Code of Conduct for academic Staff

Code of Conduct for Academic Staff in the University of Peradeniya

1. Preamble

The actions and behaviour of Academic Staff of the University have an impact on the education and livelihood of thousands of people, as well as on the local environment, the community, and the nation. Academics are expected to have regard for the impact of their personal behaviour on the University, colleagues, students, society, environment and nation. The University is provided with resources by charitable bodies, parents/guardians, alumni and well-wishers. It is essential that academics of the University comport themselves in a manner that uphold high standards of probity and ethical conduct that will ensure confidence in the institution by all these stakeholders. Academics are thus expected to ensure that decision-making is open and fair and in conformity with the Universities Act and derived laws and regulations and to uphold these laws and regulations at all times. This Code of Conduct covers the most important aspects relating to the conduct of the academics of the University, the failure to uphold which will have a detrimental impact on the institution’s reputation and all those who come under its purview.

The University of Peradeniya, and its academic staff including those holding positions of authority, shall uphold the academic freedom of the academic staff and students as enshrined in relevant laws and regulations. This code of conduct shall not, in any form or in any means, limit or interfere with the academic freedom of the teachers/academic staff (and students) of the University.

The Council of the University reserves the right and authority to amend or rescind this Code of Conduct.

2. Acceptable Conduct

2.1. The University shall promote inclusivity and diversity and create a working environment that is supportive of its employees and enables them to discharge their duties with dignity in an atmosphere free of the fear of intimidation and harassment. Staff and students should thus be treated equally, regardless of gender, race, language, religion/faith, ethnicity, region, culture, (dis)ability, sexual orientation, age, marital status, socio-economic status, political affiliation or any other factor.

2.2. It is the responsibility of the employee to apprise him/herself of and abide by the laws of the country, and rules, regulations and by-laws that affect his/her university roles.

2.3. The University expects individuals to follow all legitimate instructions given by those supervising their activities and/or work areas subject to provisions laid out in the Universities Act and Establishment Code, and perform duties or any other institutional assignment to the satisfaction of the institution. Academic staff should refrain from shirking or intentionally delaying any legitimate duty or assignment assigned to them by the University.

2.4. Those holding positions of authority and/or decision-making powers over either other members of the staff and/or students of the University shall refrain from using those positions and/or power accruing to them from the holding of such positions to harass and/or create an environment, which is not conducive to learning or working, for their subordinates or those who are placed under their authority. Personal likes/dislikes and partialities/animosities should not interfere with the just discharge of responsibilities and duties of those in positions of power. They should not demand favours of a personal nature and/or subject subordinates to punitive measures/actions for non-compliance with such demands.

2.5. The University should strive to maintain the highest standards in all the teaching, research, outreach activities and dealings with the general public that it undertakes. Academics3 should not conduct themselves in ways that may undermine the standards of its awards and dissemination of knowledge or lead the general public to lose faith in the institution’s probity. Members of the academic staff should be honest in all official matters. They should not misrepresent or withhold information with which they are concerned or take advantage of the lack of knowledge or inexperience of students, other academic staff or the general public.

2.6. All members of the academic staff shall practice intellectual honesty in their diverse roles.

2.6.1. Plagiarism constitutes a serious offense and the University treats such offenses, once established beyond reasonable doubt, very seriously. Those found guilty shall be dealt with in accordance with provisions in the University Establishment Code and other relevant by-laws.

2.6.2. Academics shall refrain from accepting or offering authorship to anyone without sufficient intellectual contribution, which includes but is not limited to gift authorship and ghost authorship.

2.7. The University should not concern itself with the private lives of its employees unless they affect its effective operations or reputation.

2.8. Any form of conflicts of interest should be declared and academics should refrain from performing duties where such conflict is present or would be perceived by others to be present.

2.8.1. Academics who are relatives of, or who have any other close personal relationship with, other employees/students/clients should not place themselves in a supervisory, assessing or any other decision-making position in relation to the latter.

2.8.2. An academic (or his/her family members) should also desist from engaging in business relationships with the University, its suppliers, research sponsors or donors.

2.9. The University recognizes the value of outreach and other services that the academic staff may perform in relation to the community or public at large or to various institutions, boards and bodies of the State. All permanent, temporary and contract staff must ensure that such work does not interfere with their University-related teaching, research and service functions; does not adversely affect their University work performance; and does not involve the use of University resources, unless such involvement has been given express approval by the Vice Chancellor.

2.10. The University values the undertaking of consultancy activity by its academic staff. It recognizes that consultancy forms an important part of an academic’s functions as a University teacher, in particular in encouraging a close relationship with the community, including industry, business and commerce. Through its consultancy policies and practices, the University seeks to offer an efficient and valued service to the community, based on the excellence of its educational research provision and professional capacities. In accordance with that policy, all academic staff who undertake consultancy must inform the Vice Chancellor of such consultancy and pay applicable dues to the University unless such staff are on sabbatical leave from the University. Academic staff should ensure that consultancy related assignments do not interfere with their teaching and service commitments to the University.

2.11. University academics should not exploit their power, positions or opportunities for financial or any other form of personal gain. Exploitation in any form should be avoided and discouraged by reporting such incidents or policies to relevant authorities. Intimate and sexual relationships that are developed through influence of the office held are tantamount to exploitation [see Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence of the University of Peradeniya].

2.12. The University strives to conduct its functions in an open manner. However, there will be times when individuals, through their positions of authority or as members of committees, become aware of confidential information, either about other individuals or the University.5 Academic staff should keep such matters confidential and respect and adhere to the proper channels of communication for such information. An academic staff member should follow applicable laws of the country and University policies when accessing, using, protecting, or disclosing records.

2.13. Users of IT and internet facilities of the University must behave judiciously in their use of such facilities and always be respectful towards other users in accessing such services in public areas and in shared computers. Academic staff must not use University facilities to create, display, produce, store, circulate or transmit what might be construed as defamatory, obscene or pornographic material in any form or medium. This prohibition shall not apply to instances where the use of the material, verbal, written, or visual, may be for legitimate teaching, learning or research purposes.

2.14. Academic staff of the University must not engage in slandering in verbal, written or electronic means with malicious intent that is intended to target and tarnish the reputation of another employee or student of the University

2.15. Canvassing is allowed for posts or memberships made through elections as per the Universities Act and other relevant regulations or laws. In all other instances, including recruitments, appointments and promotions, canvassing in any form or through any means shall be deemed a disqualification and shall result in the candidate’s or applicant’s exclusion from the process for selection in question.

3. Procedure for Handling Misconduct

3.1. This code of conduct is not in lieu of the categories of misconducts identified in the University Establishment Code.

3.2. These bylaws shall be interpreted in conjunction with and under the laws and regulations governing the University of Peradeniya.

3.3. All academic staff/officers are duty bound to report any instances of wrongdoing, including bribery and corruption, maladministration, serious or substantial waste of public money or resources, public information contravention, or any other kind of wrongdoing or misconduct, to the relevant authority in the University. The University shall protect whistleblowers and create an enabling environment for such reporting.

3.4. The breach of any of the above, stated in section 2, shall be dealt with appropriately under the disciplinary procedure prescribed in Sections XXI and XXII of the University Establishment Code.