Approval for Outside Activities
What kind of Outside Activities need approval?
Approval for an Outside Activity is required if the Outside Activity meets both of these requirements:
1. The outside activity relates to the employee’s expertise or responsibilities as a KSU employee; and
2. The employee is compensated for the Outside Activity. Such activities include consulting, teaching, speaking, and participating in business, professional, or service enterprises.
How does an employee determine if a compensated outside activity relates to the employee’s expertise or responsibilities as a KSU employee?
The application of this policy, like many other policies, requires some level of judgment. If you are unsure if the compensated outside activity requires approval, then written authorization should be requested.
Factors to consider would include a comparison of the outside position to the employee’s position at the KSU to include the required level of education, responsibilities, expertise expected of the person holding the position, certifications and training required, and tasks performed.
Example 1: KSU Internal Auditor A KSU Internal Auditor wants to start a side business preparing tax returns for non-employees on nights and weekends for which he would receive payment. The employee’s KSU responsibilities include reviewing KSU financial statements and tax records. Conclusion: The side business relates to the employee’s expertise or responsibilities as a KSU employee and written authorization would be needed prior to engaging in the compensated outside activity.
Example 2: KSU Grounds Supervisor A KSU Grounds Supervisor wants to start a side business doing landscape work. The KSU employee supervises employees who do this work for the KSU and also is responsible for the equipment used to complete the landscaping work. Conclusion: The side business relates to the employee’s expertise or responsibilities as a KSU employee and written authorization would be needed prior to engaging in the compensated outside activity.
Example 3: KSU Music Professor A KSU Music Professor wants to consult for pay with a local music store to hire, train, and establish a for-profit teaching program. The KSU employee’s responsibilities include training students in music and evaluating faculty employment applicants. Conclusion: The consulting relates to the employee’s expertise or responsibilities as a KSU employee and written authorization would be needed prior to engaging in the compensated outside activity.
Example 4: KSU Faculty Advisor A KSU Faculty Advisor wants to give back to youth by creating a for-profit club volleyball program that will compete locally and nationwide. The club volleyball program will not use institutional resources or facilities. The Faculty Advisor may receive pay for these activities once the club volleyball program is established. The club volleyball program will receive payment for clinics and membership on a team. The KSU Registrar does not work with a KSU institution’s volleyball team. Conclusion: The KSU employee would not need authorization to start this for-profit volleyball program as it does not relate to the employee’s expertise or responsibilities as a KSU employee.
Do I need approval for side jobs and compensated outside activities that take place after work and on weekends?
It depends. Employees need advance written approval if the consulting, side job or outside activity meets both of the following conditions:
1) the employee is paid or receives compensation for the side job, consulting or outside activity; and
2) the side job, consulting or outside activity relates to the employee’s expertise or responsibilities as a KSU employee.
If the above two criteria are met, then the employee needs advance written authorization to engage in the side job, consulting or outside activity, regardless of when the outside activity takes place.
Do I need approval to engage in compensated outside activities if I am a part-time employee?KSU employees, with a work commitment of less than 30 hours per week and faculty members on a contract term of less than nine months a year do not need written approval in advance of engaging in compensated outside activities so long as the outside activity does not create a conflict of interest or otherwise violate Board policy. Part-time employees are still required to abide by the Board’s conflict of interest policy and the Ethics Policy. For example, a part-time employee who works less than 30 hours per week would be prohibited from participating in a KSU vendor-selection process in which a firm they owned was under consideration.
Do I need to take leave when working a side job or otherwise engaging in compensated outside activities?Yes. Except as authorized for eligible faculty as provided in Section 126.96.36.199.4 (Institution Guidelines for Faculty Outside Consulting) in the Board of Regents Policy Manual, appropriate leave must be used by each KSU employee for compensated outside activities during the employee’s work hours consistent with the KSU procedures governing the use of leave. Approved leave under these circumstances would include annual leave and compensatory leave.
Do I have to share confidential information through this process, and what information that I disclose will be made public?
