Ethics Standards   |   Use of State Resources

Ethical behavior is more than legal compliance; "doing the right thing" goes beyond the law. Ethical conduct, however, frequently requires knowledge about laws, rules, and policies applicable to one's employment responsibilities. The purpose of this website is to make ethics laws, policies, and guidelines readily available to a maximum number of UT officers and employees.

Ethical behavior means being honest, telling the truth, and doing what you said you were going to do.

 —Barbara Jordan

Ethics Standards

The following is a general summary of the ethics standards and provisions related to the use of state resources that apply to employees of the UT System. More detailed information may be found by clicking on the links in the above window.

Conflicts of Interests: Officers and employees of the UT System may not have a direct or indirect interest, financial or otherwise, that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of their duties. Potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed.

Gifts: An employee should not accept or solicit any gift, favor, service, or loan that might reasonably appear to influence the employee in the discharge of official duties.  Note: Accepting a gift may constitute a criminal offense under certain circumstances.

Outside Employment: An employee should not accept outside employment or compensation that could reasonably be expected to impair the employee's independence of judgment in the performance of the employee's official duties. Prior approval is required for outside employment.

Outside Board Service: An employee's outside board service may not create a conflict of interest or impose an unreasonable time commitment. Prior approval is required for outside board service.

Honoraria: An employee may not accept an honorarium for services the employee would not have been asked to provide but for his or her official status.

Nepotism: The employment of certain relatives of a member of the Board of Regents is prohibited. Relatives of existing employees of the UT System may be hired but neither relative may supervise the other nor be involved in any way with the appointment, salary, or promotion of the other.

Personal Investments: An employee should not make personal investments that could reasonably be expected to create a substantial conflict between the employee's private interest and the public interest.

Self-Dealing: An employee may not transact any business in an official capacity with any business entity of which the employee is an officer, agent, or member, or in which the employee owns a substantial interest.

Purchases From/By Employees: Purchases are not permitted from an employee unless approved by the President or Chancellor, as appropriate, and the cost is less than from any other known source. Similarly, an employee may not purchase equipment or property from the institution without approval by the President or Chancellor, as appropriate.

Benefits for Performing Official Duties: An employee should not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit for having exercised official powers or having performed official duties in favor of another.

Confidential Information: An employee should not disclose confidential information or use confidential information for his or her personal benefit.

Sexual Harassment and Misconduct: Sexual misconduct and sexual harassment include unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Such conduct is unacceptable. The UT System and UT System institutions have adopted policies prohibiting sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. These policies are included in the Handbook of Operating Procedures at each institution. Incidents of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment should be reported in accordance with the applicable institutional policy.

Disclosures: An employee should be aware of any ethics disclosures required by law, rule, or policy and should file them in a timely manner.

Adherence to Law: Employees shall adhere to applicable ethics laws, rules, and policies. The failure to do so may be grounds for disciplinary action, including termination of employment.

Use of State Resources

Misapplication: An employee may not intentionally or knowingly misapply any thing of value belonging to the government that is in his or her custody or possession as a result of state employment in order to obtain a benefit or to harm another person.

Information Resources: The use of information resources, such as telephones, e-mail, and the Internet, must comply with the applicable institutional acceptable use policy. In general, such a policy allows the limited incidental personal use of information resources, but the use may not result in direct costs to the UT System or expose the UT System to unnecessary risks. Only properly licensed software may be loaded on institutional computers.

Political Campaigns and Legislation:  An employee may not use institutional time, funds, equipment, or other resources to work on a political campaign or to attempt to influence the passage or defeat of legislation. In this area, incidental personal use is not permissible.

Supplies: Office supplies must be used for institutional purposes, not for personal or private purposes.

Vehicles: An employee may not use any UT System vehicle for any purpose other than official business of the institution.

Employee Time: Employee work time is a thing of value belonging to the state. Employees may not use work time for personal business.

Institutional Credit Cards: Employees may not use credit cards issued by the institution for personal expenses unrelated to institutional business.

Travel Expense Claims: Vouchers for travel expenses must be accurate and requested only for expenses related to official business.