U Memo 22-07

Posted on Jun 30, 2022 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 22-07
June 30, 2022
Conflicts of Interest Records

Requester sought a decision as to whether the University of Hawaii (UH) properly denied in part his request for UH conflicts of interest disclosure forms and management plans for an employee of the Cancer Center of the John A. Burns School of Medicine (the Professor).

OIP found that the Professor had a significant privacy interest in his UH conflicts of interest disclosure records.  HRS § 92F-14(b)(5) and (6) (2012).  However, OIP also found that the Professor’s privacy interest is diminished by several factors.  HRS §§ 92F-13(1) (2012) and -14(a) (2012).  When balanced against the Professor’s diminished privacy interest, OIP found a greater public interest in knowing 1) whether the Professor properly disclosed any conflicts of interests, 2) whether his public-funded research was being conducted with objectivity, based on legitimate scientific inquiry and not personal financial interest, and 3) whether the Professor and UH, which is ultimately responsible for managing the University system, properly managed any conflicts disclosed by the Professor.

OIP concluded that the conflicts of interest disclosure records may not be withheld under the UIPA’s privacy exception, except for the specific amounts or range of amounts (e.g., $0 – 4,999 per year) the Professor receives in income or compensation from any entity or individual outside of the University.