December 20, 2017

Examples of COI

Mason faculty and staff are employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and subject to its rules, which means they can’t:

  • Have a personal interest (more than $5,000 in annual income or 3 percent ownership interest) in any contract or transaction with Mason, other than their own employment contract, unless there is a waiver in place. This includes interests of immediate family members.
  • Have supervisory authority over a member of their immediate family.
  • Accept money, gifts, or anything of value for services performed within the scope of their official duties, or which could appear to influence how they perform their duties.
  • Use confidential information that they received because of their position for their own or someone else’s economic benefit.

Employees with Authority Over a Contract:

Employees with authority over a contract or procurement transaction can’t:

  • Accept gifts or anything of more than minimal value from a contractor or prospective contractor.
  • Participate in a transaction if the employee, the employee’s business partner, or any member of the employee’s immediate family has a personal interest in that transaction.
  • Accept a job with any bidder or contractor, or anyone making an offer, that the employee dealt with on a procurement transaction for one year after leaving state employment, unless the employee provides written notification to the public body before accepting the employment.

Employees with Research Responsibilities:

Mason supports faculty innovation and collaboration, which can lead to an increased need for review of outside interactions.

The university conducts these reviews following Policy 4001 and review by the conflict of interest (COI) committee.

Mason encourages faculty to develop relationships with external organizations and communities, such as small businesses, industry, non-profits, and government agencies.  Many of these interactions are pivotal in creating, promoting, and supporting our research, educational, and service missions.

However, these relationships must be legal and ethical and cannot create conflicts of interest that could violate federal regulations or Virginia law. Violations could result in criminal penalties and civil sanctions.

Examples of Conflicts of Interest

A Conflict of Interest that must be reported can arise in these main ways:

Contract or Transaction: You or an immediate family member are paid more than $5,000 a year by (or own more than 3 percent of) a company that has signed a contract or done or plans to do business with Mason.

Research: You or an immediate family member are involved with a research project and are paid over $5,000 a year, own over $5,000 in equity (or any ownership in a privately held firm) in a company that has a potential to benefit from the outcome of your research.

Immediate Family Member Employment: If your spouse or a child who lives in your house and is your dependent is also employed by Mason, you must report that using this website.