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   949.824.8713
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Gifts and Conflict of Interest


Overview

As a public institution of higher education and also a custodian of public funds, the University is concerned that there be appropriate safeguards against any appearance of favoritism in its relations with other entities, either public or private. To avoid any appearance of favoritism, no officer or employee should accept any gift or gratuity from any source which is offered or reasonably appears to be offered because of the University position held by the officer or employee, nor should an officer or employee extend an offer of a gift on a similar basis.

Both the giver and recipient of a gift should be guided by the intent as well as the statement of University policy. The appearance of misconduct or impropriety can be very damaging to the employee and to the University. When University activities are not governed by specific laws or regulations, integrity should guide our conduct. No unethical practice can be justified because it is "customary" outside UCI or because it serves other worthy goals.

Employees may not give, offer, or promise anything of value to any government official in order to enhance relations, regardless of whether that official is in a position to influence any government decision that affects the University or its activities. This includes entertainment, gratuities and gifts. Additionally, no procurement arrangement can be made by an employee with a relative or near relative unless determined to be allowable within policy.


Gifts and Endowments to the University

Gifts to the University are monies or other tangible assets given with few or no conditions specified. Gifts may be provided to establish an endowment or to provide direct support for existing programs. Frequently, gifts are used to support developing programs for which other funding is not available.

A gift is a nonreciprocal transfer in that there is no implicit or explicit statement of exchange, purchase of services, or provisions of exclusive information. If the donor receives benefits in return for the contribution, the true value of the gift is the amount over and above the fair market value of any benefits received. Whether or not an institution has an obligation to report to the donor how a gift is used or invested, such reporting is an important element of good donor stewardship. A gift is a contribution received by an institution for either unrestricted or restricted use in the furtherance of the institution for which the institution has made no commitment of resources or services other than, possibly, committing to use the gift as the donor specifies.

The Chancellor has redelegated the authority to solicit and accept gifts (IDA 235). Gift Policy and Administration in University Advancement serves as the official office for acceptance, recording, and acknowledgement of all private gifts up to and including $1 million dollars to UC Irvine and the UC Irvine Foundation.

Judgment must be exercised in order to classify a gift/grant in accordance with the intent of University policy. Solicitation and acceptance of private grants, contracts and agreements, has been redelegated by the Chancellor to officers in Research Administration. Review by Sponsored Projects Administration ensures compliance with University policies covering all protocol regulations for human and animal subjects, radioactive materials, biohazards, and intellectual property matters.

Acceptance of gifts is coordinated with appropriate department heads and University Advancement.

CONTACT

Gift Administration & Prospect Management, University Advancement
(949) 824-5751

POLICIES & PROCEDURES

UCI Administrative Policies & Procedures
  Section 680, University Advancement
  Section 680-10, Policy on Gifts and Endowments
  Section 680-11, Procedures for Processing Acceptance of a Gift/Private Grant
  Section 680-12, Policy on Memorial and Honorary Funds
  Section 901-11, Procedure for Naming University Properties, Programs, and Facilities


UC Delegations of Authority
  DA 2011, To Solicit and Accept Gifts


UCI Delegations of Authority
  IDA 235, To Solicit and Accept Gifts
  IDA 537, Solicit, Accept, or Execute Certain Extramural Research, Training, and Public Service Contracts and Grants


Gifts to Employees from the University or a University Department

Awards - Sympathy - Retirement

Employees may receive retirement or sympathy gifts from the University as well as non-cash awards for performance. Work-related awards in recognition of work-related accomplishments, length of service or retirement, may be acknowledged by the presentation of an item of tangible personal property.

Employee recognition awards are limited to three per calendar year and limits on the cost of awards are shown in Business and Finance Bulletin G-41, Appendix A, unless exceptional approval is obtained (see IDA 290). Gift certificates and cards should be inscribed with the employee's name, if possible, and may not be used for gifts of services.

Guidance on quantity purchases of on-the-spot awards, raffles for door prizes, and other incentive gifts is also included in G-41.

In lieu of a sympathy gift of tangible personal property, such as flowers (limited to $75), a cash contribution of $200 or less may be made to a charitable organization.

The reimbursement of expenses related to employee recognition events such as picnics, retirement receptions, and holiday parties are considered entertainment and are covered in Section 701-20.

CONTACT

Accounting Office - Accounts Payable/Payquest
(949) 824-3662


POLICIES & PROCEDURES

UC Business and Finance Bulletins
  BUS-79, Expenditures for Business Meetings, Entertainment, & Other Occasions
  G-41, Employee Non-Cash Awards

UCI Administrative Policies & Procedures
  Section 700-13, Guidelines for Reimbursement of Gift Purchases
  Section 701-20, Business Meetings and Entertainment Guidelines


Personnel Procedures for UCI Staff Members
  Procedure 34: Incentive Awards


UCI Delegations of Authority
  
IDA 290, Employee Non-Cash Awards


Gifts to Non-Employees on Behalf of the University

The presentation of a non-cash gift to a non-University individual or organization on behalf of the University is allowed for buiness purposes. Examples might include promotional and goodwill gifts, gifts presented as a token of appreciation for, or in recognition of, service to the University, and gifts offered as an expression of sympathy. Individuals or organizations eligible to receive gifts include donors or potential donors, visiting dignitaries and scholars, volunteers (including students), clientele, and members of the local community.

