The Ramapo College Code of Professional Responsibility applies to all full-time and part-time employees of the College including but not limited to all administrators, faculty, adjuncts, managers and staff employed by Ramapo College (collectively referred to as “employee(s)”, unless otherwise indicated). It consists of a Code of Professional Conduct and the Uniform Ethics Code. The Code of Professional Responsibility establishes standards of conduct the College deems proper and necessary to advance the beneficial ends of the institution and to foster the professional welfare of the College community. It is based upon principles of honesty and integrity. The standards it sets forth intend to foster the integration of these principles into the professional life of the College. Conduct which breaches such standards or violates these principles may be processed under this Code.
The Code of Professional Responsibility is designed to supplement, not replace other College policies. Nothing contained herein shall prevent Ramapo College from addressing violations of this Code administratively through other avenues of redress as it determines appropriate.
Ramapo College remains committed to its anti-discrimination and workplace harassment policies, to preserving the integrity of its personnel procedures and to maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct.
The Code of Professional Responsibility is both a declaration of institutional values and a statement of enforceable standards of conduct. The procedures adopted shall be consistent with existing personnel policies and procedures and shall preserve rights of due process and confidentiality and other rights as provided by policy, contract, or law. It should be further understood that the College is a proper forum for critical inquiry and the free exchange of ideas. Rights of academic freedom and freedom of expression shall be preserved and shall not be abridged in the application of the Code.
I. CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
A. General Provisions
The Ramapo College Code of Professional Conduct provides that:
- All employees of the College are to comply with and abide by all State and Federal laws and regulations.
- All employees of the College are to comply with and abide by the College’s promulgated rules, regulations, policies and procedures.
- All employees of the College are obligated to maintain the highest professional standards such as accountability for knowingly furnishing false information to the College or its staff.
- All employees of the College are to commit no act of forgery, alteration or misuse of College documents, or records, including unauthorized access to Ramapo’s database files.
- All employees of the College are to commit no act of theft, damage or destruction of Ramapo’s or the State’s property.
- All employees of the College are to commit no act of theft, damage or destruction of property of a member of the College community or other person lawfully on Ramapo’s campus.
- All employees of the College are to cause no physical harm to a member of the College community or to any person on Ramapo’s campus.
- All employees of the College are to engage in no activity which obstructs or disrupts teaching, research or the administration of the College, disciplinary procedures, review and appointment procedures, or other College activities. Such prohibition will not extend to protected First Amendment activities.
- All employees of the College are to make no unauthorized commitments or promises purporting to bind Ramapo or any member of the College community.
- All employees of the College are to use the College’s facilities, property and resources for the benefit of the College to further its professional processes.
- All employees of the College are to maintain the confidentiality of personnel or other institutional proceedings where such confidentiality is provided by policy or law.
- As related to one’s duties at Ramapo, all employees of the College are to uphold and abide by the standards of professional associations or licensing bodies that one is a member.
- All employees of the College have a responsibility to represent themselves in a lawful and responsible manner. All such employees shall strive to be objective in their professional judgements of members of the Ramapo community, including colleagues and students, and shall act in a manner that will not prejudice another’s effectiveness.
B. Code Of Professional Conduct Procedures
Any member of the College community, including students, faculty, staff or administrators may, pursuant to the Code of Professional Conduct, use the procedures set out herein to ensure that the standards of professional conduct are upheld. The College reserves the right to take disciplinary action as set forth in the procedures to protect the safety and well being of the community. Furthermore, the College reserves the right to institute its own proceedings against a person who violates State or federal law or any of the College’s policies. Note: Violations of the Code of Professional Conduct are not to be processed under regulations promulgated by the New Jersey Commission on Ethical Standards. However, violations of the Code of Ethics may alternatively be processed under the procedure outlined in this Code of Professional Conduct, subject to the Commissions’ right to review of the penalty imposed.
- An action pursuant to the Code of Professional Responsibility is commenced upon the filing of a Complaint. The Complaint must be filed within forty-five (45) days from when the student, administrator, staff, faculty or adjunct should have had constructive notice of its occurrence.
- The complaint must include:
- The Complainant’s name and address;
- The Accused’s name and address;
- The counsel’s name and address;
- The nature of the Code violation;
- Preliminary facts alleged;
- Names and addresses of proposed witnesses;
- The date of the complaint
- Complaint forms shall be made available in Employee Relations.
