The Law in Brief
Arizona state law requires that all state employees receive a public service orientation that covers policies and laws relating to the proper conduct of business for a public employee. This electronic orientation covers issues relating to bribery, conflicts of interest, contracting with the government, disclosure of confidential information, discrimination, nepotism, financial disclosure, gifts and extra compensation, incompatible employment, political activity, public access to records, open meeting laws, conduct after leaving one's position with the government, and misuse of public resources for personal gain.
Within your first 30 days of employment, read the information in this orientation. At the conclusion, print the checklist, verifying that you have completed the session, and deliver it to your department representative for placement in your departmental file.
Public Access to Records and Information
The University of Arizona is governed by Arizona public records law. The purpose of the law is to allow the general public, whose tax dollars support the University, to scrutinize the way we do business. Upon request, inspection of or copies of most records must be provided. Inquiries may be made to the Coordinator for Public Records. More information and a request form are available at arizona.edu/publicrecords. The following two categories of records are not open to the public.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) requires that student records be confidential. If you receive a request for access to records or information, it may be helpful to seek advice from the Coordinator for Public Records on whether to release the information.
There are certain exceptions to FERPA that allow access for
- Certain academic departments based on need
- Public or directory information: name, address, degree program, and telephone number may be disclosed unless the student requests otherwise.
- A parent who provides 50% or more financial support to a child who is a student may have access to the student's records. If the parent provides less than 50% support, the student must authorize access to her/his records.
Custodian of Student Records: Office of the Registrar
Human resources records of employees are private. Arizona Board of Regents Policy 6-912 prohibits the release of personnel records or information except as noted below.
Custodian of Employee Records: Division of Human Resources.
- The release of information contained in campus police reports depends on the nature of incident and status of the investigation.
- Employees and students have the right to access their own files.
For additional information, refer to:
- Arizona Revised Statutes 39-121 (et seq.)
- FERPA Compliance Manual
- Arizona Board of Regents policy 6-912
- Access to/Release of Employee Information
Under University of Arizona policy, discrimination occurs when an individual, or group of individuals, is treated adversely because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. Discrimination of any kind based on these protected classifications, including harassment or retaliation, is prohibited. For the policy and more information, see equity.arizona.edu.
All employees are required to complete the University’s online Preventing Harassment and Discrimination training. Register for the training through your Learner Profile on EDGE.
Reports or complaints of discrimination, including sexual harassment, retaliation, or any other adverse treatment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information, should be made to the University’s Office of Institutional Equity, firstname.lastname@example.org, 520-621-9449, 888 N. Euclid, Room 203, equity.arizona.edu.
Conflicts of Interest
Employees may not hire, evaluate, promote, or influence employment of relatives. Relatives may work together, but a supervisor cannot make key decisions affecting a subordinate who is a relative. Relatives include children, spouses, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and grandchildren. When a potential conflict presents itself, you must:
- Disclose the relationship to your supervisor.
- Refrain from taking action connected with key decisions regarding this person; another employee at the same or a higher level must be appointed to make key decisions.
For additional information, refer to:
Awarding Contracts/Purchasing Decisions
Arizona law lists prohibitive conflicts and requires that you must disclose in writing and refrain from participating in contracts and decisions when a conflict involving a substantial interest exists. A conflict of interest disclosure form is available from Procurement and Contracting Services.
Definition of substantial interest: Any interest that is not a remote interest as defined by law and university policy. Substantial interests generally involve pecuniary or proprietary interests. For example:
- You would have a substantial interest in stock if you own more than 3% of the shares of a company and/or if more than 5% of your income is derived from this interest.
- If you work in the area of scholarships and have a son or daughter applying for a scholarship, you may not serve on the committee that reviews your child's application.
Contracts are subject to cancellation if conflict of interest is determined.
For additional information on conflicts of interest, refer to:
- Arizona State Statutes 38-501 (et seq.)
