Clark Atlanta University Learn Lead Change

Representing CAU

Clark Atlanta University
Code of Conduct



Contacts with the Media

The news media will on occasion directly contact a faculty member or administrator for a quote or interview to be included in a story. Faculty members are permitted to give interviews on subjects that are in their area of expertise without getting prior approval from the Office of Marketing and Communication (OMC).

When giving an interview, members of the faculty must identify themselves as a professor and never as a dean or other administrator. Identifying themselves as an administrator may incorrectly imply that they represent the University when they are speaking with a member of the media.

After speaking with the media on a topic within their expertise, faculty must contact the OMC to make them aware of the context and content of the interview. If the OMC staff are aware of the interview, they can look for the article, radio or TV broadcast.

All employees who are contacted by the media about University-related issues must not comment. These calls should be referred to the OMC office.

For more information please refer to the CAU Marketing and Communication policies and procedures document.

Q: What should I do when a reporter calls?

A: Get the reporter's name, media affiliation and phone number. Ask what information he or she needs for the story and his or her deadline. If the reporter's questions are not in your area of expertise, or if he or she is seeking an official statement of University policy or an institutional comment, contact the OMC.

Responses to External Legal, Law Enforcement, Government or Other Outside Inquiries

It is the policy of CAU to cooperate in government investigations of the University and its employees. Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisor immediately if they receive a subpoena, summons or other legal request from any government agency regarding CAU business, whether at home or in the workplace. The General Counsel should be contacted immediately. Questions on possible compliance violations, including those related to government-sponsored research, should be forwarded to the Chief Compliance Officer.

Q: I work on a government-sponsored research project. What do I do if I receive a letter from the sponsoring agency requesting information that requires a formal response from the University?

A: All formal inquiries from sponsoring agencies should be recorded and a copy should be distributed to the Chief Compliance Officer, the Vice President of Finance and Administration and the Provost.

Political Activities and Public Officials

The University values the intellectual exchange of ideas between its faculty, students, staff and politicians and public officials. However, CAU, as a nonprofit institution with tax-exempt status, is subject to many political limitations. For example, neither the University nor anyone on behalf of the University can endorse or fund any political activity or individuals running for public office. Doing so could jeopardize CAU's tax-exempt status. As a result, campaigning on the CAU campus by any politician is strictly forbidden.

An employee engaging in any partisan political activity, meaning the election of a person to a public office, may not use the University's name, stationery, telephone, office, postal privilege, or anything directly under the University auspices that will portray the University in a partisan political position. Any employee who violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action including dismissal.

When a University-related activity requires contact with a political official, whether from the city of Atlanta or on a state or federal level, it should first be cleared through Human Resources.

For more information please see section 2.12.7 of the Faculty Handbook or section 1.11 of the Staff Handbook.

Q: As I was walking to a building on campus, I noticed a sign with a political candidate's name on it in an office window of a CAU employee. Is this against University policy?

A: Yes. The sign could be construed as an endorsement by the University of the candidate named on the sign.

Political Participation and Lobbying

CAU encourages employees to engage in political activity by supporting candidates of their choice, participating in fund-raising and, if consistent with their University duties, seeking and holding elective or appointive office. However, no funds or assets of the University may be used to assist any candidate for political office or for nomination to such office, or for any political parties or committees. These prohibitions cover not only direct contributions but also indirect assistance such as furnishing goods, services or equipment to candidates, political parties or committees.

No CAU employee should engage in any lobbying activity without the prior approval of the President. Under federal law, employees who engage in any lobbying activity with federal government officials are subject to registration and reporting requirements. Activities subject to scrutiny include meetings and communications with government officials, as well as the preparation, planning and research for lobbying. Similar restrictions apply to the lobbying of state and local government officials.

OMB Circular A-21 Section J.28 prohibits the charging of lobbying costs as an expense on sponsored programs.

See Section 1.1.2 of the Staff Handbook for more on Political Participation and Lobbying.

Q: My neighbor is running for city council. Can I bring him to CAU to meet everyone in my office?

A: No. It is not appropriate to advertise any political activity or involve CAU administration in partisan politics.

Contracts and Agreements

Persons authorized to commit the University to contracts of goods and/or contracts for services are limited to the following: the President, Vice Presidents and the Purchasing Manager. Such purchases should be secured by requisition through the Purchasing Department. Commitments include purchases, leases, rentals and contracts.

For more information on contracts and agreements please see the CAU purchasing policies located on the CAU Web site.

Q: A vendor has approached me about using the facilities at CAU. May I sign a contract or agreement on behalf of the University?

A: No. Only those with designated authority can sign such agreements.

Grants and Contract Proposals for External Funding

The submission of a grant or contract proposal for external funding constitutes a formal transaction between CAU and the funding organization or agency. All proposal submissions for government-sponsored grants and contracts must go through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). The ORSP coordinates the proposal review and approval for all government-sponsored grants, contracts and agreements. All proposals sent to foundations or other privately funded organizations must go through the Office of Institutional Advancement.

For more information, please refer to the Policies and Procedures for Government Sponsored Programs document located on the CAU Web-site.

Q: After making a presentation at a professional conference, a representative from XYZ foundation, a private granting agency, requested that I discuss with them the possibility of submitting a proposal in support of my project. How should I move forward with this request?

A: Contact the Office of Institutional Advancement.

Q: A colleague of mine is a Program Officer with a state agency. She encouraged me to send her a proposal for a research project we have been discussing. The deadline is quickly approaching, so I need to send it to her by the end of the week. Can I send her the proposal and copy the ORSP?

A. No. To be eligible for submission, the proposal must pass through the review and approval process coordinated by the ORSP. To expedite the process, inform the ORSP right away of the tight deadlines.

Donations from the University

Donations from CAU can only be made by individuals who have been granted such authority. In most cases, it is inappropriate for any employee to make gifts or donations in the name of CAU, to individuals, groups or organizations.

Q: A member of our department has a serious illness and we'd like to make a donation to an affiliated charitable organization. Can we use University funds for the donation?

A: No, University funds cannot be used in such a way.


As a member of Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), CAU is responsible for compliance with the rules of both the SIAC and the NCAA. Student-athletes are treated in the same way as other students and may not receive any "extra benefit" generally not available to all students. Student-athlete amateurism is strictly enforced.

All prospective student-athletes must be admitted through the Office of Admission and must meet the admission requirements stated in the University's catalog. Student-athletes enrolled in the University will meet all satisfactory academic-progress requirements established by the University and administered by the academic deans. Failure to meet satisfactory academic progress will result in termination of athletics eligibility and athletics-related grant-in-aid. Any employee found to have knowingly violated an NCAA rule is, among other sanctions, subject to termination of his or her employment.

For more information, please see the policies and procedures for the Athletic Department.

Q: I am collecting donations for a silent auction to benefit my church's high school. Can the Athletic Department donate tickets?

A: No. NCAA rules prohibit the Athletic Department from making contributions that may benefit prospective student-athletes in any way, including charitable contributions to high schools and community colleges.