Home Legal Compliance and Ethics Program Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

I. Introduction

Bridgewater College values integrity, equality, service and community and strives to integrate those values into its education, research and business practices. As members of the Bridgewater College community, all faculty, staff, students, members of the Board of Trustees, and vendors and contractors strive to sustain the highest ethical standards of the College and of the broader community in which we function.

In that spirit, this Code of Conduct[1] (the “Code”) is a shared statement of our commitment to upholding the ethical, professional and legal standards we use as the basis for our daily and long-term decisions and actions. We all must be cognizant of and comply with the relevant policies, standards, laws and regulations that guide our work. We are each individually accountable for our own actions and, as members of the College community, are collectively accountable for upholding these standards of behavior and for compliance with all applicable laws and policies.

Each of us must honor the College’s mission and adhere to the commitments set forth in this Code of Conduct, which forms the foundation for the College’s Compliance and Ethics Program. The Code applies to all faculty, staff, student employees, volunteers, members of the Board of Trustees, and vendors and contractors acting on behalf of the College.

II. Our Commitment to the College and the Community

The College’s distinctive character and its ability to meet its responsibilities to its students and the larger community depend upon the decisions we make as members of the College community. Accordingly we must:

  1. Discharge our duties in good faith and in a manner that will advance the College’s values and mission;
  2. Safeguard the College’s human, financial and physical resources and protect its academic and research integrity and reputation;
  3. Take individual responsibility and be accountable for our own actions;
  4. Be stewards of the property and resources entrusted to us, including electronic data, physical and electronic records and sensitive information, and protect them against theft or misuse;
  5. Comply with all workplace safety and health regulations and report any unsafe conditions, equipment or practices to College authorities;
  6. Protect the privacy of students, employees, donors and others who entrust confidential, privileged or proprietary information to us, and use such information only for the purposes for which access was provided;
  7. Ensure all reports, accounts, tax returns, time records, submissions and other documents prepared or used in furtherance of College operations are accurate, clear and complete;
  8. Avoid even the appearance of impropriety and exercise care so that our personal relationships and interests do not result in situations that conflict with the College’s interests or interfere with our objective judgment, and disclose any professional or financial interests in compliance with applicable conflict-of-interest policies;
  9. Use College resources only for business purposes on behalf of the College and not for personal gain, except in a manner that is incidental and reasonable, in light of the employee’s duties;
  10. Act honestly, fairly and respectfully at all times towards students, parents, advisees, colleagues and members of the greater community;
  11. Promote a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion, free from unlawful discrimination;
  12. Respect a diversity of viewpoints and the freedom of expression and conscience while acting with civility;
  13. Refrain from abusing the authority entrusted to us or harassing others;
  14. Comply with all laws, policies, and applicable guidelines and best practice standards appropriate to our positions and activities; and
  15. Cooperate fully in the investigation of any misconduct.

III. Commitment to Report Unethical Conduct

As briefly described in Section 2.19 of the Employee Handbook (“Whistleblower Policy”), we are all responsible for bringing suspected unethical conduct to the attention of College officials when we have a good-faith belief that such conduct has occurred. Ethical misconduct means non-compliance with a law or regulation, a College policy, this Code of Conduct, or other requirement applicable to the College. A violation of College policy or this Code may also constitute a violation of a law or regulation.

Matters that must be reported include, but are not limited to:

  1. Theft, fraud or other financial irregularity;
  2. Misuse of College resources;
  3. Misuse of grant funds;
  4. Activities undertaken for personal benefit or the benefit of family or friends at the expense of the College (conflicts of interest);
  5. Unlawful discrimination; or
  6. Crimes of violence.

Wherever possible, we should report our concerns by talking with our supervisor or a College official who has responsibility for the area of concern, or by contacting the director of human resources, who will respond promptly and confidentially to the extent permitted by law. Concerns also may be raised anonymously using the College’s Compliance and Ethics Online Reporting Form at bridgewater.edu/legal/compliance-and-ethics-program/anonymous-reporting-and-additional-contacts. All inquiries and all good-faith reports of suspected non-compliance, regardless of whether they are substantiated and regardless of the method of reporting, can be made free from fear of retaliation in accordance with the College’s Whistleblower Policy.

IV. Resolution of Complaints

The College will evaluate all reports of suspected non-compliance, regardless of source, and implement corrective action or disciplinary action when necessary.

When procedures for addressing alleged violations of the Code are covered in other Bridgewater College policies (e.g., Employee Handbook or Faculty Handbook) those procedures will be followed. The following procedures apply only when the College has not mandated other remedies and when the complaint has not been previously addressed through existing procedures.

In order to maintain the integrity of the community, we report observed or suspected violations of this Code with a spirit of fairness, honesty, and respect for others. Those who report alleged misconduct and those against whom allegations are reported are afforded the protections provided by College policies, as well as applicable state and federal laws.

  1. When a complaint is received, the person receiving the complaint will formally acknowledge receipt where possible and forward the complaint to the Provost and Executive Vice President.
  2. The Provost and Executive Vice President, or designee, will promptly forward the complaint and accompanying factual information to the Vice President of the division where the alleged violation(s) occurred. If the allegation of wrongdoing involves a Vice President, the Provost and Executive Vice President, or designee, will forward the complaint and accompanying factual information to another Vice President.
  3. The Provost and Executive Vice President, or designee, will take the following steps if such steps are appropriate:
    1. Review the complaint to determine whether the complaint has been previously addressed in another forum (and, if warranted, close the matter);
    2. Notify the Director of Human Resources to determine whether similar allegations have been made previously against the same employee regarding misconduct and to assess whether Human Resources’ involvement in the matter is warranted;
    3. Notify and meet with the employee against whom misconduct is alleged and inform the employee of the opportunity to defend;
    4. Identify individuals with information involving the matter; and
    5. Determine the extent to which an investigation is warranted.
  4. The Provost and Executive Vice President, or designee, will conduct such investigation as may be warranted, keeping the Vice President of the division where the alleged violation(s) occurred (or alternate Vice President, as the case may be) informed during the process. The employee against whom the allegation of misconduct was made will be provided with prompt notice of and an opportunity to review and respond to the information obtained by the investigator(s), maintaining the confidentiality of individuals providing information, to the extent reasonable.
  5. The Provost and Executive Vice President, or designee, will decide on a resolution of the complaint within a reasonable time following receipt of the original complaint. The Provost and Executive Vice President, or designee, may prepare a written report of the investigation and the decision on the complaint. If corrective or disciplinary action is imposed, it will be documented as a part of the report. Actions taken may include, but are not limited to, cancellation of a credit card, suspension of signature authority, removal of Bridgewater property or rights to Bridgewater property, or other similar preventative action, and/or disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or removal from office.
  6. The employee against whom misconduct is alleged will be informed of the decision and any corrective or disciplinary action imposed, and a copy of the report will be provided to the appropriate Vice President (or designee), the Director of Human Resources, the President, and the Chair of the Audit Committee. The decision of the Provost and Executive Vice President, or designee, is final and there is no appeal from the decision of the Provost and Executive Vice president, or designee.

[1] The expectations in the Code of Conduct are in addition to, or in furtherance of, the expectations described in other policies of the College, including, but not limited to, the Faculty Handbook and the Employee Handbook. Expectations for student conduct are described in the student handbook, the Eagle.