Conflict of Interest Policy
Committee on Student and Faculty Honors
Approved 3/21/03; Emended 5/12/06.
It is to be expected that committee members will often know and
work with some of the nominees and will sometimes be nominated for
the awards they were appointed to administer. Real and perceived
conflicts of interest are, therefore, inevitable. The
task is to minimize any possibility of their affecting the awards
process, either in fact or public perception. The committee can
minimize that possibility by (a) making all potential conflicts
known within the committee, (b) following procedures designed to
minimize the operation of any conflicts of interest in the awards
process, and (c) making those operating procedures generally known.
Just as conflicts of interest must be expected, so must the fair
and honest intent of the committee. Its size, composition, and tradition
of diligence and integrity all warrant faith that it will discharge
its duties fairly and effectively.
1. Declarations: All members will declare all potential conflicts
of interest, real or perceived, to the committee.
2. Screening nominations: The chair takes this information into
consideration when assigning nominations for screening. Feasibility
requires that the chair distinguish between strong and weak conflicts.
Strong conflicts involve, for example, nominations of oneself, a
relative, mentor, or close friend. Weak conflicts involve, for example,
nominations of fellow department members or past
- All nominations will be screened by at least two committee
members. There will typically be five or six screening teams,
owing to the large number of nominations.
- No member will screen nominations where they have strong conflicts.
- If there is a relatively small number of nominations for an
award, potential finalists for that award will not screen any
nominations for it.
- The chair will avoid, to the extent feasible, assigning nominations
to a team where that creates weak potential conflicts for its
members. First priority for avoidance will be given when nominees
have received at least two or three nominations. Where weak conflicts
cannot be feasibly avoided, the second member of each screening
team will pay special attention to the nominations for which the
other team member has declared a potential conflict (e.g., is
in the same department).
3. Selecting awardees: Circumstances vary greatly from year to
year, so the committee will, therefore, use its best
judgment to decide
who should recuse themselves from discussing particular finalists
or voting among them. In general, however,
- Any committee member who has a strong conflict of interest with
any of the nominees put forward as a finalist will recuse him/herself
from further deliberations for that award.