American universities are increasingly proactive in dealing with conflict of interest problems of their faculty. Changing social norms, publicized scandals, and more have made both university administrators and faculty extra alert to the dangers of faculty infidelity to their roles as teachers and scholars. Personal interests — both financial and non-financial — appear increasingly to pressure faculty to behave inappropriately. Most faculty members resist those pressures. Yet, enough conduct that either is, or appears to be, improper has occurred to prompt the adoption by universities of an ever-more complex regulatory regime. This regime no longer relies primarily upon threats of after-the-fact punishment for gross deviations from professorial norms. Instead, universities have also enacted a wide array of in-advance restrictions. These include required disclosures by faculty members of certain private interests, prohibitions of specific faculty behavior, and specified instances in which faculty members must temporarily withdraw from their professorial roles in light of their private interests. This article draws especially upon the author’s experience at the University of California to illustrate the new system of regulation.
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