- Where allegations are brought against a student employee charging a violation of the Code of Professional Conduct, said Complaint shall comply with sections a and b above, and shall be processed against the student under the Student Code of Conduct, Office of Student Conduct, Student Affairs Division. Complaints charging violations of the Code of Ethics may be processed under Student Code of Conduct, Office of Student Conduct, Student Affairs Division, provided that any penalty imposed must be approved by the New Jersey Commission of Ethical Standards, or before the New Jersey Commission on Ethical Standards as determined appropriate.
- Who can file a complaintMembers of the campus community or the College itself aggrieved by conduct which violates the Code.
- Where the Complaint is to be filedThe Complaint shall be ‘filed’ in Employee Relations (hereinafter ER) on business days between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., or by certified mail. Employee Relations shall date said Complaint on the date received.
- Role of Employee Relations
- Employee Relations shall forward a copy of the Complaint to the Accused within five (5) business days of its filing.
- Employee Relations shall be available to answer questions of the Complainant/Accused regarding options available.
- Employee Relations shall, within a reasonable period of time based upon the complexity of the issue, conduct preliminary fact finding to determine merits of the complaint. ER shall commence its fact finding within five (5) business days of the filing of the Complaint. If the complaint lacks merit Employee Relations will recommend to the President that the claim be dismissed and notify the Complainant and the Accused. The Complainant and the Accused may respond in writing to the ER recommendation within five calendar days of the receipt of the recommendation. Should the claim have merit, Employee Relations will offer an opportunity to the parties to informally resolve the matters at issue.
- Should the matters at issue be so resolved, the parties shall so state in writing and the Complaint dismissed.
- If the parties are unable to resolve issues informally, Employee Relations shall forward the Complaint and any documents or exhibits attached to the Code Hearing Board for fact finding and recommendation.
- Composition of the Code Hearing Board (CHB)
- Organization/Selection of Members:The Code Hearing Board is the forum where complaints are heard and facts found. The CHB will be selected on a yearly basis from among faculty, administrators and staff (classified and unclassified) who volunteer to have their names included on a list to be maintained by Employee Relations. The Director of Employee Relations will work with the leadership of the Faculty Assembly (FA), Ramapo Staff Association (RSA), Minority Faculty and Staff Association (MFSA), CWA, AFT and IFPTE to ensure an adequate number of faculty, administrators and staff to serve on the CHB.
- CHB members are responsible for the following:
- Understanding of the Code of Professional Conduct and sanctions for violating the code.
- Working knowledge of the CHB’s functions and operations.
- Adherence to the format and procedures for the conduct of hearings established by the CHB and administered by the moderators.
- Maintenance of the confidentiality of all complaints, hearings, and actions of the CHB.
- Recommendations for improving the operations and applicability of the Code of Professional Conduct.
- Schedule of Operation:
- The CHB will operate throughout the College year. During the summer/winter session, the CHB shall handle cases brought before it, as appropriate.
- Besides convening for necessary hearings, the CHB will meet publicly at least once a year to review operations and procedures and to prepare an annual report for the President.
- CHB Composition:
- When a faculty member is accused:Three (3) facultyTwo (2) staff
- When a staff member is accused:Three (3) staffTwo (2) facultyMembership on hearing panels is thus weighted to allow the maximum participation of board members from the same constituency as the accused
- Role of the Code Hearing Board (CHB)
- The CHB shall schedule a hearing within twenty-one (21) days of its receipt of the Complaint from Employee Relations.
- The Notice of Hearing shall be forwarded to the parties, with a request to produce any relevant documents at the time of the hearing and to provide the CHB with a list of witnesses.
- The Notice of Hearing shall also include a provision stating that the parties shall be able to resolve the matter any time prior to the hearing. It shall state that the failure of the Complainant to appear at the hearing shall result in summary dismissal of the Complaint.
- Based upon testimony, documentation, and other relevant evidence presented at the hearing, the CHB shall find facts related to the issues in contention, and shall memorialize its findings in writing.
- Based upon its findings of fact, the CHB shall make recommendations to the President either to dismiss the case, or impose a recommended sanction (see Section 10, Sanctions Defined).
