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Administrators' Conduct

Contents of this Section:

   Conflict of Interest Policy


The University of San Francisco is committed to pursuing "a common good that transcends the interests of particular individuals or groups" and to distinguish itself as "a diverse, socially responsible learning community". Among its core values is the belief that "no individual or group may rightfully prosper at the expense of the other". The Conflict of Interest Policy primarily intends to guide members of the University community to carry out their employment responsibilities in a manner that reflects and reinforces the values of USF. It further aims to ensure compliance with federal and state law and contractual obligations.


All University employees are obligated to conduct the affairs of the University in a manner that promotes the University's mission, vision, and values. A conflict of interest may exist on two levels: (1) when an employee has financial, personal, or other considerations that may affect or appear to affect his or her professional judgment in decision making on behalf of the University or, (2) when the University itself has financial or other considerations that may affect or appear to affect its decision making as it relates to the University's values, mission and/or business practices.

In general, the University expects all employees to:

i.    Be aware of the potential for real or apparent conflicts of interest in all their employment activities.

ii.   Abide by the standards set forth in the policy (including any additional procedures adopted by individual colleges or departments in furtherance of this policy).

iii.  Fully disclose professional and relevant personal activities and relationships that create a real or apparent conflict of interest.

iv.  Address conflicts of interest that arise.

v.   Conduct University business with appropriate transparency. 

Individual Conflicts of Interest

Each employee must:

1.  Refrain from using University resources to further employee's interests (or the interests of his or her immediate family) or the interests of any individual or group above the best interests of the University. For purpose of this policy, immediate family includes spouse, partner, parents, children, siblings, in-laws.

2.  Disclose any significant ownership, board service, consulting relationship, management or financial interest in any entity doing business, or proposing to do business with the University.

3.  Refrain from participating in transactions with the University (other than one's employment), which could result in personal profit except upon the written approval of the appropriate Dean or Vice President and the General Counsel.

4.  Refrain from accepting (without disclosing to the appropriate Dean or Vice President and the General Counsel) any gift compensation, or benefit with a value of more than $250 from any person or organization who aims to influence the employee's professional judgment. This includes any person or organization with whom the employee may transact business on behalf of the University. Items valuing $250 or less are not included within this policy unless in the aggregate the total value exceeds $250 per year, in which they must be reported to the appropriate Dean or Vice President and General Counsel.

5.  Refrain from making payments or providing gifts or services in the name of, or on behalf of the University or with University funds, services or facilities to anyone affiliated with a government or accrediting agency who is in a position to influence an action or decision related to the University.

6.  Refrain from making or soliciting partisan contributions in the name of, or on behalf of the University or with University funds, services or facilities in any manner to, or in aid of, any political party, group, candidate or cause, so as not to jeopardize the University's tax exempt status which prohibits it from endorsing any political party group, or cause.

Institutional Conflicts of Interest

An institutional conflict of interest may exist if the University has commercial arrangements that provide collateral benefits to the institution, such as when a vendor offers a gift to the University or if the University shares in the revenue generated by sale of the vendor’s product to students or employees. To ensure that the University’s best interests are served, these situations should be carefully reviewed by senior leadership. The appropriate Vice President will consider the following questions:

i. Does the transaction entail a conflict between the USF’s values, mission, and/or financial interests?

ii. Does the transaction entail receipt by the University of financial benefit that may affect or appear to affect the quality or price of goods or services offered to students or other constituents?

iii. Does the transaction entail the actuality or appearance that the University is profiting to the detriment of students or other constituents?

iv. Would disclosure of the collateral benefit alleviate any actual or apparent conflict of interest?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, the President's Cabinet must resolve the matter.


A conflict or a potential conflict of interest can arise at any time. Employees must disclose such situations to their supervisors before occurrence, if possible, and in any event as quickly as possible after it arises. The employee must complete section 1 of the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement and give it to his/her supervisor. If an employee is in doubt about a situation, he or she should fully disclose the situation. There is no harm in over-disclosing; by contrast, failures to disclose may subject the employee to disciplinary action.

The supervisor to whom an employee discloses a possible conflict of interest must complete section 2 of the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement and send it to Human Resources for resolution.

