EFFECTIVE DATE: February 21, 2020
ISSUE #: 4
PRESIDENT: Juan Sánchez Muñoz
University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) employees have a responsibility to the public to
maintain high institutional and personal standards in the performance of their official duties.
This document defines the standards of conduct that must be met by all university employees
engaged in any activity related to purchasing or contracting for goods or services for the
university regardless of the funding source. This document complies with state and federal
laws, standards of ethics, and good business practices in accordance with Texas Government
Code Section 572.051, Texas Education Code 51.9337.
2.1 Benefit: Anything reasonably regarded as providing monetary gain or advantage. For the
purposes of this policy, such benefit shall include personal and individual invitations to
meals or items of significant gain or advantage with a value of $50.00 or more.
2.2 Conflict of Interest: A situation in which there is a divergence between the employee's
private interests and the employee's professional obligations to the university (i.e., the
public interest) such that an independent observer might reasonably question whether the
employee's actions or decisions are determined by considerations of private gain,
financial or otherwise, to the university's detriment. Such a situation may result from
consulting or other outside paid professional service, a relationship defined as a related party interest, or any other relationship that results in a gift or other benefits to the
2.3 Related Party Interest: A business or personal relationship that exists between a
component university employee and an outside individual or organization that may
influence the employee’s actions or decisions due to considerations of private benefit -
financial or otherwise - and/or may create or be perceived as creating a conflict of
2.4 Immediate Family: Includes spouse and dependent children. Dependent children, for the
purposes of this policy, include adopted, step, and foster children as well as natural sons
2.5 Procurement or Purchasing Activities include:
2.5.1 Approval, disapproval, or recommendations concerning a procurement
2.5.2 Preparation of any part of procurement actions
2.5.3 Influencing the content of any specification or procurement standard
2.5.4 Acting in any advisory capacity, including rendering of advice, investigation, or
auditing in any procurement activity
2.6 Regular Employee: A university employee who is employed at least 20 hours per week
on a regular basis for a period of at least 4-1/2 months, excluding students employed in
a position for which student status is a condition of employment.
2.7 Department Head: In case of a principal investigator, his/her academic department head.
In the case of a staff employee, it is the employee’s immediate supervisor.
2.8 Consulting and Other Outside Employment Relationship: Activities undertaken for
remuneration from a third party within the scope of activities, functions, or expertise for
which the individual is compensated by the University of Houston-Downtown.
3.1 This policy applies to all procurement activities by all university employees and in
particular to regular faculty, exempt staff, and non-exempt staff who have certifying
signature authority. These directives apply to procurement actions from all sources of
3.2 UHD employees shall not participate in the selection of a vendor or the award or
administration of any contract or purchase if a real or apparent conflict of interest would
be involved. A conflict would exist if the employee or any member of his or her
immediate family had a financial or other interest in a firm otherwise eligible for the
procurement action and that interest would result in personal benefit to the employee or
3.3 University employees shall neither solicit, demand, nor accept any gift, favor, privilege,
benefit, service, exemption, special discount, trip, employment, loan, gratuity, economic
opportunity, or thing of value from any vendor, contractor, or party to a sub agreement
that would result in personal benefit and/or that could influence the employee's official
conduct. In cases where the appropriateness of the benefit may be in question, the benefit
should not be accepted. More detailed directives related to conflict of interest may be
found in SAM 02.A.09 - Conflict of Interest.
3.4 Any attempt to realize personal gain through conduct inconsistent with the proper
discharge of the employee's duties to the university is a breach of the public trust and will
subject the employee to disciplinary action up to and including termination, as well as to
the possibility of criminal charges.
3.5 University employees who, as a function of their job responsibilities, participate directly
or indirectly in any procurement activity may not (nor shall any member of their
3.5.1 Acquire or maintain a direct financial relationship pertaining to the procurement.
3.5.2 Acquire or maintain a direct financial relationship with a business or organization
pertaining to the procurement.
3.5.3 Enter into a negotiation or an arrangement concerning prospective employment
with a person, business, or organization involved in any specific procurement in
which the employee is involved.
3.6 A university employee shall not offer, give, or agree to give any individual or
organization a gratuity, benefit, or offer of employment in connection with any
3.7 A university employee may not disclose confidential information obtained by reason of
his or her position nor otherwise use such information for actual or anticipated personal
gain or for the personal gain of any other person.
3.8 This policy allows the use of employee-authored textbooks or other intellectual property
in the employee's courses.
3.9 All faculty and staff in a position to originate purchase requests or influence purchasing
decisions shall annually complete a disclosure statement regarding related-party interests
as required in UH System Administrative Memorandum 03.A.17, Disclosure of Related Party Interests.
4.1. There is an important distinction between a related-party interest and a conflict of
interest. A related-party interest is a question of fact and results when an individual is
in a position to personally benefit from transactions entered into by the University of
Houston System. Whether such a transaction or relationship creates a conflict of interest
requires a subjective evaluation of the facts and circumstances by the appropriate Vice
4.2. To avoid timing problems associated with annual reporting, it is suggested that before
engaging in such activities administration, faculty, and staff members disclose in
writing, through their department chairperson, to the Chancellor the nature and extent
of planned related-party interests.
4.3. Department chairpersons and the Vice President shall review the disclosures and inform
any faculty or staff member if their outside activity or relationship represents, or is believed to represent, a conflict of interest. Remedial action will be suggested when
Responsible Party: Vice President for Administration & Finance and Vice President for
Review: Every three years on or before August 1st
Signed original on file in Employment Services and Operations.
Issue #1: 11/01/99
Issue #2: 08/12/10
Issue #3: 09/16/14 – Reaffirmed as Issue #4
UH System Administrative Memorandum 03.A.17