Abilene Christian University Employee Handbook

Main Content

Employment

Policy No. 010
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: October 1995
Reviewed Date: January 2021
Date of Scheduled Review: 
January 2025

DEFINITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT STATUS

PURPOSE
To help provide uniformity and equity in applying personnel policies and benefits.

SCOPE
These definitions apply to all staff employees. Faculty definitions are found in the Faculty Handbook.

PROCEDURE (OR PROCESS)
The University maintains standard definitions of employment status and classifies employees for purposes of personnel administration and related payroll transactions according to the following definitions:

  • Staff – Employees who hold executive, exempt or non-exempt positions.
  • Exempt – Employees whose positions meet specific tests established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and who are exempt from overtime pay requirements (See Policy No. 110. Exempt/Non-Exempt Employee Status).
  • Non-Exempt – Employees whose positions do not meet FLSA exemption tests and who are paid a multiple of their regular rate of pay for overtime.
  • Full-Time – Employees scheduled to work 40 hours or more per week.
  • Reduced Full-Time – Employees scheduled to work 32 – 38 hours per week.
  • Half-Time – Employees scheduled to work 20-29 hours per week.
  • Part-Time – Employees scheduled to work less than 18.5 hours per week.
  • Orientation Period Employee – New employees with less than 90 days of service.
  • Temporary – Employees who are hired for a pre-established period, usually during peak workloads or for vacation relief. They may work a part-time schedule of up to 29 hours per week. They are also limited to working only 22 weeks, or no more than 1,000 hours, whichever occurs first. They are ineligible for university benefits and holiday pay.
  • Student Employees – Individuals whose employment is incidental to their status as full-time students at the university. Individuals who have been admitted to the university, are enrolled at least half-time during an academic year as an undergraduate or a graduate student, and are simultaneously employed. A half load is defined as 6 hours for undergraduate studies and 3 hours for graduate studies. Employees on student payroll are limited to no more than 25 hours per week. (See Policy No. 011 Student Employee Policy).
  • Contract Labor – A contractor is hired for services and work is not generally considered to be a part of an ACU employee’s regular work assignment. To qualify as contract labor, in accordance with IRS & DOL guidelines, the following conditions are to be considered to determine if a contract labor relationship exists:
    • Contractor stands to lose if the job is not complete according to agreement and would have to redo the work for no additional compensation.
    • Contractor is paid by the job contract, not on a routine basis such as hourly, weekly or monthly.
    • University has no right to change the methods used by a contractor or to direct, supervise or control the performance of a contractor as to how to do his work.
    • Contractor sets own schedule as to hours worked and sequence of work.
    • Contractor is free to work for other entities and to offer service to the general public.
    • Contractor is not required to be involved with training by the university.
    • Contractor’s work is not required to be full-time, be a continuing relationship, be integrated into the university’s business, or require hiring, supervising, or paying university assistants.
    • Contractor is not required to perform work on premises or to submit regular written or oral reports.
    • Contractor has significant investments in facilities of the contractor’s business.
    • Contractor cannot be discharged if producing results of contract.
    • Contractor cannot be discharged without the university incurring liability.

To determine if the worker is an employee or independent contractor please complete the following Employee vs. Independent Contractor form and the Office of Human Resources will provide a determination for you.

Policy No. 011  
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: May 2000
Review/Updated Date:
 October 2015
Date of Scheduled Review: October 2019

STUDENT EMPLOYEE POLICY

I.   PURPOSE
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines and definitions in order for supervisors to remain in compliance with federal regulations and agencies, and ACU policy.

II.   SCOPE
The policy applies to all students who are working for ACU while attending school at ACU.

III.   DEFINITIONS
Student Employee

A student employee is defined as an ACU student who is taking at least a half-time course load. Student employees are also defined as individuals whose employment is incidental to their status of at least half-time students at the university—in other words, individuals who have been admitted to the university, who take at least half-time coursework during each semester, and are simultaneously employed. Effective September 1, 2015, a new maximum expected hour policy will take effect for ALL student employment positions. Student employment positions cannot include duty expectations greater than a maximum of 25 hours per week. Student employees (excluding Resident Assistants & Graduate Assistants) may hold more than one student position on campus; however they may not work more than a total of 25 hours per week for all positions. There are no exceptions for summer or holiday periods.  

Graduate Assistant
A Graduate Assistant is a student who is employed by the department they are getting their degree in and is simultaneously enrolled in at least a half-time course load in graduate studies. Graduate Assistants are not considered employees of the university under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The primary purpose as a Graduate Assistant is to perform research in connection with the degree program(s), performing work as part of training, or serving in various teaching capacities either as a requirement of the degree program or as a consequence of being enrolled as a graduate student at ACU. Written GA agreements must include hourly expectations on a weekly basis at or below 25 hours a week. Human Resources must approve all GA agreements. GA’s are not eligible to have any other employment position at the university while being appointed as a GA.

Resident Assistant
A resident assistant is a student serving in a residence hall who participates in a bona fide educational program and receives remuneration in the form of free board and a monthly stipend. Resident Assistants are responsible for community development in their hall, including taking care of the social, physical and spiritual needs of their residents. Resident Assistants are not considered employees of the university under the FLSA. RA agreements cannot include duty expectations greater than 25 hours per week.

Interns
Interns are not considered employees of the university under the FLSA. Interns may serve in a volunteer capacity or may receive stipends for reimbursement of living expenses through Accounts Payable. The U.S. Dept. of Labor utilizes strict guidelines to determine internship status. To be considered an intern, the following criteria must be met:
1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment.
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern.
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff.
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
In addition to the above criteria, an internship agreement that has been approved by the Office of General Counsel must be signed by the intern, and then sent to Human Resources for final approval attached with an Internship Payment Request.

Half-Time Course Load
A half-time course load is defined as 6 hours for undergraduate and 4.5 hours for graduate studies during Spring and Fall terms and 3 hours during Summer terms.

Overtime
Overtime is defined as work in excess of 40 hours per week.

IV.   POLICY
Students should work no more than 25 hours per week. This includes all ACU jobs. If a student has more than one position, the cumulative hours should be no more than 25 hours per week.

Texas Pay Day Law requires that nonexempt employees must be paid at least semi-monthly. The student PAF is the appropriate form to use to hire a regular student employee and must be submitted on time in order to pay the student on time.

Employment with ACU is “at will”, which means that either the student or ACU may terminate the relationship at any time.

V.   Taxes on Student Earnings
Students who are employed by ACU are exempt from paying Social Security taxes if they are enrolled and attending classes at a minimum of half-time hours. (For international students, see Section VIII.) This exemption also applies to employment that continues during school breaks of 5 weeks or less. Any break in status that lasts 5 weeks or more discontinues the Social Security exemption. (See Section VI.) Please visit the IRS website for more information on the FICA exemption.

If an international student holds a F-1, J-1, M-1 or Q-1 Visa and is classified as a non-resident alien, he/she is exempt from paying Social Security taxes. (See Section VIII for additional information concerning employment of international students).

VI.   Summer Terms
During the summer if a student is not enrolled in classes but is working on campus, the semester term is less than 5 weeks, and the student is enrolled in the appropriate number of hours for the term before and after the employment, the exemption from Social Security remains. If the term is more than 5 weeks the exemption is discontinued.

Student work during the summer is limited to no more than 25 cumulative hours per week.

VII.   Last Semester Enrolled
If a student is enrolled in his/her last semester, and will graduate at the end of the semester, an exception will be made to being enrolled at least half-time in order to be classified as a student employee. For example, if the student only needs 3 more hours to graduate, the student may work during the last semester and receive the Social Security exemption. The exemption applies for only one semester.

VIII.   International Students
Federal regulations require that an international student must be enrolled in 12 undergraduate hours or 9 graduate hours to be eligible to work at ACU. The international student does not have to be enrolled in Summer terms to work for ACU during the summer, but must be enrolled in the appropriate hours during the long semesters (Spring or Fall) immediately prior to work.

In accordance with federal regulations, international students can work up to 20 hours per week during Fall and Spring semesters. International students are eligible to work 25 hours per week when school is not in session or during the annual vacation (for example, during the summer break).

IX.   Nepotism
ACU’s policy for employment of relatives is the same for student employees as it is for faculty and staff. To help prevent problems of supervision, business-related conflicts of interest, improper influence, and favor or consideration, as it relates to employment, relatives are not allowed to be employed in the same department (please refer to Policy No. 022 in the ACU Employee Handbook).

X.   Benefits
Student employees are not eligible to receive employee benefits. If students are working more than 25 hours a week and ACU is required to offer health insurance, a fee of 30% of the student’s annual salary will be charged to the Department. If the student is working more than one job, the fee will be divided evenly among the hiring departments. HR will monitor hourly employees on an ongoing basis to determine compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Policy No. 020
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: April 1997
Reviewed Date: September 2019
Date of Scheduled Review: September 2023

RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION

PURPOSE
To establish the authority and responsibility of university personnel in recruitment and selection of employees; to maximize university resources.

SCOPE
This policy applies to the recruitment and selection of faculty and staff.

POLICY
When a personnel vacancy occurs, the appropriate supervisor and Human Resources will conduct a joint recruiting and selection program designed to identify the most qualified individual for the position, starting with those from within the university.

Please visit the Hiring Manager Resources page on the Human Resources website for tools to assist in recruiting and selecting applicants for positions. See Policy No. 621 for information about Job Posting.

Policy No. 020.1  
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: February 2008
Reviewed/Updated Date: January 2022
Date of Scheduled Review: January 2025

BACKGROUND CHECKs AND SELF-REPORTING

PURPOSE

To maintain a safe and secure campus environment and protect the university’s financial and physical assets by establishing a formal process for screening, background checks and self-reporting.

SCOPE

This policy applies to any individual engaged in a security-sensitive position (as defined in Section III(A) below) at ACU beginning on or after the date of this policy, including staff, faculty (including adjunct faculty), volunteers, graduate assistants, student employees, or interns (paid or unpaid). This policy does not apply to certain academic clinics or students hosting visiting high school students (as defined below).

DEFINITIONS

  • Security-sensitive positions include all newly hired staff and faculty (including adjuncts), regardless of their specific responsibilities, and any new students, volunteers, graduate assistants, student employees, or interns with the following responsibilities:
    • Responsibility for Minors – Position with the possibility of care, supervision, guidance, control of minors or routine interaction with minors (e.g., camp counselors, Treadaway Kids volunteers). “The possibility of care, supervision, guidance, control of minors” means having any potential interaction that is not supervised at all times by the minor’s adult relative or guardian. A minor is a person under age 18 who is not enrolled or accepted for enrollment at ACU. Students considered to be “dually enrolled” in ACU programs while also enrolled in high school are not considered minors in this policy unless such enrollment includes overnight housing in University facilities; 
    • Access to Facilities – Master key access to all or several rooms or offices within a campus residence or university building, including other off-site facilities (e.g., Resident Assistants);
    • As Defined – Other positions as defined by certain departments or offices (in consultation with Human Resources) that may have a job-related need for background checks.
  • Certain Academic Clinics means academic clinics and programs like those in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Curriculum and Instruction, Psychology, and Marriage and Family Therapy.  Those clinics and programs will establish specific requirements and applicable procedures regarding screening, background checks and self-reporting for their faculty and students in security-sensitive positions in keeping with all applicable licensing and accreditation requirements. (If no such standards exist, the department should consider this policy and other best practices in the field.) The results of a department’s background check and self-reporting requirements may serve as the basis for barring a student from admission to a department, completing a specialized program, or participating in a departmental clinic. Before implementation and upon revision, the Chair of each appropriate department will review its departmental procedures with the Office of General Counsel.
  • Students Hosting Visiting High School Students means an ACU student hosting a high school student, including prospective athletes, participating in pre-enrollment visitation.
  • Criminal Convictions include all felony and misdemeanor convictions, guilty pleas, pleas of no contest or nolo contendere, and acceptance of deferred adjudication.  The term does not include criminal convictions related to minor traffic violations unless the relevant position requires the operation of a motor vehicle.  
  • Tickets and Arrests include any felony or misdemeanor tickets or arrests but do not include tickets or arrests related to minor traffic violations unless the relevant position requires the operation of a motor vehicle.  
  • Background Check may include, but is not limited to, information regarding the applicant’s or employee’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and mode of living discerned through employment and education verifications, including all information provided on resumes and applications for employment; personal references and interviews; driving history, including any traffic citations; workers’ compensation records after a conditional job offer has been extended and to the extent permitted by law; a social security number trace; present and former addresses; criminal and civil history/records; and any other public record.  

In determining whether or not the convictions “bear a significant relationship to the applicant’s suitability,” the following factors may be considered: 

  1. How serious was the misconduct?  
  2. When did the misconduct occur?
  3. Is there any pattern of repeat misconduct? 
  4. Did the applicant self-report the misconduct and adequately address any questions raised by the misconduct? 
  5. Does the combination of the applicant’s potential duties and the prior convictions create a foreseeable risk that certain criminal conduct could arise? 
  6. Does the misconduct reflect poorly on the image or reputation of the university?

POLICY

Pre-Screening

Applications and Pre-Employment Self-Reporting: All applicants for security-sensitive positions must complete a written application, which should include questions about prior convictions, pending charges, allegations involving minors, and the need to self-report. Candidates may be removed from consideration or, once in place, may be terminated or removed if it is later determined that they failed to self-report.  

Faculty, Staff, and Student Workers: For staff, faculty, and student workers, this application will be part of the online application.  The Office of Human Resources, in consultation with the hiring/responsible department, the Office of Human Resources will decide whether any reported convictions or pending charges bear a significant relationship to a candidate’s suitability to perform the required duties of the position. Departments hiring large numbers of student workers in security-sensitive positions at one time, such as Residence Life and ACU Camps, should submit a background check request to the Office of Human Resources. The background checks will be conducted via an outside firm selected by the Office of Human Resources.

Others: For all other positions, each department, organization or office engaging individuals in security-sensitive positions will develop an application form, which should include questions about prior convictions, pending charges, relevant experience, and the need to self-report. The department or office overseeing the work, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, will decide whether any reported convictions or pending charges bear a significant relationship to the volunteer’s suitability to perform the required duties of the position.

Face-to-Face Interviews

All applicants must take part in a face-to-face interview conducted by the relevant administrator or designated official or panel.  This may be done over electronic means when necessary (e.g., Zoom, Google Hangouts ).  

