Syracuse University

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SU improves conflict-of-interest reporting

April 21, 2011

Sara Miller
(315) 443-9038

To improve transparency and accountability in Syracuse University’s business transactions, employment practices and relationships with external parties, SU is instituting a new way to facilitate disclosure of potential conflicts of interest (COI) for all full-time and regular part-time faculty and staff (excluding student employees, temporary employees, those whose conditions of employment is currently bound by an existing bargaining agreement, and part-time or contingent faculty who are not members of a bargaining unit). 

Beginning April 25, all full-time and regular part-time faculty and staff (excluding the aforementioned exemptions) will receive, via email, directions from SU’s Office of Audit and Management Advisory Services (AMAS) for completing the online COI survey, which will be accessed through MySlice. Participation in the COI survey will be required annually. 

Currently, a COI disclosure questionnaire is completed annually by the chancellor; members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet; other senior SU executives, deans, administrators not covered above who are direct reports of a cabinet member; purchasing representatives; selected other administrative employees at the discretion of a vice president or director; along with several key employees of SU’s auxiliary and affiliate organizations. These disclosures are instrumental in identifying situations and/or relationships that present actual conflicts of interest, or the appearance of a conflict, so that alternative arrangements may be made to ensure objectivity and fairness for all parties involved, and to prevent an inappropriate benefit or gain on the part of the affected employee(s) or family member(s).  

Expanding annual COI disclosures to the larger population of employees further emphasizes SU’s commitment to ethical conduct in all its academic and business activities. Such COI disclosure is consistent with the policies of many of SU’s peer institutions across the United States and is considered an industry best practice.  

Most employees will have no conflicts of interest requiring disclosure. In these cases, the disclosure process will simply involve answering ‘no’ to each of the seven questions in the online survey form. A ‘yes’ answer will require some further explanatory information, which will be reviewed confidentially. In the event a COI disclosure is determined to be significant enough to warrant intervention or alternative arrangements, a management plan to mitigate the conflict will be devised. 

This reporting improvement is not related to the disclosures required by faculty and staff who work on sponsored programs. Those disclosures will continue to be administered by the vice president for research. 

For more information, or questions about this policy and survey, contact AMAS at

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