuant to Section 8.03 but is not subject to the voting and other
requirements of this Article.
Section 8.11 Family Members as Employees. A record of all spouses or
dependent children of Trustees who are employed by the University or an affiliated entity and
where compensation exceeds $10,000 per year shall be maintained in the Office of the Board of
Trustees and the names and positions but not the amount of compensation shall be posted on the
Section 8.12 Employment of Trustees. No Trustee may be employed by the
University in any capacity before the fifth (5th) anniversary of the date on which such person l
served as a Trustee, except as approved by action of the Board of Trustees.
Section 8.13 Disclosure of Potential Conflict of Interest by Employees of
the University. Employees of the University shall exercise the utmost good faith in all
transactions touching upon their duties to the University and its property. In their dealings with
and on behalf of the University, they shall be held to a strict rule of honest and fair dealings
between themselves and the University. They shall not use their positions, or knowledge gained
therefrom, in such a way that a conflict of interest might arise between the interest of the
University and that of the individual. Employees shall disclose to the administrative head of the
college or other unit in which they are employed, or other appropriate superior officer, any
potential conflict of interest which they are aware before a contract or transaction is
consummated. This bylaw shall be published to the University community at least once
Section 8.14 Consultation. Any Trustee or University official may consult
with the Secretary of the Board or the University General Counsel concerning the interpretation
or application of any of the provisions of Article VIII