We always like keep track of how reputable groups, organizations, and academic institutions handle conflicts of interest.
Today’s example: New York University’s employee policy on conflicts of interest. Two passages caught our eye:
* “Even the appearance of a conflict can be damaging to the reputation of NYU. All decisions by employees covered by this policy (described below) must be made solely in the best interests of NYU.”
(DFPI ADDS: The key phrase here is — “the appearance of conflict of interest”; in other words, this policy acknowledges that perception is reality and that all efforts must be made to remove even the *appearance* of conflicts of interest).
* “Once a Conflict of Interest is disclosed, the relevant NYU administrator will determine the next steps with respect to the Conflict of Interest. NYU may determine that the Conflict of Interest should be managed, reduced, or eliminated, or NYU may proceed without a management plan. Any management plan will depend upon the facts and circumstances of the specific matter.”
(DFPI ADDS: In other words — this goes beyond transparency and disclosure; many times the goal should be to eliminate the conflict of interest).
We think a good place for the Academy to start would be to recognize that some current ties (i.e.: PepsiCo’s and Elanco’s grants to the Foundation) present conflicts of interest (or at the very least the appearance of conflicts of interest) that are damaging to its reputation.