Acting ethically


This Code of Ethical Conduct (Code) applies to non represented members of the Wayne State University staff. 

The standards of conduct in this Code, which are supported by other WSU statutes, policies and procedures, provide guidance for ethical behavior and decision making and memorialize the institution's traditions and commitment to responsible conduct.


Members of the Wayne State University (WSU) community are committed to carrying out its mission with the highest ethical standards. “As an urban research university, our mission is to discover, examine, transmit and apply knowledge that contributes to the positive development and well-being of individuals, organizations and society. WSU is a national research institution dedicated to preparing students to excel in an increasingly advanced and interconnected global society.” As part of its obligation to maintain an effective compliance and ethics program, WSU is required to communicate its standards and procedures to all those working for or on behalf of the University and to ensure that everyone, performing university roles, has the information they need to carry out their work in compliance with the law. The University has many policies, procedures, handbooks and guides, that espouse the various standards and responsibilities which each member of the WSU community agrees to uphold and fulfill. Collectively, these key obligations form a code by which the University community is expected to perform their roles. For ease of reference, this site collates and summarizes the spirit of those responsibilities at an institutional level and the obligations that represent the keys to compliant behavior.

Core values.

In carrying out the institution's research, teaching, and service mission, members of the University community (described above) are dedicated to advancing the University's core values. These values embrace:

  • commitment to academic freedom and the free expression of ideas; discovery of and transmission of knowledge;
  • development and well-being of individuals, organizations and society;
  • cultivation of diversity of community and ideas;
  • responsible stewardship of resources and relationships;
  • sharing knowledge in a supportive and challenging learning environment to create new opportunities;
  • application of knowledge and discovery to advance the quality of life and the economy of the region, the state and the world; and
  • service to our communities, the City of Detroit, the State of Michigan, the nation and the world.

Commitment to responsible conduct.

The university community must be committed to the highest ethical standards of conduct and professional integrity. Moreover, members of the university community are expected to adhere to and promote the values outlined above.


The University holds itself and community members to the following standards of conduct:

Act ethically and with Integrity.

Ethical conduct is a fundamental expectation for every community member.  In practicing and modeling ethical conduct, community members are expected to:

  • act with integrity according to the highest ethical standards;
  • act according to appropriate standards for professional conduct;
  • be personally accountable for individual decisions and actions; and
  • fulfill their professional and University obligations to students, advisees, colleagues, administrators and staff.

Be fair and respectful to others.

The University is committed to tolerance, and respect for diversity. When dealing with others, community members are expected to:

  • be respectful, fair, and promote constructive conflict resolution;
  • speak candidly and truthfully;
  • avoid all forms of harassment, abuse, discrimination, threats, or violence; and
  • provide equal access to programs, facilities, staff and employment.

Supervise responsibly.

The University entrusts community members who supervise or instruct employees or students with significant responsibility. Managers, supervisors, instructors, and advisors are expected to:

  • ensure access to and delivery of workplace and educational rules, policies, and procedures, including this Code;
  • encourage compliance with applicable laws, policies, and workplace rules;
  • review performance conscientiously, fairly and impartially; and
  • promote a healthy, innovative, and productive climate that encourages dialogue and discussion as the primary means of problem solving and which is responsive to people’s concerns.

Protect and preserve university resources.

The University is dedicated to responsible stewardship of resources. Community members are expected to:

  • use University property, equipment, finances, materials, electronic and other systems, and other resources only for legitimate University purposes;
  • prevent fraud, waste and abuse by following appropriate policies and procedures and by reporting violationsto supervisors or other University officials;
  • follow sound financial practices including accurate financial reporting, processes to protect assets, and responsible fiscal management and internal controls;
  • avoid the falsification of documents; and
  • operate according to appropriate professional standards including appropriate accounting, monitoring and procurement.

Promote a culture of ethical conduct and adherence to applicable standards.

The University is committed to complying with appropriate legal requirements and to fostering a culture of high ethical standards. Community members are expected to:

  • learn and follow the laws, regulations, contracts, and University policies, codes and procedures applicable to University activities;
  • be proactive to prevent any violations and faithfully report suspected violations to supervisors or other University officials;
  • ensure that reports of violations within their area of responsibility are properly  addressed, including disclosure to sponsors or other state or federal authorities as appropriate; and
  • refrain from retaliating against another community member in any way for reporting or participating in an investigation of a suspected compliance violation.

Preserve academic freedom and meet academic responsibilities.

Freedom of thought and expression is essential to any institution of higher learning. Academic freedom protects the expression of views that some persons may regard as wrong, distasteful and critical. Community members are expected to:

  • promote academic freedom, including the freedom to discuss all relevant matters in the classroom; to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative and professional expression; and to speak or write as a public citizen without institutional restraint or discipline; and
  • meet academic responsibilities, which means to seek and state the truth; to develop and maintain scholarly competence; to foster and defend intellectual honesty and freedom of inquiry and instruction; to respect those with differing views and to allow them to express those views; to submit knowledge and claims to independent peer review; to work together to foster the education of students; and to acknowledge when an individual is not speaking for, nor representing Wayne State University.

