||This policy defines ethical conduct for faculty members at California State University
San Marcos and provides procedures for resolving the potential breach of ethical standards.
||The policy is modeled on the Statement of Professional Ethics of the American Association
of University Professors. (Procedures for resolving a potential breach of ethical
standards have been designed to comply with the protection of faculty rights as st
||All tenure-track and adjunct faculty at CSU San Marcos.
||View Signatures for Faculty Ethics Policy
The following statement, based on the Statement of Professional Ethics of the American
Association of University Professors, shall be the policy of the Faculty of California
State University San Marcos concerning ethical conduct. Faculty includes adjunct and
I. AS MEMBERS OF THE TEACHING PROFESSION, FACULTY MEMBERS:
II. AS TEACHERS, FACULTY MEMBERS:Â
- Seek and state the truth as they see it.
- Devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence.
- Accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using,
extending, and transmitting knowledge.
- Practice, foster, and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry, and academic
- Avoid allowing subsidiary interests to hamper or compromise freedom of inquiry.
III. AS COLLEAGUES, FACULTY MEMBERS:Â
- Encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students.
- Hold before their students the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline.
- Demonstrate respect for their students as individuals.
- Adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors.
- Make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct.
- Make every reasonable effort to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect
each student's true merit.
- Respect the confidential nature of the relationship between faculty members and students.
- Avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students.
- Acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from students.
- Protect the academic freedom of students.
- Present the subject matter of courses as approved by the Faculty and announced to
IV. AS MEMBERS OF AN ACADEMIC INSTITUTION, FACULTY MEMBERS:
- Do not discriminate against, intimidate or harass colleagues.
- Respect and defend the free inquiry of associates.
- Show respect for the opinions of others in the exchange of criticism and ideas.
- Acknowledge academic debts.
- Strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues.
- Accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of the University.
V. AS MEMBERS OF COMMUNITIES, FACULTY MEMBERS:
- Seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars.
- Observe the stated regulations of the University, provided those regulations do not
contravene academic freedom, but maintain the right to criticize and seek revision.
- Give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within the University in determining
the amount and character of work done outside the University.
- When considering interruption or termination of their service, recognize the effect
of their decision on the University and give due notice of their intentions.
- Avoid creating a conflict of interest (see appendix A) in the exercise of their multiple
- Recognize that the exercise of their rights and the discharge of their obligations
as individuals may come into conflict with their responsibilities to their disciplines,
their students, their profession, and the university; and they are aware that they
must take care when negotiating among their multiple identities.
- Avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for the University when they speak
or act as private persons.
- Recognize their particular obligation, as individuals engaged in a profession that
depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, to promote conditions of free inquiry
and to further public understanding of academic freedom.
Faculty members hold themselves, and each other, to a very high ethical standard.
On rare occasions, however, faculty members may be confronted with apparent ethical
violations by one or more of their colleagues. Wherever possible, disputes between
faculty members should be resolved between the parties. Assistance to mediate the
dispute is encouraged. Where these efforts have not resolved the matter, a written
request for a hearing may be submitted. The response of faculty to apparent violations
of the statement of ethics above shall be governed by the following rules:
I. ADVICE AND CONSULTATION
II. MEDIATION EFFORTSÂ
- If faculty members believe that ethical standards have been violated, they should
first seek the advice of colleagues.
- Faculty members should then attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention
of the affected colleague informally.
III. PROCEDURE FOR INITIATING ETHICS HEARING
- If an informal conversation fails to bring the matter to resolution, or if the faculty
member feels unable to bring the matter directly to a colleague's attention, then
mediation or other dispute resolution techniques should be sought to resolve the problem.
Assistance may be sought from a member of the staff of Counseling & Psychological
Services, trained in mediation, from the Employee Assistance program or from a mediator
acceptable to both parties.
The goal of such a conversation (or conversations, if indicated by circumstances)
is to resolve the matter successfully. Examples of such resolution might be to educate
the perceived transgressor of the relevant ethical dilemma, to clarify any misperceptions
of the faculty member who called the meeting, to ensure that behavior in violation
of the ethical standards ceases, etc.
