Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct: Core Component 2.A

2.A - Core Component 2.A

The institution operates with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions; it establishes and follows policies and processes for fair and ethical behavior on the part of its governing board, administration, faculty, and staff.


Arizona State University has established procedures and practices to ensure open decision-making and ethical behavior by its leaders, faculty, staff, and students in keeping with the expectations for a community of scholars. Groups of university policies that are closely related to each other have been compiled into openly available policy manuals that address aspects of all functions of the institution. These manuals are maintained by the University Policy Manuals Group within the Office of the General Counsel, for transparency. University policies are continuously reviewed and updated to ensure consistency with applicable laws and best practices in higher education.

The ASU Hotline provides members of the ASU community and the public a means to report concerns about safety and about any suspicion of non-compliance with laws, regulations, and policies applicable to ASU. To protect confidentiality, a third-party vendor provides the ability to report incidents by either telephone or online. The service preserves anonymity, is available at any time and any day of the year, and is available in most languages. When the vendor is contacted, notification is made to ASU's University Audit and Advisory Services (UAAS), which then assigns an appropriate investigator. If the vendor determines that the contact concerns an emergency, the ASU Police Department is contacted immediately. After the investigation is completed, UAAS reviews the investigation report to determine what action is required to resolve and/or close the incident.

ASU’s financial functions are overseen by the Office of Business and Finance. ASU adheres to an integrated system of financial policies specified in the ASU Financial Services Manual and Arizona Board of Regents’ policies, to ensure the safeguarding of assets and the accuracy of financial reporting. ASU’s Annual Financial Reports are audited by the State of Arizona Office of the Auditor General. This comprehensive set of policies, procedures, and best practices establishes a framework for ethical and professional behavior in all areas of the organization. These policies address all financial functions at ASU dealing with accounting services, student business services, treasury services, accounts payable, and tax compliance and reporting.

The Purchasing and Business Services Manual (PUR) establishes ASU policy for the acquisition of goods and services and the university’s relationships with suppliers. The manual contains a section PUR 100 that explicitly addresses ethical behavior of employees in business relationships, consistent with the best practices identified by the National Association of Educational Procurement. These policies address relations with the public PUR 101, provide a Code of Ethics for those engaged in the acquisition process PUR 102, and prohibit garnering improper benefit from the person’s employment with the institution PUR 104PUR 105, and PUR 108. The Purchasing and Business Services Manual also codifies who has the authority to sign contracts PUR 202-01 and PUR 202-02, “green” purchasing standards PUR 210, and the values-based standard for business relationships with suppliers PUR 211. The Property Control System Manual (PCS) provides a series of policies and controls for ethical and responsible stewardship of the capital resources of the institution. Provisions on how that capital property is to be purchased, controlled, inventoried, transferred, and sold are fully addressed. Practices that have been codified within that control system include policies on accepting property donations to the university PCS 206, requirements for protecting personally owned equipment PCS 214, use of the university’s surplus property program (1000 Section) and includes trade-in of equipment PCS 1006, return of equipment loaned to the university PCS 1007, and the sale of university property to a retiring or exiting employee PCS 1009.

Information regarding financial certification and financial controls, including cash handling and purchasing cards, is available online and certification must be achieved by the employee prior to receiving access to these systems. Training on the university’s Code of Ethical Business Conduct Program is provided through the university’s Office of Research Integrity and Assurance. The university maintains a Financial Controls unit within the Financial Services department to perform financial reviews, to assist departments with process improvement, to investigate financial improprieties, and to facilitate education and continuous training.

The policies for faculty and academic professionals are provided in the Academic Affairs Manual (ACD), in particular in chapter 200 of ACD. These policies include specific protections for academic freedom ACD 201 and a clear delineation of academic responsibilities for faculty members and academic responsibilities for academic professionals ACD 202-01 and ACD 202-02. A system of policies related to professional ethics, including a Code of Ethics ACD 204-01 and Standards for Professional Conduct ACD 204-02, sets forth expectations of faculty members regarding ethical and responsible conduct of academic functions.

The Office of Human Resources (OHR) is responsible for coordinating recruitment, retention, and development of the workforce at ASU, as well as providing administration services responsible for payroll, compensation, benefits, and well-being for employees. For academic personnel (faculty members, academic professionals), recruitment and retention activity in OHR is supplemented by policies and procedures coordinated by the Office of the Executive Vice President and University Provost. Most of the day-to-day personnel processes take place in the colleges and units; the colleges develop the overall search plan, then the units put together the search committees, the job ads, and the recruitment processes: posting, reaching out to networks and individuals, etc. The provost office holds workshops on generating as broad and diverse an applicant pool as possible, as well as laying out university policy and federal labor law governing searches. The provost office also approves all applicant lists, double-checking for required and desired qualifications and taking a second look at diverse applicants. All personnel functions are carried out in compliance with local, state, and federal laws in a manner consistent with best practices in higher education. The Staff Personnel (SPP) and Academic Affairs (ACD) manuals contain the policies that direct how personnel-related functions are performed and that ensure those functions are carried out transparently, ethically, and responsibly. The Office of Human Resources supports and fosters a culture of inclusiveness and equal employment opportunity. The Office of University Rights and Responsibilities reviews concerns and allegations regarding discrimination and harassment. For transparency to the public and to inform those seeking employment at ASU, hiring processes at ASU are publicly available online and govern all positions within the institution; these policies are defined in SPP 201-01 and ACD 505-06. When a candidate is selected, OHR must approve the offer of employment. Background checks are required for all applicants prior to a written offer ACD 126.

