Maintaining an Ethical Culture at CSU
As a University System of Georgia institution, Columbus State University is committed to the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct as we fulfill our mission focused on excellence in teaching, research, lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, public/private partnerships and service to others. Doing so demands integrity, good judgment and dedication to public service by all members of the CSU community.
Maintaining an ethical culture is vital to not only CSU's institutional reputation, but in how we support our students, collaborate with one another, partner with our community, and equip our state and nation's future workforce.
This site provides references, resources and remedies for the entire CSU community in ensuring how we maintain a focus on ethical practices.
CSU relies upon what is broadly referred to as Personal Conduct policies. USG Policies contain additional guidance through its Code of Conduct, which sets forth in general terms what is expected of employees in their day to day workplace behavior. Read more about Policy 8.2.18 et seq. on the USG Board of Regents Policy Manual website.
In addition to USG's specific Conflicts of Interest Policy, CSU's Conflicts Policy (PDF) is the controlling document as mandated by the USG's policy. Central to this policy is the expectation that employees request pre-approval to engage in certain activities — such as outside consulting, teaching, speaking, or participating in an educational or business enterprise — using the Annual Conflict of Interest Disclosure & Request for Approval to Engage in Outside Activities Request Form.
Annually, all CSU employees must complete the Conflict of Interest Disclosure & Request for Approval to Engage in Outside Activity form. The process soon will be completely online, so that an employee can submit electronically the form whenever they need to seek approval for an outside activity.
To help guide employees in determining whether they are engaged in an outside activity that needs to be reported, please consult the FAQs (PDF), which contains examples of activities which would constitute an activity that needed to be reported and some that would not.
Maintaining an ethical campus includes other considerations, such as how we use university resources, transact business with the state, and amorous relationships with colleagues and students.
CSU takes seriously its efforts to prevent discrimination and harassment based upon someone's race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or veteran's status. This protection extends to current and prospective students and current and prospective employees. Specific USG and CSU policies exist regarding sexual misconduct, discrimination and harassment, and diversity and equal opportunity.
Importantly, each of these policies prohibit retaliation against individuals who in good faith reports or takes part in a formal or informal process to investigate claims of discrimination or harassment.
Holding others accountable for maintaining an ethical campus is imperative to our success. Unethical practices at CSU can fall into several categories — each with its own method of reporting:
- Complaints of possible conflicts of interest, fraud, waste, abuse and harassment can be reported through either the CSU Ethics Reporting Hotline of the USG Board of Regents Ethics Reporting Hotline. More information is available on the USG Board of Regents Business Procedures website on the process and protections for those reporting wrongdoings.
- Complaints relating to possible sexual misconduct, harassment and other Title IX-related complaints can be reported via Maxient.
Complaints involving possible discrimination, harassment or retaliation can be reported to either to Carole Clerie, Chief Human Resources Officer or to the universities Chief Legal Officer in the Office of Legal Affairs, Ethics and Compliance. More information about reporting discrimination and harassment complaints can be found on our Non-Discrimination and Harassment Prevention page.
Each November, the University System of Georgia designates a system-wide Ethics Awareness Week to highlight the value of an ethical culture and our shared system values of excellence, accountability and respect. Those online resources are available to CSU supervisors to use throughout the year as part of their team-development efforts.
In addition, managers and supervisors can tap into the expertise available through CSU's Leadership Institute, which offers ethics-related programming through its L.I.V.E. CSU Elev8 leadership development program, as well as customized workshops for teams.
You can also test your ethics knowledge on your own through the USG online Ethics Training module.