Once submitted by the employee, Human Resources will evaluate the situation and report its results on section 3 of the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement within ten business days. If more time is needed for fact gathering, this time period may be extended to 20 business days. If no conflict of interest is found, Human Resources will send the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement to the supervisor, and the supervising Dean or Vice President, and General Counsel. The supervisor will communicate the result to the employee.

If Human Resources finds a potential conflict of interest, this finding is indicated on section 3 of the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement and sent to the Dean or Vice President, and General Counsel for joint resolution. Human Resources will then notify the supervisor who will communicate this to the employee. The Dean or Vice President and General Counsel will advise Human Resources of the resolution. Human Resources will then notify the supervisor who will communicate this to the employee.

The office of Human Resources is responsible for notifying all employees of the requirements of this policy annually. Questions about this policy should be directed to the Associate Vice President of Human Resources.

The Office of General Counsel is responsible for enforcement of this policy. The General Counsel will review all violations of this policy, including (a) failure to comply with the disclosure process (by refusal to respond or by deliberately responding with incomplete, inaccurate, or misleading information, or otherwise): (b) failure to resolve conflicts of interest; and (c) failure to comply with the terms of any resolution reached pursuant to this policy. The General Counsel will consult with the Vice President, and the Associate Vice President for Human Resources regarding appropriate action. Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Any exception to this policy must be approved in writing by the, appropriate Vice President and the General Counsel. The Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form is available here.

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All confidential information concerning past and present employees, students, clients, donors and firms with which the University does business is to be maintained in strict confidence. However, the Office of Human Resources will confirm dates of employment. Administrators should, therefore, never share or discuss such information without clear and prior authorization. Failure to protect confidential information could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

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   Performance Counseling and Discipline

Any employee conduct that violates University of San Francisco policies or procedures or, in the opinion of the University, interferes with or adversely affects University business warrants disciplinary action.

These actions may include but are not limited to the following:

  • coaching;
  • verbal warnings;
  • written warning(s); and
  • termination.

The University may suspend an employee without prior notice. Actions that may warrant this action include but are not limited to:

  • fighting;
  • insubordination;
  • timesheet violation;
  • endangerment of oneself or another person.

Administrative leaves may be with or without pay, and are usually reserved for situations in which subsequent actions are dependent on the outcome of an investigation or review. Administrative leaves must be approved by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources.

In choosing the appropriate action, the University may consider any number of factors, including:

  • the seriousness of the employee’s conduct;
  • the employee’s performance history;
  • the employment record;
  • the employee’s length of employment with the University;
  • the employee’s willingness and ability to correct the conduct;
  • the employee’s attitude about the conduct;
  • actions the University has taken for similar conduct by other employees;
  • how the employee’s conduct affects the University, its students/customers, and his/her coworkers; and
  • any other related circumstances.

The University will assign any of the above factors whatever significance it deems appropriate.

As noted above, some conduct may result in immediate termination, including but not limited to the following:

  • theft of University property;
  • excessive tardiness or absenteeism;
  • arguing or fighting with customers/students, coworkers, managers, or supervisors;
  • brandishing a weapon at work;
  • threatening the physical safety of customers/students, coworkers, managers, or supervisors;
  • physically or verbally assaulting someone at work;
  • illegal conduct at work;
  • using, possessing, or being under the influence of illegal drugs at work;
  • inappropriately using alcohol at work;
  • failing to complete reasonable job assignments;
  • inappropriate use of University assets including inappropriate computer use
  • insubordination;
  • making false statements on a job application; and
  • discrimination and harassment.

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   Personal Appearance

Discretion on the part of administrators in the style of dress and personal appearance is essential to the image and efficient operation of the University. Administrators are expected to dress in a manner appropriate to their work environment and to the type of work performed. Some departments may have their own policy or dress code appropriate to the nature of the work done within that department. Administrators should consult with their supervisor regarding any dress code requirement specific to their department.

