Statement of Purpose
From the beginning of its existence, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma has always embraced a basic policy that all officers and employees avoid any interest which conflicts with the interests of the citizens of the State and the duties and responsibilities involved with public service. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has cautioned that public servants should refrain from becoming involved in situations which could cause criticism for unethical conduct. It is in this spirit that the Regents of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma have prepared this policy for use by Regents and employees of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.
In general, an officer or employee's interest conflicts with that of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma when an employee benefits directly or indirectly through a misuse of position.
In any case of doubt, an employee should confer with the institutional officer designated to consider whether a particular matter could involve a potential conflict of interest, before engaging in the activity in question.
ARTICLE III Examples of Typical Conflicts of Interest
Seeking or Accepting Gifts
Under no circumstances may any Regent or employee of USAO seek or accept any compensation, gift, loan, entertainment, favor, or service given by a donor for the purpose of gaining influence in the discharge of the employee's official duties.
Any Regent or employee of USAO who receives such a gift or who is offered such a personal benefit, the acceptance of which is prohibited, should return the gift to the donor with a letter to the donor explaining the policy of USAO. A copy of such correspondence should be placed in the employee's personnel file for any needed future reference.
Improper Use of Office or Position
It is improper for any Regent or employee of USAO to use an office or position in ways that are designed to obtain some special personal privilege or advantage for self or someone else, except in ways specifically addressed by law.
Disclosure of Confidential Information
No USAO employee or officer may give, release, or discuss confidential information obtained by the use of an official position to any person, group, or business association not entitled to that information. Similarly, it is improper for any public employee to offer to reveal, give, or discuss such confidential information to unauthorized persons or entities. No USAO employee may use any confidential information obtained by the use of an official position for personal gain.
Selling Goods and Services to State Institutions
In general, no officer or employee of USAO may sell, offer to sell, or cause to be sold any goods or services to any agency of the State or to any business entity licensed by or regulated by the State, except where such business relationships are preceded by public notice and competitive bidding, with the employee being declared the lowest and best bidder for the acquisition.
Outside Employment or Compensation
No Regent or employee of USAO may receive or ask for any outside employment or compensation that would impair the independence of judgment of the officer or employee in rendering services as a USAO employee, unless otherwise provided by law.
Use of State Titles/Political Activities
All citizens of this country have basic guaranteed rights as individuals to participate in civic and community affairs which may affect the welfare of society. At the same time, however, activities of this nature must not be represented or implied to represent that the individual is speaking on behalf of USAO.
Regents and employees of USAO are guaranteed the right as individuals to register and vote as they may choose, express political opinions, make voluntary political contributions, or to otherwise participate fully in public affairs, including running for public office, except as prohibited by law. In so doing, however, Regents and employees of USAO should act in a manner which does not materially compromise the neutrality, efficiency, or integrity of their official duties.
No policy can answer all questions that might arise. Whenever in doubt as to the propriety of any given situation one should always err on the side of propriety. The keys are to disclose the potential or perceived conflict, seek advice or guidance from the appropriate officer before entering into the activity in question, and make a record of the matter for future reference and use.
It is hoped that officers and employees of USAO use this policy as a partial tool in determining whether a possible conflict of interest has arisen and, if so, the appropriate action to be taken in such a situation.