As members of the university community, the responsibilities to educate, innovate and inform, alongside the expectation of ethical conduct, are taken seriously. Each member of the university community is responsible for developing and educating others in an environment that is supportive, collaborative and safe. To achieve VCU’s goals, each member of the university community must foster an environment that celebrates and supports the university community and its members.
The values and ethical principles of Virginia Commonwealth University are outlined in the university’s Code of Conduct. This framework helps to articulate behaviors expected in an environment in which all individuals have the opportunity to thrive and feel respected, engaged, innovative and productive and are encouraged to lead by example. All individuals must conduct themselves in accordance with the university’s ethical standards outlined in this policy and the Code of Conduct, which are central to and in support of VCU’s mission. These standards serve as a lens for every decision. Employee conduct that falls below these standards may result in VCU taking steps to improve performance through the performance evaluation process. Certain conduct may warrant disciplinary action that accords with the nature and severity of the conduct.
In everything VCU undertakes, it sets its expectations high. VCU’s commitment to the highest standards helps attract and retain great people, inspire student success, create and innovate, and build a strong and supportive university community that is singularly focused on excellence.
The purpose of this policy is to emphasize the conduct expected to best uphold the university’s commitment to its ethical standards, which were first approved by the Board of Visitors in 2005 as the Code of Ethics and thereafter outlined in the Code of Conduct as the ethical standards. This policy is not intended to replace, and may be supplemented by, other more specific university policies that currently exist or that may be adopted in the future.
Recognizing the various and complex ethical questions that may arise while engaged in university activities, this policy can serve only as a general set of rules. When faced with ethically unclear situations, individuals are expected to consider the university’s commitment to the highest ethical standards and seek guidance from their managers, supervisors or other appropriate resources to ensure that this commitment to ethical conduct is maintained at all times.
The VCU Board of Visitors and students (not also employed by VCU) are not covered by this policy. Instead, students follow the Student Code of Conduct and Honor System and Standards of Academic Conduct policy and the Board of Visitors follows BOV Bylaws and a specialized Board of Visitors’ Ethical Leadership policy that sets forth the ethical expectations for executing the member’s service role.
Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.
All employees (referred to herein as “individuals” and includes administrators, faculty and staff) are responsible for knowing this policy, familiarizing themselves with its contents and practicing VCU’s ethical standards.
Failing to meet VCU expectations (laws, regulations or university policies) whether intentional or inadvertent
Include, but are not limited to: equipment; technologies/software; network/electronic systems; records (both paper and electronic); funds (both cash and cash equivalents such as checks, postage and purchasing cards); facilities; and vehicles.
The Integrity and Compliance Office officially interprets this policy and is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to the Integrity and Compliance Office, Audit and Compliance Services.
In carrying out VCU’s mission to advance knowledge and student success, all individuals are expected to promote and contribute to an organizational culture of respect, honesty, excellence, accountability and responsibility, stewardship and compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and university policies. The VCU Code of Conduct outlines the ethical standards discussed in this policy and also provides guidance for making ethical business decisions and supporting the university’s commitment to compliance and integrity. All individuals are expected to adhere to VCU’s ethical standards, which are the following:
We are committed to an environment of uncompromising integrity and ethical conduct. Our ethical standards are the foundation for our decisions and actions. As members of the faculty, staff and administration of VCU, our actions are guided by these principles:
We recognize that our decisions and actions reflect not only upon our individual reputations but also upon the reputation of the university. Our actions will be guided by these ethical principles even when confronted by personal, professional, social or economic pressures.
Raise concerns in accordance with VCU’s Duty to Report and Protection from Retaliation policy.
When an individual has a concern or needs guidance regarding these ethical standards, they are expected to consult with any of the following entities for guidance:
There are no forms associated with this policy.
This policy supersedes the following archived policies:
|December 07, 2018||Expectations of Ethical Conduct [This policy is considered New as it is significantly different than the original VCU Code of Ethics approved by the Board, August 25, 2005 and incorporated into the VCU Code of Conduct in 2013. In time, it was determined more elaboration was needed on the basic ethical standards and illustrated expected behaviors, hence this policy.]|
|December 07, 2018||Expectations of Ethical Conduct [August 13, 2019: Minor revision to specifically list Human Resources as a contact for guidance on the ethical standards discussed in the policy.]|