To avoid any appearance of favoritism, no officer or employee should present a gift that appears to be offered because of the position held by the recipient. Only department heads have the authority to approve requests to reimburse expenses for non-cash gifts presented on behalf of the University. This authority may not be redelegated and any exception must be approved by the Chancellor.

Requests for payment or reimbursement of non-cash gift expenditures may not be charged to State funds and must be submitted on a Check Request (Form 5) with supporting documentation.

CONTACT

Accounting Office - Accounts Payable/Payquest
(949) 824-3662

POLICIES & PROCEDURES

UC Business and Finance Bulletin
  G-42, Gifts Presented to Non-Employees on Behalf of the University

UCI Administrative Policies & Procedures

  Sec. 700-13, Guidelines for Reimbursement of Gift Purchases


Gifts to Employees from Vendors

UCI employees must be particularly aware of situations where a conflict may exist between our private interests and official responsibilities. We may not give, offer, or promise anything of value to any vendor, contractor, or other individual for the purpose of receiving favorable treatment. Nor shall UCI personnel solicit or accept anything of value from these individuals which may place an individual or department in a compromising position.

University credit, purchasing power, and faciliites cannot be used to purchase material for individual or non-University activiites. Goods or services cannot be purchased from an employee or near relative unless there is a specific determination that the goods or services are not available otherwise.

University employees should avoid accepting gifts from vendors. Unless the gift is truly a marketing token (pen, keychain, coffee mug, etc.) given by a vendor in the normal course of business, employees should decline the gift.
Health care individuals should refer to the Policy on Health Care Vendor Relations which states restrictions in circumstances where the potential drawback of a relationship with a vendor outweighs the anticipated benefit.

CONTACT

Materiel & Risk Management
(949) 824-6510

POLICIES & PROCEDURES

UC Policies
   Policy on Health Care Vendor Relations and Frequently Asked Questions

UC Business & Finance Bulletins
   BUS-43, Materiel Management, Exhibit B, Principles of Purchasing and Code of Ethics

UCI Administrative Policies & Procedures
  Section 700-09, Policies on Gifts, Gratuities and Conflict of Interest

Personnel Policies for Staff Members
  Policy 82: Conflict of Interest

Personnel Procedures for UCI Staff Members
  Procedure 82: Conflict of Interest


Gifts to Employees from Corporations or Organizations

The acceptance of personal gifts from those doing business or seeking to do business with the University, even when lawful, may give rise to legitimate concerns about favoritism, depending on the circumstances. Consequently, state law regulates the acceptance of gifts by public employees in several ways:

  • Certain University employees (those who are "designated officials" under the UC Conflict of Interest Code) cannot accept gifts worth over a certain threshold amount from specified entities.
  • Designated officials who accept gifts under this threshold from such entities must disclose such gifts on their annual statement of economic interest (provided the gift or combination of gifts is worth at least $50.00).
  • Any University employee -- whether a "designated official" or not -- who accepts a gift or combination of gifts worth over a certain amount is disqualified from participating in decisions involving the source of the gift(s).

CONTACT

Conflict of Interest Coordinator
(949) 824-8713

POLICIES & PROCEDURES

State Laws
  California Fair Political Practices Commission

  Limitations and Other Restrictions on Gifts, Honoraria, Travel, and Loans

UC Policies
  UC Policy and Guidelines Regarding Acceptance of Gifts and Gratuities
    by Employees
Under California's Political Reform Act
  UC Policy on Outside Professional Activities for Officers and Designated Staff
  UC Political Reform Act Disqualification Requirements
 
 Policy on Health Care Vendor Relations
   UC Conflict of Interest Code
      Statement of Economic Interests, Form 700 and Disclosure Categories

UC Business and Finance Bulletins
  G-39, Conflict of Interest Policy and Compendium of Specialized University Policies, Guidelines, and Regulations Related to Conflict of Interest

UCI Administrative Policies & Procedures
  Section 700-09, Policies on Gifts, Gratuities and Conflict of Interest

Personnel Policies for Staff Members
  Policy 82: Conflict of Interest


Gift to a Friend or Relative for Lodging

When a traveler lodges with a friend or relative while on official business for the University, a non-cash gift, such as flowers, groceries, or a restaurant meal, may be provided to the host. The actual cost of such a gift may be reimbursed up to $75. Under IRS regulations, a receipt must be provided for gifts costing $25 or more. Only one gift per stay may be provided to a host.

CONTACT

Accounting Office - Accounts Payable/Travel & Disbursing
(949) 824-3662

POLICIES & PROCEDURES

UC Business and Finance Bulletins
  G-28, Policy and Regulations Governing Travel