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Code of Conduct

The Smith College Code of Conduct outlines principles, policies and some of the laws that govern the activities of the college and to which our employees (faculty, staff and students) and others who represent the college must adhere.

The code provides guidance for professional conduct. The success and reputation of the college in fulfilling its mission depends on the ethical behavior, honesty, integrity and good judgment of each member of the community. All employees (faculty, staff and students) and other individuals representing the college are expected to inform themselves about and comply with college policies and regulations pertaining to them.

Sources include, for employees, the Employee Handbook and relevant union agreements and for faculty; the Code of Faculty Legislation and Administrative Practice; the Policy of Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure; and the document on funding for faculty development.

Smith College is an organization with strong values of responsibility and integrity. If you wish to place a confidential report of violations of college policies or standards, Smith encourages you to use the EthicsPoint service. Your report will be anonymous if you wish.

Accuracy of Records and Reporting

The records, data and information owned, used and managed by the college must be accurate and complete. The accuracy and reliability of financial reports is of vital importance to the business operations of the college. Therefore, all employees and individuals representing the college must record, allocate and charge revenues and costs accurately and maintain supporting documentation as required by established policies and procedures. See also the Travel and Entertainment Expense Policy on the controller's website.


Faculty and staff may not share information with other entities (e.g., higher education institutions) in matters affecting the financial or administrative decisions of the college for the purpose of encouraging joint decision-making which may violate antitrust laws.

Compliance with Laws and Regulations

Employees and individuals representing the college must transact college business in compliance with all federal, state and local laws and regulations related to their positions and areas of responsibility. All employees and individuals representing the college should recognize that noncompliance may have adverse financial and other consequences for them and for the college. Individuals are responsible for keeping current with changes in applicable laws and regulations, and managers and supervisors are responsible for monitoring compliance in their areas.

Compliance with Contractual, Grant and Other Obligations

The college frequently enters into contractual and other formal obligations with outside entities. These obligations may include, but are not limited to, research and other grants and contracts, commercial contracts, software licenses, gift indentures, and memoranda of understanding. All employees and individuals representing the college are expected to act in good faith and adhere to all obligations assumed by the college.

Computer Use and Copyright

The college provides computer resources, including office computers, individual computer accounts, electronic mail and remote access to administrative information systems, to faculty and staff for their use while engaged in college business. The college has established policies for the use of these resources and expects community members to be familiar with and abide by them. Community members are required by the college to comply with the copyright law as it applies to print and electronic materials and be familiar with the principle of fair use.

Conflict of Interest

All employees and individuals representing the college should strive to avoid the perception of or actual conflicts of interest that might compromise their integrity and objectivity. Conflicts, including those of a financial, personal or professional nature, must be disclosed. Members of the community should strive to eliminate or manage such conflicts in an appropriate manner. See the Conflict of Interest Policy in the Employee Handbook. Note: Members of the college's Board of Trustees and investment committee as well as officers of the college must disclose any and all conflicts.

Confidential Information

Members of the college community (including former employees) may be privy to confidential information. Such information may relate to students, job applicants, employees, finances, intellectual property, research sponsors or future planning. All confidential information should be protected by safeguarding it when in use, storing it properly when not in use, and discussing it only with those who have a legitimate business need to know.

An employee should never release any confidential information without clearance from her or his department head. Questions regarding the release of confidential information should be directed to the department head or the Office of Human Resources.

Consequences of Violation

Material violations of this code, of federal, state, or local laws and regulations, or of related college policies and procedures may carry disciplinary consequences up to and including dismissal.

Drug-Free Workplace

The college is committed to providing a healthy and productive work environment for all members of the community.

Ethical Conduct

All employees and individuals representing the college should conduct themselves ethically, honestly and with integrity. They should act with due recognition of their positions of trust and loyalty to the college and its students. When in doubt about the propriety of a proposed course of action, they should seek counsel from colleagues, supervisors or administrators who can assist in determining the right and appropriate course. Also, see the Whistle-Blower Policy.

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Fair Employment Practices and Diversity

The college believes that diversity in our faculty and staff is critical to our success as a global institution, and we seek to recruit, develop and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool. Advancement at the college is based on performance. We are fully committed to equal employment opportunity and compliance with the full range of fair employment practices and nondiscrimination laws. In addition, retaliation against individuals for raising claims of discrimination is prohibited.

Gifts and Gratuities

To avoid undue influence in decisions related to contractual relationships with vendors or others, all employees and individuals representing the college should not personally accept any material gift, gratuity or other payment, in cash or goods, of $25 or greater, from a vendor currently doing business with the college or seeking to do so. If questions arise about the materiality of a proposed gift or gratuity, the proposed recipient should seek advice from the Controller or General Counsel. Note: Members of the college's Board of Trustees and investment committee as well as officers of the college comply with a similar policy.

Harassment and Intimidation

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Smith College prohibits discrimination on the basis of the bases of race, color, creed, religion, national/ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, age, disability, or service in the military or other uniformed services. See Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy in the Employee Handbook.

Internal Controls

Internal controls are a keystone of sound business practices. These controls include adequate segregation of duties, diligent application of preventive and detective control systems, and conscientious compliance with authorization, reporting, and other established practices. Internal controls are critical to ensure efficient operations, strong fiscal management, accurate financial reporting, asset protection and compliance with laws and regulations. All employees and individuals representing the college are expected to maintain and support the college's internal control structures.


Smith encourages every employee to take an active interest in government processes. Any participation in a political process, however, is to be undertaken as an individual—not as a representative of Smith. Employees must be specifically authorized to undertake any lobbying activities on behalf of Smith, including attempts to influence the passage or defeat of legislation.


The college does not prohibit the employment of individuals with significant relationships within the college community. It does, however, prohibit the supervision of an employee by an individual with a significant relationship who has or may have the ability to influence wages, promotion, work assignments or other working conditions.

Obligation to Report Suspected Violations

Faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to promptly report suspected violations of these standards, of laws and regulations, or of related college policies and procedures, to their supervisor, the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and administrative services, the provost/dean of the faculty, the director of institutional diversity, the controller, or the secretary to the Board of Trustees, depending upon the nature of the violation. Individuals who supervise others should ensure that their direct reports have received adequate instruction with respect to their obligations under this code.

Safeguarding/Protecting Assets

All employees and individuals representing the college are responsible for safeguarding the tangible and intangible assets of the college under their control. College assets, including those from the government and donors, must not be used for personal benefit. Assets include cash, securities, business plans, customer information, vendor information, intellectual property and physical property. Employee actions in the course of their work should reflect and be consistent with the college's tax-exempt status.

Safety in the Workplace

The safety of people in the workplace is a primary concern of the college. The college must conduct its activities with all of the necessary permits, approvals and controls, especially in regards to the handling and disposal of hazardous and regulated materials and waste. All employees and individuals representing the college who work with or around these materials must be familiar with all rules, regulations and policies that apply to them.