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Board of Regents Approves Ethics Policy for the University System

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Atlanta — November 10, 2008

The Board of Regents today approved a revision to its policy manual that establishes for the first time a unified Ethics Policy for the University System of Georgia (USG).

“There are a multitude of documents in existence throughout the University System that govern personal conduct in various ways, but the new Ethics Policy provides a comprehensive, overarching framework for improving our overall risk management of all the varied resources entrusted to our care,” said Ron Stark, the USG’s chief audit officer and associate vice chancellor for internal audit. “The University System of Georgia is committed to the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct in pursuit of its mission to create a more educated Georgia. This universal policy will help bring all 35 USG campuses into compliance with federal and state regulations and the System’s code of conduct.”

The new Ethics Policy – available online at http://www.usg.edu/compliance/ethics/ – is part of a three-pronged approach the University System is taking to enhance compliance with state and federal regulations and minimize misconduct by USG faculty, staff, administrators, vendors, contractors and members of the Board of Regents. The other two elements of this effort involve the development of enterprise risk-management and compliance programs. The former is designed to identify and mitigate significant financial, operational and compliance risks, and the latter helps to prevent and detect non-compliance with laws, rules and regulations through education, a hotline and other measures.

Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. charged Stark with drafting the proposed Ethics Policy with the help of a committee made up of administrators, faculty and staff from around the University System and the University System Office.

The approved Ethics Policy states the underlying core values that each member of the USG community must adhere to and be guided by – integrity, excellence, accountability and respect. It also spells out a code of conduct for all members of the University System community, the violation of which may result in disciplinary action. The code of conduct contains 13 tenets, including:

  • Uphold the highest standards of intellectual honesty and integrity in the conduct of education, research, service and grants;
  • Comply with applicable laws, rules, regulations and professional standards;
  • Report wrongdoing to the proper authorities, refrain from retaliating against those who do report violations and cooperate fully with authorized investigations; and
  • Disclose and avoid improper conflicts of interest.

The new policy summarizes in one location the various rules, policies and procedures governing the Board of Regents and its employees, who will receive training as part of the implementation plan.

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