Code of Ethics

Dear IUAA Team

Indiana University Alumni Association (IUAA) was formed in 1969 as a not-for-profit corporation to benefit Indiana University. IUAA provides opportunities for alumni and friends to stay connected with their alma mater through communications, programs, and services that foster a lifetime relationship with Indiana University. In order to accomplish this mission, we at the IUAA hold ourselves, our employees, and our representatives to a high ethical standard: to do the right thing, even when doing so elicits challenges.

It is the purpose of this document to provide all of us with guidance in terms of both standards and procedures governing situations where our ethics must be applied. Adherence to this document is a necessary first step toward fulfilling our mission of building an environment that effectively enables us to bring alumni together to serve IU and one another.

It is the intent of IUAA that its programs and operations be conducted in a manner which merits continued public trust and confidence. Unless otherwise stated, the standards, guidelines, and rules contained in this document apply to all members of the Board of Managers, members of the Finance Committee, and employees of IUAA, all of whom are collectively referred to as “IUAA Representatives.” Accordingly, IUAA Representatives are expected to carry out their duties in a manner that inspires and assures the confidence of fellow IUAA Representatives, as well as alumni and friends of the university, and others with whom the IUAA transacts business. It is important that the actions and conduct of all IUAA Representatives in their mission of support for Indiana University be undertaken honestly, fairly, and in a manner which raises no questions of impropriety.

This page indemnifies some of the organizational principles the IUAA and Indiana University hold dear: a commitment to transparency, a determined effort to abide by state and federal law, and a dedication to fairness. We recognize that many ambiguous situations may arise. In some circumstances, an IUAA Representative may find that making the proper decision is difficult. In such instances, the IUAA Representative shall not rely solely on his or her own judgment, but shall seek appropriate guidance from the leadership team or others within the organization.

I appreciate your shared commitment to this document and the values it represents. The ethical operation of any organization is a team effort, one which I sincerely hope you will join me and the rest of the senior leadership — who I charge with maintaining an even higher standard of professional conduct than those guiding principles listed within these pages — of our organization in pursuing.

Most Sincerely,

J Thomas Forbes
Chief Executive Officer
Indiana University Alumni Association

1. Alumni Ethics

IUAA subscribes to, and supports, the following statement of ethics adapted from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. IUAA Representatives are expected to be familiar with, and observe, these standards.

Statement of Ethical principles

  • We, by virtue of our special responsibilities within the academic community, represent our university, schools, and units to the larger society. We have, therefore, a special duty to exemplify the best qualities of our institution and to observe the highest standard of personal and professional conduct.
  • In so doing, we promote the merits of our institution, and of higher education generally, without disparaging other colleges and schools;
  • Our words and actions embody respect for truth, fairness, free inquiry, and the opinions of others;
  • We respect all individuals without regard to race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, geographic region, or creed;
  • We uphold the professional reputation of other people working to serve IU and its alumni, and give credit for ideas, words, or images originated by others;
  • We safeguard privacy rights and confidential information;
  • We do not grant or accept favors for personal gain, nor do we solicit or accept favors for our institution where a higher public interest would be violated;
  • We avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest and, if in doubt, seek guidance from appropriate authorities;
  • We follow both the letter and spirit of laws and regulations affecting our work;
  • We observe these standards and others that apply to our professions, and actively encourage colleagues to join in supporting the highest standard of conduct.

2. Applicable Laws

As a not-for-profit corporation, IUAA operations are regulated by both federal and state laws and regulations. It is a responsibility of the IUAA’s senior management to be aware of these laws and regulations. Those individuals, as well as the rest of our IUAA team, are expected to conduct their activities on behalf of the IUAA within the letter, spirit, and intent of applicable laws.

3. Conflicts of Interest

A conflict of interest arises in any situation in which an IUAA Representative is involved in an activity that could adversely affect his or her judgment with respect to the business of IUAA or otherwise diminish the interest of IUAA. These cases arise when an IUAA Representative has a personal interest (whether financial or otherwise) that could conflict with the stated interests of IUAA or Indiana University, rendering the Representative incapable of impartial judgment. When such a conflict arises, the individual with the conflict is required to disclose in writing the existence of the conflict following the procedures provided for in Section 10, prior to making or participating in any IUAA decision involving the situation in which the conflict of interest exists. It is the goal of IUAA that all such decisions be made absent a conflict of interest and that even the appearance of a conflict of interest be avoided. In order to accomplish this objective, it is essential that all IUAA Representatives disclose any conflict or potential conflict of interest.

Some examples of situations in which a conflict of interest, or the appearance of conflict of interest, may be present include:

  1. Purchasing supplies or equipment from a vendor in which an IUAA Representative has an ownership interest or where a family member of an IUAA Representative might benefit from the transaction.
  2. A directorship or active participation with an organization whose interests compete with those of IUAA or an organization which transacts business with IUAA.
  3. Use of information obtained from the IUAA for personal gain or benefit.