You need to share enough information for the university to approve the request, or to manage the conflict. If you are unsure whether you need to share certain information, you may verbally discuss the issue with your supervisors and/or the ethics office to determine how much needs to be included in the written request. Typically, KSU will not require details of compensation or trade secrets belonging to an outside party. KSU will normally need to know the identity of the person or organization you propose to work with, to determine if there are conflicts of interest. The information that you submit becomes a record of the university, which means that it becomes a public record under Georgia law, unless there is a specific exemption.
For more information on the Open Records Act:
KSU will make information regarding approved outside activities available to the public via a database or similar resource on our website.
How do I get approval?
All requests to engage in a compensated outside activity and/or to disclose a conflict of interest must be submitted electronically at https://coi.kennesaw.edu. Since approval is required in advance, you should always submit your approval as soon as you are able to do so.
Once I get approval, do I have to update?
Yes. You are required to get approval, annually. All requests to engage in a compensated outside activity and/or to disclose a conflict of interest must be submitted electronically at https://coi.kennesaw.edu.
Is there an appeal process if my request is denied?Yes. All requests to engage in a compensated outside activity and/or to disclose a conflict of interest are submitted to the Vice President of the Division to which you report for review. If your request is denied, you may appeal to the President. Employees must appeal to the President within 5 business days of the date of notification of the Vice President’s decision. Within 10 business days, the President will render a written decision.
I am active in politics. Do I need approval for that?Only if this, or another, policy applies. Specifically, if the work is both compensated and related to your KSU duties, or if the work is uncompensated and will take place during your normal KSU work time. Your request will never be approved or disapproved based on which political cause or candidate you wish to support. These activities must always be consistent with the USG policies on Political Activities (see 188.8.131.52 here), and KSU’s guidance on government relations.
Do I need KSU’s permission to serve in the U.S. military?No, but see section 184.108.40.206 (Military Leave with Pay) in the Board of Regents Policy Manual, and other related policies.
Outside of my KSU working hours, I volunteer in the community and with charitable organizations. Do I need approval for that?No. Employees do not need approval to participate in volunteer activities. The Board of Regent’s Conflict of Interest Policy, however, still applies, and employees should ensure unpaid and volunteer activities do not create an actual or apparent conflict of interest or otherwise violate Board of Regents policy. So, if these activities are unpaid, and are performed outside of your KSU work hours, and do not use KSU resources, and do not create a conflict of interest, then approval is not required.
Am I exempt from this process (i.e., “grandfathered”) if KSU was aware of my outside activities when they hired me?No, the policies still require you to obtain approval now, and in the future.
Conflicts of Interest
What constitutes an Apparent Conflict of Interest?
An apparent conflict exists when a reasonable person would conclude from the circumstances that the employee’s ability to protect the public interest, or perform public duties, is compromised by a personal, financial, or business interest. An actual or apparent conflict can exist even in the absence of a legal conflict of interest.
What is an example of a conflict of interest?
Conflicts of interest arise in many ways but generally can be defined as instances where an employee has competing interests or loyalties that are, or potentially could be, at odds with KSU’s interest. These conflicts most often arise when personal economic interests are in conflict with an employee’s KSU duties. Self-dealing is an example of a conflict of interest and occurs when an employee enters into an agreement with a vendor or 3rd party which benefits the employee personally. This could include an employee selecting a vendor which is partially owned by the employee or an employee who selects a vendor who leases office space from the employee.
What is a Conflict of Commitment?A conflict of commitment exists when an employee’s outside occupation, pursuit or endeavor interferes with the regular and punctual discharge of the employee’s official duties.
What is an example of a conflict of commitment?Conflicts of commitment arise in many ways but generally are the result of an over-commitment to a compensated outside activity that interferes with the regular and punctual discharge of that employee’s official duties. A specific example would be working all night on a compensated outside activity such that the employee cannot fulfill work responsibilities and commitments made for the following morning or improperly directing other employee’s or students to perform tasks reasonably expected to be completed by the conflicted employee.