Background Checks 

Types of Checks: Background checks are an important and necessary tool in selecting individuals for security-sensitive positions.  Therefore, any offer of such a position will be contingent upon the candidate consenting to a background check, which will include the following: 

Personal and professional reference checks (including past work with children, if applicable); Sex offender registries checks (for each state of residence); Criminal records check; Residence history for the past seven years; and  Social security number trace.

Other positions as defined by certain departments or offices may have a job-related need for additional background checks (e.g., ACUPD, ACU drivers or CDL holders). If candidates refuse to authorize such checks, they cannot be considered for the position. (The procedures regarding background checks are outlined in Section V.)

Checks Following Absence: a background check is not required each time a student leaves campus for school break or the holidays. Each time a volunteer stops volunteering, as long as they return to the same security-sensitive position or one that is similar.  However, a new check is required if applying for a different security-sensitive position.  Moreover, faculty or staff returning to employment at the university after leaving its employ must undergo a new check.

Credential Checks: Upon the conditional offer, the responsible/hiring administrator will verify all educational credentials and professional licenses (if applicable).  Falsification of such is ground for withdrawal of the offer.  

Post-Screening

Self-Reporting

Once in a security-sensitive position, individuals must disclose to the Office of Human Resources (for faculty, staff, and student workers) or the responsible department (for all other positions) any and all felony or misdemeanor arrests or convictions that occur after the date of hire.   Failure to self-report any arrest or conviction is a terminable offense. This does not include minor traffic offenses (Class C) unless the individual is a Routine Driver under the ACU Driver’s Policy.

Upon receiving such a report, the Office of Human Resources or responsible department, in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, will determine whether the conviction or arrest bears a significant relationship to the employee’s suitability to continue to perform the position’s required duties.  If it is determined that the employee is no longer suitable, the employee will be terminated or removed from the position. 

While an arrest without conviction will not typically constitute valid grounds for terminating employment, an arrest may result in termination if the arrest bears a significant relationship to the employee’s suitability to continue to perform the required duties of the position. If it is determined that the employee is suitable or it is unclear whether the employee is still suitable, the employee may be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the arrest.

Additional Background Checks

The university reserves the right to require any individual in a security-sensitive position to consent to a background check as a condition of continued work.  The university also reserves the right to conduct additional background checks on an individual who has previously consented. The Office of Human Resources or responsible department, in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, will decide if and when such a check is necessary, ensure that the university complies with all applicable laws related to the additional check, and after receiving the report, will decide whether the results of the check bear a significant relationship to the employee’s suitability to continue to perform the required duties of the position. 

Current Employees

A background check will be conducted on current employees when they are under final consideration for another position within the University.

Youth Camps 

The following provisions apply to all youth camps operated by, on the property of, or in the facilities of the University. 

Operators of youth camps must ensure all employees who will work at the camp and all volunteers who will regularly be at the camp undergo a criminal background check conducted each year. The background check must be completed before permitting an individual to work, volunteer, or observe. Volunteers who are not subject to a background check must not have unsupervised access to campers. 

Each camp operator must coordinator annually with the Office of Human Resources on the process of obtaining background checks. 

Notice to Candidate that Position is Security-Sensitive

All security-sensitive positions must be identified in any job description and advertisement for the position.

Use of Information 

Information obtained through background check reports or self-reporting will be used only to evaluate applicants for work in security-sensitive positions. It will in no way be used to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.  

PROCEDURE FOR BACKGROUND CHECKS

Notice and Consent  

A security-sensitive position will be contingent upon the candidate consenting to a background check. If the candidate is willing to authorize the check, upon receiving a verbal offer, the candidate will receive an email invitation from Abilene Christian University to fill out the background check questionnaire. The candidate will complete a Disclosure and Authorization form via an outside firm selected by the Office of Human Resources. The responsible/hiring department will notify the Office of Human Resources of the potential new hire via PageUp (for faculty, staff and student positions) or Background Check Request Form (for all other positions including, but not limited to, volunteer interns). If a candidate refuses to authorize the check, they cannot be considered for the position.

Conducting the Check 

Once the candidate authorizes the check, an outside firm selected by the Office of Human Resources will conduct the check in compliance with applicable federal and state regulations and provide the results to the Office of Human Resources for staff, faculty, and student employees. For departments hiring large numbers of student workers in security-sensitive positions at one time (such as Residence Life and ACU Camps) and for all other positions, the responsible department will submit a background check request to the Office of Human Resources. The background checks will be conducted via an outside firm selected by the Office of Human Resources.

Reviewing Results 

After receiving the results of the check, the Office of Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) or the responsible department (for all other positions), in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, will decide if the candidate should be precluded from consideration.  If it is determined that the candidate should not be precluded from consideration, the Office of Human Resources will inform the hiring department that it can proceed with offering the position.

  1. On those occasions when it is determined that the results of the check should preclude the candidate from consideration, the Office of Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) or responsible department (for all other positions) must first provide the candidate with an opportunity to review and dispute any inaccurate or incomplete information in the results.  Specifically, they will provide the candidate with a copy of the results and a copy of a summary of the candidate’s rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and notify the candidate that they have five business days to contact them and conclusively demonstrate the inaccuracy of the information, after which time they will make a final determination regarding the candidate’s suitability.  Disputing the results may not necessarily impact the final determination.    
  2. If it is finally determined that results of the check should preclude the candidate from consideration, the Office of Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) or responsible department (for all other positions) must notify the candidate in writing that they are no longer being considered for the position based in whole or in part on information contained in the results. Additionally, the notice must include the following:
    1. The name, address, and telephone number of the reporting agency that provided the results;
      A statement that the reporting agency did not make the decision to remove the candidate from consideration and is not able to explain why the decision was made; and
      A statement setting forth the candidate’s right to obtain a free disclosure of the results from the reporting agency if a request is made within sixty (60) days and to dispute any part of the results with the reporting agency.

Maintaining and Destroying Background Check Information 

The Office of Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) and the responsible departments (for all other positions) will serve as the office of record for background check information. Specifically, they will maintain a log of all background checks and separate locked and confidential files containing the background check consent forms and background check results.  The log will include the following: name, department, position title, hiring official, date of the consent form, date of background check, and date of hire.  University personnel are strictly prohibited from the unauthorized use or disclosure of the background check information to any third party except as required by law. 

Background check results should be destroyed 180 days after receipt, but the log of background checks should be maintained by HR or by the responsible department for a minimum of 20 years (due to applicable statutes of limitations).  

 

Appendix A

BACKGROUND CHECK GUIDELINES 

Registered Sex Offender Check:

  • Go to the Texas DPS website at https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/DpsWebsite/Index.aspx
  • Search by name for counselor/volunteer’s first and last name. If a name does come up, make sure it is the correct person applying. If someone does register, inform Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) and the responsible program director (for all other positions).
  • Create or update a background check log as specified in Section V(D)(1) of the Background Check Policy.  
  • If a counselor/volunteer comes from another state, go to that state’s Department of Safety, find the Sexual Predator (offender) Records, and proceed.

Criminal Background Check:

  • Go to the Texas DPS website at https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/DpsWebsite/CriminalHistory 
  • Set up an account with user i.d. and password.
  • Purchase “credits” to be used for each search. (Ex. – $3.07/per for 300)
  • Search “Criminal History Conviction Search” by first/last name and birthdate.
  • If a name does come up, make sure it is the correct person applying. If the applicant does have a criminal history, inform Human Resources (for staff, faculty, and student employees) and the responsible program director (for all other positions). 
  • Create or update a background check log as specified in Section V(D)(1) of the Background Check Policy.
  • If a counselor/volunteer comes from another state, go to that state’s Department of Safety, find the Criminal Background Records, and proceed.

Policy No. 021
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: April 1997
Reviwed/Updated Date: March 2022
Date of Scheduled Review:
 March 2026

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY

PURPOSE
To preserve a work environment that is free from unlawful discrimination. Abilene Christian University’s policy is to ensure that persons who apply for employment and persons who are employed are treated in a nondiscriminatory manner in matters of gender, race, age, color, national origin, veteran status, genetic information or disability in employment or the provision of services, in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all faculty and staff of the university. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

POLICY
Abilene Christian University affords equal employment opportunity (EEO) and does not engage in unlawful discrimination on the basis of gender, race, age, color, national origin, veteran status, genetic information or disability in employment or the provision of services, in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws. Abilene Christian University is exempt from compliance with some provisions of certain civil rights laws, including some provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The university is also exempt from the prohibition against religious discrimination of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and it shall not be in violation of the equal opportunity clause required by Executive Order 11246 for ACU to establish a hiring preference for applicants who are members of the Churches of Christ.

  1. ACU encourages applicants for employment or employees with a complaint regarding discrimination to report the offense to the director of Human Resources or the general counsel of the university. If a supervisor should receive a complaint of discrimination, he or she shall first consult the director of Human Resources or the general counsel of the university. Retaliation for
    making a good faith report is prohibited.
  2. The director of Human Resources and the general counsel of the university will investigate all complaints of discrimination and make recommendations to the appropriate vice president for appropriate action.
  3. All advertising for employment will indicate that the university is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. No preferences will be shown for men and women in advertisements unless a bona fide occupational qualification is applicable.
  4. Periodic surveys of the workforce will be conducted for the purpose of determining the makeup of the workforce with regard to minority groups and by gender and such other categories as may be helpful in the advancement of nondiscrimination.
  5. Unless gender is a bona fide occupational qualification, women will be given equal opportunity and promotion, and the director of Human Resources shall have the designated responsibility of monitoring endeavors consistent with this policy.
  6. It shall be the duty of the director of Human Resources to monitor employment practices and report to the general counsel of the university, and any other appropriate vice president, any questions that are specifically relevant to the university’s position as a private church-related institution.

Policy No. 022
Responsible Department:
 Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: April 1997
Reviewed/Updated Date: January 2021
Date of Scheduled Review: January 2025

EMPLOYMENT OF RELATIVES POLICY

PURPOSE

To help prevent problems of supervision, business-related conflicts of interest, improper influence, favor or consideration as it relates to the employment of relatives.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all faculty, staff, student employees, temporary workers and volunteers (including children of faculty and staff), hereinafter referred to as “employees.”

DEFINITIONS

  1. “Immediate relative” includes an employee’s spouse, child, step-child, parent, step-parent or guardian, sibling or step-sibling.
  2. “Extended relative” includes an employee’s grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew (or the spouse, child or grandchild of any of these) of either the employee or the employee’s spouse, and any other related person or non-related person who is part of the employee’s household. This includes roommates.

POLICY

  1. The basic criteria for hiring and promotion of all faculty and staff are appropriate qualifications and performance. Relationship to another individual employed by ACU will not constitute an advantage for appointment, promotion, retention, salary or leave of absence granted by the university.
  2. Employees will not supervise or be supervised by either an immediate or extended relative, as defined in the “Definitions” section above.
  3. No employee should either initiate or participate in institutional decisions involving a benefit to his or her immediate or extended relatives (e.g., initial appointment, retention, promotion, salary, leave of absence, etc.)
  4. Employees will not be permitted to work in the same department with immediate relatives, as defined in the “Definitions” section above. However, it is permissible for a student to work in the same department as an immediate relative for the purpose of completing requirements for a given field of study, provided the faculty or staff member notifies his or her department chair/supervisor. Immediate relatives who are currently employed in the same department, as of the date of amendment of this policy, will be exempt from this stipulation.
  5. Relatives will not be placed in positions where there is an actual or apparent conflict of interest, or where interaction or potential interaction between them is deemed to be against the best interest of the university.
  6. If a violation of this policy results because employees become related after employment or if because a departmental or divisional reorganization causes employees in the same department to be related to one another, the university will typically give the relatives reasonable time to decide which employee will terminate employment or transfer to another department. If the related employees do not decide within a reasonable time frame, the university reserves the right to make the selection after balancing the interests of the university and the employees.
  7. Any exceptions to this policy must be authorized in writing by the divisional vice president of the university.

Policy No. 023
Responsible Department:
 Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief of Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: January 1994
Reviewed/Updated Date: March 2021
Date of Scheduled Review: March 2025

EMPLOYMENT OF MINORS

PURPOSE
To establish guidelines to occasionally hire minors during school breaks, at peak work periods, or when ACU students are unavailable, and to ensure compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

SCOPE
This policy applies to all positions in the university.

POLICY

Restrictions of minors: Federal and state labor laws provide for the following restrictions concerning the employment of minors. As a general rule, employees of the university must be 18 years of age or older. A “minor” is defined as any individual under the age of 18. Minors who are employed as actors or performers in motion pictures, theatrical, radio or television productions are exempt from the child labor provisions of the FLSA.

  1. Under age 14: No minor less than 14 years of age will be employed by or permitted to work for the university unless exempted from the FLSA as detailed above.
  2. Age 14 and less than 16: No minor age 14 and less than 16 years of age can be employed by or permitted to work for the university unless specific approval is obtained from the division’s vice president and the Chief Human Resources Officer.
    1. If approved, minors age 14 and 15 have the following work hour restrictions:
      • May not work during school hours;
      • May not work more than three hours on a school day (including Friday) or 18 hours during the school week, more than 8 hours on a non-school day, or more than 29 hours in a non-school week;
      • May not be employed before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m.; however, the minor may work until 9:00 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day.
    2. If approved, minors age 14 and 15 have the following job restrictions: (This is not an exhaustive list.)
      • They are prohibited from working in any of the 17 listed Hazardous Occupation Orders and in most occupations involving transportation, construction, landscaping, agriculture and warehousing. For minors age 14 and 15, it is important to understand that if the child labor laws do not allow the specific work to be completed then the work should not be performed.
      • They may not work in any workroom or workplace where goods are manufactured or processed, in freezers, or in meat coolers.
      • They may not operate or tend any power-driven machinery (including lawn mowers), except office machines.
      • They may not perform any baking operations.
      • They may not be employed in youth peddling, sign waving, or door-to-door sales activities.
      • They may not work from ladders, scaffolds, or their substitutes.
      • They may not be employed in many agricultural operations.
  3. Age 16 and less than 18: Except for the prohibited occupations described below, these minors may work on the same basis as adults while in accordance with University policy.

Prohibited occupations: They are prohibited from working in any of the 17 listed Hazardous Occupation Orders and in most occupations involving transportation, construction, landscaping, agriculture and warehousing. The following are some examples:

  • Oiling, wiping, or cleaning machinery;
  • In a place where dangerous machinery is operated;
  • Any occupation dangerous to life or limb, including construction work and work on or about a roof;
  • In a place where explosives or articles containing explosive components are manufactured or stored;
  • Driving a university vehicle or driving on university business.

