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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

RESOLUTION REGARDING UTS 180: "CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, CONFLICTS OF COMMITMENT, AND OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES" POLICY



On behalf of the Faculty Council Executive Committee, Martha F. Hilley (professor, music and Faculty Council chair) submitted the following resolution regarding the UT System Conflict of Interest, Conflict of Commitment, and Outside Activites policy. The secretary has classified the resolution as general legislation. The Council will consider the resolution at its meeting on May 6, 2013.

sue's signature

Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
General Faculty and Faculty Council

Posted on the Faculty Council website on April 23, 2013.


RESOLUTION REGARDING UTS 180: "CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, CONFLICTS OF COMMITMENT, AND OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES" POLICY

Now that the UT System has wisely delayed implementation of its proposed UTS 180 until September, the Faculty Council of the University of Texas at Austin urges that the delay be until such time as the proposal can be thoroughly reconsidered in the light of objections that have been raised against it and redrafted in a way that meets those objections. We should not be bound by an arbitrary deadline. Our concerns include the following:
  1. The implementation of the proposed UTS 180 would make it far more difficult to retain and recruit top faculty.

  2. Student leaders have said that the policy would also make it harder to recruit top students.

  3. Such a proposal seriously violates AAUP and UT’s traditional academic freedom standards, and thereby opens the UT System up to potential professional censorship, further threatening the quality of its faculty, degrees, students, education, and reputation. (See http://aaup.org/issues/resources-conflicts-interest/outside-university-conflicts.)

  4. No reasons have been given for the promulgation of the proposed policy, no indication of how it will serve to foster the best interests of the institution rather than do it harm.

  5. No study has demonstrated the need for such an expansive and intrusive policy or the good it will supposedly accomplish. It seems to us to be a solution in search of a problem.

  6. No other institutions of higher education have been cited as having such a policy in place.

  7. No other state agencies require their employees to complete such a form.

  8. The information that faculty and certain members of staff will be required to provide represents an extreme intrusion on our privacy, our rights as citizens, and on academic freedom. Further, it is unacceptable to require faculty to seek permission to pursue non-remunerated activities on their own time.

  9. No rationale is offered as to why faculty who have received approval for their outside activities should have to report the compensation they receive for performing them. This proposed policy represents an unjustified addition to the Faculty Annual Request for Outside Employment (http://www.utexas.edu/provost/policies/outside_employment/outside_employment.pdf).

  10. No rationale is offered for requiring that the activities of family members be reported.

  11. The proposed policy contains the threat to terminate faculty (whether tenured or not) if they fail to comply, thereby undermining academic freedom, due process, and shared governance. The mere news that such a policy may be in the works has already aroused concern among present faculty and potential recruits.

  12. Implementing and monitoring the policy will require significant new staff, or significant overloads for existing staff, but no financial support is being offered. It’s another unfunded mandate.

  13. Faculty must have a significant voice in the working group being convened to reconsider and, presumably, redraft the policy; faculty should also play a significant role in its implementation. In the absence of such participation, we will have no confidence in the motives of those driving this policy, the policy itself, or the intended outcomes.