Conflict of Interest

Miguel is a founding member of a newer club on campus that takes students on trips to off-campus locations and nearby nature areas. The club focuses on backpacking and camping trips, and has gained enormous momentum on campus in the last two years. This year, the group is petitioning student government for statues as an upper level student organization. It is an involved, multi-step process, with many requirements, and many applicant groups are denied along the way.

Miguel was elected as an executive member of Associated Students, and as a result, will play a significant role in vetting the clubs and determining whether or not they will be approved. Miguel is a member of Associated Students and the outdoor club, and worries about having roles as the petitioner and the gatekeeper. With two years of experience, Miguel knows that he could contribute greatly to the new club’s petitioning process, but he worries that even if he takes a less active role in the process, he wont be able to maintain neutrality and balance between the two roles. His role on student government is his priority, and it is important to him to cultivate a reputation as an upright, hardworking member of the organization. He is concerned a fundamental conflict of interest could prevent him from fluidly transitioning into the organization, and wonders if he should take a year off from the outdoor club and miss out on the exciting time of growth.

If you were in Miguel’s shoes, what would you do? Can he effectively execute both roles? Should he give up his role on the petitioning club? How do you strike a balance between student government and other activities? Have you had to make any sacrifices for the organizations?

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