Statement of Ethics
- Joy Bryde, Conflict of Interest Officer and Director, Conflict of Interest Program, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Derek Kemp, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety, email@example.com
- Quinton Johnson, Export Control Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Katherine Georger, Associate Counsel and Privacy Officer, email@example.com
Statement of Ethics: The Four Working Principles
- Mutual Respect
- Why do we need a statement of ethics?
- UNC-Chapel Hill is a community with a shared mission but an endless array of roles, activities and decisions to achieve that mission. Ethics, a shared agreement on what is important and right, can guide the actions and interactions of students, staff, faculty and administrators. Identifying and stating our principles help identify expectations, align behavior, encourage integrity and avoid dishonor. Most organizations, corporations and educational institutions have statements of ethics or values; in that regard, it is unusual that the University does not have one. But, for principles to be legitimate, they need to be embraced and embodied in day-to-day behaviors. As envisioned at UNC-Chapel Hill, a statement of ethics would express shared principles, a common language and mutual expectations about how we want to live and work as a community.
- Why now?
- The last year and a half necessitated changes to almost every aspect of employment and academic engagement at the University. The pandemic, economic hardships, political divisions, growing institutional mistrust and resurgent attention to racism and civil rights compel us to consider how we create a true community, set priorities and support one another. The push for a declaration of principles is not new, but there is no better time for reflection and renewed commitment to the common good.
- How will the statement be developed and who will decide what it contains?
- The process is being facilitated by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Division of Institutional Integrity and Risk Management (IIRM). The evolving timeline and anticipated steps are available on this website. Research on ethics as well as analysis of other universities’ ethics and values statements led to the survey. Broad and ongoing feedback from ethics specialists, stakeholders, and interested community members will transform the survey results into successive versions of the statement which will be shared for public comment. If you are interested receiving versions and offering feedback, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Other steps and target dates for the process are available on this website.
- What will keep this from just becoming empty slogans?
- Like other examples we all know in life, words and mottos can easily become drained of meaning. It takes the actions of the individuals engaged in the community to make such statements real and relevant in daily life. The commitment of all of us, as individuals, to use and live these words in our actions and interactions in the University community is the best way possible for these values to have meaning. The process of creating the ethics statement includes an extended period of institutional and individual reflection on each of the principles. During the two months devoted to each prospective principle, you will be invited to consider and comment about the way that the principle would be operationalized in the daily life of the University, the ways that it fits and the tensions that might result. This process is intended to help make the ethics statement, made up of the principles, a living document.
- What will keep this from becoming a device for fault-finding or maltreatment?
- While the intent is that members of the Carolina community will embrace the statement of ethics, act in ways that are consistent with each of the principles and hold one another accountable to it, ethics are not intended to be a disciplinary tool. The University has policies and procedures that stipulate acceptable and unacceptable conduct, with which faculty, staff and students must comply. Ethics do not supplant or replicate those policies and procedures, but rather they transcend written regulations to encourage a culture of integrity and personal responsibility.
Individual and organizational integrity sometimes requires difficult conversations, not to shame or cancel each other, but to assert agreements about shared ethics. For example, a colleague who observes a faculty member belittling a staff member may say, “That is not how we treat people here.” The value of any ethics statement depends on a shared commitment to strive to follow the precepts and to encourage others to do the same. Whether the statement crafted at the University is meaningful and persuasive will be a consideration in every part of the planning process.
- How is this different from a code of ethics or the Code of Conduct for Research?
- Codes, whether they are focused on ethics or conduct, contain standards which inform employees and students of a profession, employer, or school’s expectations. These codes are rooted in internal policies and procedures as well as external laws and regulations. Failure to adhere to a code of conduct could be the basis for disciplinary action given its roots in policy and law. An ethics statement is an aspirational and enduring commitment, intended to reflect and support the principles that bind the Carolina community.
- Some departments and projects have values or ethics statements. Will this replace those?
- No! A University ethics statement is intended to support and complement existing departmental/organizational statements of shared values and expectations. It provides a common language of mutual expectations that transcends University roles and units. In addition, it will be created through an inclusive and grassroots process intended to encourage reflection and ownership of the final product.
- There are so many initiatives at the University – the Blueprint for Next, History and Reckoning, Campus Safety, Excellence, Innovation, Arts Everywhere…. Do we really need another?
- The ethics statement seeks to define our aspirations as a community in all our endeavors. So, while there will always be new events and priorities at UNC-Chapel Hill, a commitment to our principles is fundamental to all of them. If they are centered, shared, and lasting, ethics guide more than a functional area or individual division’s mission and truly seek to inspire how we implement policies, make business decisions, and live together as a community.
|Chancellor’s Working Group on Ethics and Integrity conducts research and benchmarking, issues a report and draft code of ethics.
|Office of Ethics and Policy compiles university codes of ethics and value statements, discusses with stakeholders and administration.
Link initiative to Global Ethics Month (October, 2021)
|March 2021-July 2021
|IIRM directors and OEP staff and interns design, distribute and analyze survey prioritizing values and principles.
FAQ and webpage developed and launched.
|IIRM directors consolidate concepts into draft of working set of principles, and amend timeline and inclusive review process.
|Broad-based effort to draw attention to the initiative and increase awareness about the working list of principles.
Field questions, incorporate feedback.
Promote Global Ethics Month and use events to highlight the initiative.
|October 2021-May 2022
|Begin focused, campus-wide consideration of each principle for two months each, starting with “Community”, operationalizing the principle, encouraging self-reflection, inhabiting the principle, identifying related concepts.
|December 2021-January 2022
|Analyze findings of working principle project. Develop final draft of Ethics Statement.
|Launch Ethics Statement final phase, adjusting as needed.
|Introduce and institutionalize ethics statement. Incorporate with University Day, Global Ethics Month, Employee Appreciation Day.