B-3. Code of Ethics -- Board of Trustees

B-3. Code of Ethics -- Board of Trustees

Value Statements:

  • The Board of Trustees supports the highest ethical standards in performing its duties.
  • The Board of Trustees will model the recognized best practices associated with policy governance models.
  • The governing board will be conscientious in following all Board policies and in maintaining a distinction between issues of governance and college operations.

A. Standards of Conduct

The Austin Community College Board of Trustees endorses the following standards of conduct for individual ACC trustees:

[1] To identify and disclose any actual or potential conflicts of interest, and to act at all times for the general public good, regardless of personal friendships, relations, or interests. Although Texas law allows the election of a trustee who has a spousal or other familial relation with an employee of the college, neither such a trustee nor the employee related to the trustee may take advantage of the relationship to obtain favorable consideration, to influence operational matters, or to gain access to information not available under the Texas Public Information Act.

[2] To keep well-informed on board-related issues, and to attend and participate actively in meetings of the board and its committees.

[3] To encourage and engage in open and honest discussion in making board decisions, to respect differences of opinion, and to keep an open mind until everyone has been heard from.

[4] To act impartially, base decisions on the available facts in each situation, and protect ACC from improper influence from political, religious, and other external bodies.

[5] To respect the board's collective decision process, and to accurately report and explain board votes and policies.

[6] To carefully avoid the assertion of board authority or preference as an individual trustee or in concert with other trustees, other than at official board meetings or as a result of official board actions.

[7] To respect the Board’s community linkages processes, and to avoid perceptions of conflicts of interest, Trustees will avoid individual meetings with people or organizations that are seeking business with the College when a Request for Proposals, Request for Qualifications, or other bid or procurement solicitation is before the public or being deliberated to the College or Board. Trustees will observe a period of not meeting with interested persons or organizations about the matter, nor discuss the matter with any interested party or organization. Such a “quiet” period would apply only to matters of immediate business, and should not be construed to limit meetings between Trustees and others on other topics.

[8] To respect the authority and responsibilities of other people within the college or external contractors, empowering them to work without interference within the limits of board policy.

[9] To maintain the confidentiality of privileged information, as outlined in the Texas Public Information Act and Texas Open Meetings Act.

[10] To refrain from any attempt to influence any operational decision, including but not limited to individual admissions, personnel, or purchasing decisions, except when the decision is an agenda topic at an official board meeting. Specifically, Board members may not have any communications about a grievance with any person who has a grievance pending.

[11] To be scrupulous in requesting only authorized, legitimate reimbursement of college-related expenses, following the same rules and guidelines required of Austin Community College employees for travel.

[12] To interact with each other as well as employees, students, and other citizens in a manner that creates and sustains mutual respect.

B. Code of Ethics

The mechanisms for enforcement of the Code of Ethics will be:

[1] Upon taking office and at the beginning of each fiscal year, each trustee shall complete a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form.

[2] Any person, with supporting information, may allege noncompliance with the Code to the Board Chair (or the Vice-Chair if the Chair is the target of the allegation). The Board will be advised when any allegation has been raised.

[3] The Chair or Vice-Chair will undertake a process to resolve the complaint.

[4] If either the complainant or the Board member requests, the Chair (or Vice Chair) will name an independent third party to investigate the complaint and report to the Board.

[5] If the Board finds a violation of the Code, it will reprimand or censure the Board member.

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The Austin Community College Board of Trustees adopted this policy on August 28, 1995 and amended it on May 5, 2003, November 3, 2003, May 2, 2005, November 7, 2011 and February 6, 2012.