Preamble

As a matter of fundamental principle The University of Alabama Women and Gender Resource Center (“the center”) Code of Ethics must be integral to our behavior, used to uphold rigorous standards of conduct, and develop responsiveness to public concerns. A code of ethics is, by necessity, general in outlining broad ethical principles; it is not a detailed set of recommended practices on specific issues.

This code of ethics is informed and guided by:

  • Responsiveness to the public good;
  • Respect for the worth and dignity of individuals;
  • Honoring inclusiveness, universal access and social justice;
  • Respect for pluralism and diversity;
  • Modelling transparency, integrity and honesty;
  • Responsible stewardship of resources;
  • Commitment to excellence and to maintaining trust; and
  • Accountability to each other and the public to pursue ethical behavior.

This code of ethics is provided to center employees and volunteers as part of the center orientation and provided for periodic review and revisions as needed. The code is published on the center website for public dissemination and review. The center maintains the expectation that center personnel confront and hold accountable other personnel who exhibit unethical behavior. Any member who believes the center or any of its members has failed to follow the provisions herein may address their concerns to The Women and Gender Resource Center Director, Box 870361, Tuscaloosa, AL, 35487, or (205) 348-5040.

Codes of Ethical Practice

Center Mission, Policies and Procedures

  • The center will have a clearly stated mission with a purpose of pursuit of the public good.
  • Gender-related education, advocacy and support should serve as the guiding framework for center service delivery, partnerships and priorities.
  • All of the center programs and services will be guided by departmental policies and procedures and will support that mission; all who work for or on behalf of the center will understand that mission and purpose.
  • The mission will be responsive to the constituencies and communities served by the center and of value to the society at large.
  • The center will have as a primary goal to address gender inequity and foster a community that values social justice, safety, leadership, mentoring, education, multiculturalism, partnership and research.
  • Center policies will be in writing, clearly articulated, officially adopted and subject to periodic review and revisions as needed.

Personal and Professional Integrity

  • The center will promote a working environment that values respect, fairness, non-exploitation and integrity.
  • The center will be fair and inclusive in its hiring, retention and promotion policies and practices for all staff and volunteer positions.
  • The center will promote inclusiveness and universal access of programs and services to reflect diversity and to enrich its programmatic effectiveness.
  • The center will promote working relationships with staff, volunteers and program and service beneficiaries that are based on mutual respect, fairness and openness.
  • Center personnel will employ ethical decision making in the performance of their duties.
  • All staff members and volunteers of the organization should act with honesty, integrity and openness in their dealings as representatives of the center.
  • Center personnel will recognize and avoid conflicts of interest that could adversely influence their judgment or objectivity and, when unavoidable, recuse themselves from the situation.
  • Center personnel will perform their duties within the scope of their position, training, expertise and competence and make referrals when issues presented exceed the scope of the position.
  • When engaging in individual advocacy work, center staff should empower the individual and support them in making their own decisions.
  • Center staff should clearly articulate the expectations of the advocacy framework under which they and the center operate, including the potential that a client’s agency may result in outcomes that meet their needs but which may be antithetical to the expectations of other individuals or the institutional structure.
  • The center should help constituents to understand the complexities of higher education institutions, including any limitations on center or center staff member activist activities, while still empowering constituents to critically develop, implement and evaluate their own activist agendas. – Center personnel will maintain scholarly integrity, including purchasing or obtaining permission to use copyrighted materials and instruments.References to copyrighted materials and instruments will include appropriate citations.
  • Center personnel will engage in continuing professional development activities to keep abreast of the research, theories, legislation, policies, and developments that affect center programs and services.

Legal Compliance

  • The center policies and procedures will be guided by relevant laws and university regulations.
  • Center personnel must be in compliance with laws, regulations and policies that relate to their respective responsibilities and that pose legal obligations, limitations, risks and liabilities for the institution as a whole.
  • Center personnel will inform users of programs and services of ethical obligations and limitations emanating from codes and laws, or from licensure requirements.

Responsible Resource Stewardship

  • The center will manage funds responsibly and prudently; the center will ensure that all spending, grant-making and fundraising practices and policies are fair, reasonable and appropriate to fulfill the mission of the organization.
  • The center will compensate staff and any others who may receive compensation reasonably and appropriately and will follow guidelines as set by the university and other regulating bodies.
  • The center will prudently draw from our endowment funds consistent with donor intent and to support the public purpose of the center;

Communication

  • The center will use the ideals of openness and transparency with regards to public center communications.
  • The center will honor with the highest regard confidentiality as it applies to direct client services communications and records; center direct client staff team members (i.e. victim advocates, staff therapists, etc.) will serve as a confidential reporting option as it relates to gender-based discrimination, harassment and interpersonal violence unless a legally mandated exception applies.
  • The center will provide comprehensive and timely information to the public and stakeholders and will be responsive in a timely manner to reasonable requests for information per university and other regulating guidelines;
  • Information distributed about the center will honestly reflect the policies and practices of the center.
  • Basic informational data about the center will be posted on the center’s website or otherwise available to the public.
  • Any solicitation materials will accurately represent the center’s policies and practices and reflect the dignity of program beneficiaries.
  • Financial, organizational and program reports will be complete and accurate in all material respects.

Research, Learning Assessment, and Programs and Services Evaluation

  • The center will regularly review center programs and services effectiveness, and have mechanisms to incorporate lessons learned into future program and service development and implementation.
  • The center is committed to improving program and organizational effectiveness and develops mechanisms to promote learning from its activities and the field.
  • The organization is responsive to changes in its fields of activities and is responsive to the needs of its constituencies.
  • The center will adhere to appropriate behavior regarding research and assessment with human participants, confidentiality of research and assessment data, and students’ rights and responsibilities as outlined by the Institutional Review Board and other professional guidelines.

*This code of ethics has been informed by/modeled after: The Code of Ethics for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Organizations, The National Women’s Studies Association Code of Ethics (2006), and the Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) guidelines for Women and Gender Programs and Services (2015). This Statement and Code of Ethics works in conjunction with the University of Alabama Code of Ethics.  To the extent a conflict exists, the University of Alabama Code of Ethics will control over this Statement and Code of Ethics.