Required Breaks
No minor may be employed for more than five consecutive hours without a rest period of at least 30 minutes.

Wages
Minors are generally covered by the minimum wage laws applicable to adults. Overtime compensation should generally not be a concern for any minor under 16 years due to being prohibited from working more than 29 hours per week by University policy.

Sanctions
Supervisors and employees who violate this policy are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Policy No. 025
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator:
 Director of Human Resources
Effective Date:
 September 2003
Reviewed Date:
January 2022
Date of Scheduled Review: January 2026

APPLICANT MOVING EXPENSE

PURPOSE
To establish guidelines within which the university will pay costs to move newly hired faculty and staff to Abilene.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all faculty, executive staff and other staff when moving expense reimbursement is approved by the division head of that area.

DEFINITIONS
Division Head: Anyone who reports directly to the President

POLICY
The university will pay a flat lump sum to relocate faculty, executive and other staff whose relocation is at the university’s request and whose new, principal place of work is at least 50 miles further from the employee’s home than his or her former job if division head approves. The amount of the payment will vary between $1,000 – $7,500 depending on the position and distance of relocation.

PROCEDURE

  1. The hiring manager should complete a PAF to pay the new employee the flat lump sum.
  2. The new employee may use the funds at their discretion to fund their relocation.
  3. Income Tax Considerations – Moving expenses that are not tax-deductible, as outlined in IRS publication 521, are considered taxable income to the employee and will be included as such on the employee’s W-2.

Policy No. 030
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: January 1994
Reviewed: January 2021
Date of Scheduled Review: January 2025

NEW EMPLOYEE ORIENTATION PERIOD

PURPOSE
To complete the new employee selection process by providing an orientation period of on-the-job work experience by which the new employee and the university may evaluate employment suitability in terms of knowledge, skill, ability and interest.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all half-time, reduced full-time and full-time staff.

POLICY
New employees will serve an orientation period of 90 days from the date of hire. During the orientation period, frequent informal performance conversations and one formal employee performance evaluation will be held.

PROCEDURE

  1. Department supervisors will be responsible for evaluation during the employee orientation period.
  2. Performance appraisals will be conducted after 90 calendar days. Employees will be evaluated annually during the anniversary month of their date of hire, or at a date (recurring annually) set by their supervisor. Informal coaching and feedback should be provided on a daily or as-indicated basis.
  3. Employee will complete a ” 90 Day Follow-Up Questionnaire” to return to the Human Resources Office along with the “90 Day Performance Appraisal,” both of which can be found in the Performance Appraisal section of the Human Resources website.
  4. Upon satisfactory completion of the orientation period, employees are subject to the standard performance appraisal process. Employees will be evaluated no less than bi-annually during the anniversary month of their date of hire, or at a date (recurring at least bi-annually) set by their supervisor. Informal coaching and feedback should be provided on an ongoing basis.
  5. All employees, regardless of status or length of service, are required to meet and maintain university standards for job performance and behavior and are considered “at-will” employees.

Policy No. 040  
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Review/Updated Date: April 2016
Date of Scheduled Review: April 2020

PERSONNEL RECORDS AND PRIVACY

PURPOSE
To establish standards by which information contained in personnel records will be managed to achieve accuracy, privacy and legal compliance.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all departments and employees of the university.

POLICY

  1. Personnel Records. Personnel records will be maintained containing information on each university employee to meet state and federal legal requirements and to assure efficient personnel administration. Records are kept and maintained in the Human Resources office at either Abilene or ACU Dallas according to which campus the employee works for.
  2. Notification of Changes. Changes of address, telephone number and/or family status (births, marriage, death, divorce, legal separation, etc.) must be reported immediately to the Human Resources Office, as an employee’s income tax status and group insurance may be affected by these changes.
  3. Files Access. Access to personnel files is restricted to authorized employees of the Human Resources Office and supervisors, or managers on a “need to know” basis. Personnel files are the property of the university and may not be removed from the Human Resources Office except by an authorized Human Resources employee.
  4. Information Requests and Employment References. Requests for information from employee files received from other departments and inquiries from outside the university, including requests for references on former employees, will be directed to the Human Resources Office. Supervisors and other employees are prohibited from providing personal or employment references on ex-employees or current employees.
  5. Departmental Files. Supervisors with a legitimate need to keep departmental personnel files on their employees may do so only if the following guidelines are strictly followed:
    1. The information must be kept confidential and disclosed only to those with a “business need to know.”
    2. All departmental files must be kept in a secure, locked area.
    3. Only copies of original documents (which are centrally located in the Human Resources Office) are allowed in the file.
    4. When a supervisor finds it necessary to add documents to the file, the original document must be sent to the Human Resources Office.
  6. Personnel File Contents. When an employee is hired at the university, a personnel files will be established generally containing the following information:
    1. Application for employment and related hiring documents, such as resumes and course transcripts.
    2. Personal information changes such as change of address, telephone number and/or family status (births, marriage, death, divorce, legal separation, etc.).
    3. Performance documents including performance appraisals.
    4. Employee history updating information submitted by employees such as recent education or records of outside achievement.
    5. Other documents pertaining to employment such as appreciation letters, corrective action reports, employment contracts, driving record service report, employment verifications, training records and references from previous employers.
    6. Medical records, documents necessary for the administration of university benefit programs, and any investigation information will be kept in a separate confidential file. I-9 forms are also kept in a separate file. These files may be examined only by appropriate officials conducting an investigation.
  7. Examination of an Employee’s Personnel File. Inspection of an employee’s file may be accomplished at reasonable times during office hours under the following conditions:
    1. Employee. Employees may examine their files upon prior 24 hour notice submitted to Human Resources. This review will take place in the Human Resources Office with a Human Resources representative present. Employees may obtain a copy of documents in the file that contain their signature.
    2. Management Staff. Management staff may examine active and separated employee files on a “need to know” basis.
  8. Government Inquiries. ACU generally will cooperate with federal, state and local government agencies investigating an employee if the investigators furnish proper identification and proof of legal authority to investigate. However, the university may first seek advice of legal counsel. The university may permit a government investigator to review a personnel file on university premises, but the investigator will not be allowed to remove or reproduce this information without consent from Human Resources and/or the university’s attorneys.
  9. Information Requests and Employment References. If employees wish the university to verify information requested by outside sources for credit or other purposes, a release authorization form with the employee’s signature must accompany the request. Employment references on former employees will be provided by Human Resources only, as follows:
    1. References with Written Approval. Salary history, job chronology and performance information may be released with written approval of the employee or ex-employee. This information will be released in writing and a copy is kept in a separate file in the Payroll office for one calendar year.
    2. Telephone Inquiries. Information will be verified by Human Resources via telephone if a release authorization form with the employee’s signature has been attained, but will be limited to the following:
      1. Date of hire and date of separation
      2. Job titles
      3. Eligibility for rehire
  10. File Retention. Originals of personnel records will be maintained by the Human Resources Office and retained for seven years after an employee’s separation date.

Policy No. 041  
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: July 2005
Reviewed/Updated Date: March 2015
Date of Scheduled Review: March 2019

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT POLICY

PURPOSE

To ensure that applicants and employees with disabilities are provided with reasonable accommodations and to comply with provisions of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

SCOPE

This policy applies to all applicants, faculty and staff of the university on an individualized basis. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion and training.

DEFINITIONS

reasonable accommodation as defined by the act is one that does not cause undue hardship on the operation of a business.

An undue hardship is an accommodation that is “excessively costly, extensive, substantial, or disruptive, or that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business.”  In determining undue hardship, ACU will consider factors such as nature and cost of accommodation, as well as the impact on the accommodation on the specific department providing the accommodation.

direct threat is a health or safety risk to either the employee or to others. A health or safety risk is one that is a significant risk of substantial harm. An assessment of a direct threat will be strictly based on valid medical analyses and/or other objective evidence and will not be based on speculation.

disability means, with respect to an individual: (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment

Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Additionally, a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

POLICY

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace. A disabled individual is any of the following:

(A)  Person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

(B)  Person who has a record of such impairment.

(C)  Person who is regarded as having such impairment.

An individual with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of the job and must meet all other qualifications for a particular job, such as education and/or experience, but may need a reasonable accommodation in order to perform the essential functions of the job.

PROCEDURE

If an applicant or employee of the university wants to request an accommodation under ADA or has questions about an accommodation, he or she is to contact the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO).

It is generally the responsibility of individual employees to identify themselves as an individual with a disability when seeking an accommodation. It is also the responsibility of individual employees to document their disability (from their health care provider) and to demonstrate how the disability limits their ability to complete the essential functions of their job. Medical documentation will be kept confidential and separate from the employee’s personnel file.

The CHRO will consult with the applicant or employee and others as necessary and determine if:

1) Additional documentation from a health care provider or other third party is needed to support the employee’s request for accommodation; and

2) The individual is eligible for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA; and

3) The essential and secondary functions of the job, the functional work environment, the functional limitations of the disability, and the reasonableness of an accommodation do not provide undue hardship or a direct threat to the department or ACU; and

4) The university is able to meet the request, and if so, in what manner.

If it is determined that a reasonable accommodation can be made, the CHRO will work closely with the employee, and the department chair or manager to ensure that the accommodation is made.

The employee is responsible for contacting the CHRO if the reasonable accommodation is not implemented in an effective and reasonable manner. The CHRO will then take steps to ensure that the accommodation is fully implemented.

If the applicant or employee is not satisfied with the result of his or her request for a reasonable accommodation or the way in which it was handled, he or she may express concern in writing to the Office of Vice President & General Counsel of the university who will review the concern and respond in writing within five business days.

ACU reserves the right to recertify the qualified disability with the employee’s health care provider and/or follow-up with the employee and possibly others within the department or building regarding the accommodation. If recertification or follow-up is determined to be necessary, the employee will be notified of the timing of such.

Policy No. 042
Responsible Department:
 Office of General Counsel 
Responsible Administrator:
 General Counsel 
Effective Date:
 March 2009
Reviewed/ Updated Date:
 March 2021
Date of Scheduled Review:
 March 2025

Indemnification Policy

PURPOSE
The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for when the University may provide indemnification for individuals who have a legal action brought against them as a result of their work for the University.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all University employees and volunteers.

DEFINITIONS

“Indemnification” – payment of expenses, including attorneys’ fees, judgments, penalties, fines, and amounts in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by the individual in connection with a Legal Action.

“Legal Action” – an action, claim or processing brought or threatened by an outside party against an individual based on an alleged violation of the law that occurred as a result of his or her work for the University.

“Volunteers” – persons performing uncompensated services for or on behalf of the University at the request of an authorized University official.

PROCEDURE (OR PROCESS)
The following sets out the required steps an individual must follow before the University determines whether to provide indemnification.

  1. Provide Timely Notice and Request for Indemnification – The individual must notify the Office of General Counsel (OGC) regarding any Legal Action within five calendar days after receiving notice. Along with such notice, the individual must provide a written request to be indemnified by the University. That request should also state the reasons why the individual believes he or she is eligible for indemnification under this policy.
  2. Obtain Determination from President – Upon timely receipt of the notice and request for indemnification, OGC will review the information provided, conduct a fact-specific investigation, and make a recommendation to the President as to whether the University should indemnify the individual. To be eligible to receive the protection offered by this policy, the individual must have (1) complied with all applicable university policies and (2) acted within the scope of his or her assigned duties in a manner reasonably believed to be lawful and in the best interest of the University. Additionally, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, the individual must have had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful. Decisions on the extent of eligibility will be made on a case-by-case basis and at the sole discretion of the President. The decision of the President, which will be communicated in writing to the individual, is final. If the President is the individual seeking indemnification, a three member committee appointed by OGC will decide the issue.
  3. Conditions of Indemnification – If it is determined that the University should indemnify the individual, the following conditions will apply:
    1. Indemnification will be made only to the extent that the individual is not made whole for his or her loss and expenses from all other sources, including insurance. In no case will indemnification be in an amount which, when combined with all other sources of indemnification, exceeds the actual amount of expenses, including attorney’s fees, judgment penalties, fines and amounts paid in settlement; and
    2. The individual will cooperate fully with the University in his or her defense by providing any and all pertinent information concerning the act or failure to act that is the subject of the Legal Action.

MISCELLANEOUS
The University’s decision regarding whether to defend and/or indemnify the individual does not affect the University’s ability to take necessary and lawful corrective action, including termination, if warranted by the events leading up to the Legal Action.

Policy No. 043  

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POLICY

The policy on Intellectual Property can be located at: Intellectual Property Policy

Policy No. 044

Responsible Department: Office of General Counsel 
Responsible Administrator:
 General Counsel 
Effective Date:
September 2008
Reviewed/ Updated Date: March 2021
Date of Scheduled Review:
 March 2025

PURPOSE

To provide a standardized process for the development, approval, implementation and management of University Policies in an effort to ensure that all University Policies are consistent with the mission of the university, comply with any applicable laws and regulations, and reflect the best practices of the related field.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all departments intending to develop or modify University Policies and does not apply to the development or modification of Board of Trustee Policies, Departmental Policies, or Procedures.

DEFINITIONS

  1. “University Policies” – policies that have a broad application throughout the university community (generally pertaining to more than one division or department) and that help ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, promote operational efficiencies, enhance the university’s mission, or reduce institutional risk. Ultimately, the Executive Policy Approval Committee will determine whether a policy rises to the level of a University Policy.
  2. “Board of Trustee Policies” – policies that apply solely to the University’s Board of Trustees or are established by the Board of Trustees.
  3. “Departmental Policies” – policies that do not have the broad scope or significant impact of University Policies, but instead apply to only a single division or department.
  4. “Procedure” – an established protocol that is intended to implement a University or Departmental Policy. Procedures may be added and revised by the Responsible Department (as defined below) without conforming to this policy.
  5. “Executive Policy Approval Committee” (EPAC) – a committee comprised of six permanent members: the University’s General Counsel, who will chair the committee; the Vice President with responsibility for Financial Operations; the Provost; the Vice President with responsibility for Student Life; and representatives of the Faculty and Staff Senates. The Chair of EPAC may select and recruit additional EPAC members whose departments or offices are likely to be impacted by a new or revised policy. These additional members will vary depending on the type of University Policy under consideration.
  6. “Responsible Administrator” – the Dean, Director or Vice President of the Responsible Department (as defined below).
  7. “Responsible Department” – The department, division or office responsible for the maintenance and review of a University Policy.

