• Code of Ethics for Students and Employees

    Office of the General Counsel

    PURPOSE

    Monmouth University, as an educational institution and learning community, is based upon certain core values, including responsible citizenship, integrity, honor, accountability, mutual respect, leadership and service. These and other core values are fundamental to the University community and the ethical standards of the University and its members. These values, as well as those set forth in the Monmouth University Human Relations Philosophy and Policy Statement, form the basis of this Code of Ethics. It is the responsibility of each individual to protect and support the University, its community members and its mission as a learning community.

    Ethics and integrity are the responsibility of each individual. Therefore, every member of the faculty and staff, students, and any other person acting on behalf of the University, is responsible for ethical conduct consistent with this Code and Monmouth University's policies. University administration, deans, department chairs, and others in supervisory positions must assume responsibility for ensuring that their conduct, and the operations for areas which they supervise, complies with this Code. The Monmouth University Code of Ethics is a statement of our belief in ethical, legal and professional behavior in all dealings within and outside of the University.

    INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY

    Members of the University community are expected to exercise responsibility appropriate to their position and delegated authority. They are responsible to the University community for their actions and their decision not to act. Each individual member is expected to conduct the business of the University in accordance with this Code of Ethics in order to best serve the interests of the University.

    Employees are responsible for prompt reporting of any violations of this Code, or any other instances of reasonably suspected fraud or malfeasance through the individual's chain of command at the University. Students should report violations of this Code to the Vice President for Student Services. Violations of the Code of Ethics may result in termination from the University or student disciplinary action. If the employee is not comfortable reporting an incident through their supervisor, the employee should report the matter directly to the Internal Auditor or the Office of the General Counsel.

    No employee or student shall retaliate, in any manner, against an individual who reports a perceived conflict of interest matter pursuant to this policy. An employee or student who makes such a report in bad faith shall be subject to disciplinary action.

    CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

    All employees (faculty, staff, administrators) and students of Monmouth University have an obligation to avoid activities or situations which may result in a conflict of interest. Full-time employees are expected to place their primary professional loyalty with the University. All employees are expected to arrange their outside obligations, financial interests and activities as not to conflict with their commitment to the University. Employees must not use their official positions to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for themselves or others. Please refer to the Monmouth University Student Code of Conduct for guidance on student conflicts of interest.

    All employees and students have an obligation to examine any situation in which they may have a conflict of interest and take steps to resolve the conflict. Any employee who is concerned that a conflict may exist or how to resolve it should consult with his/her department head. Students should consult with the Vice President for Student Services. Upon determination that a conflict of interest exists, appropriate action will be taken, through recusal, reassignment or other means to resolve the conflict of interest. No action will be taken without the opportunity for the involved employee or student to be heard with regard to whether a conflict of interest exists and what action, if any, should be taken.

    The potential for a conflict of interest extends across a wide range of activities in the University. Conflicts of interest which must be avoided by employees and students include, but are not limited to:


    Personal Relationships in the Workplace and Classroom


    1. Members of the same family working in a direct supervisory relationship within the same department of the University or in a faculty/student relationship.
       
    2. Consensual amorous or sexual relationships (including relationships with students) in connection with the supervision or evaluation of others which involve activities or communications which exceed the recognized boundaries of faculty/student, coach/athlete, or supervisor/employee relationships.
       
    3. Employees and students serving on any committee or group responsible for the supervision or evaluation of others with whom they have a familial, amorous or sexual relationship.

    Outside Activities

    1. Volunteer activities (except for professional organizations, conferences, seminars, etc.) which interfere with commitments to the University or activity which is not authorized by the University which explicitly holds the employee or student out as being an official representative of the University or that the University endorses an organization or activity. This provision shall not be interpreted to restrict an individual employee's right, consistent with the University's mission, to foster the expression of ideas and debate with regard to issues of concern to the University community.
       
    2. Partisan political activity prohibited by federal and state law, regulations or by University policy, when on University property, during working hours or using University resources or the University name.
       
    3. Outside business conducted during working hours, using the University resources (including but not limited to equipment, computers, supplies, or other similar property) or name (except for professional activities which increase job skills and are of direct benefit to the University). (Refer to the Monmouth University Faculty Association Agreement for policy on consulting and the Non-Academic Employee Handbook for policy on consulting/outside employment.)
       
    4. Outside businesses owned by an employee that directly compete with the University, sell goods or services to the University, or receive funding from the University. (Refer to the conflict of interest statement in the University Purchasing Manual and the Policy on Conflict of Interest in Sponsored Research.)
       
