University at Buffalo Crest.

Policy Information

Date Established: 4/11/2018
Date Last Updated: 4/28/2023
Administration and Governance
Responsible Office:
Office of the President
Responsible Executive:

Policy Contents


Principles of Ethical Conduct


Pursuit of the University at Buffalo mission of teaching, research, and public service requires a shared commitment to ethical conduct in all university activities. This policy provides an overarching code of ethics by which university faculty, staff, and student employees are expected to abide.

Policy Statement

The University at Buffalo (UB, university) is committed to upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct. Abiding by these standards promotes mutual trust and public confidence as we strive for excellence in our pursuit of knowledge. Our core values are the foundation of our academic institution and are essential to sustaining an environment where we can learn, teach, conduct research, work, and thrive. University faculty, staff, and student employees have a responsibility to work towards fulfilling the following values by conducting themselves ethically, with the highest level of integrity, and in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies:

Honesty and Integrity – We demonstrate honesty and transparency in all communication and conduct while maintaining the highest level of integrity. We uphold the values of this code and make decisions based upon the greater good conducting ourselves free of personal conflicts, nepotism, self-dealing, using resources for personal benefit, or appearances of impropriety. Our commitment to ethical standards is communicated through both instruction and example. Additionally, we are committed to the principles of academic integrity as foundational to the enterprise of teaching and learning as evidenced by our centralized Office of Academic Integrity and our academic integrity policies.

Respect – In our commitment to inclusiveness, diversity, and mutual respect for differences, we

•  Demonstrate respect towards the rights and dignity of others

•  Show concern for the welfare of others

•  Avoid all forms of harassment, discrimination, threats, or violence

•  Strive to ensure the accessibility of our programs, activities, and communications

•  Expect equality, impartiality, openness, and due process without reference to individual bias

Stewardship and Compliance – We utilize all resources and information entrusted to our care in a wise and prudent manner to achieve our educational mission and strategic objectives. We uphold civic virtues and duties by obeying laws and policies. Practicing good stewardship includes:

• Using university property, equipment, finances, materials, electronic and other systems, labor, and other resources as they are intended to be used

• Preventing waste and abuse

• Promoting efficient operations

• Following sound financial practices including accurate financial reporting, processes to protect assets, responsible fiscal management, and internal controls

• Engaging in appropriate control and monitoring activities

• Promoting continuous education of laws, policies, and guidelines

Accountability and Responsibility – We take responsibility for our choices and actions by upholding accountability and not assigning or shifting blame or taking improper credit. We exercise the utmost diligence in ensuring that all of our university operations adhere to appropriate business protocols and best practices. We act with responsibility by reporting instances where these standards may not have been upheld.

Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest and Commitment – We have an obligation to be objective and impartial in making decisions on behalf of the university and to avoid any conflict of interest or commitment or the appearance thereof. We should avoid situations, whether of a financial, personal, or professional nature, which may compromise our ability to fulfill our responsibilities. Employees must disclose potential conflicts of interest, may not use their position for personal advantage, and may not engage in supplemental activities that undermine their ability to perform their jobs for the university.  Individuals must also withdraw from deliberations, voting, or other decision-making processes where a conflict of interest or commitment exists or might arise.

Reporting Ethics Policy Complaints and Violations

The university is committed to an environment where open, honest communication is the expectation, not the exception. Employees are encouraged to submit reports relating to activities that involve unethical behavior or violations of State University of New York, UB, UB Foundation, Faculty Student Association, Research Foundation, and all internal policies. EthicsPoint (Phone:  844-678-0455) is hosted by a third party hotline provider to ensure that reports are confidential and anonymous.  

The Office of Internal Audit will review and investigate as appropriate all reports and, when warranted by the facts, require corrective action and discipline in accordance with policy and law. Employees who make a good faith report of suspected fraud, waste, or abuse are protected from retaliation.


An environment that encourages the highest level of integrity from its members is critical to the university. Adherence to the highest standards of ethical conduct is an integral part of the university’s long-range goals of attracting quality students, faculty, and staff; ensuring proper stewardship of its resources; and attracting gifts, grants, and other forms of support. 


This policy applies to all members of the university community including faculty, staff, and student employees, regardless of funding source.

Students taking courses, attending classes, or enrolled in academic programs are required to read and affirm the Student Code of Conduct



Obligations of an individual or group of individuals to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and disclose the results in a transparent manner.

Conflict of Commitment

Situation in which an employee's outside interests interfere with their duties to the unviersity.

Comflict of Interest

Conflict between the private interests and official responsibilities of a person in a position of trust.


Moral philosophy or set of standards practiced by a person or group of people.


Strict adherence to a moral code, reflected in transparent honesty and complete harmony in what one thinks, says, and does.   


Supervisors, Managers, University Leaders

  • Distribute a copy of the Principles of Ethical Conduct Policy to all direct reports.
  • Reinforce the Principles of Ethical Conduct Policy in all university-related business to support compliance.
  • Lead by example, be a position role model, and encourage and support your team in a respectful and inclusive environment to perform responsibilities at the highest ethical standards.
  • Listen to concerns and respond appropriately.
  • Report suspected violations through EthicsPoint or through appropriate university offices.
  • Address employee misconduct.

Faculty, Staff, Student Employees

  • Conduct university-related activities with the utmost integrity and ethical conduct.
  • Comply with university policies.
  • Report suspected violations through EthicsPoint or through appropriate university offices.

Internal Audit

  • Investigate alleged policy violations; determine whether a violation has occurred and whether action is required.
  • Review EthicsPoint reporting and investigate suspected violations; require corrective action as appropriate.

Contact Information

Contact An Expert
Contact Phone Email
Kara Kearney-Saylor 716-829-6943
Sharon Nolan-Weiss 716-645-2266
Office of Research Compliance 716-888-4888

Related Information

University Links

Related Links


Policy Revision History
April 2023

Full review. Updated the policy to:
● Change the title of the policy from Ethics Policy to Principles of Ethical Conduct
Add statements regarding the university's commitment to:
   ● Academic integrity (Honesty and Integrity)
   ● Accessibility of our programs, activities, and communications (Respect)
   ● Add language regarding conflicts of commitment and withdrawing from deliberations, voting, or other decision-making processes where a conflict of interest or commitment exists or might arise (Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest and Commitment)
● Add a definition for Conflict of Commitment and Conflict of Interest
● Add a responsibility for supervisors, managers, and university leadership to listen to concerns and respond appropriately
● Add a responsibility for Internal Audit to review EthicsPoint reporting


Presidential Approval

Signed by President Satish K. Tripathi

Satish K. Tripathi, President