Business Conduct Policy

Brandeis University is a highly acclaimed private research institution characterized by a commitment to academic excellence and the pursuit of knowledge and truth.

It is named for the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis, an individual who demonstrated moral fiber, impeccable leadership skills, intellectual depth and breadth, integrity and a profound social conscience. The university strives to exemplify and embody these characteristics in its teaching, research and business practices.

Because the university is deeply committed to upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in all its activities, it promotes an environment that encourages respect for all members of the Brandeis community and gives all employees the opportunity to do their very best work.

This "university business conduct" policy sets forth fundamental expectations and standards of conduct, which are supported through more-comprehensive policies and procedures. Specifically, the purpose of this policy is to:

  1. Highlight the university's commitment to ethical conduct and compliance with laws.
  2. Set forth the fundamental expectations and standards of conduct for all Brandeis employees.
  3. Provide a reporting mechanism for community members to report suspected or known violations of conduct.

This policy is not intended to be all-inclusive and cannot address all situations that may arise. Rather, it is intended to serve as a framework for guiding actions and assisting employees in understanding their  obligations. All Brandeis employees are expected to assume responsibility and accountability for understanding and complying with this policy and all other applicable policies and procedures.

Any questions regarding the intent or applicability of this policy should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel. Specific questions regarding individual policies referenced in the "university business conduct" policy should be directed to the responsible official identified in each policy.

Mission Statement

Brandeis University is a community of scholars and students united by their commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and its transmission from generation to generation. As a research university, Brandeis is dedicated to the advancement of the humanities, arts and social, natural and physical sciences. As a liberal-arts college, Brandeis affirms the importance of a broad and critical education in enriching the lives of students and preparing them for full participation in a changing society, capable of promoting their own welfare, yet remaining deeply concerned about the welfare of others.

In a world of challenging social and technological transformations, Brandeis remains a center of open inquiry and teaching, cherishing its independence from any doctrine or government. It strives to reflect the heterogeneity of the United States and of the world community whose ideas and concerns it shares. In the belief that the most important learning derives from the personal encounter and joint work of teacher and students, Brandeis encourages undergraduates and postgraduates to participate with distinguished faculty in research, scholarship and artistic activities.

Brandeis was founded in 1948 as a nonsectarian university under the sponsorship of the American Jewish community to embody its highest ethical and cultural values, and to express its gratitude to the United States through the traditional Jewish commitment to education. By being a nonsectarian university that welcomes students, teachers and staff of every nationality, religion and orientation, Brandeis renews the American heritage of cultural diversity, equal access to opportunity and freedom of expression.

The university that carries the name of the justice who stood for the rights of individuals must be distinguished by academic excellence, by truth pursued wherever it may lead and by awareness of the power and responsibilities that come with knowledge.

Applicability

This policy applies to all Brandeis employees, including faculty, administrative staff, research staff, postdocs, student employees and all other individuals employed by Brandeis.

Standards of Conduct

Treating One Another With Respect

Brandeis University is committed to providing its students, faculty and staff with an environment conducive to learning and working, where all people are treated with respect and dignity. To that end, it is essential that Brandeis be free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of race; color; ancestry; religious creed; gender identity or expression; national or ethnic origin; sex; sexual orientation; age; genetic information; disability; veteran status; or any other category protected by law.

Nondiscrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures

The university is also committed to maintaining a fair and professional work environment in which faculty and staff members carry out their responsibilities in a way that is both respectful to those over whom they have authority and conducive to the development of a just and flourishing academic community. See nondiscrimination and harassment policy and procedures.

Faculty and Staff Relations With Students Policy

The university policy on faculty and staff relations is designed to maintain a fair and professional work environment in which members of the faculty and staff carry out their responsibilities in a way that is both respectful to those over whom they have authority and conducive to the development of a just and flourishing academic community.

Computing Policies

The university computing policies contains rules on privacy, authorized use, restricted access, bandwidth allocation, e-mail use and misuse, the protection of data, civility and other provisions governing the computer resources that we share as a community. 

Copyright Policies

As a center of learning and inquiry, the university expects full compliance with federal and state laws governing the use of copyrighted material for academic purposes. Compliance with the copyright laws, including the doctrine of fair use, promotes progress in the arts and sciences, and helps the university fulfill its academic mission. See the university copyright policies.

Protecting Our Personal Information

Concerns about the privacy and security of personal information in the workplace continue to arise in the 21st century. Accordingly, Brandeis requires its community members to observe the highest level of confidentiality with respect to their handling of information about colleagues and other members of the Brandeis community, including employment records, financial information and donor documentation.