Why is compliance with Conflicts of Interest policies so important?Compliance with conflicts of interest policies is important to protect the integrity and reputation of both KSU and the individual employee. The public has a reasonable expectation that KSU employees will be independent and impartial in all KSU-related matters and that public office will not be used for private gain other than that allowed by law.
Can some potential conflicts be managed?Yes, some potential conflicts naturally follow from successful academic research, collaboration and commercialization. The first step is disclosure. A conflict of interest management plan can be designed to manage, reduce or eliminate potential conflict of interests.
How will conflicts of interest be managed?
The default management plan for a conflict of interest will be to avoid it. In other words, for the faculty and staff member to arrange their affairs so that there is no conflict of interest. However, with KSU’s prior written permission, certain conflicts may be managed in other ways. This depends greatly on the individual facts of each case, but management plans can include elements such as:
- disclosure and transparency to everyone affected by the conflict;
- monitoring of the conflict by an impartial party;
- limiting an employee’s involvement in certain decisions (i.e., recusal);
- requiring additional approvals before certain actions can be taken;
- obtaining informed consent from affected parties;
- reporting and auditing of facts surrounding the conflict;
- divestiture of certain assets, or the use of blind trusts.
Who approves the management plan?
Management plans for conflicts of interest must be approved in writing by the Vice President of the Division to which you report. The Provost and Senior Vice President must approve management plans for all faculty and other employees that report up to the Provost.
Note that KSU’s Institutional Review Board and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee retain their authority regarding conflicts of interest with researchers under their jurisdiction. Accordingly, researchers operating under the jurisdiction of those committees must abide by the stricter provisions of the management plans issued by those committees and the plans issued by the President or Provost.
Can KSU employees accept honoraria?Non-faculty employees may not receive honoraria for activities during the employee’s work hours. For purposes of the BOR Conflict of Interest, Conflict of Commitment and Outside Activities policy, an Honoraria is defined as any payments given for professional or voluntary services that are rendered nominally without charge, and any payment in recognition of these services typically forbids a price to be set. Honoraria for non-faculty employees may be allowed if the appropriate leave is taken and other policy requirements are met regarding compensated outside activities.
Can I work part-time for a company or vendor at my institution?KSU employees are generally prohibited from consulting or otherwise receiving compensation from a current University System of Georgia vendor, or an entity seeking a vendor relationship, at KSU or at the University System of Georgia Office (for System Office employees). Exceptions to this provision may be granted by the President or designee under circumstances where the employee requesting authorization does not supervise, regularly interact with, or participate in the selection of that vendor for the employee’s institution. This prohibition does not apply to vendor or service relationships between the USG and other government entities.
Am I required to include any statements in agreements with outside entities or in presentations or reports signed by a KSU faculty or staff member?
Yes. Any agreement for an outside activity executed between an outside entity and a KSU faculty or staff member must include the following statement:
“The consultant has certain obligations to Kennesaw State University as a faculty member as described in the Intellectual Property Policy of Kennesaw State University (IP Policy). In the event that there is any conflict between the consultant’s obligations to the IP Policy and their obligations to the entity for whom they consult, the obligations to the IP Policy shall control.”
Any presentations or reports written, signed, or prepared by a KSU faculty or staff member for an outside entity as part of an outside activity must state:
“This content represents the opinions of the consultant. It carries no endorsement by Kennesaw State University.”
I have a relative who also works at KSU. Is this a conflict of interest?It can be, depending on the facts. If one of you reports to the other in the supervisory sense, then that structure would violate our policy against Nepotism (see 8.2.3). However, even without a direct reporting relationship, there can still be a conflict of interest if one of you can influence the other’s work, or if a particular event creates a conflict. For example, if one employee’s job duties involve oversight or influence over the assignments, compensation, working conditions or other aspects of their relative’s work, then there is a conflict of interest, even if they are in different chains of command. For a more specific example, an employee in fiscal services should not approve payroll changes or expense reimbursements for their spouse who works in a different department at KSU. And, two faculty members who are related and who work in different colleges would not normally have a conflict of interest, but they would if one of them is up for promotion and the other serves on the university-wide promotion and tenure committee.