PROCEDURE (OR PROCESS)

The following phases set out the required steps any department must follow to create or revise University Policies.

Step 1: Identification and Proposal: The Responsible Administrator emails a Policy Proposal to the Chair of EPAC for a new University Policy or a substantial revision to an existing University Policy. If there is any question as to whether the proposed policy rises to the level of a University Policy, the Responsible Administrator should consult with the Chair of EPAC.

Step 2: EPAC Review: After reviewing the Policy Proposal and discussing it with their respective constituency groups, EPAC members provide feedback to the Chair. The Chair will allow sufficient time for EPAC members to meet with constituency groups, taking into consideration the meeting schedules of such groups. EPAC members may also submit questions about the Policy Proposal directly to the Responsible Administrator. The Chair will also consult with the President’s Office to determine whether review by the Senior Leadership Team (or its equivalent) is appropriate. After the Responsible Administrator makes any and all changes requested by EPAC, EPAC provides written approval or disapproval of the final policy within a reasonable amount of time.

Step 3: Implementation and Notification: Once a policy is approved, the Responsible Department will communicate the new policy to the university community and begin any training or other necessary steps for implementation.

Step 4: Record Retention: Following approval, the Responsible Department will keep the records created during the policy development process for four years.

Step 5: Maintenance and Review: The Responsible Department will maintain, review and update the policies it sponsors. At a minimum, each Responsible Department must review each of its University Policies within four years of the date the policy goes into effect or the date the Responsible Department last reviewed the policy. In its heading, the policy will state the month and year it is scheduled to be reviewed.

COMPLIANCE (Optional)

Any employee that does not comply with this policy may face corrective action.

Policy No. 045

TREATMENT OF EMPLOYEES

The ACU Board of Trustees has adopted a “Treatment of Employees” policy and requests that all employees be made aware of this policy. Click here to review the Board’s “Treatment of Employees” policy as well as the President’s interpretations of the policy.

Wage and Salary Administration

110. Exempt/Non-Exempt Employee Status  
Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: April 2011
Reviewed/Updated Date: April 2011
Date of Scheduled Review: April 2013

WAGE AND SALARY ADMINISTRATION

I. PURPOSE

To define exempt and nonexempt employee status and to provide guidelines for determining this status in accordance with federal regulations.

II. SCOPE

This policy applies to all employees of Abilene Christian University.

III. DEFINITIONS

Definitions of exempt and nonexempt status are based on provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In order for an employee to be exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions, his or her job must be classified as executive, administrative, professional, computer employee, or outside sales. These classifications are summarized as follows and are reprinted from the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division’s website:

Executive Exemption

To qualify for the executive employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
  • The employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
  • The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and
  • The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.

Administrative Exemptions

To qualify for the administrative employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
  • The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and
  • The employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

Professional Exemption

To qualify for the learned professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
  • The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;
  • The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and
  • The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

To qualify for the creative professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week;
  • The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.

 Computer Employee Exemption

To qualify for the computer employee exemption, the following tests must be met:

  • The employee must be compensated either on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $455 per week or, if compensated on an hourly basis, at a rate not less than $27.63 an hour;
  • The employee must be employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer or other similarly skilled worker in the computer field performing the duties described below;
  • The employee’s primary duty must consist of:

1) The application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications;

2) The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;

3) The design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or

4) A combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.

 Outside Sales Exemption

To qualify for the outside sales employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

  • The employee’s primary duty must be making sales (as defined in the FLSA), or obtaining orders or contracts for services or for the use of facilities for which a consideration will be paid by the client or customer; and
  • The employee must be customarily and regularly engaged away from the employer’s place or places of business.

 Highly Compensated Employees

Highly compensated employees performing office or non-manual work and paid total annual compensation of $100,000 or more (which must include at least $455 per week paid on a salary or fee basis) are exempt from the FLSA if they customarily and regularly perform at least one of the duties of an exempt executive, administrative or professional employee identified in the standard tests for exemption.

Police, Fire Fighters, Paramedics & Other First Responders

The exemptions also do not apply to police officers, detectives, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, highway patrol officers, investigators, inspectors, correctional officers, parole or probation officers, park rangers, fire fighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, ambulance personnel, rescue workers, hazardous materials workers and similar employees, regardless of rank or pay level, who perform work such as preventing, controlling or extinguishing fires of any type; rescuing fire, crime or accident victims; preventing or detecting crimes; conducting investigations or inspections for violations of law; performing surveillance; pursuing, restraining and apprehending suspects; detaining or supervising suspected and convicted criminals, including those on probation or parole; interviewing witnesses; interrogating and fingerprinting suspects; preparing investigative reports; or other similar work.

Employees who do not meet one of the above exemptions will be classified as nonexempt.

IV. PROCEDURE (OR PROCESS)

  1. All job descriptions for newly created positions and for replacement positions will be reviewed and classified by the Human Resources office before they are posted to the University’s employment website.
  2. In cases where the exempt/nonexempt status of a position is in doubt, the supervisor will review the position’s duties and responsibilities against FLSA exemption test and reach a provisional decision. The Human Resources office will review these decisions and make final decisions in all cases.

From time to time the Human Resources office may conduct internal audits of a class of positions in an effort to ensure ongoing compliance with the FLSA.

Policy No. 111
Supplemental Payments

Responsible Department: Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: June 2011
Reviewed/Updated Date: May 2016
Date of Scheduled Review: May 2020

SUPPLEMENTAL PAYMENTS

I. PURPOSE

To establish parameters for when it is and is not permissible to compensate an employee with a lump-sum, one-time or supplemental payment. See “Policy 210. Pay Days, Pay Arrangements and Hours of Work” for information on base pay for exempt and nonexempt employees. To ensure compliance with state and federal laws concerning minimum wage, overtime compensation, and pay days.

II. SCOPE

This policy applies to all employees of Abilene Christian University.

III. DEFINITIONS

Sporadic/Sporadically: Work that is occasional or intermittent and performed on a part-time basis. Assignments must be infrequent, irregular, or occurring in scattered instances (assignments may not be regular or recurring). Additional nonexempt duties performed by exempt employees for more than 10% of their work time will not be considered sporadic.

Supplemental payment: Also referred to as “one-time payments” or “lump-sum” payments. These payments are paid out to an employee without regard to hours worked. Supplemental payments may be for: a bonus, extra compensation for an employee’s hard work, a particular project an employee completes for a department, or another similar service.

IV. PROCESS

A. A nonexempt employee may on occasion be asked to perform work for a department other than their home department. In such situations, the employee will need to first get permission from their primary supervisor to perform such work. If approved, the employee must log the hours on their timesheet for their home department. The two departments may then work together to complete a journal entry to move money as needed.

B. In some cases it may be appropriate to pay a nonexempt employee with a supplemental, one-time payment. All one-time pays must be submitted on a nonexempt payroll basis (e.g. 15th or 29th for staff and the 8th or 22nd for students), and will be paid along with their nonexempt paycheck. If the supplemental payment is for hours worked, a time sheet must accompany the Personnel Action Form (PAF), and the payment must be discussed with Payroll or the Human Resources office before it is submitted to Payroll. It should be noted that if the supplemental payment is for hours worked, this payment will increase the employee’s base rate that is used to calculate overtime for the pay-period in which the supplemental payment falls. If the supplemental payment is not for hours worked, the PAF must have a very detailed description of what the supplemental payment is for. Examples of one-time, supplemental payments that do not affect a nonexempt employee’s base rate include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Sums paid as gifts to reward service, the amounts of which are not measured by or dependent on hours worked, production or efficiency
  2. Sums paid in recognition of services performed during a given period if the fact the payment is to be made and the amounts paid are determined solely by the supervisor at or near the end of the period, and the employee does not expect them on a regular basis

C. Exempt employees may on occasion be asked to perform work for a department other than their home department. In such situations, the employee will need to first get permission from their primary supervisor to perform such work. If approved, the exempt employee may receive one-time, supplemental payment if such work occurs sporadically. If the work will occur on a regular basis, please consult with the Human Resources office to determine the best method of compensation.

D. Student employees are considered to be nonexempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Student employees should never be compensated solely with supplemental or one-time payments, unless they are listed out below as an exception.

 

  1. Graduate Assistants are not considered to be employees under the FLSA if they are performing research in their field of study, performing work as a part of their training, or serve in a teaching capacity either as a requirement of their degree program or as a consequence of being enrolled as a graduate student at the University. Since Graduate Assistants do not have an employer-employee relationship with the university, they must be compensated using one-time payments.
  2. Interns of the University are not considered to be employees under the FLSA. Interns cannot receive one-time payments through Payroll, but they may receive a stipend through Accounts Payable.

 

E. All temporary employees must be paid hourly.

F. No employee can receive one-time, lump-sum payments as their primary form of payment.

V. COMPLIANCE

Ongoing compliance with current laws and regulations will be monitored. This policy is subject to change when those laws and regulations change.

Hours of Work and Payroll Practices

Policy 210  
Responsible Department: Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: June 2020
Review/Updated: March 2021
Date of Scheduled Review: March 2025

PAY DAYS, PAY ARRANGEMENTS AND HOURS OF WORK

PURPOSE
To establish the hours of employment in ACU’s normal work day and work week and to establish pay periods and paydays to administer the payment of wages, salaries and overtime.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all employees at the university.

POLICY

  1. Hours of Work.  The average work week is 40 hours.  For most offices the work week will be Monday through Friday; however, exceptions will be followed depending upon the needs of a particular department.
  2. The standard work day is 8 a.m.-5 p.m. which includes one hour for lunch.  However, various shifts may be arranged in accordance with the needs of the department.  It is expected that offices will open to the public at 8 or 8:30 a.m. and close to the public at 4 or 5 p.m.

Travel Time as Hours of Work. Certain travel time may be considered hours worked while some travel time may not be. Non-Exempt employees who travel should use the Travel Time Fact Sheet as a guideline in completing their time sheet. As with overtime or any other time worked outside of a non-exempt employee’s regular schedule, travel time must be pre-approved by the supervisor.

    1. Break Time.  Each employee is allotted two paid 15-minute break periods, based on workload needs as designated by the supervisor.  Break time is considered working time.
    2. Daily Assemblies Chapel.  Staff are expected to attend Chapel on Monday of each school week.  Departments that feel they cannot close operations during this time should seek the approval of the VP of their division.  Faculty attendance expectations are addressed in the Faculty Handbook.
    3. Pay Days, Non-Exempt Staff.  Non-exempt staff are paid semi-monthly on the 15th and 29th.Pay Periods are:
      16th through the 29th – Paid on the 15th
      30th through the 15th – Paid on the 29thWork performed from Sunday through Saturday, a calendar week, is used to determine if overtime is due and will be paid if hours worked during this period exceed 40 hours.  Weeks of the semi-monthly pay period will overlap several different Sunday through Saturday periods.  Overtime compensation earned in a particular work week will be paid on the regular pay day for the period in which such work week ends.
      If pay date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the paycheck will be issued on the previous Friday.  A complete list of paydays for each payroll type can be found on the Human Resources website.
    4. Faculty and Exempt Staff.  Faculty and exempt staff are exempt from overtime provisions and are paid on the first day of the month for work performed from the 20th of the month to the 19th of the following month. (Example: 5/20-6/19; paid on 7/1)  If a pay date falls on a weekend, the check will be disbursed on the previous Friday.
    5. Automatic Bank Deposit.  ACU’s preferred method of compensation payment to employees is by Direct Deposit.  This program allows deposit into one or two accounts, to either or both a checking and/or savings account.  The form for enrollment may be obtained in the Human Resources Office, Administration Building, Room 213 and is available on the HR website.
    6. Employee Vs. Independent Contractor

This worksheet is to be used by an ACU department or employee to determine whether a worker is most likely an employee or independent contractor. Under the common law test, a worker is an employee if the purchaser of that worker’s service has the right to direct or control the worker, both as to the final results and as to the details of when, where, and how the work is done. Control does not have to be exercised; rather, if the service recipient has the right to control, employment may be shown.

Policy No. 211
Responsible Department: Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: October 1995
Review/Updated: March 2021
Date of Scheduled Review: March 2025

OVERTIME: NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEES

PURPOSE
To provide guidelines to administer overtime pay to comply with applicable federal wage and hour regulations.

SCOPE
This policy applies to non-exempt employees at ACU.

POLICY
Non-exempt activity is customarily performed according to a routine and has a set of standards or rules that does not require the exercise of discretion and independent judgment. Employees whose positions do not meet the Fair Labor Standards Act exemption tests and who are paid one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in one week are considered non-exempt. A week is defined as Sunday through Saturday.

ACU’s overtime pay policy conforms to overtime provisions of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.  Exemption from these provisions will be claimed for an employee only when it can clearly be established that the employee’s duties and responsibilities meet the requirements for such exemption. (See Policy No. 110, Exempt/Non-Exempt Employee Status.)

Overtime pay policy for employees includes the following principal elements:

  1. Non-exempt employees will be paid straight time for all hours worked through forty (40) in one week, Sunday through Saturday.
  2. Non-exempt employees will be paid at their regular hourly rate for all hours worked (including those over 40). For any hours that exceed forty (40) in a Sunday through Saturday workweek, the employee will receive pay equal to ½ their regular rate of pay for each hour over forty (40). Only hours actually worked will be used to calculate overtime pay. Paid time off for holidays, jury duty, vacation, sick leave or any leave of absence will not be considered “hours worked.”
  3. Overtime worked by non-exempt employees must be authorized in advance by the employee’s supervisor. All hours worked must be recorded.
  4. Compensating time off in lieu of overtime payments will not be granted. The “banking” of overtime as compensation time is a Fair Labor Standards Act violation for non-profit agencies. Compensation time cannot be given any time after the employee has already worked forty (40) plus hours in a scheduled workweek. When forty (40) plus hours of work has been completed, overtime must be paid.

Policy No. 212

Responsible Department: Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed Date: May 2016
Date of Scheduled Review: May 2019

NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEES WORKING IN TWO DEPARTMENTS

PURPOSE
To establish guidelines for non-exempt employees whose full-time equivalency is divided between two departments.

SCOPE
This policy applies to non-exempt employees at ACU.