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   Appeal Procedure

Administrators are provided with a process for resolution of employees' rights violations as specified in this handbook. (See Appeal Procedure Appendix A)

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The University of San Francisco strives to make the working environment as safe as possible in order to eliminate or reduce conditions which may result in personal injury and property loss to administrators, visitors and students. Administrators must abide by the safety policies and procedures of their department and carry out their job functions in a safe and productive manner. It is the duty of every administrator to remove hazards when they can and to report those hazards which they are unable to remove.

Working safely is no accident. It is each administrator's responsibility to perform his/her work in a manner safe for the administrator and others. Any item or article of dress that could restrict the administrator's sight or sound or restrict movement is prohibited. This may include, but is not limited to, shaded glasses meant for outdoors and personal audio equipment with head sets or ear plugs.

Administrators failing to adhere to these standards are subject to performance counseling.

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   Prevention of Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment Policy

Click here for more information about USF's Prevention of Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment (PSOUH) Policy.

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   Solicitation and Distribution

Solicitation by Administrators for any commercial purpose is not permitted during the working time of the soliciting administrator or the employee being solicited. Working time does not include break periods, meal times, or other specified periods during the workday when administrators are not engaged in performing their work tasks. Distribution of circulars, handbills, or literature of any type during working time is not permitted.

Violation of this rule will subject an administrator to discipline up to and including discharge. Solicitation and distribution by any other person is prohibited at all times on University premises.

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   Substance Abuse

In accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act of 1990, the University of San Francisco has established the following policy guidelines regarding substance abuse in the workplace.

  1. Unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance is prohibited on University premises or other workplaces if individuals performing work on these premises are compensated by the University of San Francisco.
  2. Failure to abide by the University's Drug-Free Workplace Policy may result in suspension from work without pay and mandatory participation in a drug rehabilitation program on the first offense and termination on the second.
  3. If convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace, you are obligated to notify the Office of Human Resources in writing within five (5) calendar days after conviction.

A copy of the USF Drug-Free Workplace Policy is available from the Office of Human Resources.

The University of San Francisco recognizes drug and alcohol dependency as treatable conditions and offers an employee assistance program for University faculty/staff with substance dependency problems. Faculty and staff are encouraged to seek assistance for drug and alcohol-related problems and may request leaves of absence for this purpose, in addition to using approved vacation or sick leave, or attending the employee assistance programs outside regular working hours. Information obtained regarding an employee during participation in an employee assistance program will be treated as confidential.

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   Ending Employment

Final Paychecks

Employees who resign with 72 hours of notice or more will receive their final paychecks on their last day of work. Employees who resign with less than 72 hours notice will be paid within 72 hours. Paychecks of employees who have given less than 72 hours notice will generally be mailed to the employee’s home address. Final paychecks will include all compensation earned but not paid prior to resignation, and all accrued and unused vacation, less appropriate deductions.

Employees who are terminated involuntarily will receive their final paychecks on their last day of work. Final paychecks will include all compensation earned but not paid through the date of termination, and all accrued and unused vacation, less appropriate deductions.

Continuing Health Insurance Coverage

The University of San Francisco offers full-time employees health insurance coverage as a benefit of employment. If an employee is no longer eligible for insurance coverage because he/she is no longer employed by the University, the employee has the right to continue his/her health insurance coverage for up to 36 months through COBRA. The employee will have to pay the cost of the coverage.

The employee receives an initial notice of his/her right to continued health insurance coverage when the employee first becomes eligible for health insurance under the University’s group plan. The employee will receive an additional notice about his/her COBRA rights when the employee is no longer employed with the University. This second notice will tell the employee how to choose continuation coverage, what his/her obligations will be, and how much the insurance will cost. Only employees who have been continuously insured for the previous three months are entitled to COBRA health insurance coverage under this policy.

Exit Interviews

The University will schedule an exit interview with every departing full-time employee requesting an interview. We strongly encourage employees to request an exit interview from the department of Employment Services. During the interview, the employee will have an opportunity to tell the University about his/her employment experience at the University. The University greatly values these comments.

The exit interview also gives the University a chance to handle some practical matters relating to the end of employment. The employee will also have an opportunity to ask any questions he/she might have about insurance, benefits, final paychecks, references, or any other matter relating to his/her employment.

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