ASU provides an open and publicly published set of policies that demand equitable and fair treatment for all employees. In general, academic personnel are guided by policies provided in the Academic Affairs Manual (ACD), while the Staff Personnel Manual (SPP) provides guidance for non-academic personnel.

Performance review and promotion processes for classified employees, university staff, and non-faculty administrator positions are governed by the SPP policies. For faculty members performance and promotion are governed by ACD 506: Preamble for Promotion and Tenure (ACD 506-01,) Faculty Probationary Appointments (ACD 506-03), Tenure (ACD 506-04), Faculty Promotion ACD 506-05, Faculty Annual Evaluations ACD 506-10, and Post-Tenure Review ACD 506-11.  Academic Professionals are similarly governed by a series of policies in ACD 507: (ACD 507-01ACD 507-03ACD 507-04ACD  507-05ACD 507-06ACD 507-07ACD 507-08, and ACD 507-09). 

Grievance processes are available to assist in dispute resolution for classified staff (SPP 901and faculty and academic professionals (ACD 509-02 and ACD509-03); these processes include the opportunity to seek mediation through the University Ombudspersons-Committee, under direction of the Office of the University Provost. For faculty members, the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, a standing committee of the University Senate, is charged with investigating allegations of infringements upon the academic freedom or tenure of faculty members. Discrimination complaints are investigated by the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

As required by federal and state laws, ASU observes all provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (SPP 705-02), participates in the Workers’ Compensation program (SPP 504-02), and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (as amended in 2008) (ACD 405).

The definition of “auxiliary unit” in the Facilities Management Manual (FAC), under FAC 004 is: “An operation that derives a substantial portion of its budget from revenues generated from providing goods and/or services to the university community and/or the general public.” At ASU, these auxiliary units are student health services, student housing, parking and transit services, food services, the Memorial Union, the television and radio stations, Intercollegiate Athletics (including facilities such as Wells Fargo Arena and Sun Devil Stadium), and some activities conducted within the ASU Public Events office (including Gammage Auditorium). Those employed by ASU in auxiliary units are bound by the same policies that are applicable to employees working in other areas, including the codes of ethical and responsible conduct mentioned above. Financial and business transactions are carried out in compliance with the policies in the Financial Services (FIN), the Property Control System (PCS), and the Purchasing and Business Services (PUR) Manuals. When functions and services are outsourced, contracts with those operating the auxiliary units must follow the same contract guidelines described earlier. Academic personnel associated with auxiliary units are bound by the same set of academic policies as those in other areas.

Some of these auxiliary units have additional policies specific to their unique set of activities, and in some cases, specific manuals contain sets of policies particularly relevant to the activities of a specific auxiliary unit, such as Intercollegiate Athletics, which must adhere to additional policies provided in the Sun Devil Athletics Manual, (SDA), the Police Department Manual (PDP), and Parking and Transit Services Manual (PTS). As per ABOR Policy, ASU Parking and Transit Services (PTS) is financially self-supporting through fees from those who park at any of the ASU campuses.

In some cases, auxiliary units also interact with outside agencies which provide review and compliance certification with respect to the standards and expectations promulgated by those agencies. ASU Health Services (ASUHS) is fully accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, which reviews the centers on a three-year review cycle. ASU University Housing (ASUUH) provides student living spaces in compliance with state and federal laws and in compliance with university policies governing financial, personnel, and student activities. Dining and retail food services on the ASU campuses are provided through a contract awarded to ARAMARK Higher Education.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) certifies the conformance of Division I intercollegiate athletic programs to its principles and practices. Member institutions complete a self-study at least once every ten years. In order to complete the certification process, the institution submits a self-study to the NCAA and completes a review of these primary components: governance and commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity, gender/diversity issues, and student-athlete well-being. ASU received certification status by the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification in March 2012, which denotes that the institution operates its athletics program in compliance with operating principles adopted by the Division I membership.

ASU provides a safe working environment with an emphasis on sustainability. Workplace safety is specifically addressed by the activities of the Environmental Health and Safety Services (EHSS), with policies documented in the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Manual, including policies that enforce compliance with local, state, and federal laws. To assist personnel in understanding and implementing best practices related to health and safety, EHSS provided over sixty different training courses; during CY 2016, more than 800 training classes were conducted and web based training offered, involving more than 35,000 participants.

In addition to its research mission, the Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) serves as the hub of ASU’s auxiliary sustainability efforts and the energetic pursuit of sustainable practices at ASU. The four cornerstones of ASU’s strategy for engaging sustainability are education, research, business practices, and global partnerships. The Institute places special emphasis on urban environments in research and education; particularly focusing on Greater Phoenix as an urban laboratory where solutions to water, energy, transportation, and livability are largely applicable to other rapidly urbanizing areas around the world.