UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook

23rd Edition, 2013 Version


Chapter VI:  Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures

6.13 Code of Ethics: UWRF 13

6.13.1 Declaration of Policy

In view of the special relationship of the University of Wisconsin System to the state and to affirm as public policy within the System certain common standards to prevent conflicts of interest, the Council hereby adopts the following code of ethics for unclassified staff pursuant to § 19.45 (11)(b)link and 36.23link.

A. Every member of the unclassified staff at the time of appointment makes a personal commitment to professional honesty and integrity, to seek knowledge and to share that knowledge freely with others. Such a commitment is essential for the University to perform its proper function in our society and to ensure continued confidence of the people of this state in the University of Wisconsin System and its personnel. It is a violation of this commitment for unclassified staff members to seek financial gain for themselves, their immediate families or organizations with which they are associated through activities that conflict with the interest of the University of Wisconsin System.
B. In adopting the standards of conduct set forth in this chapter, it is the Council's purpose to prohibit only those activities which will result in a conflict between the personal interests of an unclassified staff member and that staff member's public responsibilities to the University of Wisconsin System. It is not the Council's purpose to prohibit an unclassified staff member from freely pursuing those teaching, research, professional and public service activities which will not result in such a conflict, nor to prohibit a staff member from accepting any compensation, fees, honoraria or reimbursement of expenses which may be offered in connection therewith.

6.13.2 University Responsibilities

A. Personal Gain:

  1. No member of the unclassified staff may, in a manner contrary to the interests of the University of Wisconsin System, use or attempt to use his or her public position or state property, including property leased by the state, to gain or attempt to gain anything of substantial value for the private benefit of the staff member, his or her immediate family or any organization with which the staff member is associated.
  2. No member of the unclassified staff may solicit or accept from any person or organization anything of value pursuant to an express or implied understanding that his or her conduct of University business would be influenced thereby.
  3. No member of the unclassified staff may intentionally use or disclose confidential University information in any way that could result in the receipt of anything of value for himself or herself, for his or her immediate family or for any other person or organization with which the staff member is associated.

B. Contracting and Leasing:

  1. No member of the unclassified staff, member of his or her immediate family, nor any organization with which an unclassified staff member is associated, may enter into any contract or lease involving payments of $3,000 or more within a 12-month period, derived in whole or in part from University funds, if the staff member is in a position to approve or influence, in his or her official capacity, the University's decision to enter into the contract or lease.
  2. If the staff member is not in a position to approve or influence the University's decision, the staff member may enter into a contract or lease described in paragraph (1) if the staff member first makes written disclosure of the nature and extent of any relationship described in paragraph (1) to the Dean or other appropriate administrator and he or she approves. The Dean or other appropriate administrator shall approve a staff member's interest in a lease or contract unless he or she determines that the staff member's personal interest in the agreement will conflict substantially and materially with the staff member's discharge of his or her
    University responsibilities.

C. Nepotism:

  1. No member of the unclassified staff may participate, formally or informally, in the decision to hire, retain, grant tenure to, promote or determine the salary of a member of his or her immediate family.
  2. No member of the unclassified staff may, in the supervision or management of another unclassified staff member who is a member of his or her immediate family, give preferential or favored treatment.

D. Student Research Protection:
A member of the unclassified staff shall inform students engaged in research under his or her supervision of any financial interest which the unclassified staff member has in the research activity, including, but not limited to, financial arrangements involved in the direct support of the activity, agreements made by the unclassified staff member to obtain data for the research, or agreements concerning copyright or patent rights arising from the research.

E. Absences:
Full-time appointment to the academic staff of the University implies that the University has first claim to the individual's professional services. Absences are justified when occasioned by:

  1. the requirements of University-assigned responsibilities;
  2. efforts and activities that make specific, identifiable contributions to the individual's ability to fulfill the responsibilities of his or her position; or
  3. the taking of time that is partially compensatory for unusually long hours devoted in service to the University.