- Conflict of Interest
- The University's COI Program website
- Research, Innovation & Impact
Policies on Gifts from Vendors
Employees are permitted to accept nominal gifts and/or promotional materials from vendors. Examples of nominal gifts include:
- Occasional lunches, free note pads, pens, etc., are acceptable
- Expensive event tickets, airline tickets, and gifts of office furniture are not nominal and cannot be accepted.
Contracting by the Government
- Purchases exceeding $25,000 and not exceeding $100,000 require an informal competitive solicitation.
- Purchases exceeding $100,000 require a formal sealed competitive solicitation. A set of required specifications is developed and made available to potential bidders with sufficient time for them to bid. Procurement and Contracting Services has established procedures to guide University employees who need to set up these requests for services.
- Only a limited number of people have authority to sign a contract binding the University. A person signing a contract without appropriate authority could be legally held personally responsible for the contract.
- Procurement and Contracting Services establishes procedures which must be followed at all times.
For additional information
Personal Use of University Resources
Personal use of or theft of University property and resources can result in disciplinary action, including termination and criminal prosecution. Departments may have additional policies or practices prohibiting personal use of University equipment. Examples are:
- Use of copy machine
- Long-distance phone charges
- Mail services
- Theft of University property
- Computer use and use or copying of software.
For additional information, refer to the Misuse of University Assets policy
Whistleblowing is protected under Arizona statute as well as Board of Regents policy. Employees may not be disciplined for disclosing information to a public body regarding a violation of law, gross waste of public funds, or abuse of authority.
Employees wishing to report such activity should do so to the University president, provost, vice president, vice provost, dean, or non-academic department head.
For additional information regarding protection from reprisal for making a good faith disclosure of alleged wrongful conduct refer to Arizona Board of Regents policy 6-914
As a University employee, you can lawfully:
- Run for public office.
- Campaign for others on your own time.
- Lobby on your own time, but you must distinguish your interest from that of the public agency; you must represent only your position and not suggest you represent the position of The University of Arizona.
A public employee, except faculty, may not serve in the Legislature without resigning or taking a leave of absence from the public position. Faculty may serve without resigning their position.
For additional information, refer to
Lobbying is defined as attempting to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation. The University of Arizona is required by state law to register its designated public lobbyist and all authorized public lobbyists with the Secretary of State. All lobbying on behalf of the University of Arizona must be coordinated through those individuals. There is an exemption in the law for persons who appear before the Legislature on their own behalf in support of or in opposition to legislation. Such individual lobbying must be conducted on personal time without institutional subsidy or support.
For additional information on lobbying, refer to Arizona Revised Statutes 41-1231 (et seq.)
Open Meeting Laws
Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR)
Meetings of the Arizona Board of Regents are subject to the state's open meeting law. The Board must therefore:
- Post agendas 24 hours in advance.
- Make all decisions and take all actions in the open sessions of meetings. (ABOR may hold closed sessions for certain discussion purposes. No votes or actions can be taken in these sessions, however.)
For additional information refer to Arizona Revised Statutes 38-431 (et seq.)
University meetings are not subject to the open meeting law unless they involve a committee appointed by ABOR or a committee that advises the Board.
By tradition, Faculty Senate meetings are open to the public. Meetings in which discussion occurs regarding individual students' educational information, individual personnel matters, and other topics that are confidential in nature must be conducted in closed meetings.
Each university has its own internal rules regarding outside employment. In general, employees may work elsewhere as long as their outside employment does not interfere with their positions at the University of Arizona.
Exception: Full-time appointed personnel of the University may not be simultaneously employed as faculty members, professional staff, or administrators at any other postsecondary educational institution. This restriction does not preclude brief consulting or research efforts that are conducted in accordance with the provisions stated in Consulting or Other Outside Employment.
- You may not make use of confidential information gained in your position at the University.
- There are restrictions on representing another entity before ABOR.
For additional information, refer to Arizona Board of Regents policy 6-705.
Division of Human Resources
Office of the General Counsel
Procurement and Contracting Services
Office of Institutional Equity
This concludes the Arizona Public Service Orientation. Thank you for your participation!