Standards of Conduct updated to reflect changes in law, emerging issues

Vanderbilt University has updated its Standards of Conduct to reflect recent changes in the law as well as new and emerging issues in higher education. The standards are designed to prevent and detect violations of the law, uphold accreditation standards and promote compliance with university policies. Vanderbilt’s Standards of Conduct do not make policy; rather, they reflect existing laws and university policies.

Review the updated Standards of Conduct here. >>

Susan R. Wente, interim chancellor and provost (Vanderbilt University)
Susan R. Wente, interim chancellor and provost (Vanderbilt University)

“Our Standards of Conduct are intricately tied to our shared principles of trust, transparency and teamwork that drive the Vanderbilt community,” Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente said. “We must be able to trust and respect one another, be honest with our concerns and work together to meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity. The Standards of Conduct are designed to support these critical aspects of how we function as a community and a leading research university.”

All Vanderbilt faculty and staff are encouraged to review the university’s Standards of Conduct at the start of the academic year and refer back to the guidelines throughout the year. Employees are required to check a box on the annual Conflict of Interest form certifying that they are familiar with the university’s Standards of Conduct.

With this update, a number of new sections have been added to the Standards of Conduct, and substantive revisions have been made to existing sections, including the following:

  • Respecting Others
  • Responsible Reporting of Suspected Violations
  • False Claims Act
  • Protection of Minors
  • Vendor Relations, Antitrust, Anti-Kickback and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • Conflict of Interest and Commitment
  • Electronic Communications and Information Technology Resources
  • Sexual Harassment and Misconduct
  • Enforcement of the Standards of Conduct

Other revisions to the document include the following:

  • Removal of health care references and hospital-specific material
  • Addition of links to relevant websites and policies
  • Addition of categories to the Discrimination section to reflect additions to Vanderbilt’s policy
  • Responding to Investigations reporting instructions

The updated Standards of Conduct went through a lengthy review process before being approved by the Faculty Senate in May 2019; the Executive Compliance Committee, including Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain, in July 2019; Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente in August 2019 and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trust in September 2019. The full Board of Trust was notified of the updates in November 2019.

In addition to upholding the Standards of Conduct, employees are expected to report violations of law or Vanderbilt policy. Such reports may be made directly to university administrators or anonymously through the confidential reporting hotline—available 24 hours a day, seven days a week—online or by calling 866-783-2287. Vanderbilt prohibits retaliation for any such report made in good faith.

For more information, please visit the Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance website.