and Statements of
Ethical and Responsible Conduct
- Ethical and Responsible Conduct: In carrying out its educational, research, and public service missions, the university
relies on the ethical and responsible conduct of all employees. Even the appearance
of unethical or irresponsible conduct can be damaging to the public’s trust in the
university. Employees are expected to conduct themselves fairly, honestly, in good
faith, and in accordance with the highest ethical and professional standards and to
comply with applicable laws, regulations, contractual obligations, and university
- Responsible Reporting of Suspected Violations and University Response:
- General Statement of Reporting Obligation.
- Employees are expected to report any good-faith concern that compliance violations
might have occurred, including, but not limited to, the following: violations of state
or federal law or regulations; fraud in the operations of government programs; misappropriation
of state or federal resources; acts that endanger the health or safety of the public
or employees; and mismanagement of programs, funds, and/or abuses of authority.
- Employees are expected to report compliance concerns at the earliest possible opportunity
by contacting their immediate supervisor, the next level of supervision, the University
Attorney, or the Office of Internal Audit.
- Employees wishing to remain anonymous should report their concerns online or by phone
to 221-7466. Employees may also report concerns anonymously to the State Comptroller’s Fraud Hotline (1-800-232-5454).
- Employees are expected to report sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking
directly to the campus Title IX coordinator or through any other reporting channels outlined in the campus policies on sexual
misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking.
- Employees are expected to cooperate fully in investigations. As required by APSU Policy 1:016 Preventing and Reporting Fraud, Waste or Abuse, department heads and other management officials must report suspected fraud, waste,
and abuse of university resources, and all allegations of such activity made to them,
immediately to the Office of Internal Audit.
- Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Child Sexual Abuse. Employees must comply
with Tennessee laws on mandatory reporting of child abuse and child sexual abuse.
Tennessee laws mandate reporting by any person who has knowledge of physical or mental
harm to a child if: 1) the nature of the harm reasonably indicates it was caused by
brutality, abuse, or neglect; or 2) on the basis of available information, the harm
reasonably appears to have been caused by brutality, abuse, or neglect. Tennessee
law also mandates reporting by any person who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect
that a child has been sexually abused, regardless of whether it appears the child
has sustained an injury as a result of the abuse. A report of child abuse or child
sexual abuse must be made immediately to one of the following authorities:
- The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (call the Central Intake Child Abuse
Hotline at 1-877-237-0004).
- The sheriff of the county where the child resides.
- The chief law enforcement official of the city where the child resides.
- A judge having juvenile jurisdiction over the child.
- University police departments are not included in the list of authorities. Reporting
to university police, a supervisor, or any other university official or employee does
not satisfy an individual’s duty to report child abuse or child sexual abuse to one
of the authorities listed above.
- Protection from Retaliatory Discharge. Employees are protected from retaliatory discharge
if in good faith they report or attempt to report illegal activities, or if they refuse
to participate in illegal activities. For purposes of this policy, illegal activities
are violations of the civil or criminal code of this state or the United States or
any regulation intended to protect the public health, safety, or welfare. Employees
are also protected from other forms of retaliation for reporting or seeking guidance
regarding potential or actual criminal conduct.
- Respect for Others: People are Austin Peay State University’s most important resource for accomplishing
its teaching, research, and public service missions. Accordingly, employees are expected
to be committed to creating an environment that promotes academic freedom, diversity,
fair treatment, and respect for others. Employees are expected to treat one another,
students, and the general public in an honest and respectful manner.
- Avoiding Conflicts of Interests: Objectivity and integrity are essential qualities for employees of a public institution
such as APSU. For the university to carry out its missions with unquestioned credibility,
employees are expected to maintain the highest levels of integrity and objectivity
as they perform their duties. Employees are expected to take all reasonable precautions
and seek appropriate guidance to ensure that their outside interests do not place
them in conflict with carrying out their duties and responsibilities as APSU employees.
Employees must disclose outside interests in accordance with APSU Policy 1:001 so that they can be reviewed and managed or eliminated, as appropriate.
- Professional Development: Employees shall strive to enhance their own proficiencies; enhance the capabilities
and skills of their colleagues and supervisors; and promote excellence in public service.
- Responsible Use of University Resources: Employees must use university property, funds, technology, time, and other resources
for legitimate business purposes. Employees must not use university resources for
personal gain or to benefit third parties, unless a specific exception has been granted
in accordance with policies. Employees are expected to be responsible stewards when
using university funds for business travel or entertainment.
- Responsible Conduct in Research: As members of a research university, employees must conduct research with the highest
integrity and in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations and
university policies. Employees must recognize that failure to do so can result in
significant penalties or criminal prosecution for both employees and the university.
Employees involved in conducting research are expected to become familiar with applicable
laws, regulations, and policies and to consult with the Office of Research and Sponsored
Programs if they have concerns or questions. Employees are expected to submit accurate,
timely, and complete reports and documents related to research.
- Commitment to Environmental Health and Safety: Employees are expected to be committed to protecting the health and safety of all
university students, faculty, staff, volunteers, patients, and visitors. To accomplish
this, the university provides information and training to employees about the health
and safety hazards and safeguards applicable to their work location. Employees are
expected to exercise good health and safety practices and to comply with all health
and safety laws and regulations.
