Missouri State University

Code of Conduct

Purpose

As members of the Missouri State University community, all faculty, staff, students, members of the Board of Governors, University Officers and affiliates are responsible for a commitment to compliance with the law, and maintaining the ethical standards of the institution and of the broader community in which we live.  The University values integrity, honesty and fairness and strives to model and integrate these values into its teaching, research, and business practices.  This code is intended to reflect other Board and University policies and procedures.  It does not create any additional or different rights or duties of a substantive or procedural nature.

General policy

  1. APPLICABILITY:  The Code of Conduct applies to the following members of the Missouri State University Community (“University Community members”):
    1. The Board of Governors;
    2. Individuals who are paid by Missouri State University when they are working for the University, to include faculty, staff and students;
    3. When required by contract, consultants, vendors, and contractors when they are doing business with the University;
    4. Individuals who perform services for the University as volunteers and who assert an association with the University; and
    5. Students
  2. STANDARDS OF INTEGRITY AND QUALITY
    1. Missouri State University recognizes that it must earn and maintain a reputation for integrity that includes, but is not limited to compliance with laws and regulations and its contractual obligations. Even the appearance of misconduct or impropriety can be damaging to the University. Missouri State University must strive at all times to maintain the highest standards of quality and integrity.
    2. In those instances where Missouri State University's business activities and other conduct of its community members are not governed by specific laws or regulations, rules of equity, honesty, and respect for others will govern our conduct.
    3. Each individual is required and expected to conduct University business transactions and research, publication and data utilization with the utmost honesty, accuracy, and equity. Every situation needs to be examined in accordance with this standard. No unethical practices can be tolerated because it is “customary” outside of the University or that it serves other worthy goals. Expedience should never compromise integrity.
  3. CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY
    1. University Community members receive and generate on behalf of the University various types of confidential, proprietary and private information. It is imperative that each University Community member complies with all federal laws, state laws, agreements with third parties, and University policies and principles pertaining to the use, protection and disclosure of such information, and such policies apply even after the community member’s relationship with Missouri State University ends.
    2. Information on the University’s policies on specific privacy laws, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) can be obtained from:  Op3.12-8 FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) Policy;

      and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can be obtained from:  Op3.12-12 HIPAA Requirements (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) Policy.
    3. Computers/Networks:  Information regarding University policy on Computer and Network Usage can be found at:  Op12.02-3 Computers/Networks Policy.
  4. CONFLICT OF INTEREST/CONFLICT OF COMMITMENT
    1. Community members who are Missouri State University faculty and staff owe their primary professional allegiance to the University and its mission to engage in the highest level of education, research and scholarship. Outside professional activities, private financial interests or the receipt of benefits from third parties can cause an actual or perceived divergence between the University mission and an individual’s private interests. In order to protect our primary mission, University community members with other professional or financial interests shall disclose them in compliance with applicable conflict of interest/conflict of commitment policies, which are available on the following websites:
      1. Conflict of Interest and Financial Disclosure Policy can be found at:  G1.02 Conflict of Interest and Financial Disclosure Policy
      2. Other applicable conflict of interest/commitment policies can be found at:  G1.01-12 Conflict of Interest Policy
        and G1.13 Fiscal Responsibility Policy
  5. FINANCIAL REPORTING
    1. All University accounts, financial reports, tax returns, expense reimbursements, time sheets and other documents, including those submitted to government agencies must be accurate, clear and complete. All entries in University books and records, including departmental accounts and individual expense reports, must accurately reflect each transaction. This policy can be found at:  G1.13 Fiscal Responsibility Policy.
  6. COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS
    1. Members of the University community must transact University business in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and University policy and procedure. Managers and supervisors are responsible for teaching and monitoring compliance. When questions arise pertaining to interpretation or applicability of policy, contact the individual who has oversight of the policy. Refer all unresolved questions and/or interpretation of laws and regulations to the Office of General Counsel.
    2. Contractual Obligations —The acceptance of an agreement, including sponsored project funding, may create a legal obligation on the part of Missouri State University to comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement and applicable laws and regulations. Therefore, only individuals who have authority delegated by an appropriate University official can enter into agreements on behalf of the University.  This policy can be found at:  G1.18 Contract Authorization Policy.
    3. Environmental Health & Safety, including Workplace Health and Safety and Animal Care Health and Safety —University Community members must be committed to protecting the health and safety of its members by providing safe workplaces. The University will provide information and training about health and safety hazards, and safeguards. University Community members must adhere to good health and safety practices and comply with all environmental health and safety laws and regulations.
    4. Some professions and disciplines represented at the University are governed by standards and codes specific to their profession (such as attorneys, certified public accountants, and medical personnel). Those professional standards generally advance the quality of the profession and/or discipline by developing codes of ethics, conduct, and professional responsibility and standards to guide their members. Those belonging to such organizations are expected to adhere to University policies and codes of conduct in addition to any professional standards. If a University Community member believes there is a conflict between a professional standard and University policy, he/she should contact the Office of the General Counsel.
  7. USE OF UNIVERSITY RESOURCES
    1. University resources must be reserved for business purposes on behalf of the University. They may not be used for personal gain, and may not be used for personal use except in a manner that is incidental, and reasonable in light of the employee’s duties. University resources include, but are not limited to, the use of University systems (e.g., telephone systems, data communication and networking services) and the Missouri State University domain for electronic communication forums; the use of University equipment (e.g., computers and peripherals, University vehicles); the use of procurement tools such as purchasing cards and petty cash; and, the time and effort of staff, students and others at the University.
  8. REPORTING SUSPECTED VIOLATIONS
    1. Members of the Missouri State University community are encouraged to report suspected violations of applicable laws, regulations, government contract and grant requirement or this Code through standard management channels, beginning with the immediate supervisor, instructor or advisor. If for any reason it is not appropriate to report suspected violations to the immediate supervisor (e.g., the suspected violation is by the supervisor) individuals may go to a higher level of management within their school or department.
    2. In instances where a member of the Missouri State University community fears there might be retribution by management if they report a violation of the Code, they can make their report under the provisions of the University Whistleblower Policy.  This policy can be found at:  G1.25 Whistleblower Policy (Ethics Hotline).
    3. University community members may report any suspected violations of rules regarding federal funds to the Department of Defense Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline at 800-424-9098.
    4. Such reports may be made confidentially, and even anonymously, although the more information given, the easier it is to investigate the reports. Raising such concerns is a service to the University and does not in itself jeopardize employment.
    5. All employees are expected to cooperate fully in the investigation of any misconduct.