Ethically conduct research, scholarly inquiry and creative activity.

Wayne State University researchers, scholars and artists have an ethical obligation to the University, to their professions and to the larger global community as they seek knowledge, insight and understanding. University community members are expected to:

  • propose, conduct, and report research and scholarship with integrity and honesty;
  • protect research subjects and those involved in research and adhere to all Human Investigation Committee  procedures and policies as well as applicable laws and guidelines;
  • humanely treat animals involved in research or teaching and follow Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) provisions and applicable laws, policies, and guidelines;
  • learn, follow, and demonstrate accountability for meeting the requirements of  Wayne State University, sponsors,  funders, regulatory bodies, and other applicable entities;
  • protect rights to individual and University intellectual property;
  • ensure originality of work, provide appropriate credit for the ideas of others upon which their work is built, and be responsible for the accuracy and fairness of information published; and
  • fairly assign authorship credit on the basis of an appropriate array of significant intellectual contributions, including: conception, design, and performance; analysis and interpretation; and manuscript preparation and critical editing for intellectual content.

Conduct instruction, teaching and mentorship in an ethical manner.

Community members should be responsible to the instructional process.  Community members are expected to:

  • contribute to and remain abreast of  developments in their fields and continually pursue teaching excellence;
  • treat all students with respect and fairness without regard to ancestry, race, religion, political belief, country of origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, or disability;
  • encourage differing viewpoints and demonstrate integrity in evaluating their merit;
  • follow University policies concerning syllabi, classroom procedures, written work and grades; and
  • behave appropriately and professionally in dealing with students so as to maintain a scholarly atmosphere and supportive learning environment.

Avoid conflicts of interest and balance competing obligations and commitments.

Community members should be objective in making decisions on behalf of the University and to comply with appropriate University policies and procedures regarding conflict of interest. Community members are expected to:

  • avoid actual, apparent, individual or institutional conflicts of interest;
  • disclose and address conflicts of interest in a timely manner; and
  • ensure personal relationships do not interfere with objective judgment in decisions affecting University employment or the academic progress of a community member.

Carefully manage public, private, and confidential information.

Community members are the creators and custodians of many types of information. The public right to access and the individual's right to privacy are both governed by laws and University policies. Community members are expected to:

  • learn and follow laws and University policies and agreements regarding access, use, protection, disclosure, retention, and disposal of public, private, and confidential information;
  • follow appropriate document preservation and retention guidelines; and
  • maintain data security using electronic and physical safeguards.

Promote health and safety in the workplace.

Community members have a shared responsibility to ensure a safe, secure, and healthy environment for all University students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and visitors. Community members are expected to:

  • follow safe workplace practices, including participating in applicable training, using appropriate personal safety equipment, and reporting accidents, injuries, and unsafe situations;
  • maintain security, including securing University assets and facilities;
  • protect the environment, including carefully handling hazardous waste and other potentially harmful agents, materials, or conditions.


The President or the President’s designees shall ensure that appropriate administrative policies are maintained to support this Code, and shall effectively promulgate this Code and any related administrative policies or procedures through appropriate and periodic explanation, education, and evaluation. Nothing in this code supersedes or displaces any existing university policy, collective bargaining agreements, work rules or operating procedures, which remain in full force and effect.

Other university policies and guidelines - University statutes, policies and publications related to acting ethically include, but are not limited to, the following:

Board Statutes

2.28.01            Non-Discrimination/Affirmative Action Policy
2.28.06            Sexual Harassment

2.31.02            Student Code of Conduct
2.41.03            Conflict of Interest; Contracts
2.41.04            Patent and Copyright Policy
2.72.03            Vendor Gifts

University Policy

89-4                        WSU Policy and Procedure Regarding Scientific Misconduct

00-1                        Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources

02-3                        Consulting by Executive Officers

02-4                        Implementation of State Lobby Legislation Act

03-4                        Consulting by University Faculty and Research Personnel
05-04                      Contracts Between Wayne State University and External
                               Organizations in Which University Employees Participate
06-01                      University Awards
07-02                      Confidential Information Policy
08-01                      Conflict of Interest Disclosure
08-02                      Investigator Disclosure

Administrative Policies and Procedures manual

Division of Research policy

Individual and institutional financial conflict of interest and commitment

Human Investigation Committee policies and procedures
Institutional Animal Care and Use policies and procedures

Office of Environmental Health and Safety policies and procedures

Personnel manual for non-represented employees

Other publications

Faculty and academic staff information bulletin

University Bulletin:
Obligations of faculty to the instructional process
and obligations of students to the instructional process