At Kettering University, ethical behavior is built upon a commitment to discharging our obligations to others in a fair and honest manner, and a commitment to respecting the rights and dignity of all persons. As faculty, staff, students, and trustees, we each bear responsibility not only for the ethics of our own behavior, but also for building Kettering’s stature as an ethical institution.
As members of the Kettering University community, all faculty; staff; students; members of the Board of Trustees; University Officers; consultants, vendors and contractors when they are doing business with the university; and individuals who perform services for the university as volunteers are responsible for sustaining the highest ethical standards of this institution, and of the broader community in which we function. The University values integrity, honesty and fairness and strives to integrate these values into its teaching, research and business practices.
This Code of Ethics is a shared statement of our commitment to upholding the ethical, professional and legal standards we use as the basis for our daily and long-term decisions and actions. We are each individually accountable for our own actions and, as members of the University community, are collectively accountable for upholding these standards of behavior and for compliance with all applicable laws and policies.
I. PEOPLE AND COMMUNITY. We recognize that the fundamental relationships upon which our university is built are those between individual students and individual professors; thus, such relationships are especially sacred and deserve special care that they not be exploited for base motives or personal gain.
Ethical behavior is an individual, as well as collective, responsibility. Kettering University is an inclusive community committed to equal opportunity. We do not tolerate unlawful discrimination or harassment on the basis of personal characteristics or beliefs. In our actions on behalf of the University, we treat others with courtesy, civility and dignity and refrain from abuse of the power or authority conferred by our offices or roles. While the University values academic freedom and freedom of speech and expression, we nurture an environment of mutual respect and tolerance and these rights should be exercised in a way that is mutually respectful even when the values, beliefs, behavior, or background of a person or group are distasteful to us; this is one of the bedrocks of ethical behavior at Kettering and the basis of civil discourse within our academic community.
We are careful to distinguish between legal behaviors on the one hand and ethical behaviors on the other, knowing that, while the two overlap in many areas, they are ultimately quite distinct from each other. While we follow legal requirements, we must never lose sight of ethical considerations.
II. HONESTY AND INTEGRITY. While in the service of the University, we conduct ourselves free of personal conflicts or appearances of impropriety, mindful that our exercise of authority on behalf of the University has been delegated fundamentally for the public good. We promptly and openly identify and disclose conflicts of interest on the part of faculty, staff, students, trustees, and the institution as a whole, and we take appropriate steps to either eliminate such conflicts or insure that they do not compromise the integrity of the individuals involved or that of the university. When we make promises as an institution, or as individuals who are authorized to speak on behalf of Kettering, we keep those promises.
We do not accept anything of value offered in consideration of performing our duties, other than the compensation, benefits and reimbursement of expenses duly authorized by the University or otherwise permitted by law. We do not accept any favor, loan, service, business or professional opportunity from anyone knowing (or when it should be known) that it is offered in order to improperly influence the performance of our duties, or when acceptance thereof may reasonably be perceived as an impropriety in violation of University policy or law.
We do not tolerate or condone dishonesty by anyone in any form including fraud, theft, cheating, plagiarism, lying, deliberate misrepresentation, scientific fraud, cheating, invidious discrimination or the misuse of University funds or property. We encourage and expect reporting of any form of dishonesty, and our managers and supervisors to appropriately investigate such reports. We also expect that the police will be notified when circumstances reasonably indicate criminal activity, fraud or theft.
Kettering is committed to achieving the highest standards of teaching and research and to conducting these activities with integrity, objectivity and fairness and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. We pursue scientific and other academic research with rigor and intellectual honesty; refrain from research misconduct; protect the welfare of human and animal research subjects and obtain appropriate approval and consents for studies involving such subjects; are accountable for sponsors’ funds; and comply with grant and contract requirements and University policies and procedures regarding research.
To ensure transparency, sound business practice, and compliance with law, and because of its obligations as an organization entrusted with government and private funds, Kettering University depends on rigorous observance of accounting, financial recordkeeping, reporting and other standards and policies and on the maintenance of internal audit, internal control and compliance mechanisms. When such tasks are required by our job responsibilities, we record, allocate, and document revenue, expenditures, time, effort and other information in a way that is accurate, clear, complete and timely.
III. PROTECTION AND CARE. We are responsible for managing and protecting University property, financial assets and other resources with appropriate care. As the recipient of donations, government and private grants, and other contributions, the University must be an effective steward of its resources. We ensure that the University’s resources are used carefully and appropriately for the benefit of the University and in a manner consistent with all legal requirements. We do not waste University resources or resources belonging to others that are entrusted to our care, or use them for personal benefit or for the benefit of a non-University entity, unless appropriate approval has been obtained. We do not permit any such misappropriation to go unchallenged.
Kettering controls the use of its name and logos in order to protect the University’s reputation and to ensure that their use is consistent with the University’s mission, identity and tax-exempt status. We protect the Kettering name and logos from improper use.
We preserve and respect the confidentiality of University records, including student records. We do not externally disclose confidential records or other nonpublic information without appropriate authorization, and any confidential record or information we access as a result of our position or duty is neither exploited for personal benefit nor misused for any unauthorized purpose.
IV. DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY. Although ethical conduct is a natural byproduct of the culture at Kettering University, individuals have affirmative duties, responsibilities and obligations to others and to the University that require conscious action. Most notably, we have a duty to be aware of the obligations imposed by laws, regulations and policies, to ask questions when those obligations are unclear, and to report potential problems or noncompliance. Offices and individuals across the University have responsibility for providing guidance on and ensuring compliance with laws, regulations and policies, and all members of the University community are encouraged to use these resources to obtain guidance or raise concerns.
We bring to the attention of supervisors and managers, the University auditor or other responsible University office, any violation of these principles or circumstances reasonably indicating that a violation has occurred or may occur. Such reporting in good faith in order to promote the ethical integrity of operations is expected and encouraged by the University, and retaliation by any University employee as a result against the person making such good faith report shall be subject to disciplinary action. We appropriately investigate all such reports and, when warranted by the facts, require corrective action and discipline in accordance with University policy and applicable law.
Adopted by the Kettering University Board of Trustees, February 6, 2012