We are individually responsible to each other for exhibiting in our own actions the highest ethical standards.

Preamble to the Adelphi University Code of Ethics

We, the trustees, faculty, administrators, staff, and students of Adelphi University affirm our commitment to this Code of Ethics and to conducting ourselves in ways that promote mutual trust as well as public confidence in the University. We are individually responsible to each other for exhibiting in our own actions the highest ethical standards and for avoiding any impropriety or appearance of improper behavior that might reflect negatively upon our community. We value highly the mutual support that assists us in behaving in ways that are ethically exemplary. In complex situations, ethical principles may be in conflict with each other—both may be legal and moral—and the chosen course of action may be difficult to determine. Thus, we at Adelphi openly discuss ethical matters, make ethical choices without prejudice, and show appreciation for ethical behavior. We seek to promote adherence to the codes of conduct included in University policies, as well as to those of the professional groups to which our members belong, so that the University will be better able to achieve its educational mission.

The Adelphi community aspires to be a model of ethical behavior and to achieve its vision by educating graduates known for their exemplary ethics, character and citizenship. Each member of the community is responsible for conducting him or herself in accordance with this Code of Ethics and all other applicable university policies while engaged in university activities. This Code of Ethics is merely a codification of existing rights and obligations contained within other University documents; it is not intended to create any new rights and obligations on the part of faculty, administration, staff, students of the University.

Core Values and Principles

The identity of Adelphi University as an institution of higher education is rooted in a set of core values from which flow broad principles that provide general guidelines for acting ethically in the often ambiguous realities of daily life. The standards of conduct articulated in University policies reflect the application of these core values and principles.

The PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE is a core value which is central to the mission of the university. The members of the university community strive to advance intellectual and creative inquiry and use the work of others responsibly in this endeavor. The university is committed to the maintenance and protection of academic freedom and freedom of speech which are essential to the pursuit of knowledge.

The core value of PERSONAL INTEGRITY requires that all members of the university community act honestly and responsibly, holding ourselves accountable to others for our actions.

The core value of MUTUAL RESPECT is essential to achieving a sense of community at Adelphi that values all equally. This sense of community is attained by treating others with courtesy, acceptance and respect and through responsible stewardship of the university’s heritage, property and resources.

The core value of JUSTICE requires that every member of the University accept responsibility, locally within the Adelphi community, in the neighborhoods that surround us, and globally, for the just treatment of others and the natural world.

Illustrative Applications

The examples which follow illustrate the broad spectrum of activities, many of which are complex, in which ethical concerns may arise at Adelphi. Each example is followed by a reference to Adelphi University policy and procedure documents that provide fuller explanations and guidelines for ethical decision making and actions. These documents are available in the University library, on the University intranet, and in the administrative offices indicated below.

Academic Honesty

The highest standards of academic honesty characterize the learning, research, scholarly and creative activities in which members of the Adelphi community are engaged. Dishonest activities include presenting the work of others as one’s own, fabricating data, cheating on examinations and sabotaging the work of others. (Articles of Governance of Adelphi University; Code of Academic Honesty in Guide to Student Life—Office of Academic Services and Retention, Office of the Provost, Office of the Dean of Students)

Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

Adelphi safeguards the rights and welfare of humans who participate in research, including studies using surveys or interviews and any research involving children or others who are vulnerable. The humane use of animals in research is guaranteed by compliance with all applicable federal regulations. (Manual of Policies and Procedures for the University Committee on Human Participation in Research—Office of Research and Sponsored Programs; Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Guidebook—Biology Department, College of Arts and Sciences)

Hiring and Admissions Practices

The University takes affirmative steps and makes good faith efforts toward achieving non-discrimination and equality of opportunity in employment and in academic and non-academic programs. These practices include, for example, student admissions and employee recruitment, compensation and benefits. The employment of relatives within the University is monitored by the Office of Human Resources in order to minimize potential conflicts of interest. (Statement on Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity—Office of Human Resources; Employment of Relatives in Employee Handbook—Office of Human Resources)


The members of the Adelphi community place a high value on relationships built on reason, mutual trust, respect, dignity and equality. Harassment of any sort is not tolerated, including such behaviors as violence, intimidation, sexual advances, exploitation and derogatory conduct that reflect bias. In relationships where there is unequal power, such as those between faculty and their students, the person in the position of authority is obligated to avoid potential conflicts of interest, abuse of power, sexual or romantic relationships, or exploitation of any type of those they supervise, teach, coach or advise. (Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedures—Office of Human Resources; Anti-Violence Policy—Office of Human Resources;Policy on Hazing in Guide to Student Life—Office of the Dean of Students)


The work of many at Adelphi requires knowledge of sensitive, privileged information involving students’ academic, psychological or disciplinary records, library borrowing records, salaries of employees and records regarding the University’s finances or business planning. Confidentiality by those with such knowledge is essential and contributes to the mutual trust and respect that characterize Adelphi. (Employee Handbook—Office of Human Resources)

