Policy: Standards of Ethical Conduct

Date of Approval:
October 23, 2020

In furtherance of maintaining and promoting Clemson University's reputation for excellence and integrity, the Board of Trustees has promulgated these Standards of Ethical Conduct.
This policy sets forth the general principles to which we subscribe and to which we expect every member of the University community to adhere.

As members of the Clemson University community, all faculty, staff, students, administration, members of the Board of Trustees, and affiliates (to include volunteers and consultants/vendors/contractors performing services or doing business on behalf of the University) are responsible for sustaining the highest ethical standards and for complying with all applicable legal obligations in our decisions and actions.

I. ADHERENCE TO THE HIGHEST ETHICAL STANDARDS
Every member of the University shall, at all times, conduct his or her activities in accordance with the highest professional and community ethical standards. Every member of the University is expected to become familiar with those laws, regulations, and University rules which are applicable to his or her position and duties, and to comply with both their letter and spirit. The University will implement programs to further members’ awareness and to monitor and promote compliance. All questions and concerns about the legality or propriety of any action or failure to take action by or on behalf of the University should be referred to either the member’s supervisor, the University Compliance and Ethics Office or to the Office of General Counsel.

II. RESPECT FOR AND COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW
Every member of the University is expected to become familiar with those laws, regulations, and University rules which are applicable to his or her position and duties, and to comply with both their letter and spirit. The University will implement programs to further members’ awareness and to monitor and promote compliance. All questions and concerns about the legality or propriety of any action or failure to take action by or on behalf of the University should be referred to either the member’s supervisor, the University Compliance and Ethics Office or to the Office of General Counsel.

III. CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY
On behalf of Clemson University, members of the University community receive and generate various types of confidential, proprietary and private information, including but not limited to student educational records. As a public institution, however, Clemson University is also subject to laws requiring public access to some types of information. Individuals who have access to or who generate or otherwise maintain such information on behalf of the University are expected to be familiar with and to comply with all laws, regulations, policies and /or agreements that govern access, use, protection and disclosure of this information.

IV. SUPPORT OF THE UNIVERSITY'S GOALS AND AVOIDANCE OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Clemson University is a not-for-profit institution which is dedicated to teaching, research and public service. Every member of the University is expected to faithfully carry out his or her professional duties in furtherance of the University’s mission. Every member has a duty to avoid conflicts between his or her personal interests and official responsibilities and to comply with University and other applicable guidelines for reporting and reviewing actual and potential conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment. Additionally, a member may not utilize his or her position with the University for his or her personal benefit. Members are also expected to consider and avoid, not only an actual conflict but also, the appearance of a conflict of interest. When conflicts of interest arise, they must be recognized and disclosed, then eliminated or appropriately managed.

V. MAINTENANCE OF THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH INTEGRITY
Every member of the University involved in teaching and research activities is expected to conform to the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Activities such as plagiarism, misrepresentation, and falsification of data are expressly prohibited. All research at the University must be conducted in strict conformity with the applicable University policies, procedures, and approvals and the requirements of all governmental and private research sponsors.

VI. RESPECT FOR THE RIGHTS AND DIGNITY OF OTHERS
Clemson University is committed to a policy of equal treatment, opportunity, and respect in its relations with its faculty, administrators, staff, students, and others who come into contact with the University. Every member of the University is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy (including childbirth, or related medical condition), national origin, age, disability, veteran’s status, genetic information or any other personal characteristic protected under applicable federal or state laws; physically assaulting, emotionally abusing, or harassing anyone; and depriving anyone of rights in his or her physical or intellectual property.

VII. MAINTENANCE AND PRESERVATION OF ACCURATE RECORDS
Members of the University are expected to create and maintain records and documentation (including but not limited to student education records, personnel records, research records etc.) which fully conform to all applicable laws and professional, and ethical standards. University data retention policies and practices must also be followed.

VIII. CONDUCTING BUSINESS PRACTICES WITH HONESTY AND INTEGRITY
Every member of the University is expected to conduct all business interactions and communications with honesty and integrity. Clemson University has a responsibility to pursue its mission in a manner that maintains and strengthens the public’s trust in the integrity of the University. This duty includes, but is not limited to: adherence to terms and conditions related to grants and contracts, and protecting and preserving University property and assets—including proprietary intellectual property, buildings, equipment, books, supplies, and funds.

IX. CONCERN FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY; RESPECTING THE ENVIRONMENT
Every member of the University is expected, in the performance of his or her duties, to comply with all laws and regulations which govern health and safety and to make every reasonable effort to ensure that students, faculty, employees, and visitors are protected from undue health risks and unsafe conditions.

Every member of the University is expected, in the course of his or her activities: to comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations; to ensure that the University has obtained all necessary licenses, permits, and approvals; and to employ the proper procedures and controls in the storage and handling of hazardous materials and in the handling and disposition of related wastes.

X. REPORTING SUSPECTED VIOLATIONS OF THE STANDARDS; ENFORCEMENT OF THE STANDARDS
These Standards of Ethical Conduct exist for the benefit of the entire University and all of its members. They exist in addition to and are not intended to limit the specific policies, procedures, and rules enacted by the University.

Each member of the University is expected to uphold the standards of Clemson University and to report suspected violations of the Standards or any other apparent irregularity to his or her supervisor, Internal Audit, the University Compliance and Ethics Office, the Ethics and Safety Hotline or the Office of General Counsel, and to report any suspected violations of law directly to the relevant law enforcement authorities.

Raising such concerns is a service to the University and will not jeopardize an individual’s position or employment; thus, those who report in good faith are protected from retaliation by the Clemson University Whistleblower and Non-Retaliation policy.

In order to conduct a full and fair investigation of allegations of violations of these Standards of Ethical Conduct, the identity of the complainant may have to be disclosed to individuals involved in conducting the investigation, the parties to the investigation, witnesses and others who require the information to complete the investigation. If requested, the University will consider requests to keep confidential the identity of anyone reporting a suspected violation. Such requests may be granted to the extent permitted by law and if doing so would not effectively prevent the University from conducting a reasonable investigation of the allegations.

These Standards of Ethical Conduct will be enforced. Reports of suspected violations will be investigated by authorized University personnel. Officers, managers, and supervisors have a special duty to adhere to the Standards, to encourage their subordinates to do so, and to recognize and report suspected violations. Each member of the University is expected to cooperate fully with any investigation undertaken. If it is determined that a violation has occurred, the University reserves the right to take corrective and disciplinary action against any person who was involved in the violation or who allowed it to occur or persist due to a failure to exercise reasonable diligence. Additionally, the University may make an appropriate disclosure to governmental agencies (including law enforcement authorities). Disciplinary actions will be determined on a case-by-case basis. In some circumstances, civil and criminal charges and penalties may apply.

Editor's Note
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