The Board of Trustees approved a new conflict of interest policy to resolve decisions in which university employees have a financial stake.
James Pyle, executive director of Ball State's Office of Academic Research and Sponsored Programs, was instrumental in drafting the policy, which was approved in early May.
According to Pyle, a conflict of interest occurs when an employee has a financial interest in a matter and is in a position to influence decisions pertaining to those matters.
A conflict of commitment occurs when an employee has activities outside of the university that affect his or her responsibilities as an employee.
The new policy sets guidelines to follow when such a situation occurs. Pyle said in the case of interest conflicts, someone else is brought in to make decisions for the employee. In case of commitment conflicts, the policy enables another member to help the employee.
Pyle said state and federal laws pertaining to conflict of interest and commitment already exist, but it is important to recognize it as a university matter.
"The policy is not being established because we have a lot of problems, it is so people outside of the university know we are sensitive to this issue," he said.
Pyle said Ball State maintains three important goals: to train students, to publish research and to provide avenues for innovation.
"We are positive about where we are going and want to expand the activities with other schools and government for our faculty and staff, " said Pyle.
He said it is important for the faculty and staff to share their innovations and inventions with other communities, and the policy allows for this to be done in a credible way.