2023-2024 Policy Library 
    Jul 22, 2024  
2023-2024 Policy Library

Institutional Statement of Ethics and Values

Approved By: Board of Trustees

History: lssued: December 5, 2019 Interim Statement; Final Approved October 2, 2020

Applicability: The Institutional Statement of Ethics and Values applies to the all
members of the Claremont McKenna College Community, including:

  • Faculty, staff, and students of Claremont McKenna College;
  • Members of the Board of Trustees;
  • Consultants, contractors, and others, when performing services for the College or
    interacting with members of the CMC Community, acting on behalf of the College,
    or otherwise required under contract to comply with this Institutional Statement; and
  • Alumni, parents, and other friends and third parties who may perform services for
    the College as volunteers or who may otherwise participate in College-sponsored
    events or activities.

All members of the Claremont McKenna College Community seek to uphold and
reflect the values set forth herein in connection with all of the College’s activities
and programs, whether on or off the CMC campus.

Related Policies: Referenced within this Statement.

Additional References: CMC’s Guiding Values, Core
Beliefs, and Mission

Responsible Official: Office of the President


General Questions
Office of the General Counsel: (909) 607-8966

Anonymous Reporting
CMCListens: (800) 461-9330

Introduction and Purpose

All members of the Claremont McKenna College (CMC) community are responsible for sustaining the institution’s highest ethical standards. The College values academic freedom, freedom of expression, and nonpartisanship; diversity, respect, and inclusion; and integrity and fairness. CMC commits to the full application and integration of these values into all of its programs, functions, and operations. In that spirit, this Institutional Statement of Ethics and Values expresses the collective commitment of the CMC community to upholding the highest ethical, professional, and legal standards in the exercise of our respective decisions and actions as we collectively seek to advance CMC’s mission. See, CMC’s Guiding Values, Core Beliefs, and Mission.

Academic Freedom, Freedom of Expression, and Nonpartisanship

Since its founding, the College has emphasized the core values and principles of academic freedom, freedom of expression, diversity of opinion, civil discourse, and has supported these values as an institution through its commitment to institutional nonpartisanship.

These values are core to the reinforcement of a residential learning community in a liberal arts college dedicated to responsible leadership and mutual respect. These commitments are defined by and guaranteed to faculty members, students, and staff through a combination of institutional commitments, policies, shared norms, and deep-seated practices.

Specific policies and other resources in support of these standards and expectations include:

Diversity, Respect, and Inclusion

As an institution of higher education, the value that we place on diversity at Claremont McKenna College - in our student body, in our faculty and staff, and in our curriculum - derives directly from our mission to prepare our students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership in business, government, and the professions. In helping students to acquire the vision, skills, and values they will need to lead in society, we must ensure that they are able to succeed in the current social, cultural, political, and economic context, which is increasingly diverse and global.

Historically, CMC has embraced a broad definition of diversity, one that includes an individual’s background or demographic profile (such as race, ethnicity, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, citizenship, religion, and age), and extends to fostering and engaging a diversity of ideas, experiences, and perspectives.

In support of these diversity goals, the College is firmly committed to providing an academic, residential, and workplace environment in which all members of the CMC Community respect the rights of others, treat each other fairly and with respect, and embrace diversity and inclusion.

As such, CMC prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment prohibited by law. When the College receives reports of potential violations of these protections, the College will take prompt action to respond appropriately, including:

  • To stop any inappropriate conduct, remedy its effects, and prevent its recurrence; and
  • To provide fair and equitable procedures for determining whether inappropriate conduct has occurred and providing recourse for individuals and the community in response to such violations.

Specific policies in support of these standards and expectations include:

Integrity and Fairness

Claremont McKenna College recognizes that it must earn and maintain a reputation for integrity that includes, but is not limited to, compliance with laws and regulations and its contractual obligations. Even the appearance of misconduct or impropriety can be damaging to the College, and all members of the CMC Community are expected to strive at all times to maintain the highest standards of integrity.

Even when the College’s business activities and other conduct of members of the CMC Community members are not governed by specific laws or regulations, our institutional values of fairness, honesty, and respect for the rights of others shall govern our individual and collective conduct.

In addition, each individual is expected to conduct the College’s programs, functions, and operations with the utmost honesty, diligence, and fairness. Each action is accountable to this standard. Unethical practices will not be tolerated as inconsistent with College’s values, regardless of how worthy the goal or common the practice elsewhere.

Compliance with Laws and Policies

As part of the College’s foundational commitments to integrity, honesty, and fairness, all members of the CMC Community are expected to conduct themselves in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, College policies and procedures, best practices as defined by governing professional organizations, relevant policies and procedures of The Claremont Colleges, and, when applicable, rules and regulations from governing bodies for employees who hold certifications or licenses. Moreover, individuals with supervisory responsibilities are responsible for creating a culture of compliance through teaching and overseeing compliance within their respective areas of oversight.

Individuals who have questions pertaining to interpretation or applicability of policy are encouraged to contact their supervisor, the designated individual who has oversight of the policy, the Office of General Counsel, or CMCListens. Please refer to the College’s policy library  for specific policies.

Confidentiality, Privacy, and Information Security

The College places a high value on maintaining appropriate levels of confidentiality and protecting the privacy rights of all members of the CMC Community. As a result, all members of the Community are expected to comply with all applicable rules, laws, and regulations (whether federal, state, local or foreign), contractual obligations, and College policies pertaining to the use, protection and disclosure of information protected by confidentiality or privacy expectations. When disaffiliating from CMC, Community members are expected return all sensitive College data and information unless an exception has been granted in writing.