- Responsible Use and Protection of Confidential Information: Employees are entrusted with a variety of confidential information about students,
faculty, staff, alumni, donors, research sponsors, licensing partners, patients, and
others. Employees must access, use, protect, disclose, preserve, and dispose of confidential
information in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, contracts, and university
- Integrity of Information: Employees shall demonstrate professional integrity in the issuance and management
of information by:
- Not knowingly signing, subscribing to, or permitting the issuance of any statement
or report that contains any material misstatement or that omits any material fact;
- Preparing or presenting financial information as required by University policies;
- Adhering to University policy governing responses to inquiries about fiscal matters
from the public and the media.
of Prohibited Conduct
No Code of Conduct can list all prohibited conduct. The following information, which
is not all-inclusive, illustrates some examples of specifically prohibited conduct
that may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, as either unsatisfactory
work performance or work-related behavior, or gross misconduct, under university policy.
- Respect for Persons:
- Disorderly conduct, including, but not limited to, using discriminatory, abusive,
or threatening language; fighting, provoking a fight, or attempting bodily harm or
injury to another employee or to any other individual or threatening physical action
or injury on university property or during university activities; or other conduct
that threatens or endangers the health, safety, or well-being of any person.
- Violation of any university policy or law prohibiting harassment, discrimination,
or retaliation against students or employees.
- Respect for Property:
- Willful or negligent damage to university property.
- Theft or dishonesty.
- Tampering with or wantonly destroying university data, records, or other information;
gaining unauthorized access to such information; disclosing confidential information;
or otherwise misusing university data or information.
- Unauthorized use of university vehicles, mail services, identification and credit
cards, telephones, computers, computer equipment, or other university equipment or
materials. Computers and computer accounts are provided to employees to assist them
in the performance of their jobs. Employees do not have a right to privacy in anything
they create, send, or receive on a university computer. The university has the right
to monitor, for business reasons, any and all aspects of any university computer system,
including employee e-mail.
- Soliciting, collecting money, or circulating petitions on university property at any
time without permission of the chief business officer or designee.
- Standards of Safety:
- Possessing or carrying a firearm in violation of APSU Policy 5:003.
- Possessing explosives or other dangerous materials on university property or during
university activities, unless the employee is authorized either by university policy
or law to carry such materials and it is also necessary to do so in the course of
employment (police officers, R.O.T.C. personnel, etc.).
- The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, or possession of controlled
substances; the abuse of alcohol, illegal drugs, intoxicants, or controlled substances
while on duty; abuse of prescription drugs while on duty; use of alcohol in a university
vehicle on or off university property; or reporting to work under the influence of
illegal drugs or alcohol or while unlawfully using controlled substances.
- Refusal to obey security officials, Emergency Management personnel, or other proper
authorities in emergencies.
- Failure to comply with safety rules, regulations, or common safety practices.
- Failure to report an accident involving on-the-job injury or damage to university
- Smoking in violation of university policy.
- Compliance with Laws and University Policies:
- Falsification of university records.
- Misrepresentation of academic credentials, which is defined by Tennessee law as follows:
“A person commits the offense of misrepresentation of academic credentials who, knowing
that the statement is false and with the intent to secure employment at or admission
to an institution of higher education in Tennessee, represents, orally or in writing,
that such person 1) has successfully completed the required course work for and has
been awarded one or more degrees or diplomas from an accredited institution of higher
education; 2) has successfully completed the required course work for and has been
awarded one or more degrees or diplomas from a particular institution of higher education;
or 3) has successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded
one or more degrees or diplomas in a particular field or specialty from an accredited
institution of higher education.” Misrepresentation of academic credential is a Class
- Violation of federal government security regulations as outlined in contracts.
- Any violation of any law in the performance of duties or that affects the ability
to perform duties satisfactorily.
- Failure to comply with Tennessee laws on mandatory reporting of child abuse and child
- Failure to comply with laws regarding mandatory reporting requirements applicable
to health care professionals’ interactions with patients while acting within the scope
of university employment.
- Failure to comply with the university’s conflict of interest policy.
- Fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other serious unethical or illegal deviations
from accepted practices in proposing, conducting, reporting the results of or reviewing
research of service activities, in violation of university policy or state or federal
law or regulations.
- The access, use, or disclosure of a person’s financial, personal, protected health
information, or other confidential information without authorization or legal justification,
in violation of university policies or law, e.g., privacy provisions of the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Federal Educational
Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- Gambling on university property or during university activities.
- Flagrant violation or failure to observe traffic or parking regulations.
- The University will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any
employee or applicant for employment because such employee or applicant has inquired
about, discussed, or disclosed the compensation of the employee or applicant or another
employee or applicant.
- Work Performance:
- Insubordination or refusal of an employee to follow instructions or to perform designated
work or to comply with directives of authorized university officials.
- Failure to wear proper uniform or identification in the prescribed manner as may be
required by the university.
- Sleeping on the job.
- Failure or refusal to maintain or obtain required licensure, certification, or registration.
- Instigating or participating in deliberate low productivity and/or interfering with
another employee’s work.
- Standards of Attendance:
- Unexcused Absence. An absence without proper notification or satisfactory reason is
unexcused. An absence of three consecutive days without notification or satisfactory
reason is considered a voluntary termination.
- Repeated Tardiness. Tardiness is defined as arriving at work past the appointed starting
time without supervisory approval.
- Other Absences. Such absences include the failure of employees to report to their
work place at the beginning of the work period, leaving work before the end of the
work period, and failure to inform the supervisor when leaving the work area.