It is essential that the professional duties, responsibilities, and work activity conducted by the employees of Illinois State University incorporate consistent ethical standards and reflect the commitment to secure and maintain a high degree of public trust. Employees must also comply with the gift ban requirements of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (“SOEEA”) (5 ILCS 430/10-10, et seq.).
University employees are to avoid undue influence in the performance of their duties. This includes decisions made with regard to purchasing goods, commodities or services, awarding contracts, and selecting vendors and contractors. This would also include decisions made with regard to admissions, academic programs, and the awarding of grants and scholarships.
University employees may not accept or solicit any gift of any kind (except as otherwise provided within the Act) from any person or entity who: (1) is seeking official action by the employee or University, (2) does business or seeks to do business with the University, (3) conducts activities regulated by the University, (4) has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of the employee or university, or (5) is registered or required to be registered with the Secretary of State under the Lobbyist Registration Act.
This gift ban also applies to and includes the spouse of and immediate family living with the employee.
If an employee receives a gift from one of the sources indicated above, he/she should return the gift to the giver, give the gift to a 501(c)(3) charity, or give an amount of equal value to a 501(c)(3) charity, in order to avoid a violation of the gift ban.
The Act provides for only the following specific exceptions to this ban on gifts:
- Opportunities, benefits and services available to the general public on the same terms and conditions
- Anything for which the employee paid market value
- A lawful contribution under the Election Code or the SOEEA, or activities associated with a fundraising event in support of a political organization or candidate
- Educational materials and missions
- Travel expenses for a meeting to discuss state business
- A gift from a relative
- Anything provided on the basis of personal friendship (unless the gift was provided because of the state employment of the employee and not because of the friendship)
- Food or drink that does not exceed $75 per person per calendar day; provided that the food or drinks are (a) consumed on the premises from which they were purchased or prepared, or (b) catered
- Food, drink, lodging, transportation or other benefits related to outside business or employment activities of the employee, if the benefits are customarily provided to others in similar circumstances, and the benefit has not been offered or enhanced because of the employee’s state employment
- Intra-governmental or inter-governmental gifts (i.e. gifts between university or government employees)
- Bequests, inheritances, and other transfers at death
- Any item or items from any one prohibited source as outlined above during any calendar year that has a cumulative total of less than $100.00
The Act also provides for the appointment of an Ethics Officer to provide guidance in the interpretation of the Act. The Director of Internal Audit has been designated as the University’s Ethics Officer and employees are encouraged to contact the the Ethics Officer with questions concerning the acceptability of a gift or service.
The University Ethics Office is located in Hovey Hall room 207 and the phone number is (309) 438-2339.