Chapter 15

Ethics, Political Activities, and Outside Employment




The Faculty, academic staff and limited appointees are free to engage in outside activities, whether or not such activities are remunerative or related to staff members' fields of academic interest or specialization. However, no member of the unclassified staff may engage in an outside activity if it conflicts with his or her public responsibilities to the University of Wisconsin system or the institution at which the unclassified staff member is employed UWS 8.025(1).  (See

Unclassified staff may not use their public position for personal gain in a manner contrary to the interests of the University of Wisconsin System. ("Personal gain" includes money, gifts in kind, equity, or anything of value to the recipient.) In addition, employees may not, in a manner contrary to the public interests of the UW System, use or attempt to use their public position or state property, including property leased by the state, to gain or attempt to gain anything of substantial value for private benefit, their immediate families, or any organization with which the staff members are associated (UWS 8.03).

No faculty, academic staff or limited appointee may engage in activities that are not consistent with the provisions of UWS 8.03. Each unclassified employee will comply with the actions that are specified in UWS 8.04 to avoid conflict.  A conflict of interest may exist when an individual has significant financial interest that could lead an independent observer reasonably to question whether the staff member's public responsibility might be influenced by the possibility of personal gain by the individual or his/her immediate family. Additionally, unclassified employees engaged in research should consult for additional details on conflict of interest as it affects the design, conduct, or reporting of research.

Regent policy prohibits only those activities that will result in a conflict between the personal interests of an unclassified employee and that staff member’s public responsibilities to the University of Wisconsin system.


All faculty, academic staff and limited appointee must file a report on outside activities annually with his or her department chair/director, or other appropriate administrator, on or before April 30, whether or not there are any reportable outside activities. Information and the annual disclosure forms are available online at the following web address:  Additional information can be found in the brochure “Research Ethics” (see, provided by the Graduate School Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, or you may contact the Committee on Graduate Training in Research Ethics.  Faculty and academic staff members will be informed by the dean, director or other appropriate administrator, in writing, within 15 days of receipt of notification, whether or not their outside activity represents a conflict of interest and how to proceed (UWS 8.04).  If, during the year, significant changes in an academic staff member's reportable outside activities occur, the staff member shall immediately inform, in writing, his or her department chair and dean, director, or other appropriate administrator.


Specific information about outside activities, include the type of activities that need to be reported, can be found in the following documents: