The University Record, March 15, 1993

Regents give green light to conflict of interest bylaw

A proposed conflict of interest policy for Regents and Executive Officers garnered support from the Regents at their March meeting.

The General Counsel’s office was advised to revise the draft slightly to indicate that it sets standards of disclosure beyond those of state statute and to proceed with the normal Regent Bylaw approval process, which includes publishing the proposed bylaw in the Record prior to final approval.

Regent Shirley M. McFee was one of several Regents who expressed appreciation for General Counsel’s efforts to draft a conflict of interest policy.

Such a bylaw will “help us to evaluate our action against some kind of guidelines,” McFee said.

Regent Philip H. Power, who called the proposed policy a “big and useful step forward,” said it sets a standard of disclosure beyond the state’s statute regarding conflict of interest.

Instead of defining conflict of interest, the proposed U-M policy sets out an affirmative duty for Regents and Executive Officers to disclose any matter subject to conflict of interest.

Under the proposed bylaw, a Regent or Executive Officer is considered to have a conflict of interest when the Regent or Executive Officer or any of his or her family or associates, “either (i) has an existing or potential financial or other interest which impairs or might appear to impair the Regent’s or Executive Officer’s independence of judgment in the discharge of responsibilities to the University, or (ii) may receive a material, financial or other benefit from knowledge of information confidential to the University.”

The “family” of a Regent or Executive Officer includes his or her spouse, parents, siblings, children and, if living in the same household, other relatives.

An “associate” of a Regent or Executive Officer includes “any person, trust, organization or enterprise of, in or with which the individual or any member of his or her family (i) is a director, officer, employee, member, partner or trustee, or (ii) has a financial interest that represents 5 percent or more of his or her assets or any interest that enables him or her, acting alone or in conjunction with others, to exercise control or to influence policy significantly, or (iii) has any other material association.”