We are very pleased to recognize Dr. Masahiro Ishigami, associate professor with the Department of Physics for his proactive identification of unallowable gifts and elevating those to our office for review. Dr. Ishigami first reached out to our office when he questioned an email he received from a vendor who regularly visits campus to meet with faculty and provide updates on new products and latest developments. The vendor was also offering food and a raffle where employees could win prizes. Though deemed a valuable event for faculty, the offer of food and prizes met the definition of a prohibited gift under the university’s Gifts and Honoraria policy. Our office was able to reach out to the vendor and explain that as state employees, not only can we not accept gifts from a vendor, our employees should also not be asking the vendor for anything.
The second inquiry from Dr. Ishigami concerned an event which was being hosted by another department which intended to showcase a company’s products. The company would also be providing lunch. After our office further inquired about the event, we determined that the company was not a current vendor, but still met the definition of a lobbyist (someone who would want to do business with the university), therefore still subject to our gift policy. The offer of lunch was also deemed a prohibited gift.
In both scenarios, there was no intention on the part of our employees or the companies to violate university policy. We viewed this as an opportunity to educate and open the door for discussion.
We want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Dr. Ishigami for asking questions, contacting our office, and being an outstanding compliance partner!
If you see someone doing the right thing, write to us and tell us about it. Who knows, maybe they will be featured in our next IntegrityStar edition.