    5. For the purposes of this section, the term "working hours" shall be interpreted to mean the hours an employee is required or expected to be performing his/her University duties and responsibilities in accordance with their status as a faculty member, administrator or staff member.

    Purchasing and Contracts

    Negotiation, authorization or execution of purchasing agreements or other types of contracts with the University in situations where the individual has a direct or indirect financial or other interest or the acceptance of gifts, favors or other things of value from vendors or contractors. (Refer to the conflict of interest statement in the University Purchasing Manual.)

    Fundraising

    Acceptance of gifts from donors under circumstances in which an employee or others on their behalf will personally benefit from the gift. (Refer to the Office of University Advancement Policies and Procedures Manual for Development Activities.) This policy shall not prohibit employees from applying for and receiving grant funds that are connected with academic scholarship or official University activities.

    Attendance at Vendor Sponsored Events

     

    1. Employees of the University shall not attend any event, function, conference or other activity for which their expenses or costs (including items such as transportation, lodging and food) are paid or provided, in whole or in part, by a vendor doing business with the University, or actively seeking business with the University, under circumstances whereby it would be a conflict of interest, or create an appearance of impropriety, for the employee to attend the event, function, conference or other activity. In determining the propriety of attending any event, function, conference or other activity under this policy, the following factors shall be considered:
      • the identity of the employee and the nature of the employee’s responsibility for dealing with the vendor including whether the employee has primary responsibility for the selection of the vendor and supervision of the vendor’s activities on behalf of the University;
      • the nature and value of the benefits which are to be provided by the vendor;
      • whether the vendor is currently seeking, or will in the near future be seeking, an initial contractual relationship or a renewal of its contractual relationship with the University;
      • whether an issue currently exists with regard to a vendor’s services to the University where it might be perceived that the vendor’s actions are an attempt to influence a determination on that issue.
       
    2. The prohibitions set forth in this policy shall also apply to members of the employee’s family or other individuals receiving such benefit from a vendor due to their relationship with the employee.
       
    3. Individual employees receiving an invitation from a University vendor or from a vendor actively seeking to do business with the University for any benefit described in this policy shall review the circumstances of the invitation with the University’s Vice President and General Counsel prior to acceptance of any invitation.
       
    4. It is not the intent of this policy to prohibit the receipt of occasional gifts of nominal value or occasional meals paid for by a vendor. It is also not the intent of this policy to prohibit the receipt of benefits from a vendor when the acceptance of such benefits would not create a conflict of interest or an appearance of impropriety. Employees are encouraged to seek advice from the Office of the General Counsel over whether the value of a gift received qualifies as nominal.

    COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAWS AND REGULATIONS

    Institutions of higher education are subject to many of the same laws and regulations as other businesses. There are also additional requirements unique to higher education. Members of the University community are expected to become familiar with the laws and regulations that affect their areas of responsibility. Many but not all legal requirements are detailed in University policies. Failure to comply may have serious adverse consequences both for individuals and for the University in terms of reputation, finances, and the health and safety of the University community. University business is to be conducted in conformance with legal requirements. Members of the University who have a question regarding the interpretation of legal requirements should contact the Office of the General Counsel.

    COMPLIANCE WITH UNIVERSITY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

    Monmouth University policies and procedures are designed to inform employees about responsibilities, to set minimum standards, and to give the University community notice of expectations. Members of the University community are expected to transact all University business in compliance with policies and procedures and have an obligation to become familiar with those that affect their areas of responsibilities. Members of the University community are expected to seek clarification from the Office of the General Counsel or other appropriate office on a policy or procedure that he/she finds to be unclear, outdated, or in conflict with the mission of the University.

    FINANCIAL REPORTING

    All University accounting and financial records, tax reports, expense reports, time sheets, and other documents including those submitted to government agencies must be accurate, clear and complete. All published financial reports must make full, fair, accurate and timely disclosures as required under generally accepted accounting principles. Additionally, employees are responsible for reporting to management any known instances of fraudulent or misleading reporting information.

    INTERNAL CONTROL

    Internal controls are the processes used to help ensure that the University's business is carried out in accordance with this Code of Ethics, University policies and procedures, applicable laws and regulations, and best business practices. They help to promote efficient operations, accurate financial reporting, protection of assets, and responsible fiscal management. All members of the University community are responsible for internal controls. Each business unit or department head is specifically responsible for ensuring that internal controls are established, properly documented, and maintained for activities within their jurisdiction. Any individual entrusted with funds is responsible for ensuring that adequate internal controls exist over the use and accountability of such funds.