FAQ: Ethics

Q. How can I resolve ethical questions before agreeing to undertake an outside activity?
A. If you are a member of the faculty or academic staff, your dean, director or campus ethics committee can review outside activities for any ethics concern. Classified staff members may ask for advice from their appointing authority or the Department of Employee Relations. In all cases, it is prudent to keep your immediate supervisor aware of outside activities in which you are involved that relate to your university work.

Q. What outside activities can raise ethical concerns?
A. Only activities that relate to or could affect your university assignment are governed by the ethics code. For example, if you are a Campus Business Officer, outside employment as a physical therapist would not raise ethical concerns although your outside employment would not be appropriate if it diminished your commitment to your university employment. However, if you were an instructor of sports medicine, working as a physical therapist could raise ethical concerns if your outside work conflicted with your university position or was structured to allow you to benefit personally from your university affiliation.

Q. May I use my university telephone or email to communicate personal matters?
A. University communications facilities are available for limited personal use as long as there is no interference with normal responsibilities or cost to the University.

Q. Must I disclose outside activities relevant to my university position when no conflict of interest is present?
A. Yes. All outside activities relevant to an employee's university assignment must be disclosed, whether they result in income or not. Unrelated activities, whether or not reimbursed, need not be disclosed (for example, house painting by a professor of chemistry).

Q. May I attend a national conference on a reimbursed basis without ethical concerns when the invitation is a result of my professional expertise?
A. Yes, if your supervisor, dean or faculty chair agrees that the conference will benefit the university and your position. If the university will neither benefit from your attendance nor be harmed by it, you may attend, but you should report the activity and take vacation time to cover your days away from your position.