The Catholic University of America


Identifying and Addressing Potential Conflicts of Interest


By Vin Lacovara, CUA compliance and privacy officer

A “conflict of interest” is a situation where our personal interests diverge, or appear to diverge, from the University’s interests. Conflicts often arise when we (or our family or friends) might benefit personally from our involvement in a University activity or decision. Conflicts can arise not only in financial matters, but in employment or academic decisions, in terms of our loyalty to the University, and in our research activities.

The appearance or potential for a conflict can be just as damaging as
an actual conflict.

What should I do if I think I may have a conflict?

  1. Review the Conflict of Interest Policy for Staff and Faculty before making a decision or taking action. Faculty members also should read the Conflict of Commitment Policy and the Compensation from External Consulting Policy. Researchers also should review the Conflict of Interest Policy – Externally-Funded Research.
  2. Review the University’s Conflict of Interest Tutorial on the Compliance home page ( The tutorial is listed under “Other Important Resources.”
  3. Report the potential conflict to the appropriate University official and obtain advance approval to move forward with the decision or action.

What if I am still uncertain or need further guidance?

If you are uncertain whether a situation poses a potential conflict or if you simply have a question, contact the Compliance and Privacy Officer at tel. (202) 319-6170 or CUA-COMPLIANCE@CUA.EDU).