New Provostial Memo on Conflict of Interest in Hiring Committees

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Vice-President Academic & Provost has issued a memo, the language of which was agreed-upon by FAUW at Faculty Relations Council (FRC), establishing new guidelines for handling conflicts of interest on hiring committees.

The memo can be found on the Memos & Reports page of the Provost Office website

Conflict of Interest in Hiring Committees

From time to time, members (including Chair or Director) of a department or school advisory committee on appointments (e.g. DACA or SACA) may find themselves in a conflict of interest and/or a non-arm's length relationship related to a particular applicant. Where a search committee member is:

  • providing a reference for an applicant in the competition,

  • a former graduate supervisor of an applicant, or

  • a collaborator of an applicant (normally as defined by Tri-Councils),

the member shall immediately disclose the nature of the conflict to the committee and must withdraw from the committee for all stages of its work in which the applicant remains under consideration.

Where a search committee member has some other relationship with an applicant that might lead to a personal bias or the appearance of one, the member shall immediately disclose the nature of the relationship to the committee. It shall be in the discretion of the committee, acting reasonably and on a simple majority secret ballot vote in which the disclosing member shall not participate, to determine if the member must withdraw from the committee at any stage of its work.

Replacing a Committee Member

If a member withdraws for one of the above reasons, the search committee will decide whether or not the member should be replaced, taking into account factors relevant to the search such as disciplinary expertise, gender balance, and the stage of the committee's deliberations.

If a search committee member is not replaced and the applicant with whom the committee member has disclosed a conflict of interest and/or a non-arm's length relationship is not shortlisted and is formally removed from consideration in the search, the member will be asked to rejoin the committee.

Chair/Director Searches

For external searches, conflict of interest in a search for a department chair or school director shall, in addition, be handled in accordance with Policy 40 – The Chair.

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