Involvement with IUAA shall not be used as a means for deriving personal gain other than salary, normal fringe benefits, or expenses paid or reimbursed in the usual course of IUAA business.

4. Related Party Transactions

Related parties include all IUAA Representatives. All significant (more than $5,000) related party transactions planned must be disclosed and reviewed by the chair of the Finance Committee prior to the transaction. (See Section 10 for reporting procedures).

Examples of related party transaction include:

  1. Gifts of assets by a related party to the IUAA that require appraisals.
  2. Sales of IUAA assets to a related party.

5. Alumni Trustee Election

Given the close role the IUAA plays in the conduct of the trustee election, the IU Alumni Association must take great care to remain neutral in the election process while encouraging active participation.

This means that IUAA employees and recognized alumni groups — when acting officially on behalf of the IU Alumni Association — must maintain neutrality among the candidates in all of their communications. Employees, Board members, and Financial Committee members should abide by the current policy regarding neutrality within the alumni trustee election.

6. Gifts

IUAA Representatives may find that, as a result of their activities on behalf of IUAA, they may receive or be offered personal gifts, benefits, or services. Generally, such items should not be accepted. However, it is recognized that there are situations where a personal relationship evolves from IUAA business, and it is appropriate for IUAA Representatives to accept certain items in particular circumstances. These may include meals, refreshments, or entertainment; gifts related to events or occasions such as promotions, weddings, birthdays, etc.; and awards or recognition provided by civic, educational, professional, or other similar groups or organizations; and token items. It is important that no such item of more than token value be accepted. Items greater than $100 are considered to have more than token value. Each such situation must be dealt with on an individual basis. Property of greater than nominal value may be deemed to be the property of IUAA or Indiana University. If it might appear that such an item is in return for IUAA business or business dealings, then the offer and/ or tender of the gift shall be disclosed in writing. (See Section 10 for reporting procedures.)

7. Outside Employment and Volunteer Work

Compensated officers and full-time employees of IUAA are expected to devote their attention and abilities to IUAA interests on a full-time basis. Engaging in outside employment or volunteer work may interfere and may create a potential conflict of interest. Outside employment shall be disclosed in advance in writing in the same manner as a conflict of interest. Approval for such activities will normally be granted unless they are not consistent with this Code or the best interest of IUAA.

Employees are encouraged to volunteer their time and expertise. Employees shall exercise good judgment, both in their actions as a volunteer and in the selection of an organization, to avoid a conflict of interest.

IUAA Representatives are encouraged to give speeches or other presentations and write articles dealing with their particular areas of expertise as employees of IUAA. IUAA believes this exposure is a positive benefit both for the individual and for IUAA. However, such activities must be brought to the attention of the individual’s immediate supervisor. It is expected that such activities will not detract from the individual’s duties to IUAA.

IUAA representatives may receive honoraria that are commensurate with the amount of time spent and that are properly reported.

8. Public Affairs

IUAA Representatives are free to participate in any lawful political activity, as they see fit. Such activity must be on the employee’s own time and at his or her own expense.

No Association funds, property, or services may be used to support or oppose any political party or candidate.

No officer or employee may represent or suggest that he or she speaks for the IUAA on, or for, any political campaign.

Employees will follow Indiana University guidelines relative to political activities as set forth in “Policies on Politics and Government” located at

9. Administration

The Board of Managers has responsibility for this Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct. The responsibility for the implementation of this Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct is delegated to the senior management of the IUAA.

10 . Procedure

When an apparent or potential conflict with this policy arises, the individual with the potential conflict is expected to disclose in writing the existence of the conflict to any one of the following individuals: the immediate supervisor, the Director of Talent Management, the Auditor, or the CEO. Reporting such a conflict provides an opportunity for review. Failure, by an employee, to report any conflict may result in discipline and possible termination of employment. Once a disclosure is made by a compensated officer, employee, or agent, as required in this document, it will be reviewed by the senior management of IUAA, and the CEO will report such activity to the Board of Managers as appropriate. In most instances, it is anticipated that the disclosure itself, along with non-participation in any discussions or decision with respect to a conflict of interest, will be sufficient. Each situation will be handled on a confidential basis.

11. Compliance

Representatives are expected to be familiar with this Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct and to comply with the letter and spirit of its provisions. Compensated officers of IUAA also have the responsibility to annually emphasize the Code to all supervised employees to ensure that all employees are aware of their obligations under this document.

Board, Finance Committee members, and senior management will be asked annually to sign a statement that they are aware of, and have complied with, the provisions of this document. Such a statement will include an itemization of any conflict of interest for such officer or agent. Conflicts must be disclosed once incurred. Disclosure shall not be delayed due to the annual acknowledgment process.

Board members, Finance Committee members, and senior management, should fill out the acknowledgment form after reading through the Code of Ethics. Employees need not complete the form if no conflict exists.

Code of Ethics Acknowledgment Form

Approved by the Board of Managers of the Indiana University Alumni Association at their meeting held August 18, 1999.

Revised by the Board of Managers at their October 26, 2012, meeting