Conflicts of Interest and Commitment

Situations may arise that make it difficult for us to act in the best interests of the University. All of us are obligated to avoid placing ourselves in any positions or situations in which there may be a conflict, or the appearance thereof, between personal interests and our duty to Adelphi. Areas of potential conflict include the use of confidential information, college purchases not subject to competitive bids, the acceptance of gifts and, under certain conditions, outside employment. (Conflict of Interest Policy in Financial and Administrative Reference Guide—Office of Human Resources; AAUP Collective Bargaining Agreement—Office of Human Resources; Employee Handbook—Office of Human Resources; Conflict of Interest Policy in Bylaws of the Board of Trustees—Office of the Board of Trustees)

Financial Transactions

All financial matters, including cash receipts, contracts, purchase orders and reimbursements for travel and entertainment expenses are transacted according to policies that have been established so that the University upholds the laws and the principles underlying them. Grants and contracts are subject to University review to assure that funds are expended in compliance with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. Competitive bidding, for example, is required for all purchases of goods and services over $1,000, and costs must meet the basic guidelines of allowability, reasonableness, allocability and be net of all applicable credits. (Grant Administration in Financial and Administrative Reference Guide—Comptroller’s Office; Administrative Activities in Financial and Administrative Reference Guide—Comptroller’s Office)

Use of University Resources

University services, staff time, supplies, equipment and travel budgets are used solely for University-related business and not for the personal advantage of an individual. (Employee Handbook—Office of Human Resources; Travel and Entertainment in Financial and Administrative Reference Guide)

Impact on the Environment

Adelphi seeks to protect the natural environment by appropriately using and recycling resources and by avoiding conditions that may result in creating environmental hazards. (Asbestos Management Policy—Department of Facilities Management; Policy on Hazard Communication Program—Department of Facilities Management)

Electronic Communication

Information systems are used in accordance with all laws and are not used for commercial purposes or non-University, personal or solicitous activities. Computer programs, electronic mail, voice mail and electronic files are presumed to be private and confidential unless misuse is suspected. Loopholes in security systems should not be used to damage information systems, obtain extra resources or gain access to systems without authorization. (Acceptable Use Policy—Office of Information Technology and Resources).


Seeking Clarification

Members of the Adelphi community value their reputation for behaving ethically and therefore reflect before acting, especially in complex situations. Simple questions such as the following offer guidance in deciding if an act is consistent with the University’s core values:

  • How would my action appear to others at Adelphi?
  • Could it harm Adelphi’s reputation?
  • Is it ethical and legal?
  • What does my conscience tell me?
  • Should I check before acting?

In instances where policies appear ambiguous or questions arise about personal responsibility in adhering to this Code of Ethics, clarification can be sought from supervisors, directors, chairs, deans, vice presidents or the office responsible for the policy in question.

Reporting an Alleged Violation

All trustees, faculty, administrators, staff and students have an obligation to bring suspected violations to the attention of appropriate supervisory personnel in a responsible manner. Generally the first person to be informed should be either one’s immediate supervisor in the case of employees, or the director of the University office concerned. In those instances in which the immediate supervisor is involved in the alleged violation, the report should be made to the person at the next highest supervisory level. The process for reporting suspected violations of specific policies, such as sexual harassment, is usually explained as part of the policy itself.

The Office of Internal Audit should be contacted in instances of financial irregularity. Complaints about financial matters, such as accounting, internal accounting controls and audits, and about other matters relating to the conduct of business, such as relationships with vendors and government officials, may be submitted confidentially and/or anonymously.

The Adelphi community expects that those who report violations in good faith and in an appropriate manner, whether or not further investigation substantiates the claim, will be free from retaliation in any form. The identity of complainants will be protected, within legal limits, and those who retaliate against them will be disciplined.

Enforcing Ethical Standards

All reported violations will be investigated promptly in accordance with procedures detailed in the relevant policy identified in the documents listed below. Those accused are not assumed to be responsible for the reported behavior until the appropriate process has reached a conclusion. Fundamental fairness is accorded to all individuals.

Refraining from Abuse of This Code

No one will falsely report misconduct of any sort by another individual for the purpose of discrediting or otherwise harming the reputation of that individual. Any complainant guilty of such abuse will be subject to disciplinary action.


All members of the Adelphi community are responsible for conducting University-related activities ethically and for making the University a place known by the excellent character of all associated with it. Trustees, faculty, administrators and staff are influential models for Adelphi students.

Those in supervisory positions have the dual responsibilities of encouraging ethical behavior as well as dealing appropriately with suspected violations reported to them.

The internal auditor plays a unique role in financial matters by ensuring that the University goes beyond complying with the letter of all applicable laws to acting in conformity with the principles underlying them. The trustees, and especially the members of the audit committee, assure the public that the University conducts its affairs with integrity and merits full trust. Because of the trustees’ fiduciary responsibility for the institution as a whole, they have a special duty to adhere to the highest ethical standards and to ensure that senior administrators disseminate this Code of Ethics to all employees and students.

Reference Guide to Existing Documents

The University reserves the right to change and update its policies. The current policies that govern standards of conduct are listed below:

  • Articles of Governance of Adelphi University
  • Bylaws of the Board of Trustees
  • Code of Academic Honesty
  • Code of Conduct
  • Collective Bargaining Agreements
  • Employee Handbook
  • Faculty Handbooks
  • Financial and Administrative Reference Guide
  • Guide to Student Life
  • Human Subjects Research Policy
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Guidebook
  • Acceptable Use of Technology Policy
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