This policy was a part of the former UPS Policy set that was integrated into the System Administrative Policy set. It applies to all University of Wisconsin institutions except for UW-Madison. For UW-Madison’s policies, please see the Human Resource Design Policies website.

Original Issuance Date: July 1, 2015 

Last Revision Date: October 5, 2020 

1. Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on the avoidance of activities that cause, or tend to cause, conflicts between employees’ personal interests and their public responsibilities. 

2. Responsible Officer

Director of Compliance 

3. Scope and Institutional Responsibilities

The policy applies to employees of University of Wisconsin System institutions, excluding UW-Madison. 

4. Background 

USystem employees are subject to ethics rules covering use of university resources, conflicts of interest, and acceptance of gifts.  Pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 19.45(11)(b), the Board of Regents developed  Regent Policy Document RPD 20-22, Code of Ethics 

RPD 20-22, Code of Ethicswhich was effective July 1, 2015, explains that UW System employees are subject to the following three separate codes: 

  • Faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees (other than state public officials) remain subject to Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter UWS 8. 
  • State public officials remain subject to subchapter III of Wis. Stats. Chapter 19.  Individuals holding the following positions are state public officials: Member – Board of Regents, President, Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, and all Vice President titles. 
  • Effective July 1, 2015, university staff are subject to a code that is set forth in Section III of RPD 20-22.  The University Staff Code of Ethics was closely modeled after Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter ER-MRS 24, the Code of Ethics for classified state employees. 

5. Definitions 

Please see SYS 1225, General Terms and Definitions, for a list of general terms and definitions.

6. Policy Statement 

It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin System that chancelloror their designees provide each newly hired employee with the code of ethics to which the employee is subject.  Thereafter, chancellors should annually provide all employees with the appropriate code of ethics.  

Employees should review, abide by, and ask for clarifications when necessary regarding their respective code of ethics.  If an employee is uncertain whether a future action may violate a code of ethics, the employee should consult with the chancellor or the chancellor’s designee.   

The employees subject to Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter UWS 8 must keep track of and report outside activities pursuant to Wis. Admin. Code UWS 8.025.  The Board of Regents require all UW System faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees who are subject to UWS 8 with half-time or greater appointments are required to report annually (by April 30 of each year) on outside activities and interests related to their areas of professional responsibility and for which they receive remuneration.   

Outside Activities should be reported as specified in SYS 1290.A, Guidelines for Reporting Outside Activities Under UWS 8.025.  All reports should be open to public inspection unless confidentiality is allowable by law.  

7. Related Documents 

Regent Policy Document 13-4, Institutional and Employee Relationships with Educational Loan Lenders

Regent Policy Document 14-8, Consensual Relationships 

Regent Policy Document 20-22, Code of Ethics 

Compliance & Integrity: Focus Areas – Ethics 

Wis. Admin. Code Chapter UWS 8, Unclassified Staff Code of Ethics 

Wis. Stat. § 19.45, Standards of Conduct, State Public Officials 

Wis. Stat. § 946, Subchapter II, Bribery and Official Misconduct 

SYS 1290.A, Guidelines for Reporting Outside Activities Under UWS 8.025 

8. Policy History 

Wis. Admin. Code Chapter ER-MRS 24, Code of Ethics 

Revision 1: October 5, 2020 

First Approved: July 1, 2015 

9. Scheduled Review 

October 2025