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Professional Ethics

Although no set of rules or professional code can either guarantee or take the place of a scholar's personal integrity, Western Oregon University believes that the "Statement on Professional Ethics" promulgated by the American Association of University Professors may serve as a reminder of the variety of obligations assumed by all members of the academic profession.

Professional Standards of Conduct

Professional conduct is that conduct which seeks advantage for others rather than one's self and, in the case of faculty, conduct which is based upon the accepted norms of the academic community.

Relationships with Faculty As a colleague, the professor has obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. These include respecting and defending the free inquiry of associates, due respect for the opinions of others, the acknowledgment of academic debts, objectivity in the professional judgment of colleagues, and the acceptance of a fair share of responsibility for the governance of the institution.

Relationships with Students As a teacher, the professor recognizes the special role she or he plays as intellectual guide and mentor and the need to represent that which is best in the academic world to each student. The professor is especially concerned that evaluation of students and their accomplishments reflect their true merit, that the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student be respected, that the academic freedom of the students be protected, and that there will be no exploitation of students for private advantage.

Students with Disabilities

No qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of the services, programs or activities, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination by any public entity. This includes programs related to academic, research, occupational training, housing, health insurance, counseling, financial aid, physical education, athletics, recreation, transportation, other extracurricular, or other post-secondary education activities.

In course examinations or other procedures for evaluating students' academic achievement, the faculty member shall provide such methods for evaluating the achievement of students which will best represent the student's achievement in the course and not be a measurement/evaluation of how the disability impacts the student in the course.

The faculty member shall take such steps as are necessary to ensure that no student with a disability is denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination under the education program or activity taught by the faculty member because of the absence of educational auxiliary aids for students with disabilities. Auxiliary aids may include but are not limited to taped texts, interpreters, notetakers and material in an alternative format. As with all students, materials in an alternative format should be ready for students on the first day of class (i.e. syllabi). Classroom support for students with disabilities need not include personal attendants, individually prescribed devices or services of a personal nature.

(The above statement was taken, in part, from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which addresses colleges' and universities' responsibilities to students with disabilities.)

It is expected that faculty will cooperate with reasonable accommodation needs of each individual. Faculty members who have questions or need additional information regarding auxiliary aids can contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.

Specifically Prohibited Practices

There are certain ethical problems that seem to arise more often than others or that have a greater potential for serious repercussions for those involved when they do occur. The practices described below are specifically prohibited and faculty failing to avoid them will be subject to sanction or corrective discipline (CBA).

Conflicts of Interest A conflict of interest occurs when a member of the faculty initiates or participates in an activity intended to produce personal advantage or gain to the detriment of the university, other faculty, or students. Examples of such activity would include outside employment which substantially interferes with the full and faithful performance of all institutional obligations or is competitive with any of the university's academic programs; the more than incidental use of university personnel, facilities, equipment, supplies, etc., for profit-making ventures (CBA); and required purchases by students of instructional materials (including textbooks) that result in pecuniary profit to the instructor. Exceptions to the above will be allowed only with the written permission of the dean of the administrative unit involved or of the provost, should the circumstances seem in her or his judgment to warrant such action.

Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment, which is defined as persistent and uninvited attention to another individual through sexual innuendoes and/or body contact, or the requesting of sexual favors from a student, classified staff member or another faculty member in exchange for either an academic or other right or advantage, is considered a most serious breach of professional ethics and, in fact, is illegal (Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964).


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Last Modified on October 5, 2000