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ETHICS AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS

 

Principles of Ethical Conduct

 

Conflicts of Interest and Outside Employment

 

            Appropriate outside activity for a faculty member which enhances his or her performance of duties in the teaching staff is encouraged as furthering the interest of both the individual and the University.  Consulting, professional performance and other appropriate outside activities can contribute to the effectiveness of the faculty member as a teacher and as a productive scholar, and can meet the institution’s obligations of public service. Policies and restrictions regarding external employment are outlined in TAMUS Policy 31.05 and System Regulations 31.05.01, 31.05.02, and 31.05.03.

            Faculty carry the prestige of the University with them in all places and at all times, and they have a responsibility to protect and preserve that prestige in all actions and utterances.  Exercise of professional integrity by a faculty member includes recognition that the public may judge his or her profession and institution by statements made by the faculty member.  Therefore, when speaking or acting as a private person, the faculty member should strive to be accurate, to exercise appropriate restraint, to show respect for the opinion of others, and to avoid creating the impression that he or she speaks or acts for the college or University.

            A faculty member desiring to engage in outside activity relevant as described above, whether paid or not, shall, previous to making a firm commitment in this matter, submit a “Plan for Continuing Outside Activity.”  Unless advised to the contrary in writing, the faculty member may consider the plan operative.  If a faculty member intends to receive credit on the Professional Performance Profile for a continuing activity, he or she must have submitted the appropriate “Plan.” All authorizations terminate on August 31 of each year.

            It is presumed that the professor’s presence at assigned classes and at posted office hours is of considerable importance to the University and the students; any serious failure to meet these obligations will adversely affect the performance legitimately expected of a full-time faculty member.  As a practical guideline in this matter, however, it is presumed that such additional responsibilities may be approved if the professor’s absence from a regular class meeting during a given semester for the purpose of outside public activity (but for which adequate alternative plans are made) does not exceed the number of times that class is scheduled to meet in a week of that semester.  The Provost may make exceptions to this rule.

            Faculty members should consider that outside public activity in excess of an average ¼ time load may adversely affect professional performance.  Outside employment by or consulting work through a firm or company in which the employee is a principal owner is also governed by this policy.

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Use of Property and Equipment

            No employee of the University shall use for his or her own personal benefit or pleasure any property of the University, except books from the Library and other such items of well-established usage.  Property and equipment of all types, either owned by the University or entrusted to the University by others, are to be used only for official business.  Should there be a need to use property or equipment off campus, for official purposes, the off campus property use permit must be completed and approved.  Personal telephone calls are not to be charged to official telephones.

 

Professional Standards

            All personnel of Texas A&M International University shall conform in every respect to the laws of the state of Texas relative to their employment.  Each employee must understand the Standards of Conduct of State Officers and Employees adopted by the Legislature of Texas (outlined below) and of the specific matters of conduct stated in the General Appropriations Act.

 

            The following rules are cited from the Standards of Conduct of State Officers and Employees (Section 572.051 of the Texas Government Code):

 

            “A state officer or employee should not:

 

            (1)        accept or solicit any gift, favor, or service that might reasonably

                        tend to influence the office or employee in the discharge of

                        official duties or that the officer or employee knows or should

                        know is being offered to him with the intent to influence the

                        officer’s or employee’s official conduct;

 

            (2)        accept other employment or engage in any business or professional

                        activity that the officer or employee might reasonably expect

                        would require or induce the officer or employee to disclose

                        confidential information acquired by reason of the official position;

 

            (3)        accept other employment or compensation that might reasonably

                        be expected to impair the officer’s or employee’s independence of

                        judgment in the performance of the officer’s or employee’s official

                        duties;

 

            (4)        make personal investments that could reasonably be expected to

                        create a substantial conflict between the officer’s or employee’s

                        private interest and the public interest; or

 

            (5)        intentionally or knowingly solicit, accept, or agree to accept any

                        benefit for having exercised the officer’s or employee’s official

                        powers or performed the officer’s or employee’s official duties in

                        favor of another.”

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Professional Ethics

            The fundamental responsibilities of faculty members as teachers and scholars include maintenance of competence in their field of specialization and the exhibition of professional competence in the classroom, studio, or laboratory, and in the public arena through activities such as discussions, lectures, consulting, performances, exhibitions, publications and participation in professional organizations and meetings.  (TAMUS Policy 12.01 Section 2.1).

            Faculty members should be professional in their conduct in the classroom and in their relationships with students.  They should maintain respect for the student and for the student’s posture as a learner and should be appropriately available to students for consultation on course work.  (TAMUS Policy 12.01 Section 2.5).

 

Illegal Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Related Retaliation

           TAMIU strictly prohibits all forms of illegal discrimination, sexual harassment (which includes sexual violence, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking), and related retaliation.  All faculty members are required to report alleged or suspected illegal discrimination, sexual harassment, and/or related retaliation that they experience, observe, or are made aware of.  Reports can be made to a supervisor, any administrator, the Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, or the University Police Department.  More information is available in TAMUS Policy 8.01 and System Regulation 8.01.01.

 

Improper Consensual Relationships

           The definition of “improper consensual relationship” and information about reporting obligations are available in System Regulation 8.01.01.

 

Political Activity

            Subject to some restrictions, faculty may seek and hold local elective office and non-elective state and federal office so long as it benefits the state of Texas (or is required by state or federal law) and does not conflict with the faculty member’s responsibilities at TAMIU.  All employees have the rights of freedom of association and political participation guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions.  Employees are allowed time to vote in public elections without losing pay or leave time.  The use of official university authority to influence a political campaign is forbidden; use of TAMIU funds and facilities for political activity is extensively restricted.  Rights and restrictions concerning political activity are detailed in TAMUS Policy 7.03 and TAMUS Regulation 7.03.01.  Faculty wishing to involve themselves in political campaigns are urged to read the policy and the regulation in detail.

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External Relations

 

Communications Channels

            Except as explicitly stated elsewhere in this document, communications channels are the lines of authority presented in the Organization Chart (pdf here).

 

Publicity for Faculty Activities

            Using their standard policies and procedures, the Office of Public Information should disseminate publicity for all University activities.  All items will be submitted to media outlets, but their use is not guaranteed.

 

Grants Policy

            Grant policy is disseminated through the offices of the Deans of the colleges.

 

Use of Institutional Letterhead, Trademarks, Trade Names

            Personal use of institutional letterhead, trademarks, and trade names is not allowed.  However, faculty members are entitled to use the institutional letterhead, trademarks, and trade names for professional activities.  Only official institutional letterhead, trademarks, and trade names are to be used.  Faculty and staff of TAMIU are not authorized to design their own.  The resolving authority concerning legitimate use of the institutional letterhead, trademarks, and trade names is the Office of the Vice-President for Institutional Advancement.

 

Fund Raising

            Fund raising is encouraged, but it must be coordinated through the Office of the Vice-President for Institutional Advancement.