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Ethics & Compliance

As members of the Stanford University community we share a sense of pride in what we stand for, what we’ve accomplished, and what we’ll achieve in the future.  We also share a responsibility to support Stanford’s mission and reputation by holding ourselves and other community members to the highest standards of ethical and lawful conduct in all our academic and business activities.

We all must be aware of and follow the policies, standards, laws and regulations that apply to our activities, report concerns, and work together to resolve them.  We are responsible for our actions and our decisions not to act, and accountable to further the University's mission. 

Stanford’s Seven Elements of Ethics and Compliance Excellence

As members of the Stanford University community, we share a sense of pride in what we stand for, what we have accomplished, and what we will achieve in the future. We are committed to operating with integrity and in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies.  

The following seven elements provide a framework for supporting ethics and compliance within Stanford.

1. Organizational Leadership, Culture, and Governance

Demonstrate a compelling “tone from the top” by instituting effective organizational vision, structure, oversight, communication, and governance. 

2. Standards and Procedures

Establish standards and procedures, policies, and guidelines to promote operational excellence through ethical behavior. Encourage commitment to the University’s Code of Conduct and other University standards and unit guidelines for performance and conduct.

3. Right People, Right Roles 

Hire and empower exceptional personnel. Grant and monitor appropriate authority to enable effective support of our mission. Promote recognition for exceptional work and ensure decision-making authorities are informed and knowledgeable about operations.

4. Education and Awareness 

Communicate expectations of high ethical standards and adherence to policies, procedures, and other aspects of ethics and compliance. Provide training and education consistently, effectively and in a practical manner as appropriate to an individual’s role and responsibilities.

5. Program Evaluation and Guidance 

Monitor and audit periodically to detect unusual results or noncompliant conduct. Establish and promote avenues for individuals to seek guidance or report potential noncompliant conduct without fear of retaliation.  

6. Consistent Enforcement of Standards and Discipline

Promote and consistently enforce standards and discipline throughout the organization. Establish a response to detected offenses and implement corrective action plans. Uniformly enforce standards through appropriate discipline to prevent similar conduct.

7. Response and Prevention

Respond appropriately to noncompliant acts to prevent further instances. Make any necessary improvements to reduce the risk of future noncompliance and perform outreach to re-align organizational culture. 

Have a Concern or Question?

Contact the Ethics and Compliance Helpline
650-721-2667 (Anonymous Web Form)