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PG-61 Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct

Policy: PG-61
Subject: Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct
Approval Date: 12/06/2007
Last Review Date: 08/08/19


The Morehead State University (MSU) Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct policy is intended to document expectations of responsibility and integrity. Exemplary ethical conduct is critically important in our relationships with colleagues, regents, students, volunteers, contractors and the public.

Each member of the University should endeavor to:

  • Understand and promote the vision, mission, and core values of the University
  • Exhibit integrity, honesty, and responsibility
  • Provide an environment of mutual respect and collaboration
  • Maintain confidentiality in all matters deemed confidential by either University regulation and/or state/federal law
  • Assure independence of judgment (refer to PG-12)
  • Avoid relationships that place the University in legally vulnerable positions or that constitute conflicts of interest
  • Comply with the policies and procedures of the University and applicable state and federal laws and regulations (such as PG-5, PG-6, PG-12)
  • Demonstrate responsible stewardship of University property and resources.


The Code of Conduct is intended as a general guide to determine what conduct is expected and to help individuals to determine behaviors that should be avoided. Adherence to ethical standards and practices within individual disciplines should be observed. Employees are strongly encouraged to consult with their supervisors to discuss specific situations.


Those acting on behalf of the University have a duty to conduct themselves in a manner that will maintain the public’s trust in the integrity of the University and to meet their obligation to the University. The Code of Conduct establishes guidelines for professional conduct for University members, including executive officers, faculty, staff and other individuals employed by the University and volunteers acting as agents of the University (collectively, “University members”). The conduct of the students is addressed in the Student Code of Conduct (the Eagle Student Handbook).

In addition to this Code of Conduct, University members are subject to all applicable University codes, regulations, and policies as well as state and federal law.

In addition to the general rules provided in this policy, further guidance is found in other official University policy documents, such as the MSU Personnel Policy Manual, Board of Regents By-lawsUniversity Administrative Regulations, and the Eagle Student Handbook.


Nondiscrimination Policy

Equal opportunity shall be provided for all persons throughout the University in recruitment, appointment, promotion, payment, training, and other employment practices. All University members are expected to comply with the institution’s nondiscrimination policy contained in PG-5.

Confidentiality of Information

University members are entrusted with personal and institutional information that must be treated with confidentiality and used only for conducting University business. Respect for individual and institutional privacy requires exercise of care and judgment. Unless required or permitted by law or University regulations, personal and official information provided by and about faculty, staff, and students must not be given to third parties without the consent of the individuals concerned. When doubt exists regarding the confidentiality of information, University members should assume that information is to be treated as confidential.

Use of the University’s Name

University members have a public association with the University, but are also private citizens, thus care must be taken to appropriately differentiate between the two roles. University members must avoid giving the appearance of University endorsement in the public promotion or advertising of commercial products without prior written approval.

Individuals writing or speaking publicly in a professional or expert capacity may identify themselves by their relationship with the University, but must avoid giving the appearance of speaking on behalf of the University. University members are encouraged to contribute to public debate as citizens. In doing so, employees should clarify they are speaking or writing on behalf of themselves and not the University.

University Resources

University members should be responsible stewards of University resources. University members are entrusted with responsibly protecting the property, equipment, and other assets of the University. University assets are intended for University activities. Limited personal use of fixed University resources, such as computers and telephones (cell phones and landlines) is permitted as long as the use does not interfere with the assigned job duties and responsibilities. In no instance should University resources be used to conduct personal business for profit.

Personal use of cell phones and landlines requires reimbursement to the University in accordance with UAR 401.

Personal Relationships

The quality of one’s decisions can be adversely affected when they concern those with whom one has a personal relationship. Conflicts of interest may arise when people are involved in making decisions that affect members of their families, relatives, those with whom they have (or have had) private personal relationships, or those with whom they have (or have had) business partnerships. Individuals facing such decisions should recuse themselves from the decision-making process. In many cases, potential conflicts of interest can be managed by the candid but discreet disclosure of those relationships.

The University strongly urges those individuals in positions of authority not to have sexual or romantic relationships with those over whom they exercise authority. The existence of a power difference may compromise the freedom to consent freely to participate in such a relationship. If such a relationship exists, then the party with greater authority must request that his or her supervisor find a suitable arrangement for the objective evaluation of the student, employee, or other person involved.

To foster an environment of respect for the dignity and worth of all members of the University community, the University prohibits the sexual harassment of students, faculty and staff and requires that

complaints of sexual harassment be investigated in accordance with the University’s due process requirements. The University’s policies and procedures related to sexual harassment are contained in PG-6.

Employment of Relatives

University employment of relatives is governed by state law, and the University may only employ relatives of a member of the Board of Regents pursuant to state law and PG-22. Members of the Board of Regents, except those elected to the Board as faculty, staff or student representatives, are ineligible for employment at the University.

Intellectual Property

All members of the University community are expected to be responsible stewards of University resources and comply with the University’s intellectual property policies (PG-18).

Conflict of Commitment

Conflicts of commitment relate to an individual’s distribution of effort between University appointment and outside activities. Faculty and professional administrative employees are expected to devote their primary professional commitment, time, and energy to their positions at MSU; other activities must not detract from these primary commitments.

If conflicts become apparent in regular performance reviews, then they must be addressed by the appropriate supervisor. The University’s policy and procedures regarding outside consulting are located in PAc-5.

A staff employee may be employed outside the University when the employment does not constitute a conflict with University interests and when the hours of outside employment do not conflict with hours of scheduled work or affect the employee’s ability to perform satisfactorily. It is recommended that staff employees notify their supervisor concerning outside employment.

Conflict of Interest

University members are expected to avoid the appearance of benefiting from employment at the University in ways that do not result from the normal performance of one’s regular duties. University members are expected to make full disclosure in situations of possible conflict of interest, and to withdraw from such situations as soon as they become apparent (refer to PG-12).

Financial Advantage

Members of the University community should endeavor to exhibit, honesty and responsibility. Official position or office in the University shall not be used to obtain financial gain or benefits for oneself or members of one’s family or business associates that would not have occurred as a result of the normal performance of one’s duties as a professional. Actions that create the appearance of impropriety should be avoided.

Reporting Responsibilities

The University will not tolerate any retaliation against a University member who makes a good faith report of a violation. Violations of this code may result in disciplinary action.

Contact Human Resources

Human Resources

301 Howell-McDowell
Morehead, KY 40351

EMAIL: humanresources
PHONE: 606-783-2097

View Human Resources Staff