Code of Ethics


The College of Micronesia-FSM (COM-FSM) Code of Ethics has been developed with input from representatives of each constituent group at COM-FSM. It is meant to be to show all members of the College community the climate that we foster, and expresses the ethical principles and guidelines for the conduct of all COM-FSM employees. It also informs the public whom the employees serve, of the standards of ethical conduct for which employees are responsible.

Employees of College of Micronesia-FSM have a responsibility to ensure that they are familiar with this Code of Ethics, understand its application to their conduct, and adhere to its principles. Employees should also be familiar with other sources of information that will assist them in making informed decisions. These include the laws, policies and agreements that are relevant to their work.

The COM-FSM Code of Ethics includes examples of the applications of the ethical principles. While the examples are intended to provide further guidance and assistance, no part of this Code can substitute entirely for the active process of ethical decision-making. In instances of ethical demands or dilemmas where a simple or direct application of this Code is not possible, employees should seek clarification and assistance.

For the purpose of this document, our definitions are provided in Appendix A.

Recommendations for addressing ethical concerns are provided in Appendix B.

Code of Ethics: Principles and Application Examples

The following Principles and attached examples have been developed based on the stated values of: integrity, competence, equality and acceptance, honor and trust, and privacy, to assist employees in interpreting the COM-FSM Code of Ethics. The applications are not inclusive of every situation; rather, they are intended to provide some examples of the way the Code is applied.


1. Employees must act with integrity in their relationships. They must cooperate and treat others with respect, honesty, and fairness. They must accept the rights of others to hold values and beliefs that differ from their own.

2. Employees must maintain COM-FSM’s Code of Ethics when engaged in any college-related activity. Personal standards and conduct are private matters; however, when employees act as representatives of the College, they must conduct themselves according to the COM-FSM Code of Ethics.

3. Employees must avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting on behalf of the College when they speak or act as private persons.

4. Employees must not condone or participate in breaches of COM-FSM’s Code of Ethics.

Application Examples - Integrity

Visitors to the College must be treated courteously and provided with helpful and accurate information.

Colleagues should maintain polite, professional relations. Shunning, ostracizing and gossip constitute unprofessional behavior.

The COM-FSM Code of Ethics applies to representatives of the College in College-sponsored activities (e.g. the COM-FSM Foundation Day, Cultural Day,).

Employees participating in a political or partisan meeting or demonstration must not promote themselves as representatives of the College.

When promoting a private business, an employee must not use the name of COM-FSM to enhance credibility.

Employees must not use COM-FSM Letterhead other than as part of their assigned college duty. Letterhead must be used only for COM-FSM business.

5. Employees must provide services within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, professional experience, ongoing professional development and licensure.

6. Employees must accurately represent their qualifications, educational backgrounds, experience and professional credentials.

Application Examples - Competence

Employees must refer students to appropriate College resources (e.g. Counseling Services, Financial Aid, Health Services, Learning Resource Center, Student Services, Security).

Employees must maintain currency in their field through continuing education and professional development opportunities, or participation in college sponsored training opportunities.

An employee’s job application and resume must be accurate and not contain misleading information.

7. Employees must allow others to hold fundamental beliefs and differing opinions and protect fundamental human rights prescribed by law.

8. Employees must act to prevent intimidation, harassment, favoritism and discrimination.

Application Examples - Equality and Acceptance

Employees must respect that the opinions and ideas of students and other employees may differ from their own.

Employees must not ignore discrimination in situations where a reasonable person would believe there is an inequity.

Employees must make a reasonable effort to include or welcome all class members in any social activities. An employee may engage in social activities with a class but must not restrict social activities to an individual or a select group of students.

Employees must not collude against other employees or against students.

Employees must make a reasonable effort to create an inclusive environment for all colleagues and students.

9. Employees must take into consideration the potential harm those social or other non-professional contacts and relationships with students, clients, and other employees could have on their objective judgement and professional performance.

10. Employees must not engage in sexual activities with students or colleagues who are currently attending the College, if it would lead a reasonable person to conclude an abuse of power exists or might exist. Employees are sometimes in inherently unequal relationships with students or colleagues, creating the potential for abuse of power.

11. Employees must not allow their private interests, whether personal, financial, or of any other sort, to conflict or appear to conflict with their professional duties and responsibilities. Employees must avoid any conduct that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the individual might be biased or motivated by personal gain or private interest in the performance of duties. All known or potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed, in accordance with College policy.

12. Employees may not take credit for others’ ideas or work, even in cases where the work has not been explicitly protected by copyright or patent.

