All University Advancement (UA) employees are expected to maintain high standards of ethics and to avoid conflicts of interest.

“State officials and employees of government hold a public trust that obligates them, in a special way, to honesty and integrity in fulfilling responsibilities to which they are elected and appointed. Paramount in that trust is the principle that public office, whether elected or appointed, may not be used for personal gain or private advantage.” RCW 42.52.900.


Ethics laws establish minimum standards of conduct while performing public duties and seek to remove doubts concerning violations of public trust and confidence.


  • Do the Right Thing
    • Honesty
    • Integrity
    • Confidentiality
  • Respect for All
    • Trust
    • Teamwork
    • Transparency
    • Treat each other well
  • Highest Standards of Excellence
    • Service Ethic
    • Personal Initiative
    • Accountability
    • Stewardship


  • Objectivity:Public Employees must place the public’s interest before any private interest or outside obligation–choices need to be made on the merits.
  • Selflessness:Public employees should not make decisions in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
  • Stewardship:Public employees have a duty to conserve public resources and funds against misuse and abuse.
  • Transparency:Public employees must practice open and accountable government. They should be as open as possible about their decisions and actions, while protecting truly confidential information.
  • Integrity:Public employees should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organizations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.


The use of state resources for private benefit or gain is prohibited unless an allowable exception exists within the ethics law or under WAC 292-110-010. Agencies may not adopt less restrictive standards.

Official use is permitted

The use of state resources that is reasonably related to the conduct of official state duties does not violate RCW 42.52.160. In addition, an agency head or designee may authorize a use of state resources that is related to an official state purpose but not directly related to an employee’s official duty, for example, conducting an agency CFD. Such uses shall be specifically authorized in writing and any use shall strictly conform to specific agency guidance.

General Rules under WAC 292-110-010

The Board allows limited unofficial use if:

  • There is little or no cost to the state;
  • Any use is the most effective us of time or resources;
  • There is no interference with the performance of official duties;
  • The use is brief in duration and frequency;
  • The use does not disrupt other state employees and does not obligate them to make a personal use of state resources; and
  • The use does not compromise the security or integrity of state information or software.

Prohibitions under WAC 292-110-010

Certain uses of state resources are prohibited regardless of whether there is no cost to the state and the use does not interfere with the performance of official duties. These include:

  • Any use for the purpose of conducting an outside business, whether or not for profit.
  • Any use for the purpose of assisting the campaign of any candidate for election to any office, or to oppose or promote a ballot proposition;
  • Any use for commercial purposes such as advertising or selling;
  • Illegal activities or activities incompatible with a professional workplace, e.g., accessing adult-oriented sites or gambling on the Internet;
  • Lobbying activity unless authorized by law; and
  • Any use to promote, support, or solicit for an outside organization or group unless the activity is approved by an agency head or his or her designee.


Never accept a gift, gratuity, or any thing of value if the gift, gratuity, or thing of value could be reasonably expected to influence your vote, judgment, or action.

Limitations on gifts

This provision establishes a $50 gift limit from a single source in a calendar year. If the employee’s duties include decisions about contracting or purchasing, the Section 4 gift restrictions would apply to gifts from any potential future contractor or vendor.

When are you considered a Section 4 employee?

If an officer or employee’s duties include regulating certain members of an industry, the Section 4 gift restrictions apply to gifts from any entity potentially subject to being regulated, not just those currently regulated. Likewise if the officer or employee’s duties include decisions about contracting or purchasing, the Section 4 gift restrictions would apply to gifts from any potential future contractor or vendor.

Remedy: What if I receive a gift that is prohibited?

Not accepting a gift is a sure way to know you are in compliance with the Gift law. In the alternative, prohibited gifts may be returned to the sender or donated to charity within 30 days of receipt. If donated to charity, you may want to consider sending a letter to the giver indicating your actions. If ever in doubt, contact your supervisor or manager for clarification.

For additional information regarding gifts, please see the following PDF documents:


Conflict of interest laws define the line between public duties and personal interests, including financial and non-financial interests and obligations.

No state officer or state employee may have an interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in a business or transaction or professional activity, or incur an obligation of any nature that is in conflict with the proper discharge of the state officer’s or state employee’s official duties.


As a general rule, you should disclose potential conflicts to your supervisor or manager and let them decide how to best resolve the conflict. Written procedures can resolve or ameliorate any appearance that you were improperly involved in a prohibited transaction.


Employees are responsible for meeting the job expectations and work effort requirements for their positions. At the same time, the University recognizes that individuals, the University and the state benefit from staff involvements in and support of outside organizations and industry. Employees may engage in outside consulting work, part-time employment or volunteer work provided it does not conflict with or negatively impact your ability to fulfill your University employment obligations, and it does not otherwise negatively impact the University.

Employees must secure advance review and approval of any outside work, regardless of compensation for such activities, whenever such activities stem from, could conflict with, or relate to the individual’s official duties or status as a University employee.

Employee may not use any University facilities, equipment, or resources for any outside work or for any outside organization, whether it is for profit or not for profit.


Employees must complete a Request for Approval of Outside Work — Professional and Classified Staff form for any outside work activity. This approval must be obtained in advance of engagement in any outside work activity and information must be updated with UA HR on an annual basis.

The approval form may be found at:


UW Internal Audit Guide to Ethics Policies