- If either faculty member comes to believe that no resolution is possible in this manner,
she/he may proceed to a faculty hearing.
IV. THE HEARING
- Hearings shall be initiated by the submission of a written complaint as outlined below.
The written complaint must be raised within twelve months of the alleged unethical
- Complaints must be made in writing, signed and delivered to the Chairperson of the
Academic Senate (hereafter referred to as the A.S. Chairperson). Anonymous complaints
will not be considered.
- Complaints must specify the sections and parts of the Policy on Ethical Conduct allegedly
violated, the dates and places of alleged violations and the efforts already undertaken
to resolve the dispute.
- Complaints must be accompanied by a statement that the person making the complaint
(the petitioner) has read and understands the Policy on Ethical Conduct.
- Complaints that, in the judgment of the A.S. Chairperson do not conform to the above
provisions shall be returned to complainants with a copy of this policy. No formal
action shall be taken unless and until such complaints are submitted in the specified
- When a complaint has been received, the A.S. Chairperson shall, within seven (7) calendar
days, have the following documents hand-delivered to the person named in the complaint
(the respondent), and the petitioner:
i. A copy of the complaint;
ii. A copy of this policy;
iii. A list of faculty members of rank equal to or greater than the rank of the
respondent, excluding the petitioner and respondent for purposes of assembling
a Hearing Committee (Part V).
Should hand-delivery of the documents specified in Part III.F prove impossible, the
chairperson shall have the documents sent to the last known address of record. Effective
receipt by the party concerned of the pending action shall be considered to have occurred
when a reasonable time for delivery (7 calendar days) of the documents has elapsed,
and the chairperson shall declare the documents effectively received as of that date.
- Within seven (7) calendar days of the actual or effective receipt of the documents
specified in Part III. F, the petitioner and respondent shall deliver notice of the
persons on the specified list of faculty members whom they will accept as members
of a three-person committee to hear the complaint. These names shall be delivered
to the A.S Chairperson.
- Within fourteen (14) calendar days of actual or effective receipt of the documents
(specified in Part III. F) by the last party to the complaint to receive them, the
A.S. Chairperson shall appoint a Hearing Committee composed of:
i. One person acceptable to the petitioner;
ii. One person acceptable to the respondent;
iii. One person acceptable to both, who shall be designated the Hearing Committee
Chairperson (hereafter referred to as the Chairperson) of the committee.
- If no person on the list specified in Part III. F is acceptable to both the petitioner
and respondent, the A.S. Chairperson shall choose the third member of the Hearing
- Should the petitioner fail to comply with Part III. G, the complaint shall be considered
withdrawn. Should the respondent fail to comply with Part III. G., the A. S. Chairperson
shall choose the second member of the Hearing Committee.
- Should all the persons acceptable to the petitioner or the respondent decline appointment
to the Hearing Committee, the A. S. Chairperson shall choose replacements from other
persons on the list specified in Part III. F.
V. OUTCOME OF HEARING
- Upon determination that a particular complaint merits a hearing, the Hearing Committee
(hereafter, the committee) shall investigate the complaint. At any stage of the hearing,
the committee may exercise its ability and discretion to resolve the dispute between
the parties or refer the matter to an appropriate dispute resolution resource available
within the university.
- Within thirty (30) calendar days of the appointment of the committee, the Chairperson
shall convene a meeting, at a time and date chosen with due regard for the convenience
of both the petitioner and respondent, to examine such evidence and witnesses as the
petitioner and the respondent shall choose to present.
- The petitioner and respondent may submit documentary evidence to the committee at
any time prior to the conclusion of the hearing process. Copies of such evidence must
be provided to the other party by the person submitting it at the same time that s/he
provides them to the committee.
- Should either the petitioner or the respondent, or both, fail to appear for the hearing,
the committee shall proceed to consider the complaint on the basis of such evidence
as is available at that time.
- The petitioner and respondent shall be entitled to ask questions of all witnesses
who appear at a hearing, but witnesses cannot be compelled to answer any question.
