Policy 1: University of Colorado Legal Origins, Guiding Principles,and Principles of Ethical Behavior

Policy 1 PDF

Policy 1.A: Preservation of Self-Governing Responsibilities

The University of Colorado shall preserve the principle of self-governance.  As such, the University of Colorado shall oppose efforts to abolish or limit the constitutional authority of the Board of Regents to govern or enact policy for the university.​


  • Adopted:  January 13, 1968.
  • Revised:  April 5, 2018.
  • Last reviewed:  April 5, 2018.

Policy 1.B: Guiding Principles

Article 1, Part C of the Laws of the Regents establishes the mission of the University of Colorado. Consistent with the legal obligations and responsibilities of the University of Colorado community, the university will:

  1. Encourage and provide access to the university for all qualified students within the university’s capacity.
  2. Maintain a commitment to excellence.
  3. Promote and uphold the principles of ethics, integrity, transparency, and accountability.
  4. Be conscientious stewards of the university’s human, physical, financial, information, and natural resources.
  5. Ensure policies, programs, procedures and practices encourage, honor, and respect teaching, learning, and academic culture.
  6. Ensure policies, programs, procedures and practices promote a continuing commitment to building a community of faculty, students, and staff in which diversity is a fundamental value. Such policies, programs and procedures will also serve to ensure the rich interchange of ideas in the pursuit of truth and learning, including diversity of political, geographic, cultural, intellectual, and philosophical perspectives.
  7. Encourage and support innovation and entrepreneurship at all levels of the university including research and creative activities.
  8. Strive to meet the needs of the State of Colorado, including health care, technology, work force training, and civic literacy.
  9. Ensure that the university is an economic, social, and cultural catalyst.
  10. Support and encourage collaboration amongst departments and campuses, and between the university and other educational institutions to improve our communities.
  11. Provide an outstanding, respectful, and responsive living, learning, teaching, and working environment.
  12. Focus on meaningful measurable results.


  • Approved February 11, 2010.
  • Revised:  June 24, 2010; April 5, 2018.
  • Last reviewed:  April 5, 2018.

Policy 1.C: Principles of Ethical Behavior


The Laws of the Regents Article 1, Part D, makes members of the university community responsible for understanding and upholding the highest standards of legal and ethical conduct. The Principles of Ethical Behavior as outlined are not intended to be a comprehensive catalogue of all university rules and policies. Rather, these principles set forth the underlying expectations regarding the conduct and activities of university employees.

1. Responsible Conduct

University of Colorado employees are expected to conduct themselves ethically, and in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and university policies. University employees are expected to practice and model ethical and responsible behavior in all aspects of their work. Expected conduct includes conducting fair and principled business transactions; acting in good faith; being personally accountable for individual actions; conscientiously fulfilling obligations towards others; and communicating ethical standards of conduct through instruction and example.

2. Respect for Others

The University of Colorado recognizes that people are the most important resource in accomplishing its mission in the areas of teaching, research, community service, and patient care. The University of Colorado values academic freedom, diversity, and respect for all persons. The university is committed to the principle of non-discrimination and does not tolerate harassment on any basis, including sex, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, political affiliation, or political philosophy. University employees are expected to treat colleagues, co-workers, and students with respect, professionalism, and dignity in all interactions and communications.

3. Conflicts of Interest

As a state institution, it is imperative for both legal and ethical reasons that university employees do not improperly benefit from their positions of trust at the university. University employees are expected to avoid actual and perceived conflicts of interest related to their work and position. Actual or potential conflicts must be appropriately disclosed in accordance with university conflict of interest and conflict of commitment policies, so that such conflicts may be reviewed, and as appropriate, managed or eliminated. Employees are responsible for identifying potential conflicts and seeking appropriate guidance.

Conflicts of interest may also arise in the context of gifts, travel, and entertainment. University employees are expected to conduct themselves so as to ensure that their positions are not misused for private gain with respect to the acceptance of gifts and the undertaking of university-related travel or entertainment. University employees may not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit that is intended to influence the employee in the performance of his or her university duties.

4. Research and Academic Integrity

As members of a top research university, employees have significant responsibility to ensure that research and academic work is conducted with the highest integrity, and in compliance with federal and state laws, and university policies. Academic freedom can flourish only in a community that values intellectual integrity. University of Colorado researchers and scholars are expected to protect people and humanely treat animals involved in research or teaching; and follow and demonstrate accountability for sponsors and regulatory body requirements. In addition, researchers and scholars are to ensure originality of work, accurately and fairly publish information, and fairly assign authorship credit on the basis of intellectual contributions.

5. Stewardship of University Property

The university is committed to responsible stewardship of university resources, and employees are expected to ensure that university property, funds, and technology are used appropriately. These responsibilities include using university property, equipment, and resources only for legitimate university purposes; promoting efficient operations; following sound financial practices; and engaging in appropriate accounting and monitoring.

University property includes the university seal, name, and logo. The university regulates the use of its seal, name and related trademarks and logos in order to protect the university's reputation and to ensure that their use is related to the university's educational, research, community service, and patient care missions.

6. Contributing to a Safe Workplace

The University of Colorado is committed to protecting the health and safety of the university community and creating a safe working and learning environment. Safe workplace practices include participating in applicable training sessions, using appropriate personal safety equipment; and reporting accidents, injuries, and unsafe situations. University employees are expected to conduct their activities in an environmentally responsible manner. This includes carefully handling chemical, radioactive and biological waste, and disposing of hazardous waste and other potentially harmful agents in an environmentally safe manner.

The illegal use and possession of controlled substances and the possession of firearms, explosives, and other weapons on university premises compromises the safety of the university community. The University of Colorado prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of controlled substances and the possession of weapons in or on any premises or property owned or controlled by the University of Colorado.

7. Privacy and Confidentiality

University employees are the creators and custodians of many types of information. Such information may relate to students, employees, alumni, donors, research sponsors, patients and others. Employees are expected to comply with applicable legal, contractual, and policy obligations to maintain the confidentiality of such information, protect it from improper disclosure, and protect the privacy interests of individuals. To meet these responsibilities, University employees are expected to follow document preservation and retention guidelines, and maintain data security using electronic and physical safeguards.

8. Open and Effective Communication

The University of Colorado is committed to open communication and an environment of transparency. Communicating openly with both internal and external constitutes improves relationships and allows the university to operate more effectively. Employees who have questions about a policy, decision, or activity are encouraged to discuss the issue with the individual(s) directly involved before discussing it with others. Supervisors are expected to respond in a timely manner to concerns and communicate with all individuals involved in the matter. The university is committed to providing the community with accurate information regarding the business and affairs of the university. For this reason, and in order to provide a coordinated, accurate, and timely response, all media and legislative inquiries should be directed to the Office of University Relations.

9. Reporting Suspected Misconduct

The University of Colorado is committed to meeting federal and state legal requirements and fostering a culture of compliance. University employees are expected to report known and suspected violations of university policies, as well as violations of applicable laws and regulations to appropriate offices. The university provides several options for reporting violations. Employees are encouraged to first report any known or suspected violations to their direct supervisor. Fraud, theft, embezzlement, abuse, or waste may be reported to the University Department of Internal Audit. The University's Ethics Hotline allows individuals to anonymously report concerns involving a possible violation of law, regulation, or policy. All university employees who act in good faith in reporting known or suspected violations of law or university policy are protected from retaliation.


  • Approved Feb. 11, 2010;
  • Last revised Sept. 17, 2013.