POLICY
In some cases a non-exempt employee’s full-time equivalency may be divided between two departments.  If the employee works more than forty (40) hours in one work week, Sunday through Saturday, the employee will be paid time-and-one-half for hours worked over forty (40).  The department in which the forty-first (41) hours occurs, will be the department charged for the overtime pay.

Policy No. 213

Responsible Department:  Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator:  Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date:  January 1994
Reviewed Date:  May 2016
Date of Scheduled Review:  May 2019

ALTERNATIVE WORK SCHEDULES

PURPOSE
To establish guidelines and pay practices to administer alternative work schedules which meet the university’s need for 24-hour coverage with a minimum number of employees.

SCOPE
This policy applies to non-exempt employees in any department whose normal hours of operation do not conform to the normal 8 a.m.-5 p.m. workday.

POLICY
To meet university needs, employees in designated jobs will observe work schedules which differ from the university’s normal work schedule of five consecutive days per week, eight hours per day. Employees in non-exempt positions will be paid time-and-one-half for hours worked beyond forty (40) in one week, Sunday through Saturday, according to federal law.  For additional guidance regarding the university’s overtime pay policies, see Policy No. 110, Exempt/Non-Exempt Employee Status, Policy No. 211, Overtime: Non-Exempt Employees.

Employee Leave

Policy No. 314

Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: June 2000
Reviewed/Updated Date: March 11, 2020
Date of Scheduled Review: March 2024

SICK LEAVE

PURPOSE
To provide income protection for employees who, because of illness or accident of the employee or the employee’s spouse, children or parents, are absent from work for limited periods.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all full-time and half-time employees.

POLICY
Sick leave may be granted and pay received for an absence within the following limits.

  1. Illness of employee
    Illness of employee’s spouse
    Illness of employee’s children
    Illness of employee’s parents
    Illness of spouse’s parents
    Birth of employee’s child
  2. Doctor’s appointments for the above mentioned.
  3. Deaths that occur in the immediate family of the employee or the employee’s spouse (mother, father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, husband, wife, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, grandchildren).

Full-time employees accrue sick leave at the rate of 12 hours/month.

Half-time employees accrue sick leave on the same basis as full-time except it is prorated according to the number of hours worked.

Sick leave may accrue to a total of 1,040 hours, and sick leave pay may be drawn up to a maximum of 40 hours per week. At the employee’s option, the total amount of pay resulting from the calculation may be spread over several weeks. For example, if an employee is eligible for 20 days (4 weeks) of accrued sick leave and must be off eight weeks for surgery, an election may be made to receive one-half pay for a total of eight weeks.

Time paid for sick leave does not count as time worked in calculating overtime for the week.

When an employee is absent as a result of injury or sickness, the employee may qualify for benefits compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act, as well as for ACU sick leave pay. When the employee qualifies for both, sick leave pay will be adjusted to ensure the employee does not receive more than 100 percent of base salary. Further, available sick leave may end earlier or later than Workers’ Compensation benefits, based on university sick leave policy.

The university may require an employee to support a request for sick leave benefits with medical certification. Failure to provide a statement from a physician may lead to a denial of benefits. Accumulated sick leave will not be paid upon termination. However, upon separation from the university, an employee may donate up to 350 hours to the Shared Leave Bank. (See Policy No. 314.1)

Serious health conditions or maternity leave may qualify an employee for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. For more details, refer to Policy No. 321. When an employee has exhausted all sick leave and vacation, he/she may apply to receive leave from the Shared Leave Bank, if eligible under the Shared Leave Bank policy. (See Policy No. 314.1)

PROCEDURE
These guidelines should be followed by supervisors in administering sick leave:

  • Approval of Sick Leave. Department supervisors are expected to approve only those requests for sick leave pay that are within the allowable limits for each employee. Vacation time will be charged if more sick leave is requested than has been accumulated.
  • Maintenance of Contact. During sick leave, an employee must maintain daily contact (before 8:30 a.m. or make other suitable arrangements) with the supervisor in order for the supervisor to know the employee’s estimated date of return to work. Sick leave benefits are contingent upon maintenance of regular contact with the supervisor.
  • Physician’s Release Upon Return. Depending on the length and circumstances of an employee’s illness, the supervisor may require a physician’s written release before the employee may return to work.
  • Termination of Benefits. If an employee’s absence due to illness continues beyond the period covered by sick leave, the employee will be placed on medical leave of absence status without pay. At the employee’s option, unused vacation may be used before transferring to medical leave of absence status.

Policy No. 314.1
June 2005

SHARED LEAVE BANK

PURPOSE
To provide a safety net against salary interruption for employees who have a catastrophic health condition causing them to be unable to perform their assigned job duties. Donations of sick leave hours by employees provide income to an affected employee who would otherwise be on unpaid leave. The purpose is not to provide unlimited sick leave for any medical reason.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all full-time and half-time faculty and staff.

POLICY
Employees may voluntarily donate accumulated sick leave hours to a shared leave bank for distribution to aid another employee who is unable to work due to personal illness or crisis. Donating employees donate sick leave at their individual pay rates, and the recipient will be credited with sick leave at his/her individual pay rate. Therefore, the leave recipient will be paid at his/her current pay rate, not at the pay rate of the person donating the leave time.

Approval to receive donated leave time is dependent upon approval of supervisor, vice president of division and Director of Human Resources.

ELIGIBILITY TO RECEIVE SHARED LEAVE
Faculty and staff may receive shared leave as follows:

  1. An employee must have exhausted all of his or her own vacation and sick leave.
  2. For each application, an employee must be unable to work a regular schedule for at least a continuous period of 30 calendar days.
  3. An employee may apply for his/her own catastrophic illness or injury, or for a certifiable illness or injury of immediate family, defined as:
    1. Illness of employee’s spouse
    2. Illness of employee’s children
    3. Illness of employee’s parents
    4. Illness of spouse’s parents
  4. An employee must have worked at ACU continuously for 90 days.
  5. The maximum amount of shared leave bank benefits accessible to a recipient cannot exceed one-third of the balance of the bank, or three months leave time, whichever is less.
  6. If an employee returns to work prior to using all hours granted, the unused balance of hours granted returns to the shared leave bank.
  7. If intermittent treatment is required, unused approved shared leave bank benefits will be provided on an as-needed basis until the employee (or family member) recovers from the catastrophic illness or injury or the benefit ends, whichever is earlier.
  8. The estate of a deceased employee is not entitled to payment for approved unused shared leave bank hours.
  9. Shared leave bank hours may not be converted to cash.
  10. Employees may not solicit or distribute lists inquiring for donations from the catastrophic leave bank.
  11. If the hours in the shared leave bank are not sufficient and a need arises, the Director of Human Resources or designee may send a communication to faculty and staff indicating such a need but may not under any circumstances coerce an employee(s) to contribute leave time.
  12. A contributor does not have to first donate to the bank in order to receive donations from the bank.
  13. Employees who use leave from the shared leave bank are not required to pay the bank back for leave used.
  14. It is not possible to make back-payments to a shared leave bank recipient who may have already taken some leave without pay. Donated time will be available for use by the recipient in accordance with regular payroll procedures and deadlines.
  15. Employees who are off work due to an on-the-job injury or illness are not eligible to use the shared leave donation bank.
  16. An intent to return to work is not required in order to be eligible for the shared leave donation bank; however, employees who utilize the full amount of approved bank benefits must return to work for six continuous months following their last day of use of the donated time before the are eligible to apply for additional benefits from the bank.
  17. Employees receiving a medical release for return to work on a part-time basis (i.e. fewer hours per day per week than the regular work schedule), may continue to use donated leave for the balance of the regular work schedule until medically released for full duty.

ELIGIBILITY TO DONATE SHARED LEAVE
Faculty and staff may donate sick leave as follows:

  1. The donation of leave is strictly voluntary. No employee shall be coerced or financially induced into donating leave time.
  2. A contributor may not designate a particular employee to receive the donation.
  3. Time must be donated in whole hours.
  4. An initial donation requires a minimum of eight hours.
  5. The maximum number of hours that may be donated during any 12-month period is 48.
  6. Upon separation from the university, an employee may donate up to 350 hours to the shared leave bank.
  7. A contributor must maintain a balance of 320 sick leave hours.
  8. Sick leave which has been contributed to the shared leave bank cannot be restored to the contributor.
  9. The contributor’s identity will remain confidential, unless he/she chooses to self-identify.
  10. A contributor does not have to first donate to the bank in order to receive donations from the bank.
  11. The contributor does not receive any type of tax deduction for the donated leave time.

PROCEDURE
To request leave:

  1. An employee requesting leave from the shared leave donation bank will download, print and complete an application form available at www.acu.edu/hr, and submit to the Director of Human Resources.
  2. The application must be accompanied by a physician’s statement indicating beginning date of health condition and anticipated date employee will be able to return to work. If the request is for time off to provide a written statement indicating the relationship, where the family member resides, and the extent to which the family member is dependent on the employee for the recuperative care.
  3. After receiving an application, the Human Resources office will verify the employee’s eligibility and status, including current accumulated vacation and sick leave balances. The Director of Human Resources will confer with the employee’s supervisor and vice president. If they are not in agreement, the President’s Cabinet will make the final decision.
  4. The Director of Human Resources will notify the employee of the decision within give (5) business days of receipt of application.
  5. If the application is approved, the Payroll office will make the transfer of hours from the university’s shared leave bank to the employee’s sick leave bank. Neither the donating employee nor the employee receiving time needs to reflect any transfer of hours on his/her time sheet; the hours will be reflected on the applicable employee’s Banner Web leave balance.

Policy No. 321

Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed/Updated Date: January 2015
Date of Scheduled Review: January 2019

FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA)

PURPOSE
To enable eligible employees to receive time away from work, with or without pay, for limited periods to attend to specified medical or family needs with job protection and no loss of accumulated service.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all full-time and half-time employees who have been employed by Abilene Christian University for at least 12 months as of the date the leave begins, and have completed 1,250 hours of service during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave.

DEFINITIONS

“Covered Service Member”: A member of the U.S. Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness that was incurred while the service member was serving on active duty and in the line of duty and could render the service member unfit to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank or rating

“Employee’s child, son or daughter”: the employee’s biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or child for whom the employee stood in loco parentis. A child must be 18 years or younger, or a child over age 18 with a physical or mental disability that renders them incapable of self-care.

“In Loco Parentis”: The status of a person who holds day-to-day responsibilities to care for and/or financially supports a child, or who had such responsibility for a person when the person was a child. The status does not require a biological or legal relationship.

“Intermittent Leave”: FMLA leave taken in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason.

“Reduced Leave Schedule”: FMLA leave that reduces an employee’s usual number of working hours per workweek or hours per workday.

“Serious Health Condition”: An illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider, lasting more than three consecutive full calendar days plus either (a) an in-person treatment by a health care provider at least once within seven days of the first day of incapacity followed by a regimen of continuing treatment or (b) two or more treatments with 30 days of the first day of incapacity.

“Veteran”: A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service of the United States, and who was discharged or released from that service under conditions other than dishonorable.

POLICY

  1. Events That May Entitle an Employee to FMLA Leave – Eligible employees are entitled to take FLMA leave for one or more of the following reasons:
    1. Employee’s own serious health condition which makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee’s job;
    2. To care for the employee’s child, spouse, or parent with serious health condition;
    3. For the birth of a child or placement of a child for foster care or adoption;
    4. To provide care for a covered service member or veteran with a serious illness or injury if the service member is the employee’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin (“military caregiver leave”); or
    5. For a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child, or parent is a member of the regular U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves who is deployed to a foreign country on active duty; or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in a foreign country (“qualifying exigency leave”). This does not apply to members of the state military unless they are called into federal service.Qualifying exigencies include the following:
      1. Any issue relating to a short-notice deployment;
      2. Attendance at military events and related activities, such as pre-deployment briefings and family support sessions;
      3. Time needed to provide or arrange for childcare or participate in school-related activities with respect to a child or ward of the covered family member;
      4. Time needed to make or update financial and legal arrangements relating to the covered family member or act as the covered family member’s representative with respect to military service benefits;
      5. Time needed to participate in counseling, where the need for counseling arises from the covered member’s active duty or call to active duty;
      6. Up to five days spent with a covered family member on short-term rest and recuperation leave from a deployment;
      7. Post-deployment activities, including any official ceremony sponsored by the military, as well as exigencies arising from the death of a covered family member while on active duty status;
      8. Other activities provided that the University and the employee agree that such leave shall qualify as an exigency and agree to both the timing and duration of the leave.
  2. Amount of Leave That May Be Taken
    1. Except for military caregiver leave, employees are entitled to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during a rolling 12 month period for an approved FMLA-qualifying reason. The 12-month period to take up to 12 workweeks of FMLA begins on the day the employee first takes leave for an FMLA-qualifying reason. The university will measure backward 12 months from the date that an employee seeks FMLA leave to determine whether that employee has exhausted his or her entitlement to leave in the 12 month period. For example, assuming an employee takes no military caregiver leave, if an employee used 4 weeks of FMLA leave beginning February 1, 2011, 4 weeks beginning June 1, 2011, and 4 weeks beginning December 1, 2011, the employee would not be entitled to any additional leave until February 1, 2011. However, beginning on February 1, 2011, the employee would be entitled to 4 weeks of leave; on June 1, 2011, the employee would be entitled to an additional 4 weeks, etc.
    2. Employees taking military caregiver leave are entitled to take up to 26 work weeks of leave during a rolling 12 month period. During this period the employee may not take more than a combined maximum of 26 work weeks of FMLA leave for all types of FMLA leave. For employees taking military caregiver leave, the single 12-month period to take up to 26 workweeks of FMLA begins on the day the employee first takes leave to care for the covered service member.
    3. Employees may take intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave for their own serious health condition, for a family member’s health condition, to care for an injured service member, or for recovery from a serious health condition or from treatment. Leave taken for qualifying exigencies may also be taken on an intermittent basis. Intermittent or reduced-schedule leave should be scheduled to the extent possible to minimally disrupt business operations. When an employee takes intermittent or reduced-schedule leave, the University may temporarily transfer the employee to an alternative position with equivalent pay and benefits for which the employee is qualified and which better accommodates a reduced-schedule or intermittent leave schedule.
  3. Limits to Amount of Leave Taken
    1. Leave taken to care for a newborn or newly placed child must conclude within 12 months after the birth or placement of the child.
    2. A husband and wife who are both employed by the University and are eligible for FMLA leave are entitled to a combined 12 workweeks of FMLA, unless taking military caregiver leave, in which case they may take up to a combined 26 workweeks of FMLA leave.
    3. For exigency leave taken due to short-notice deployment, employees may take up to seven calendar days of FMLA leave beginning on the date the covered military member receives call or order to covered active duty.
    4. For exigency leave taken due to rest and recuperation for the covered service member, employees may take up to five days of leave for each instance.
  4. Use of Accrued/Paid Leave While on FMLA
    1. An employee must use all accrued leave concurrently with FMLA hours while on FMLA leave. This includes sick, holiday, and vacation leave. Once accrued leave is exhausted, the balance of the FMLA leave will be without pay. However, once accrued leave is exhausted, employees may apply for and receive (if approved) hours from ACU’s shared leave bank to apply towards the FMLA leave.
    2. Employees receiving workers’ compensation or temporary disability benefits are not required to use all paid leave while receiving those particular benefits.

