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Aug 24, 2011



Thanks for the correction Horatio. Completely agree. University administrators do not generally want to touch this hot potato. If they start policing their high-earners they might develop a permanent adversarial relationship with them, and make their own deans and presidents unhappy. Then the high earners would go elsewhere. That's one reason for, as you say, requiring them all to disclose this information. But compliance is still a permanent battle, which is why we need groups like POGO.


Commenter "Jeff" is not quite complete enough. First, some leading universities do not require reporting by faculty and departments to unveil conflicts of interest. This is easier for the universities that have left their policies, e.g., definition of a conflict, vague and confusing. However, in the world of federal contracts, conflicts are pretty well defined, and disclosure, though voluntary in many cases, is subject to audit. In the world of grants, e.g., research grants from NIH to a med school, conflict is soft-pedaled. Time for all recipients of federal money--any kind of federal money--to be required to disclose and publicize (on a web site) real or apparent conflicts and what they are doing to mitigate them.


Some universities "may not have a website"? Please. Sounds like Cass Sunstein hung Rockey out to dry and she committed this blooper in desperation. First of all, any decent university tracks outside grant/contract info by their faculty--indeed insists that they provide it--so they can regularly tout it in their promotional material about how they're raising money and how great their relations with business are. It's a cinch for them to post these spreadsheets on their websites, which some now do. They don't want to do it online because they don't want the blogosphere pouring over it and producing daily articles on the corporate conflicts of interest they have.

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