F. These rules also apply to those academic staff members who are employed on a fractional basis.

6.13.3 Action to Avoid Possible Conflict

When it appears that a material conflict may arise between the personal interests of a staff member and his or her public responsibilities to the University, the staff member shall notify his or her Dean or other appropriate administrator by submitting a written statement describing the nature of the possible conflict.

Within 15 days after receipt of the statement, the Dean or other appropriate administrator shall advise the staff member in writing that:

A. there is no conflict prohibited by this chapter and the staff member may proceed; or
B. there may be a conflict and further consultation is necessary prior to reaching a determination; or
C. there is a conflict which must be resolved in one of the following ways:

  1. the staff member shall not proceed with his or her University duties which result in the conflict, so long as the conflict remains; or
  2. the staff member shall not proceed with his or her personal interests which result in the conflict, so long as the conflict remains.
  3. If the staff member is advised that C,1 or C,2 applies to his or her case, the staff member, within 15 days after notice of the decision of the Dean or other appropriate administrator, may appeal the decision under Section 6.12 (Grievances).

6.13.4 Outside Activities and Interests; Reports

A. Outside Activities:
Members of the unclassified staff are free to engage in outside activities, whether or not such activities are remunerative or related to staff members' fields of academic interest or specialization. However, no member of the unclassified staff may engage in an outside activity if it conflicts with his or her public responsibilities to the University of Wisconsin System or the institution at which the unclassified staff member is employed.

B. Reportable Outside Activities:

  1. The following outside activities must be reported to a staff member's Dean or other appropriate administrator:
    a. associations with organizations, as defined in s. UWS 8.02(3)link and (12)link, related to staff members' fields of academic interest or specialization;
    b. private remunerative relationships between staff members and nongovernmental sponsors of University research for which the staff member is a principal investigator; and
    c. remunerative outside activities in a staff member's field of academic interest or specialization, including but not limited to consulting, and whether the staff member earns for such activities $5,000 or more in a year from a single source.
  2. Each unclassified staff member engaging in outside activities reportable under this section shall annually, on or before April 30, file a report of outside activities with his or her Dean or other appropriate administrator.
  3. If, during the year, significant changes in a staff member's reportable outside activities occur, the staff member shall immediately inform, in writing, his or her Dean or the appropriate administrator. This information shall be placed on file with the staff member's annual statement of outside interests.

C. Reporting of Outside Activities:

  1. It is the responsibility of each academic staff member to submit a written report of all his or her substantial outside activities to his or her supervisor. This shall be done before an activity is undertaken. If there is doubt as to whether or not the outside activity is "substantial," it is the responsibility of the academic staff member to consult with his or her supervisor regarding this matter. Failure to report substantial outside activities may subject the academic staff member to disciplinary action under either UWRF 11 (Complaints, 6.11 of this chapter) of these policies and procedures or UWRF 9 (Dismissal for Cause, 6.9 of this chapter).
  2. Review and Action:
    a. Copies of reports of substantial outside activities shall be forwarded through the normal administrative channels to the Chancellor for the purpose of permitting reviews of the reports.
    b. If it is determined, at any administrative level, that outside activities are excessive or otherwise improper, oral communication with the academic staff member concerned may be used as a means of correcting the situation.
    However, (a) at the discretion of the administrative officer, (b) upon the request of the academic staff member, or (c) if the improper activity persists after oral communication of disapproval and suggested corrections, the academic staff member shall be notified of the impropriety in writing. The notice shall include reasons for judging the outside activity improper and recommendations for adjustments in those activities. If the notice does not originate with the supervisor of the academic staff member, it shall be transmitted by the supervisor to the academic staff member concerned.

6.13.5 Appeal

The academic staff member may appeal a decision regarding the impropriety of his or her outside activities. The grievance shall be submitted to the Academic Staff Council in accordance with the procedures of Section 6.12 (Grievances).

6.13.6 University Equipment and Services

No academic staff member shall use University facilities, equipment, or services for purposes of private practice without first obtaining written approval from the supervisor, Dean or functional equivalent, and the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance and the payment of a reasonable fee for the privilege enjoyed.