PROCEDURE FOR APPLYING FOR LEAVE

  1. Notice by Employee/Notice to Employee
    1. Whenever reasonable and practicable, the employee must give at least thirty (30) days advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave.
    2. If the need for FMLA leave is not foreseeable, the employee should notify Human Resources and his or her supervisor as soon as possible. Supervisors should consult with Human Resources immediately upon learning of the employee’s request (verbally or in writing) for FMLA leave or of an absence that may qualify for FMLA leave.
    3. Failure to give proper notice, without a reasonable excuse, may delay the commencement of the employee’s leave or withdraw any designation of FMLA leave, in which case the employee’s leave of absence would be unauthorized, subjecting the employee to discipline up to and including dismissal.
    4. If the employee meets the FMLA eligibility requirements, and after Human resources receives proper documentation (see section IV. F. “Certification” below), the employee will be notified in writing within five business days whether the leave is approved, not approved, or if additional information is needed. When additional information is needed, employees will have seven calendar days to provide the requested information.
  2. Certification
    1. For an employee’s own serious health condition or that of a family member, or for military caregiver leave, the employee must provide a health provider’s signed medical certification to Human Resources. Second or third medical opinions and periodic re-certifications may be required, but will not be required for military caregiver leave.
    2. For exigency leave, the employee must provide Human Resources with a copy of the covered active duty orders or other military documentation indicating the covered military member is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status, per each call to covered active duty.
    3. The University requires that the serious medical condition be recertified every 30 days except for leave related to pregnancy or childbirth or where the minimum duration of the serious health condition at issue is more than 30 days. For employees requesting intermittent or reduced leave for periods in excess of six months, the University requires recertification every six months. In addition, employees are required to report periodically on their status and intent to return to work. If the circumstances of an employee’s leave change, and the employee is able to return to work earlier than originally indicated, the employee should notify the University at least two days prior to the date that he or she intends to return to work.
    4. Before an employee may return to work after taking continuous FMLA leave, Human Resources may require the employee to present a fitness-for-duty certification from a health care provider.
    5. Certifications must contain particular information, so employees are encouraged to consult with Human Resources to verify the information required.
  3. Continuation of Benefits
    1. While on FMLA leave, ACU will continue to contribute its applicable share of insurance premiums as if the employee were at work or on paid leave.
    2. Employees on FMLA leave are required to pay their share of health plan premiums in any manner customarily used by ACU.
    3. Failure to pay the employee’s share of premiums will result in cancelation of coverage for remaining duration of the FMLA leave. Upon return to work, the employee’s benefits will be restored to at least the same level and terms as were in place when the FMLA leave began.
  4. During FMLA leave, the taking of another job may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
  5. Reinstatement/Returning to Work
    1. Upon returning from FLMA leave, eligible employees will be restored to their former position or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions.
    2. ACU cannot guarantee that the employee will be returned to the position held before the FMLA leave began. Exceptions are permitted when the original position is abolished during the FMLA leave due to reduction in force, reorganization, or if the employee would not otherwise have been employed even if the leave had not been taken.
    3. If the employee on leave of absence is a salaried employee among the highest paid ten percent of university employees living within 75 miles of the university, and keeping the job open for the employee would result in substantial economic injury to the university, reinstatement to the position may be denied. However, the employee will be given an opportunity to return to work in a different job.
    4. Any employee who fails to return to work as scheduled after FMLA leave may be subject to dismissal from employment. Employees who exceed their FMLA entitlement without extension(s) of their leave approved under other appropriate leave provisions, may be subject to dismissal from employment.
  6. Record Keeping Requirements
    1. Any document containing medical information about an employee is considered a medical record and is regarded as confidential. The Office of Human Resources will maintain medical records in a file separate from all other employee records. If necessary, however, these records may be disclosed to supervisors and managers as needed to evaluate and accommodate necessary work restrictions, to first aid and safety personnel if the employee’s physical or medical condition might require emergency treatment, and to government officials investigating compliance with FMLA.
  7. Applying For Leave
    1. To apply for FMLA Leave an employee must first notify his or her supervisor of his or her absence from work. Employee must complete the FMLA Request Form to initiate the leave request. If needed, the employee may contact the Office of Human Resources at 325-674-2359 to assist the employee in completing the FMLA Request Form.
    2. Employee will need to see his or her physician and provide the physician with a signed and dated copy of the certification form that will be provided to the employee upon the employee’s receipt of the Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities form (WH-381).
    3. Employee is responsible for returning the Certification of Health Care Provider form to the Office of Human Resources within 15 calendar days of the employee’s receipt of the Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities form (WH-381).
    4. Employee will then receive a Designation Notice from the Office of Human Resources within 5 business days of HR receiving the employee’s medical certification informing the employee of the approval or denial of their FMLA leave. If the leave is approved, the Designation Notice will provide official notice to the employee that their associated leave time will be considered FMLA leave.

Policy No. 322

Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: October 1, 1995
Reviewed Date: January 2012
Date of Scheduled Review: January 2016

LEAVES OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY

PURPOSE
To enable employees to receive extended time away from work to recover from medical disability or handle compelling personal business.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all employees at ACU.

POLICY
Leaves of absence without pay may be granted to employees to maintain continuity of service only in instances where unusual or unavoidable circumstances require prolonged absence. (See IV, Definition, Policy No. 322) No loss of service credit with the university will occur as a result of the leave of absence, but no benefit credit will accrue toward vacation and sick leave entitlement for the duration of the leave. The employee will be responsible for paying the entire cost of his/her group health insurance coverage and that of his or her dependents.

Medical Leave. For employees who do not qualify under the Family and Medical Leave Act, Policy No. 321 (part-time employees and employees who have been employed for less than one year), a medical leave of absence will be granted up to 60 consecutive calendar days when supported by a physician’s statement. Accrued sick leave benefits must be used prior to commencement of the unpaid portion of the leave.

Personal Leave of Absence. A personal leave of absence to handle compelling personal business may be granted to full-time employees. Length of a personal leave of absence may range from five to 30 consecutive calendar days. To be eligible, the employee must have maintained a satisfactory record of employment with the university for a minimum of one year. Employees must use all accrued vacation before a personal leave of absence commences.

A personal leave of absence is approved at the discretion of the employee’s immediate supervisor with the concurrence of one higher level of management. The employee must be available to return to regular employment on or before the expiration date of the leave.

DEFINITION
“Leave of absence” is defined as an excused absence without pay beyond five working days. An absence involving paid time off (i.e. jury duty, sick leave or bereavement leave) is not considered a leave of absence, nor is personal time off up to five days.

PROCEDURE
Application and Commencement

Requests for leave of absence or an extension thereof must be submitted in writing to the supervisor two weeks prior to the commencement date, except when medical conditions make such a requirement impossible. (Use request for leave of absence form, following.)

Extensions of leaves of absence are ordinarily not granted but, under critical circumstances such as an extended medical disability, may be granted. No extension will be granted beyond 60 days without the President’s approval.

Reinstatement

  1. Upon return from a medical or personal leave of absence, employees will be reinstated in the following priority of position reassignment:
    1. prior position, if available
    2. a comparable position for which the employee is qualified, if available
    3. a lesser position for which the employee is qualified
  2. If no work is available according to the reassignment priorities listed above, the employee will be separated from employment with the university.
  3. Employees on leave of absence must notify their supervisor at least two weeks prior to end of leave to inform the university of availability for return to work.
  4. The university may require employees to have a physician’s release or a physical examination to determine fitness for work prior to return from a medical leave of absence.

An employee’s failure to return from leave of absence, or failure to contact his or her supervisor or the Director of Human Resources after the scheduled date of return, will be considered a voluntary resignation.

Policy No. 323

Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed Date: January 2012
Date of Scheduled Review: January 2016

UNPAID PERSONAL TIME OFF

PURPOSE
To provide a means for employees to secure limited time off when such time is needed for important personal reasons.

SCOPE
This policy applies to employees at ACU.

POLICY
The university may grant to regular employees unpaid time off for substantial personal reasons, provided such time off does not materially affect the normal conduct of the university, customer service or operating costs.

  1. Duration. The duration of personal time off ranges from a few hours to five days. Beyond five days, a leave of absence will be used. (See Policy No. 322 Leaves of Absence Without Pay)
  2. Conditions. In considering an employee’s request for personal time off, the seriousness of the matter prompting the request will be taken into consideration by the supervisor. Such requests should be in response to serious personal needs rather than for occasional time off to rest of relax. Employees must make an effort to schedule ordinary personal and business affairs outside working hours.

Examples of needs considered to be reasonable uses of unpaid personal time off include: extensive legal affairs or funeral of a friend or relative.

Examples of causes not considered to be reasonable uses of unpaid personal time off include: chronic automobile trouble, non-emergency financial problems, visiting relatives, other employment (moonlighting), or seeking employment outside the university.

PROCEDURE

  1. The requesting employee’s performance record and previously granted time off will be taken into consideration by the supervisor before granting a time off request.
  2. When the need for absence from work is known in advance, the employee must notify the supervisor immediately.
  3. Employees will continue to be covered under all insured benefit plans while they are on approved personal time off.
  4. Unpaid personal time off will be recorded on the employee time sheet using the lost time code 145.

Policy No. 324

Responsible Department: ACUPD
Responsible Administrator: Chief of Police
Effective Date: September 28, 2009
Reviewed/Updated Date: September 1, 2013
Date of Scheduled Review: July 2017

PARKING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Standards of Conduct

Policy 410
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator:
 Director of Human Resources
Effective Date:
 October 1, 1994
Review/Updated Date:
 August 2018
Date of Scheduled Review:
 August 2022

STANDARDS OF CONDUCT

PURPOSE
To assure safe, efficient and harmonious operations and to fully inform all employees of their responsibilities in this regard.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all faculty and staff and select student employee positions that carry additional expectations as set out in their individual job descriptions unless otherwise specified below at ACU.

POLICY
The university’s standards of conduct are established for the guidance of all employees. Interactions will lead to corrective action up to and including discharge (See Policy 430 Performance Improvement).

BREACHES OF STANDARDS OF CONDUCT (Partial List)

  1. Falsifying employment application, time sheet, personnel record or other university documents.
  2. Sexual immorality including but not limited to the use of pornography; employees cohabitating with romantic partners; internet or electronic sexual misconduct; adultery; same-sex dating, relationships, or marriage; or sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and woman.
  3. Illegal gambling, carrying weapons or explosives, or violating criminal laws on university premises.
  4. Fighting, horseplay, practical jokes or disorderly conduct which may endanger the well-being of others or university operations.
  5. Engaging in acts of dishonesty, fraud, theft or sabotage.
  6. Threatening, intimidating, coercing, using abusive or vulgar language or interfering with the performance of others.
  7. Insubordination or refusal to comply with instructions or failure to perform reasonable duties which are assigned.
  8. Unauthorized use of university material, time, equipment or property.
  9. Damaging or destroying university property through careless or willful acts.
  10. Conduct which the university determines reflects adversely on the employee or university.
  11. The use of tobacco or alcoholic beverages by faculty or staff members with or in the presence of students is always considered to be inappropriate, regardless of the location.
  12. Dating between a faculty/staff member and a student is, under most circumstances, inappropriate and is strongly discouraged by the university. Prior to any such conduct, the employee must discuss with his or her supervisor. The supervisor will consult with appropriate university officials, including the vice president or dean of the faculty/staff member’s division, to determine if the proposed conduct is acceptable to the university. Appropriate levels of confidentiality will be maintained. If the university determines that the proposed conduct is inappropriate, that decision will be communicated to the faculty/staff member. Any failure by the employee to comply with this advance notice requirement or the decision of the university will be subject to strict disciplinary action, including suspension or termination.

This list is intended to be representative of the types of activities which may result in corrective action. It is not intended to be comprehensive and does not alter the employment-at-will relationship between employees and the university.

CODE OF ETHICS  
Responsible Department:
 Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator:
 Chief of Human Resources Officer
Effective Date:
 September 2011
Reviewed/Updated: January 2021
Date of Scheduled Review:
 January 2025

CODE OF ETHICS

I. PURPOSE
The purpose of the Code of Ethics (the “Code”) is to set forth the ethical expectations of members of the Abilene Christian University community. Other University policies provide specific rules and regulations that govern the conduct of University community members and the Code does not modify the application or enforcement of those policies in any way. This document also provides guidelines for reporting suspected or observed violations of the Abilene Christian University Code of Ethics.

II. SCOPE
This policy applies to all members of the ACU community – faculty, staff, administrators, students, members of the Board of Trustees, and volunteers acting on behalf of the University.

III. OVERVIEW AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Abilene Christian University is a Christian University committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values. All members of the Abilene Christian University community are responsible for maintaining the standards of the institution. We value integrity, honesty, and fairness and strive to integrate these values into our daily practices.

Our ethical expectations are found in Holy Scripture and the University Mission Statement. Holy Scripture provides the ultimate source for our ethical standards, including the two great commands taught by Jesus: the duty to love God and love one’s neighbor as one’s self (Matthew 22: 37-40).

In this spirit, we commit ourselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct. We act with integrity; we treat others with respect and dignity; we carefully steward the University’s resources; we avoid conflicts of interest or commitment; we maintain confidentiality; and we comply with legal and professional obligations. We are individually accountable for our own actions, and we are collectively accountable for upholding these standards of behavior and complying with all applicable laws, policies, standards, and regulations. While human and therefore fallible, we constantly strive to meet our ethical expectations. Moreover, because the Abilene Christian community is composed of many distinct constituencies, we understand that, beyond the general ethical principles outlined in this document, we may be subject to additional rules of conduct specific to our respective roles within the community.