The College has developed specific policies and other resources in support of these standards and expectations relating to confidentiality, privacy, and information security, which will soon be located on the Colleges’ Policy Library 

Business and Operations: Expectations, Use of College Resources, and Conflicts of Interest

The College places a high value on the utilization of sound and prudent judgment and practices in relation to all of the College’s business and operations.

Thus, the College expects that its resources will be used in support of its operational and business functions and will not be used for personal gain (beyond that which is incidental and reasonable in light of the Community member’s responsibilities on behalf of the College). College resources include, but are not limited to:

  • College systems (e.g., telephone systems, data communication and networking services),
  • The Claremont McKenna College domain for electronic communication forums,
  • The Claremont McKenna College name, logo, and letterhead,
  • Claremont McKenna College equipment (e.g., computers and peripherals, College vehicles),
  • Claremont McKenna College facilities,
  • Procurement tools such as purchasing cards, travel cards and petty cash,
  • Claremont McKenna College records, including, but not limited to, student, faculty, staff, alumni, parent, and donor records, and
  • The time and effort of staff, students and others members of the CMC Community.

Additionally, CMC Community members who are faculty and staff are expected to direct their primary professional commitment to the College and in fulfillment of the College’s mission. A conflict of commitment can arise when a person’s external activities (e.g., consulting agreements, speaking engagements, public service, personal business, etc.) interfere with the person’s responsibilities to the College. A conflict of commitment usually involves issues of time allocation.

Separately, an individual’s outside professional activities, private financial interests, or the receipt of benefits or gifts from third parties can cause an actual or perceived conflict of interest. Accordingly, in order to protect our primary commitment to the College, faculty and staff with other professional or financial interests shall disclose such interests as appropriate and in compliance with the College’s applicable conflict of commitment and conflict of interest policies and, if appropriate, manage such interests in compliance with such policies.

Additionally, relationships between the College and its contractors and vendors shall be free from material risks of bribery or other improper inducements. The College’s Fundraising and Gift Acceptance Policies outline the College’s expectations and procedures related to the solicitation and acceptance of gifts on behalf of the College. Outside of the College’s fundraising activities, CMC Community members should not solicit gifts from a third party, and should not personally accept any offer of a material gift, gratuity or payment, in cash or in kind, from any third party where there is a nexus between such solicitation or offer and the effectuation of a business transaction or other affiliation with the College.

Please see the following policies and resources for more information:

Response to Governmental or Other Investigations

Claremont McKenna College is committed to cooperating with government investigators as required by law. If a member of the Board of Trustees, faculty, or staff member receives a subpoena, search warrant, or other similar document related to their affiliation with the College, before taking any action, the individual should contact the Office of the General Counsel as soon as is reasonably practicable. The Office of the General Counsel is responsible for authorizing the release or copying of any College records or documents in relation to any government investigation.

If a government investigator, agent, or auditor contacts a faculty or staff member regarding a College matter, such individual should contact the appropriate College office before discussing College operations or practices with such investigator, agent, or auditor. If the appropriate office is unknown, the individual should contact the Office of the General Counsel.

Nothing in this provision is intended to, and should not be construed as interfering with any individual’s right or obligation to report any misconduct or illegal activity to any governmental or regulatory body, or otherwise cooperate with any government or regulatory investigation or legal action.

Reporting Questions or Concerns, Including Suspected Violations

All members of the CMC Community are expected and encouraged to report any questions or concerns, including any suspected violations, of applicable standards, policies, laws, or regulations to their supervisor, the appropriate cognizant office, the Office of General Counsel, or through CMCListens. Reporting questions or concerns in good faith is an important service to the College, and does not jeopardize the CMC Community member’s position or employment.

Reports to the College

Members of the CMC Community are expected report suspected violations of applicable laws, regulations, government contract and grant requirements, this Institutional Statement, and College policies and procedures. In general, and where appropriate, the College encourages that reports by students, faculty, and staff members be made initially through standard channels, such as the Dean of Students Office for students, the Dean of Faculty’s Office or the Office of Human Resources for faculty, or an immediate supervisor or the Office of Human Resources for staff. If for any reason it is not appropriate to report suspected violations through these channels (e.g., the suspected violation involves a staff member’s supervisor), or the individual is otherwise uncomfortable in doing so, an individual may also report concerns to the Office of General Counsel, or anonymously through CMCListens by calling (800) 461-9330  or through the anonymous web form.

Every reported concern is treated seriously and reviewed in the appropriate manner.

  1. Cooperation
    • All members of the CMC Community are expected to cooperate fully in the investigation of potential violations of College policy and applicable rules, laws, or regulations.
  2. Non-Retaliation
    • Claremont McKenna College prohibits retaliation against an individual who in good faith reports or provides information about concerns or suspected violations. Retaliation is an adverse action taken because an individual has made a report or has participated in an investigation. An adverse action is any action that materially affects that individual’s standing or terms and conditions of employment. False accusations made with the intent of harming or retaliating against another person may subject the accuser to disciplinary action. 
  3. Consequences of Violation
    • Confirmed violations will result in appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or other relationships with the College. In some circumstances, civil or criminal charges and penalties may apply. 
Reports to Law Enforcement and Outside Agencies

Internal reports are just one method of raising concerns to the College.  Various third-party agencies will also receive reports of concern or wrongdoing.  Many of the College’s departments, policies or webpages have links to the appropriate agencies that receive and respond to reports of concern.  For example, the Civil Rights Policy   provides information about reporting misconduct to law enforcement agencies as well as various state and federal administrative agencies.  The College’s Consumer Information Page  also provides information about filing third party complaints.

If you need assistance determining the correct agency to file a complaint or concern with, the Office of General Counsel will provide you with assistance.  Alternatively, you can submit an anonymous question through CMC Listens and the College will respond with the appropriate agency’s contact information.