- Conduct of Hearings
- The Accused or the Complainant, upon the receipt of the Notice of Hearings from the CHB, may request an extension of the hearing for reasonable cause.
- No recommendations by the CHB for the imposition of sanctions shall be grounded in the failure of the Defendant to answer or to appear at the hearing. In such case, the evidence in support of the charges shall be presented by the Complainant and considered by the CHB at the hearing before any action is recommended.
- No member or alternate member of the CHB shall participate in any case in which such member is a witness, or has a personal interest, of has acted previously in an advisory capacity. A CHB member’s eligibility to participate in a case is subject to challenge by either party prior to the hearing. For reasonable and good cause shown, a CHB member may be disqualified and an alternate appointed, provided that such replacement shall be of the same constituency as the ineligible member.
- The hearing shall be conducted by a moderator, who shall be appointed or elected by and from among the panel members. The moderator’s responsibility shall be to promote and provide for the effective conduct of the hearing.
- Picture taking or filming are prohibited during the hearing. A verbatim record in the form of an audio recording will be produced upon request of either party or at the discretion of the CHB. Audio recordings, other than that produced by the CHB as the official record, shall be prohibited.
- Hearings shall be closed. At the closed hearing, witnesses will be present only for the time necessary to give testimony and to respond to cross-examination.
- The parties shall have the right to present witnesses subject to the right of cross-examination of the other party. The CHB, through its moderator, shall have the discretion to limit the number of witnesses to be heard.
- Members of the CHB may direct questions to any party to the proceedings or to any witnesses called by the parties or by the CHB.
- The hearing panel shall receive and consider oral and documentary evidence. The moderator may exclude irrelevant or unduly repetitious evidence. Witnesses who knowingly furnish false information during a hearing may be charged with a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
- Each complainant and/or accused has the right to be assisted at the hearings by one advisor of their choosing, e.g., attorney, counselor, etc. The role of the advisor is to assist and advise and not to speak in place of the accused or complainant or present their testimony. Further, an advisor may not interfere with the proceedings of the hearing.
- After hearing testimony and receiving pertinent evidence or documents, the CHB will find facts relating to the issues in contention and make a decision within thirty (30) days of the date of the hearing.
- The findings of the CHB and its decision will be forwarded to the President, with notice thereof to the parties.
- Exceptions to the findings and decisions of the CHB shall be made in writing by the parties and directed to the President. Copies shall be served upon the CHB and other parties within ten (10) days from the receipt of CHB’s decision. Replies must be distributed within fourteen 14 days from the CHB’s decision, and in the same manner as the Exceptions.
- Role of the President
- Within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the findings and decisions and any Exceptions and Replies of the Director of Employee Relations or the CHB, the President may:
- adopt or reject the decision of the Director of Employee Relations or CHB;
- accept the findings of the Director of Employee Relations or the CHB and modify the recommended sanction;
- dismiss the case based upon the presented record.
- In all cases, the President may confer with the Director of Employee Relations or the CHB regarding his or her decision.
- The decision of the President may be appealed through other channels, i.e. Collective Bargaining Agreements, and/or to the Board of Trustees according to the Appeal Process that follows.
- Appeal ProcessWithin ten (10) days of the decision of the President, the parties may appeal such decision to the Board of Trustees pursuant to the College’s Rules of Procedures in Controversies and Disputes, under the following circumstances;
- Where the President adopts the decision of the CHB and the enforcement of a sanction, or where the President accepts the findings of the Director of Employee Relations or CHB but modifies the sanction, the Accused may appeal the President’s action;
- Where the President dismisses the case rejecting the recommendation of the CHB, which found a violation of this Code, the Complainant(s) may appeal the President’s action.
- Sanctions Defined
- Warning. Notice to the offender, orally, or in writing, that continuation or repetition of the conduct found wrongful, within a period of time stated in the warning, may be cause for disciplinary action.
- Reprimand. Written notice to the offender for violation of specified regulations, including the possibility of a more severe disciplinary sanction in the event of future judgments that the offender violated any College policies.
- Other Sanctions. The CHB may recommend other sanctions as may be reasonable and appropriate in a particular case up to and including removal.
II. Uniform Ethics Code
A. General Provisions
Ramapo College of New Jersey adopts the Uniform Ethics Code of the State of New Jersey.
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