Information Security Plan

The privacy of student records is governed by university policy in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known by the acronym FERPA. See the university's information security plan (login required).

Education Records Policy

Brandeis University seeks to maintain all education records in its care in full compliance with federal and state law, and in a spirit consistent with its educational philosophy that students are full partners in the educational enterprise. See the university's education records policy.

Avoiding Conflicts of Interest

Each member of the Brandeis community has an obligation to act in the best interests of the university and must not permit outside financial and/or personal interests to interfere with that obligation. The university's conflict of interest policy is intended to inform Brandeis community members of the potential for conflicts of interest and to establish a process for managing or avoiding conflicts. 

Doing the Right Thing in Our Business Relationships: Vendors and Gifts

Brandeis community members should always engage in proper treatment of those who do business with the university. The policies below require community members to treat vendors fairly and to refrain from accepting gifts from vendors that could compromise the university's interests.

Fair Vendor Relations

The highest standards of business ethics and conduct should be applied by all Brandeis employees in relations with suppliers. See the university's fair vendor relations policy.

Using and Accounting for University Resources Responsibly

Brandeis requires its community members to protect university funds and property under their control from fraud, embezzlement, theft, loss and misuse. In addition, Brandeis community members must prepare all financial reporting in an accurate, complete and timely manner in accordance with university policy and procedures.

Executing Contracts

All university transactions must be authorized by appropriate university officials in accordance with applicable institutional policies and procedures. Only employees who have appropriate authority as set forth in the university bylaws or by presidential delegation are authorized to enter into agreements on behalf of the university.

Using the University Name, Seal and Logos

The Brandeis University name, seal and logos are protected trademarks and may not be used without the university's written permission. Faculty, staff and students may, however, use the Brandeis name in identifying their affiliation to the university in accordance with university policy. Any questions regarding the university name, seal and/or logos should be directed to the Office of Communications.

Ensuring Employee Workplace Health and Safety

The university is committed to protecting the health and safety of the Brandeis community by providing safe workplace and proper education and training around workplace hazards and safeguards. Employees must adhere to health and safety requirements, and comply with all applicable health and safety laws and regulations.

Complying With Laws, Rules and Regulations

In conducting the affairs of the university, employees must comply with applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations in the areas in which the university does business. It is the responsibility of managers and supervisors to ensure their employees are appropriately trained and have adequate information to understand the applicable laws, regulations and policies relevant to their duties. Any unresolved questions and/or interpretation of various laws and regulations should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel.

Reporting Suspected Violations

The university seeks to maintain a supportive and receptive environment for all employees, and it encourages its employees to share concerns and suggestions about their work experiences. Brandeis is committed to maintaining a workplace where individuals are free to raise good-faith concerns about known or suspected violations of policies and/or laws.

University trustees and senior officers are required to report promptly to the Office of General Counsel any known or suspected improper or wrongful business conduct. Other employees are strongly encouraged to ask questions, seek guidance and/or report any known or suspected improper or wrongful business conduct to their supervisors or the Office of Human Resources.

The university is committed to preventing retaliation against employees who make good-faith allegations of improper or wrongful activity. Brandeis has a strict nonretaliation policy that supports employees who report known or suspected violations of policy or any other improper or wrongful activity.

How and Where to Report

Reports of known or suspected violations of policies and/or laws can be made directly through standard management channels, or anonymously and confidentially through the university's compliance hotline at 781-736-4452.

An employee may report directly to his/her supervisor or, if the employee is a student, to the dean of students. Additionally, if for any reason it is not appropriate to report suspected or known violations to the immediate supervisor, or if an individual is not comfortable reporting to the immediate supervisor, an employee may file an anonymous and confidential report through the university's compliance hotline.

Additional Resources

The university's business conduct policy is not all-inclusive. It simply serves as a framework to aid employees in understanding their obligations. Additional and more detailed policies may govern particular areas identified in this policy, and it is the employee's obligation to understand and comply with all applicable policies.

A number of additional resources exist to assist employees in understanding their obligations with respect to the "business conduct" policy and other policies that govern conduct at the university.

For additional information and assistance regarding university conduct, employees should contact any of the following offices.

Office Phone
Financial Affairs 781-736-8318 or 781-736-4541
General Counsel 781-736-3017
Human Resources 781-736-4474
Public Safety
  • Nonemergency: 781-736-5000
  • Emergency: 781-736-3333
Research Administration 781-736-2121

Revised January 2018