Administrative Policies

AD88 Code of Responsible Conduct

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Office of General Counsel, 814-867-4088

Policy Steward: 

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff


  • Purpose
  • Penn State Values
  • Duties
  • Legal and Policy Compliance
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Accurate Records and Privacy
  • Professional Conduct
  • Reporting
  • Non-Retaliation
  • Further Information
  • Cross References

    The Code of Responsible Conduct applies to all employees (faculty, staff, administrators, and student employees) of The Pennsylvania State University on legal, policy, and other duties encountered during the normal course of University business and employment.


    The duties contained in this Code of Responsible Conduct reflect the University’s core values: Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, Excellence, and Community. While aspirational in nature, these Penn State Values provide important context for the Code of Responsible Conduct.


    In contributing to the mission of the University and in accordance with existing University policy, all employees of The Pennsylvania State University must fulfill the following duties:

    Legal and Policy Compliance

    • Obey all applicable federal, state, and local laws, including, but not limited to, those pertaining to fulfilling the duties of employment, non-discrimination, anti-bribery, and anti-corruption.

    • Follow all applicable University policies and procedures.

    Conflict of Interest:

    • Abide by University policies on conflict of interest.

    Accurate Records and Privacy:

    • As required by University policies and federal, state, and local law, create, transmit and enter information into Penn State’s records accurately, completely, and with appropriate supporting documentation.

    • As required by University policies and federal, state, and local law, limit the collection, use, disclosure or storage of personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), and/or student educational records and data to required academic, research, or administrative functions, or other legally required purposes.

    Professional Conduct:

    • Uphold academic freedom and freedom of expression in accordance with the law and University policy.

    • Abide by the professional code of ethics or conduct applicable to one’s profession or work at the University.

    • Maintain a respectful workplace and educational environment in accordance with University policy.


    • As required by University policies and federal, state, and local law, report any wrongdoing, misconduct, or violations. If uncertain as to how or where to report, see, contact the Office of Ethics and Compliance (814-867-5088), or contact the Penn State Hotline (1-800-560-1637 or


    • Retaliation against any individual who makes a good faith report of wrongdoing to the University or an appropriate authority, or who participates in an investigation or legal proceeding related thereto is strictly prohibited.


    For a non-comprehensive summary of University policies relevant to the duties summarized above, see  Additional information about Penn State policies may be found on the policy website:

    For questions about the application of this policy, please contact the Office of General Counsel or the Director of the Office of Ethics and Compliance.

    Most Recent Changes:

    • August 22, 2019 - Editorial changes. Changed Subject Matter Expert from Tim Balliett to the Office of General Counsel. Added the Office of General Counsel as a point of contact under Further Information.

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    • October 5, 2017 - Edited to change all references to GURU to the new Penn State Policies website.
    • January 23, 2017 - Revisions have been made to the policy. Privacy and Professional Conduct have been added to employee duties. Reference to the Penn State Values has been added as an aspirational context for employee duties, and the Reporting section has been updated to reflect current misconduct reporting processes.

    • September 16, 2014 - New policy.

    Date Approved: 

    January 23, 2017

    Date Published: 

    January 25, 2017

    Effective Date: 

    January 23, 2017