  1.  We Act with Integrity: We seek to be people who are honorable, forthright, and upright at all times. Our commitment to integrity demands more than mere satisfaction of legal and ethical obligations, although we comply with the law and conform to the highest standards of ethical conduct. Our commitment to integrity means that we actively discern what is right from what is wrong; that our behavior is congruent with the life and values of Christ; that we seek consistency between our inner self and our outward conduct. We value people; we speak the truth; we have the courage of our convictions; and we keep our commitments. We do not condone any form of dishonesty-such as fraud, theft, cheating, or plagiarism-as described more specifically in student, faculty, and staff handbooks and policies. For further information see the Academic Integrity and Honesty Policy and the Standards of Conduct from the Employee Handbook.
  2. We Treat Others with Respect and Dignity: As members of the ACU community, we are committed to principles of equality and fairness. We follow the profound truth found in the Golden Rule, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
    We do not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law. For further information on the University’s hiring practices see Chapter Two of the Faculty Handbook and the Nondiscrimination Policy of the Employee Handbook.
    We respect the inherent worth of each member of the community. We do not engage in or overlook any form of harassment of others. Those in positions of authority, including administrators, supervisors, faculty members, and student leaders exercise their authority prudently, fairly and appropriately.
  3. We are Good Stewards of the University’s Resources. We use University resources for business purposes on behalf of the University. We exercise reasonable judgment in the use of University resources, acting with care and prudence. We do not use University resources for personal gain.
    We competently prepare clear financial records. To the best of our ability, we will record all entries into the University’s financial records accounts accurately. In reporting on the University’s resources, we do not hide, conceal, or purposely mislead, and we promptly and appropriately report such misconduct when it is discovered.
    We abide by the Information Technology Policies, which contain information about the appropriate use of technology resources.
  4. We Avoid Conflicts of Interest and Commitment: We do not have direct or indirect interests or commitments, financial or otherwise, which conflict with the proper discharge of our duties to the University. The primary professional allegiance of all full-time employees lies with Abilene Christian University and the advancement of its mission. We disclose potential conflicts of interest to the appropriate supervisor or officer as soon as possible after we realize that a conflict may have arisen. Additional information regarding this commitment is located in the University Conflicts of Interest policy.
  5. We Maintain Confidentiality: We observe and respect the confidentiality rights of all other members of the community, and this duty continues even after we are no longer affiliated with the University. This right of confidentiality applies to all academic, financial, health-related, personnel, or other non-public information protected either by law or by University policy. However, the right does not preclude the consensual release of information or the disclosure of information within the University when there is a legitimate need for its disclosure. Additional information is located in the Personnel Records and Privacy Policy, Records Management Policy, and in the Annual FERPA Notice to Students.
  6. We Comply with Legal and Professional Obligations: We comply with applicable state and federal laws and conform to the highest standards of professional conduct. We transact University business in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and University policies and procedures. We do not misrepresent our status or authority in our dealings with others. To the extent that we belong to professions that are governed by standards specific to the profession (such as attorneys, psychologists, or certified public accountants), we adhere to such professional standards. We conduct ourselves in accordance with professional principles for scholarly work, including upholding academic codes of conduct and professional standards for research.

IV. COMMITMENT TO REPORT OBSERVED OR SUSPECTED VIOLATIONS
In order to maintain the integrity of the community, we report observed or suspected violations of this code of ethics with a spirit of fairness, honesty, and respect for the rights of others. Those who report alleged misconduct and those against whom allegations are reported are afforded all rights provided by University policies, as well as all applicable state and federal laws. Those who are found to have violated this code will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, termination of employment, or termination of relationship.

We are governed by an ethos of care and respect, virtues that transcend the provisions of this code. We are called to something greater and nobler than mere compliance with the law or a written code of ethics. We are called “to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world” (University Mission Statement). We are called “to live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received . . . , bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:1-2). We are called to “follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1).

V. PROCESS FOR REPORTING A VIOLATION OF THE CODE OF ETHICS
We report observed or suspected violations of the Code in a spirit of fairness, honesty, and respect for the rights of others. The University encourages the use of informal processes when appropriate to resolve questions or concerns about violations of the Code.

Violations of the Code should be reported in accordance with the process provided under the applicable University policy. Reports of violations may be made anonymously online or by calling 325-674-2594

For violations or concerns that do not fall under an existing University policy or that do not have an established reporting process, the following guidelines should be followed:

  1. Faculty Members: Faculty members should report violations or concerns to their department chair or to their dean. If violations or concerns involve their department chair or dean, and the faculty member fears reprisal or suppression of the concern, that member should bring the violation or concern to the attention of the Provost.
  2. Staff Members: Staff members should report violations or concerns to their immediate supervisor. If it is not appropriate to report the violation to one’s immediate supervisor for any reason, the staff member should report the violation to the supervisor’s superior or the Human Resources office.
  3. Students: Students should report violations or concerns to the office of the Vice President of Student Life. Student employees should report violations or concerns related to their employment to their immediate supervisor. If it is not appropriate to report the violation to one’s supervisor for any reason, the student employee should report the violation to the supervisor’s superior or the Human Resources office.
  4. Members of the Board of Trustees: Members of the Board should report violations to the Chair of the Board or the Office of General Counsel.
  5. Volunteers: University volunteers should report violations or concerns to the University employee who coordinates their volunteer activity with the University. If it is not appropriate to report the violation to the coordinating employee for any reason, the volunteer should report the violation to the coordinating employee’s supervisor, the Center for Christian Service and Leadership, or other University employee with whom the volunteer interacts in the capacity as volunteer.

Policy No. 411
Responsible Department: Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: January 1994
Reviewed/Updated: January 2021
Date of Scheduled Review: January 2025

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

I. PURPOSE
To protect the integrity of Abilene Christian University’s information, products, services and employee efforts.

II. SCOPE
This policy applies to all full-time and reduced full-time faculty and staff (hereinafter referred to as “employees”).

III. DEFINITIONS

  1. “Outside work” includes non-university employment, consulting or research projects or any other personal business opportunities.
  2. A “conflict of interest” or “actual conflict of interest” exists when university employees have personal, professional or economic interests that interfere with their responsibilities or obligations to the university or oppose the best interests of the university. An “apparent conflict of interest” exists when an independent observer reasonably questions whether a conflict of interest exists.By way of example, the following are circumstances and conditions where actual or apparent conflicts of interests may arise:
    1. Engaging in outside work that interferes with the time commitment of employees to ACU or makes inappropriate use of university resources;
    2. Engaging in business transactions with the university of a private nature and unrelated to employment, such as purchasing or influencing the purchase of equipment or materials from companies in which employees or members of their immediate family have a material personal interest;
    3. Unauthorized and unreimbursed use of university property or resources for the benefit of outside work of employees or companies in which employees or members of their immediate family have a material personal interest;
    4. When engaging in outside work, allowing client(s) to believe that work is being done by or on behalf of the university or implying that certain personal ideas represent the university’s position;
    5. Use of confidential or privileged information acquired as a result of employment with the university;
    6. Conducting research projects in coordination with or sponsored by governmental agencies or private business;
    7. Involving ACU students or other university employees in outside work if such involvement is coerced or if it conflicts with their commitments or obligations to the university; and
    8. Engaging in a business similar in nature to the university or service provided by the university or when spouses or other immediate family members of employees are engaged in such a business or service.

IV. POLICY

  1. Employees are expected to devote their best efforts to the interests of the university and the conduct of its affairs. Employees are also expected to avoid using their connection with the university for personal advantage.
  2. The university recognizes the right of employees to engage in activities outside of their employment at ACU of a private nature and unrelated to the university’s business. However, prior to accepting any outside work, employees must first consider their primary obligations and responsibilities to the university and whether an actual or apparent conflict of interest could arise. Employees should not accept outside work that would create a conflict of interest. Additionally, because the appearance of a conflict of interest can be as detrimental as an actual conflict of interest, any apparent conflict of interest should also be avoided.
  3. Employees who have, directly or through family or business connections, an interest in suppliers of goods or services or in contractors with the university, should not act for the university or influence actions of the university in any transaction involving that interest.
  4. Employees should avoid accepting gifts of more than nominal value from any party that does or seeks to do business with the university. An employee should consult with his/her supervisor if unsure about whether to accept a gift.
  5. A policy of full disclosure will be followed to assess and prevent conflicts of interest from arising. In this regard, upon hire and once each year (on a date that will be determined and publicized by Human Resources), all employees will submit a completed Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement to their immediate supervisor. Additionally, if at any time employees determine that an actual or apparent conflict of interest may be presented under any circumstances described in this policy, they should submit a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement to their immediate supervisor. Upon receipt of a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement, the supervisor, in consultation with the responsible Dean or Vice President (as applicable), will determine whether a conflict of interest exists and what conditions or restrictions, if any, should be imposed to reduce or eliminate such conflict.
  6. Failure to disclose conflicts of interest may lead to corrective action up to and including discharge. The university reserves the right to inquire and receive complete disclosure regarding actual or apparent conflicts of interest as it may deem appropriate.

Policy 412 – Sexual Misconduct (Including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Dating or Domestic Violence, and Retaliation)

Responsible Department:           Human Resources
Responsible Administrator:       Chief Human Resources Officer and Title IX
Coordinator

Effective Date:                                May 2012
Revised:                                           July 2021
Date of Scheduled Review:         July 2022

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I.          PURPOSE

II.         SCOPE AND JURISDICTION

III.       POLICY

  • Prohibition Against Sexual Misconduct
  • Responding and Reporting
  • Amnesty from Code of Conduct Violations
  • No Retaliation
  • Conflicts of Interest or Bias
  • Notification and Training

IV.       DEFINITIONS AND PROHIBITED CONDUCT
            A.        “Report”
B.        “Reporter”
C.        “Supportive Measures”
D.        “Complainant”
E.        “Respondent”
F.        “Formal Complaint”
G.        “ACU’s Educational Program and Activities”
H.        “Sexual Misconduct”
I.          “Consent”
J.         “Incapacity”
K.        “Force”

V.        EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE, MEDICAL TREATMENT, AND EVIDENCE
PRESERVATION

VI.       REPORTING OPTIONS AND EMPLOYEE OBLIGATIONS
            A.        Direct Reporting to Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Office (“Title IX
Office”)
            B.        Confidential Reporting/Support Options
            C.        Reporting to Law Enforcement
            D.        External Reporting
E.        Employee Reporting Requirements

VII.      INTAKE, SUPPORTIVE MEASURES AND NOTICE OF RIGHTS AND
OPTIONS
A.        Intake and Notice
B.        Supportive Measures

VIII.     COMPLAINANT RESPONSE
            A.        Request for No Further Action
            B.        Formal Complaint

IX.       INITIAL ASSESSMENT    
            A.        Mandatory Dismissal (No Reasonable Cause)
            B.        Discretionary Dismissal
            C.        Category One Transfer
            D.        Reasonable Cause Exists

X.        NOTICE OF DISMISSAL OR COMPLAINT
            A.        Notice of Dismissal
            B.        Notice of Complaint
            C.        Timeframes for Resolution Processes

XI.       RESPONDENT’S RESPONSE TO NOTICE OF COMPLAINT
            A.        Initial Meeting with Respondent
            B.        Refusal to Participate, Withdrawal, or Transfer

XII.      ADAPTABLE RESOLUTION OPTIONS
            A.        Verbal Warning
            B.        Respect Agreement Process

XIII.     STRUCTURED RESOLUTION GENERALLY
            A.        Goals
            B.        Advisor
            C.        Investigation and Gathering Evidence

XIV.    TRACK ONE – INTERNAL ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATION
            A.        Review of Investigation Report Draft and Relevant Evidence
            B.        Report Finalized and Submitted
            C.        Determination by Coordinator
D.        Notice of Determination
E.        Appeal

XV.      TRACK TWO – PRE-HEARING INVESTIGATION AND LIVE HEARING
            A.        Review of Pre-Hearing Investigation Report Draft and All Directly
Related Evidence
B.        Report Finalization and Rereview to Parties
C.        Pre-Hearing Review
D.        Live Hearing
E.        Written Determination of Outcome
F.        Appeal

XVI.    SANCTIONS
            A.        Range of Sanctions
            B.        Determining Sanctions
            C.        Transcripts

Appendix A 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to maintain a work and academic environment that is free of sexual misconduct, as defined herein. This policy provides information related to sexual misconduct reporting, supportive measures, and prompt and equitable procedures to resolve complaints.

  1. SCOPE AND JURISDICTION

This policy provides reporting options, supportive measures and prompt and equitable procedures to resolve sexual misconduct complaints for ACU students, employees, or anyone else participating in or attempting to participate in ACU’s Educational Programs and Activities. As explained below, its application is not necessarily limited solely to ACU’s campus but extends to its Educational Programs or Activities or conduct that, while occurring elsewhere, impacts the educational or employment environment. Misconduct that is alleged to have occurred outside of these contexts or that is committed by a person outside the ACU community may be more difficult to investigate and remedy. Still, where the university’s response is so limited, it will advise the reporting party regarding their right to applicable Supportive Measures and rights to file a complaint with the alleged Complainant’s school or local law enforcement within the jurisdiction where the misconduct occurred.

