Ethical Practices and Behavior
Those acting on behalf of the University have a general duty to conduct themselves in a manner that will maintain and strengthen the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of the University and take no actions incompatible with their obligations to the University.
With regard to professional conduct, those acting on behalf of the University should practice:
- Integrity—by maintaining an ongoing dedication to honesty and responsibility;
- Trustworthiness—by acting in a reliable and dependable manner;
- Evenhandedness—by treating others with impartiality;
- Respect—by treating others with civility and decency;
- Stewardship—by exercising custodial responsibility for University property and resources;
- Compliance—by following state and federal laws and regulations and University policies related to their duties and responsibilities; and,
- Confidentiality—by protecting the integrity and security of University information such as student records, employee files, patient records, and contract negotiation documents.
To fulfill our responsibilities to our students and to one another, all employees are responsible for ethical conduct in all they do as employees of and/or on behalf of TRIO Student Support Services and the University. Each employee is responsible for:
- Personal and professional integrity,
- Respect for persons, TRIO Student Support Services and the University Policies and Procedures Manual
- Fairness and sound judgment, and
- Mutual respect for diversity and inclusion—diversity of thought, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, and religious, political and philosophical views.
As a program, we reject hatred, dishonesty, misuse of power and position, and discrimination based on differences as described in the last bullet. We recognize that when employees speak or write as citizens, they are free from institutional censorship or discipline, but as members of the TRIO Student Support Services and the University, employees may be judged by their verbal and written statements. All employees should strive to be accurate, to respect the rights of others to express opposing views, and to clearly indicate when they are not representing TRIO Student Support Services and the University.
Adherence to Law
TRIO Student Support Services and the University holds employees responsible for understanding and adhering to applicable laws, rules, regulations, and policies of governmental and institutional authorities, specifically as they pertain to unique College activities and situations.
Conflict of Interest
Employees shall not have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity that substantially conflicts with the proper discharge of the employees’ duties to the University. Any potential conflict must be disclosed to Human Resources.
Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use
An employee may not:
- manufacture, dispense, possess, use, distribute, or be under the influence of an illegal controlled substance or alcohol during work hours or on state property except where legally permissible; and/or operate a college vehicle while under the influence.
No employee shall engage in an amorous and/or sexual relationship with a student over whom the employee has evaluative, counseling, or supervisory responsibilities.
Employees are expected to comply with the University’s non-discrimination policy, which prohibits any form of harassment or discrimination against any individual in the full and equal use of the facilities and services of the University. Equal opportunity is provided in the hiring, retention, training, transfer, promotion, compensation, and upgrading processes for employees.
Sexual harassment is defined by law and includes any unwanted sexual gesture, physical contact, or statement that is offensive, humiliating, or interferes with required tasks or career opportunities at the University. Employees with questions regarding sexual harassment should contact Human Resources.
All acts of indecent public display, voyeurism, exhibitionism, lewdness, or other acts of a sexual nature defined and prohibited by the Montana Criminal Code, even if consensual, are prohibited at all University sites and campuses.
Representing the University
On many occasions, faculty and staff represent or are ambassadors of the University, including recruiting meetings for potential students or student athletes; meetings with peers from other universities; presenting at or attending professional conferences; interviewing potential faculty and staff; interacting with community, state, and federal government officials; visiting with members of the agricultural community; and participating as a member of a performing arts group. Professionalism, honesty, and integrity should prevail.
Computer & Network
- Faculty, staff, and students are expected to exercise responsible and ethical behavior when using the University’s computers, networks, or other resources.
- These responsibilities include the proper storage, access control, and disposal of private and confidential data in any form.
- Individuals are responsible for protecting assigned access codes, passwords, and other authentication data. Do not reveal your password to others, including any other member of the University community.
- Unacceptable and unethical behavior consists of:
- Transmitting any material in violation of U.S. or state regulations. This includes, but is not limited to: copyrighted material; threatening, racist, sexist, pornographic, and obscene material; or information protected by trade secret.
- Interfering with the intended use of the information resources.
- Seeking to gain or gaining unauthorized access to information resources.
- Using or knowingly allowing another to use any computer, computer network, computer system, program, or software to devise or execute any artifice or scheme to defraud or to obtain money, property, services, or other things of value by false pretenses, promises, or representations.
- Destroying, altering, dismantling, disfiguring, preventing rightful access to, or otherwise interfering with the integrity of computer-based information and/or information resources,
- Invading the privacy of individuals or entities that are creators, authors, users, or subjects of the information resources,
- Using computer programs to decode passwords or access control information,
- Attempting to circumvent or subvert system or network security measures,
- Installing, running, storing, downloading, or otherwise introducing any unauthorized software on Montana State University Billings computer system or network.
- Engaging in any other activity that does not comply with the general principles presented in this document.
Personal Telephone Use
Your time during work hours and the telephone equipment are considered University assets to be applied to University activities. Personal phone usage is allowed for those calls that:
- Do not adversely affect the University or the employee’s performance of his/her official duties,
- Are of a reasonable duration and frequency, and
- Could not have reasonably been made during non-work hours.
All University employees are entrusted with protecting the property, equipment, and other assets of the University. This ranges from locking doors, computer work stations, and cabinets, to reporting observed patterns of unusual behavior.
Misuse of assets can assume many forms and can involve deception or misrepresentation of facts and information for personal gain, as well as deliberate misappropriation of property or funds for personal use. Examples include: falsification of time worked; falsification of expenses claimed for reimbursement; theft of cash or property; personal use of University facilities, vehicles, equipment, or supplies; and conducting personal activities during work hours. Other examples include the misrepresentation of the University’s name and service or trademarks or unapproved use of University discounts or benefits for the purpose of individual gain.