Application Examples - Honor and Trust

An employee who has a personal relationship with a student must inform his/her supervisor and discuss any potential conflict of interest that may arise. (An instructor’s neighbor in the class, for example.)

Instructors* must not date students who are currently enrolled in COM-FSM.

*Instructors hold a fiduciary relationship with their students. This means that instructors, by the nature of their profession, are given powers to instruct students and pass professional judgement on student performance. These powers are given to the instructor in the trust that instructors interact with students only within the boundaries of professional duty. It is considered a breach of trust for an instructor to interact with students outside the boundaries of professional duty.

An employee must not date or form an intimate relationship with a student with whom they have a professional contact in the course of their duties.

Should an intimate relationship develop between employees in a reporting situation, the employee must inform their supervisors and discuss any potential conflict of interest.

Employees must not financially contract or recruit business for services outside the College with individuals who would normally be able to receive the same service free within COM-FSM.

Employees must not rent accommodation, rent equipment or charge any sort of fee to their current students.

Employees must not use sick time to free themselves for employment elsewhere.

Employees should consider the impact on the College of selling to COM-FSM competitors curriculum and teaching materials, for which the employee holds the copyright.

When an employee uses or reports an innovation or idea from a fellow employee, they must give credit to the originator of the idea.

13. Employees must respect the privacy and confidentiality rights of others with whom they work. Confidential information must be used only for the purposes for which it was originally provided and shared only with authorized parties, on a need to know basis, unless consent is given or required by law.

14. Employees must obtain authorization or permission before using or accessing another person’s material or belongings.

Application Examples - Privacy

Instructors must not discuss confidential student information with another student.

An instructor must only share a student’s work with the class when the student has given permission.

Employees must only discuss the health or conduct of a student or colleague with their permission, or on a need to know basis.

An employee must not access another employee’s space, desk, or materials on other than work-related matters, without asking permission.

An employee must not access a colleague’s personal e-mail or computer files without their permission and knowledge and then only if the reasons for access can be reasonably justified.

Appendix A

Definitions for Code of Ethics

Acceptance - Favorable reception (of persons, things or ideas); approval; assent, belief.

Collude - Have a secret agreement. Conspire, plot, connive; act together in secret.

Competence - Power, ability, capacity (to do, for a task, etc.); legal authority, qualification or admissibility.

Condone - forgive or overlook

Equality - The condition of having the same rights, rank, power, etc., with others.

Ethic - A set of moral principles
- ... the moral principles by which any particular person is guided; the rules of conduct recognized in a particular profession or area of human life.

Fairness - Honesty, impartiality, justice.

Honesty - with upright conduct; without fraud, by honest means; sincerely, fairly, openly.

Honor - High respect, reverence, reputation, good name.

Integrity - Soundness of moral principle; the character of uncorrupted virtue; uprightness, honesty, sincerity.

Intimacy - Closely personal friendship or acquaintance; close familiarity.

Intimate - United by friendship or other personal relationship; familiar, close.

Law - A rule of conduct imposed by a secular authority.

Licensure - the granting of licenses especially to practice a profession.

Personal -of, pertaining to, concerning, or affecting a person as an individual (rather than as a member of a group or of the public).

Policy - A course of action or principle adopted or proposed by a government, party, individual, etc.; any course of action adopted as advantageous or expedient.

Principle - A fundamental truth or proposition on which others depend; a general statement or tenet forming the basis of a system of belief, etc.; chain of reasoning.

Privacy - Freedom from unauthorized intrusion.

Prescribe -

Profession - A vocation, a calling, esp. one requiring advanced knowledge or training in some branch of learning or science.

Proscribe - prohibit, as wrong or dangerous: condemn

Professionalism - The body of qualities or features, as competence, skill, etc. characteristic of a profession or professional.

Reasonable person standard - whether or not a reasonable person in roughly the same position would come to the same conclusion.

Respect - Deferential esteem felt or shown towards a person, thing, or quality; a feeling of deferential esteem; the state of being esteemed or honored.

Therapeutic - A curative agent; a healing influence.

Trust - Faith or confidence in the loyalty, strength, veracity etc., of a person or thing; reliance on the truth of a statement, etc., without examination.

Appendix B

Guidelines for Addressing Ethical Concerns

If a person has reason to believe that an employee of COM-FSM is not acting in accordance with the COM-FSM Code of Ethics, the person must:

Any concerns about an employee’s behavior must be addressed through relevant college policies, Contract or Terms of Employment.

Relevant college policies to consider include:

COM-FSM Personnel and Procedure Manual,Use of Drugs or other Medication and Alcohol Policy Appropriate and Responsible Use of Educational Information Technology Policy Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Policy Suspension and Dismissal of Employees Policy

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