Conflict of Interest Rules

Ethics Question?

For questions about the ethical administration of an activity or operation at George Mason University, please contact:

Elizabeth Woodley
University Ethics Officer and Outside Interests Manager
Phone: 703-993-5115

Office Location:
Fairfax Campus
117 Northeast Module II

Mailing Address:
George Mason University
Office of University Audit
4400 University Drive, MS 1A2
Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444

George Mason University employees are also employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which means we’re bound by the same rules and standards. We must comply with Virginia's Conflict of Interests Act and the Virginia Public Procurement Act.

As state employees, employees of Mason cannot:

  • Have a personal interest (more than $5,000 in annual income or 3 percent ownership interest) in any contract or transaction with Mason, other than their own employment contract. This includes interests of immediate family members.
  • Have supervisory authority over a member of their immediate family.
  • Accept money, gifts, or anything of value for services performed within the scope of their official duties, or which could appear to influence how they perform their duties.
  • Use confidential information that they received because of their position for their own or someone else’s economic benefit.

Virginia law provides some exceptions to these rules and standards. If you are not sure if your situation counts as a conflict of interest, please contact Elizabeth Woodley, Mason’s Ethics Officer and Outside Interests Manager.

Employees with authority over a contract or procurement transaction cannot:

  • Accept gifts or anything of more than minimal value from a contractor or prospective contractor.
  • Participate in a transaction if employee, the employee's business partner, or any member of the employee's immediate family has a personal interest in that transaction.
  • Accept a job with any bidder or contractor, or anyone making an offer, that the employee dealt with on a procurement transaction for one year after leaving the public body unless the employee provides written notification to the public body before accepting the employment.


Violating these laws could have serious consequences: Knowing and deliberate violations of Virginia's Conflict of Interests Act or the Virginia Public Procurement Act are criminal offenses under the Virginia Code and may be prosecuted as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

If You See Something, Say Something

Ethics concerns may be reported to:

  • University Ethics Officer and Policy Manager Elizabeth Woodley, 117 Northeast Module II, 703-993-5115. 
  • Internal Audit and Management Services Employee Assistance Line: 1-866-GMU-1706 (anonymous reporting).
  • Commonwealth of Virginia's Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline: 1-800-723-1615  (anonymous reporting).