- Parties to the complaint may elect to have legal counsel present for consultation
outside of the hearing room, but may not be represented by counsel inside the hearing.
Consultation with counsel may not be disruptive to the hearing, as determined by the
- If hearsay evidence is relevant, material and unrepetitious, members of the Hearing
Committee may weigh it according to its truthfulness, reasonableness and credibility.
- All participants in the complaints and hearings shall be advised that they are bound
to preserve the confidentiality of the proceedings, unless both the petitioner and
the respondent agree to make it public.
- Hearings shall be held in private unless both the petitioner and respondent agree
to a public hearing. Only committee members, parties to the complaint, and witnesses
then being examined may be present in a private hearing. Petitioner may have counsel
available outside the room where the hearing takes place and may consult if the consultation
is not disruptive to the hearing process.
- The committee may hold more than one hearing, but may not, in any case, fail to forward
a report and statement of action taken to the A.S. Chairperson within thirty (30)
calendar days of the first hearing.
VI. DISSEMINATION OF POLICY
- The investigation shall be concluded when any of the following occur:
i. The dispute is resolved with the consent of the parties;
ii. The committee, by majority vote, rejects the complaint for reasons;
a. If the committee determines that a filed complaint is frivolous or malicious they
may recommend that the complainant be censured by the Academic Senate.
iii. The committee, by majority vote, deems the complaint valid and refers the matter
to an appropriate dispute resolution resource within the University or;
iv. The committee, by majority vote, deems the complaint valid and refers its report
and recommendations to the President and A.S. Chairperson, with copies to the petitioner
and respondent. Recommendations may include censure by the Academic Senate and/or
disciplinary action by the President. The committee shall refer to articles 18 and
19 of the Memorandum of Agreement (the Collective Bargaining Agreement) when making
their recommendations for disciplinary action(s).
- In the Committee's report to the President, the committee should include the results
of its investigation, including its view of the merits of the claim(s) made in the
complaint, the resolution of any factual disputes and the committee's recommendation
about what actions, if any, should be taken by the university. The report should not
be more detailed than necessary to summarize the committee's findings.
i. If a member of the committee disagrees with the committee's action or recommendation,
that member shall be entitled to add a minority report to the committee's report.
- All faculty members shall receive a copy of this document.
APPENDIX A: Conflicts of Interest
I. In the context of this Policy on Ethical Conduct, a conflict of interest is an
agreement, relationship, or other arrangement, be it personal or professional, formal
or informal, which undermines an individual faculty memberÂ´s impartial performance
of their professional duties and obligations. Students have a just expectation that
they will be instructed, evaluated, and supervised by an impartial and unbiased faculty
member. Faculty members have a similar expectation that their professional and academic
evaluations and supervision are free from the self-interest of their peers. Maintaining
fairness and impartiality is one of the central ethical responsibilities of faculty.
This fairness and impartiality assures both the academic integrity of the University
and faculty academic freedom.
II. In addition to the legal contracts existing between students and the University,
there is an equally important "social contract" between students and the faculty,
in which each fulfills its duties and obligations to the other. Interests that conflict
with those obligations include actions or requirements of the faculty that are grounded
in private interest or gain, rather than in professional responsibility. Examples
of conflicting interests grounded in private interest or gain are: requiring the purchase
of course materials from which an instructor makes a profit; and giving academic credit
for student research which the instructor puts to use for private gain or profit.
This is not to discourage faculty from using their own faculty-authored books in their
courses. Faculty members are encouraged to explore ways that profits may be otherwise
distributed (e.g., CSUSM foundation, academic programs and departments).
III. Other conflicts of interest may arise in view of the disproportion of influence,
authority and power between faculty and students. Thus, instructors should not engage
students in their classes or under their supervision in relationships that are so
personal that the presumption of professional fairness is difficult to maintain. Faculty
members, for example, ought not instruct or supervise students who are obligated to
them financially; and faculty ought not supervise or instruct students with whom they
have relationships grounded in interests inconsistent with their professional responsibility
and the mission of the University. These conflicts of interest include but are not
restricted to sexual relationships, close personal friendships, close family relationships,
and employer-employee or other fiduciary relationships.