Statement of the UFF-UCF Executive on the Proposed Changes to UCF’s Reporting of Outside Activities, Financial Interests and Potential Conflicts of Interest or Conflicts of Commitment in Research
4-504.3 DRAFT Reporting Outside Activities, Financial Interests and Potential Conflicts of Interest or Conflicts of Commitment in Research
We, the UFF-UCF Executive, have reviewed the proposed changes to the University’s Reporting of Outside Activities, Financial Interests and Potential Conflicts of Interest or Conflicts of Commitment in Research.
In our view, this revision proposes a gross overreach of compliance policy, a fundamental misinterpretation of what constitutes an institutional conflict of interest, and a poor balancing of competing values. The revisions imply that faculty would need to report in advance, or worse yet ask permission, every time we review a manuscript, serve on an editorial board, do a presentation for a child’s school, give an uncompensated invited talk to a community group, et cetera. It is clear that the staff authors of this policy-change have a poor understanding of what faculty do and some of the newly proposed mandated reporting duplicates relevant work already accounted for in the faculty annual report where all service and outside activities are listed. While the stated goal of the policy is to build institutional trust (alongside the unstated goal of minimizing institutional risk) the policy itself belies a failure to trust faculty in the first place. Threatening up to 60 days of unpaid suspension for non-compliance with completely unreasonable demands sets the stage for institutional abuse of power. Policies that mandate compliance out of fear are bad policies. More thoughtful revisions are needed and must involve communication with affected faculty and researchers: the proposed revised policy should not be approved.
If you haven’t done so please go to the comments section and provide your concerns about this change in policy. This administration needs to hear from each and everyone of you with your concerns. We only have a 14 day window to comment and this was first made public on October 6, so we recommend you comment by October 19.
Robert Cassanello, UFF-UCF President
Beatriz Reyes-Foster, UFF-UCF Vice President
Michael Armato, UFF-UCF Secretary
Jonathan Beever, UFF-UCF Treasurer
UPDATE (13 October 2020)
UCF University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk Office withdrew the 4-504.3 DRAFT Reporting Outside Activities, Financial Interests and Potential Conflicts of Interest or Conflicts of Commitment in Research from this month’s agenda. I have been told they will be reviewing all comments and concerns raised during the past week and will consult on next steps. The office expects to return a draft policy for comments during a new 14 day period.