Research Integrity and Compliance

Regulations & Policies

Regulations and Policies Related to the Administrative Code of Conduct:


Federal and State Statutes

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was passed by the U.S. Congress in response to serious lapses in ethical standards at the highest levels of notable U.S. corporations. Even though the Act does not directly impact universities, many institutions of higher education have adopted concepts from the Act that provide greater transparency in operations and a higher level of accountability, especially among senior administrators. Based on the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley, The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) has issued recommendations that represent best practice among universities with regard to strengthening the ethical base for institutional operations. This Guide - along with the Administrative Code of Conduct, the establishment of the Internal Audit Services hotline and adherence to GAO guidelines for auditor independence - represents the implementation of the NACUBO recommendations at USU.

In addition to Sarbanes-Oxley, USU's policies and procedures comply with federal regulations including 42 CFR Part 50, "Dealing with and Reporting Misconduct in Science; " 45 CFR, Parts 46 & 94; and 21 CFR Parts 50 & 56 governing research involving human participants and institutional management of conflicts of interest arising from or related to that research. USU also adheres to cost and accounting principles as set forth in Circular A-21, published by the Office of Management and Budget.

The State of Utah has also enacted laws that require integrity in the conduct of the affairs of government institutions and their employees. These include the "Utah Public Officers' and Employees' Ethics Act" (67-16 Utah Code Annotated), and the "State Money Management Act" (51-7 Utah Code Annotated).

USU's Office of Compliance Assistance is charged with the responsibility, under the direction of the provost, to monitor changes in the regulatory environment within which the University operates; to assist in the campus-wide dissemination of information concerning ethics-based regulations and policies; and to implement appropriate management systems to ensure compliance.

University Policies

The University Policy Manual provides USU employees with policies and procedures that act as an employment contract. All University employees are expected to be familiar with and abide by the policies set forth in the manual. Institutional officials have a responsibility to become familiar with university policies and communicate the principles espoused in them to employees and students who are under their supervision. Policies enumerated below are among those that are based on principles of sound ethical conduct.

Policy # 306 - Research. This overarching policy on research practices at USU explains USU research mission and provides guidance to institutional researchers on important issues including protection of human research participants, care and use of animals at USU, scientific misconduct, and administration of grants and contracts.

Policy # 307 - Conflicts of Interest. This policy sets forth the principles that guide the identification and proper management of conflicts that arise due to the activities of individuals in the University. The existence of a conflict of interest is not in itself a cause for concern. It is the avoidance of bias in decision-making that is the aim of this policy.

Policy # 310 (Pending) - Institutional Conflicts of Interest. Institutional conflicts of interest differ from individual conflicts in that they reflect instances in which the University itself has conflicting interests with respect to safeguarding the public trust. University administrators should be especially aware of the circumstances under which institutional conflicts may arise, and how such conflicts can be managed.

Policy # 327 - Intellectual Property and Creative Works. This policy includes guidance concerning the development and licensing of technologies that are a product of university research. University technology licensing can lead to both individual and institutional conflicts of interest. This policy also establishes guidelines for assigning ownership of technologies developed by University employees.

Policy # 377 - Consulting Services. University employees are afforded the privilege of consulting so long as this activity does not impair their ability to fulfill their university roles. This policy discusses consulting activities and sets forth procedures to avoid having consulting activities interfere with institutional duties.

Policy # 392 - Employment of Relatives. University employees are restricted from hiring, terminating, or having direct supervision for members of their families. Administrators should exercise appropriate control over the hiring and assignment of individuals within their units who are related to other employees.

Policy # 407 - Academic Due Process: Sanctions and Hearing Procedures. This policy is an element of the faculty code. Scientific misconduct and other behaviors not in keeping with the high standards of the institution are discussed, and possible sanctions are set forth.