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Update on Ethics Armor

Submitted by Staff on Wed, 09/14/2016 - 14:07

 

On September 14, 2016, President David M Hughes wrote to inform union members that we have successfully reached a tentative agreement with RU administration on the language related to disclosures of conflicts of interest on leadership in voluntary associations. The next step is for the State Ethics Commission to approve the change.

 

Dear colleagues,

I wrote to you in early August about the new platform regulating disclosures of conflicts of interest known as Ethics Armor. Within the platform, the Outside Activities Questionnaire intrudes deeply upon the privacy, freedom of association, and academic freedom of faculty. In case you missed it, my earlier message is below.

Since that time, the Union has met with Timothy Fournier, the University's new Senior Vice President for Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics, and Compliance. We discussed the Questionnaire and its requirement that faculty disclose the voluntary associations in which they hold leadership positions. At that meeting and in follow-up correspondence, we have reached a tentative agreement on the following revision to the questionnaire:

From
"Do you currently hold or plan to hold leadership positions in any voluntary organizations?"

 

To
"Do you currently hold or plan to hold a position with fiduciary responsibilities in any organization that has business relationships or transactions with a New Jersey State agency?"

Mr. Fournier has sent this new text to the State Ethics Commission for its review. That process may take a bit more time, and I will keep you all posted.

In the meantime, I would suggest that you defer completion of the Outside Activities Questionnaire. The Administration has not announced a deadline for it (in contrast with the Scholarly Capacity Annual Disclosure, which inquires into honoraria and royalties and was due officially on 1 Sept 2016).

In solidarity,

David M. Hughes
President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Professor, Anthropology (SAS-New Brunswick)

From: David M Hughes & Teresa Politano, Rutgers AAUP-AFT [mailto:aaup@rutgersaaup.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 04, 2016 9:14 AM
Subject: Ethics Armor and faculty privacy

Dear union members:

Some of you may have noticed a message from President Barchi, sent on 6 July, directing us to complete questionnaires on our activities outside Rutgers. To protect the University from liability and embarrassment, Old Queens has created a new program, known as Ethics Armor. As President Barchi explains it, "Ethics Armor provides a centralized, automated system for conflicts of interest disclosures for faculty and staff, reinforcing the university's existing policies in a simple, straightforward process."

Some faculty, however, have already found Ethics Armor to be complicated and convoluted. The Outside Activities Questionnaire appears to intrude more deeply than necessary into our private life. In particular, Ethics Armor requires us to disclose unpaid work, such as, "voluntary leadership positions" in religious or political organizations. As a chilling effect, this requirement may undermine our freedom of association.

Both of our unions (of full-time and part-time faculty) are investigating these issues of privacy and freedom. We have requested a meeting with the Administration and expect to begin in dialogue in August. Should you share these concerns regarding privacy, we suggest that you defer completion of the questionnaires until we have clarified the various ambiguities with the Administration.

In solidarity,

David M. Hughes
President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Professor, Anthropology (SAS-New Brunswick)

Teresa Politano
President, Rutgers Part-Time Lecturer Faculty Chapter AAUP-AFT
PTL, Journalism and Media Studies (SC&I-New Brunswick)

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