  1. POLICY
    1. Prohibition Against Sexual Misconduct – Sexual misconduct, as defined below, will not be tolerated at Abilene Christian University. It is a breach of community that expresses disrespect, exploits and undermines relationships based on trust, and interferes with learning and productive work. Inquiries about the application of these laws may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator or the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education.
    2. Responding and Reporting – Any person who experiences sexual misconduct or who otherwise becomes aware of such an incident may object to this behavior by telling the Respondent to stop. Reporting options and obligations related to alleged conduct violations are set out in Sections V and VI of this policy. ACU encourages all reports to be made in good faith. If an investigation results in a finding that an accusation of Sexual Misconduct or retaliation was made in bad faith or maliciously, the accuser may be disciplined appropriately. However, filing a complaint or providing information that a party or witness genuinely believes is accurate but which is ultimately dismissed due to insufficient evidence or found to be untrue does not constitute intentional false reporting.
    3. Amnesty from Code of Conduct Violations – Under Texas law, the university may not take any disciplinary action against an enrolled student or employee who in good faith reports to the institution being the victim of, or a witness to, an incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking or a violation by the student or employee of the university’s Code of Conduct occurring at or near the time of the incident (e.g., underage drinking, drug use, or curfew violations), regardless of the location at which the incident occurred or the outcome of the institution’s disciplinary process regarding the incident, if any. This means that while the university may provide support and education options, it will not discipline students or employees for conduct violations in such cases. Such immunity does not apply to students or employees who are the subject of the complaint.
    4. No Retaliation – Neither ACU nor any other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by this policy or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this part. Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for Code of Conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by this policy, constitutes retaliation. A party may also be responsible for retaliation by someone affiliated with them (e.g., a friend or family member). Any such behavior should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator or designee immediately. Allegations of retaliation will be investigated and addressed under the process set out in this policy.
    5. Conflicts of Interest or Bias – If the Complainant or Respondent contends that the Coordinator, Deputy Coordinator, Investigator, Adaptable Resolution Facilitator, or a Decision Maker has a conflict of interest in fulfilling their responsibilities under this policy, the university encourages the party to raise those issues with the Coordinator so that they can be considered and addressed. Parties must raise the issue of a conflict of interest within two business days of learning the identity of the administrator and their role in the process. Failure to raise a conflict of interest concern within two business days of learning the identity of the administrator assigned will act as a waiver of any perceived conflict.
    6. Notification and Training – In an effort to prevent sexual misconduct, ACU will provide, near the beginning of each long semester, all employees and students with a notification regarding this policy and protocols for reporting, including where to file a complaint. It will also provide periodic training for employees and training for all new freshmen and undergraduate transfer students before or during the first semester enrolled. Participation in such training is required.

 

  1. DEFINITIONS AND PROHIBITED CONDUCT
    1. “Report” – information related to an alleged incident of sexual misconduct
    2. “Reporter” – the person that reports the alleged sexual misconduct to the Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Office (Title IX Office) or Title IX Coordinator. Reporters might be the Complainant or someone else like an employee, friend, or parent.
    3. “Supportive Measures” – Non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent before or after the filing of a Formal Complaint or where no Formal Complaint has been filed.  (also known as Interim or Protective Measures)
    4. “Complainant”– an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Sexual Misconduct
    5. “Respondent” – an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Sexual Misconduct
    6. “Formal Complaint” – A written document signed by the Complainant and/or Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual misconduct against a Respondent.
    7.  “ACU’s Educational Program and Activities” – includes locations, events, or circumstances over which ACU exercised substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the Sexual Misconduct occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by ACU. This includes ACU’s remote learning platform (Canvas).
    8.  “Sexual Misconduct” – A broad term encompassing a range of non-consensual sexual activity or unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. This term includes sexual harassment, Quid Pro Quo harassment, sexual assault, dating or domestic violence, or stalking. Sexual Misconduct can be committed by men or women, strangers or acquaintances, and can occur between or among people of the same or opposite sex. Based on varying applicable laws, ACU has developed the following categories and related definitions for the types of Sexual Misconduct.
      1. Category One Sexual Misconduct
  • Sexual Harassment in Employment Context – unwelcome, sex-based verbal or physical conduct which unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment
  • Sexual Harassment in Education Context – unwelcome, sex-based verbal or physical conduct which is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct interferes with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities at a postsecondary educational institution.
  • Sexual Exploitation – Any act where one person violates the sexual privacy of another or takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another. Sexual exploitation may include: surreptitiously observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; recording, photographing, transmitting, showing, viewing, streaming, or distributing intimate or sexual images, audio recordings, or sexual information without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; exposing one’s genitals or inducing another to expose their genitals in non-consensual circumstances.
      1. Category Two Sexual Misconduct – Applies to conduct occurring anywhere that negatively impacts the Complainant’s educational or employment environment (i.e., non-Title IX)
  • Sexual Assault – An offense that meets the definition of rape or other sex offenses:
    • Rape – The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the victim’s consent.
    • Other Sex Offenses – Any sexual act directed against another person without the victim’s consent, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.
      • Fondling – The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the victim’s consent, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
      • Statutory Rape – Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
  • Dating Violence – Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
  • Domestic Violence – A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by (i) a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; (ii) a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; (iii) a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; (iv) a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred, or (v) any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred
  • Stalking – Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.
    • Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property;
    • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim;
    • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
  • Complicity in Sexual Assault – Any act that knowingly aids, facilitates, promotes, or encourages the commission of Sexual Assault by another person. A Complainant may allege that someone besides the Respondent is complicit in the Sexual Assault and that allegation will be investigated and addressed pursuant to the policies set out here as an allegation of Complicity in Sexual Assault.
      1. Category Three Sexual Misconduct – Applies only to conduct on the basis of sex occurring in ACU’s Education Programs and Activities within the United States (i.e., Title IX applies)
  • Sexual Harassment
    • Quid Pro Quo Harassment by Employee – An ACU employee conditioning the provision of aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct
    • Denial of Equal Access – Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the ACU education program or activity (including employment)
  • Sexual Assault – Any sexual act including Rape, Sodomy, Sexual Assault With An      Object, or Fondling      directed against another person without the consent of the victim, including           instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent. The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) offers the following definitions of sex offenses:
    • Rape – (Except Statutory Rape) The carnal knowledge of       a person, without the consent of the victim, including        instances where the victim is incapable of giving           consent because of his/her age or because of his/her   temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity
    • Sodomy – Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances       where the victim is incapable of giving consent  because         of his/her age or because of his/her temporary     or        permanent mental or physical incapacity
    • Sexual Assault With An Object – To use an object or    instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the      genital or anal opening of the body of another person, without the consent of the  victim, including instances       where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of     his/her age or because of his/her            temporary or permanent     mental or physical incapacity.
    • Fondling – The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
    • Statutory Rape – Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
  • Dating Violence – Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i)The length of the relationship; (ii)The type of relationship; (iii)The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  • Domestic Violence – includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
  • Stalking –  engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.
    1. “Consent” – An informed, deliberate, and voluntary decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity.
      1. Consent must be mutually understood and clear: Consent can be given by words or actions as long as those words or actions create clear, unambiguous, mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity. However, relying solely on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings and harmful consequences for all of the parties involved because this form of communication may be unclear. Consent may not be implied by silence, passivity, or lack of resistance. Instead, consent must be part of a mutual and ongoing process by both parties throughout the sexual interaction. Consent to engage in one sexual activity does not imply consent to engage in another or different sexual activity. A current or previous dating relationship or sexual relationship may not be taken to imply consent. Consent cannot be implied or inferred by attire, time or place (e.g., being invited to a person’s residence at a certain time of night).  Consent to sexual activity may be revoked at any time, as long as the revocation is communicated clearly, at which point sexual activity must cease immediately.
      2. Consent must be free and voluntary – Consent is not valid if acquired through means of physical force, the threat of physical force, intimidation, coercion, incapacitation, or any other fact that would eliminate an individual’s ability to exercise his or her own free will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity. Because consent may never be provided by an incapacitated person, one must assume consent has been withdrawn should an individual become incapacitated at any point during a sexual act or encounter. However, Respondent must know or reasonably should have known that the Complainant was incapacitated at the time of the sexual activity.
    2. “Incapacity” – Any state where individuals cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because they lack the ability to understand the consequences of their actions. They cannot fully understand what is happening and therefore cannot consent even if they appear to be a willing participant. This includes but is not limited to persons incapacitated based on their voluntary or involuntary use of drugs or alcohol, unconsciousness, blackout, or sleep. Because it can be difficult to know when someone has passed from the state of intoxication to the point of incapacitation, if you have any doubt about a person’s ability to consent, you should not engage in sexual contact with them.  Moreover, engaging in sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can impair an individual’s ability to make sure they have received consent. The use of alcohol and/or drugs by the person initiating sexual activity will never be an excuse for failing to obtain consent.
    3. “Force” – The use of force to cause someone to engage in sexual activity is, by definition, non-consensual contact. Force is not limited to physical violence but also includes threats, intimidation, abuse of power, coercion, duress, or any combination of these behaviors.
      1. Physical Force, Violence –  Physical force is the use of power, violence, or strength upon another person’s body. An individual’s use of physical force, or violence, or threat of physical force or violence to make another person participate in or perform a sexual activity they might not have otherwise agreed to, or did not want to engage in, is a violation of this policy.
      2. Threats – A threat often occurs when someone says or implies that there will be negative consequences from failing to acquiesce to or comply with sexual activity. It is a violation of this policy if an individual uses threats to make another person participate in or perform a sexual activity that they would not have agreed to engage in otherwise.
      3. Intimidation or Abuse of Power/Authority – Intimidation or abuse of power/authority occurs when individuals use their real or perceived authority to influence other people to acquiesce or submit to sexual activity. Intimidation happens through a real or perceived display of superior power that someone uses to make another do what they want them to do.
      4. Coercion or Duress – Coercion and duress occur when continual and repeated pressure is used to compel someone to engage in sexual activity. Coercion and/or duress can be bullying an individual into sexual activity that they did not and/or would not have wanted to participate in but for the coercion and/or duress. Coercion or duress can be physical or verbal. Coercion can be a process that happens over a period of time. In assessing whether coercion was used, the frequency, duration, and intensity of the pressure applied will be taken into consideration.
  1. EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE, MEDICAL TREATMENT, AND EVIDENCE PRESERVATION

If a person has concerns for their safety, they should contact the ACU Police Department (ACUPD) (325-674-2911) or the Abilene Police Department (APD) (911). If on-campus, ACUPD can also be contacted by activating one of the blue safety phones located throughout campus. Police can help with transportation to the hospital for sexual assault exams, connecting a person to other resources, and help in obtaining a restraining order. For more information, see In Case of Emergency.
Regardless of whether an incident of Sexual Misconduct is reported to the police or the university, ACU strongly encourages individuals who have experienced sexual assault or relationship violence to go to Hendrick Medical Center both to obtain medical treatment and to preserve evidence to the greatest extent possible, as this will best maintain all legal options for them in the future. Additionally, such evidence may be helpful in pursuing a complaint with ACU. While ACU does not conduct forensic tests for parties involved in a complaint of sexual misconduct, the results of such tests that have been conducted by law enforcement agencies (including ACUPD) and medical assistance providers may be considered as evidence in a university investigation or proceeding, provided they are available at the time of the investigation or proceeding. Additionally, ACUPD has officers specifically trained to work with Complainants who can explain their rights and options and provide relevant resources. (For more information, see “Hendrick Medical Center” section under In Case of Emergency.)

  1. REPORTING OPTIONS AND EMPLOYEE OBLIGATIONS

A variety of resources are available at ACU and in the area around campus to assist those who have experienced sexual misconduct. If you have experienced any of the behaviors described in this policy, the university encourages you to seek help and support by reporting this conduct. The university recognizes that reporting misconduct can be difficult, and Complainants may experience a multitude of emotions when considering whether or not to report the conduct. In that regard, there are multiple options to address this conduct, both through our disciplinary process and/or through the legal system or simply seeking support. Regardless of whether an individual ultimately chooses to file a Formal Complaint, upon receiving a Report, the university will provide Complainants with options related to Supportive Measures and provide information regarding filing a Formal Complaint and related resolution options. These various reporting options are detailed in the sections that follow.

    1. Direct Reporting to Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Office (“Title IX Office”)  – Reports can be made directly to members of the Title IX Office, including the Title IX Coordinator, the Deputy Coordinator, or Case Manager, who ACU has designated as the sole officials who have authority to administer this policy and institute corrective actions and measures on ACU’s behalf.  As noted above, reporting to the Title IX Office does not require pursuing a Formal Complaint (Please see Section VII for more information).  Reports can be made using the electronic reporting form, by email or telephone voice mail at any time, or in-person during business hours.

 

When using the online reporting form, providing contact information is optional except in situations where employees are required to report under Texas law, as explained in Section E. Anonymous Reporters should understand that while the university will do its best to address anonymous reports, it may be limited in its ability to investigate and otherwise respond to or address them.

Title IX Coordinator
Wendy Jones, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Chief Human Resources Officer
Hardin Administration Building, Rm. 213
Abilene, Texas 79699
325-674-2359
wendy.jones@acu.edu

Title IX Deputy Coordinator for Prevention and Support
Sherita Nickerson, M.Ed.
Hardin Administration Building, Rm. 213
Abilene, Texas 79699
325-674-6802
sherita.nickerson@acu.edu

    1. Confidential Reporting/Support Options – If a Complainant desires to report but desires that their personally identifiable information not be reported to the university’s Title IX Office, they are encouraged to speak with one of the following: (1) On or off-campus mental health professional or health care service providers; (2) off-campus rape crisis resources; (3) off-campus clergy, and (4) on-campus Chaplains, who are designated as Confidential Individuals by the university. See Resources for contact information about making a confidential report. These individuals will maintain the confidentiality of a Complainant’s identity unless (i) they are given permission to share information by the person who disclosed the information; (ii) there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others; (iii) the conduct involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 17; or (iv) as otherwise required or permitted by law or court order.  On-campus individuals are still required to report to the Title IX Coordinator only the type of incident reported and may not include any information that would violate an expectation of privacy.
    2. Reporting to Law Enforcement – Separate and apart from violations of this policy, many sexual misconduct offenses may also be crimes in the state or locality in which the incident occurred (see Appendix A).

 

      1. Reporting Encouraged and Assistance Available – ACU encourages any related criminal violations to be reported to ACUPD so that Complainants can consider legal options. The Title IX Office can provide a Complainant with assistance in notifying ACUPD, or if a Complainant declines to report the crime to law enforcement, the Title IX Office will only provide the type of incident reported and its approximate location as required by federal law. These options are available to the Complainants, who may change their minds about pursuing them at any time. For example, Complainants may seek a protective order from a court against the alleged Respondent(s), pursue a civil action, and/or participate in a law enforcement investigation and criminal prosecution of the alleged Respondent. The university will honor such protective orders. It is important to note that reporting to ACUPD or any other law enforcement does not require filing criminal charges and that there are options for filing criminal complaints using a pseudonym.  ACUPD can be contacted at:

ACU Police Department
325-674-2305 (non-emergency)
325-674-2911 (emergency)
acupolice@acu.edu
ACU Box 28010
1634 Campus Court
Abilene, Texas 79699

      1. Timely Public Warning – Under federal law, the ACUPD must issue immediate timely warnings for certain types, and circumstances of Sexual Misconduct reported to them if they believe they pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. If that is necessary, ACU will make every effort to ensure that the Complainant’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.
      2. Cooperation with Law Enforcement Requests – The University will comply with a law enforcement request for cooperation, and such cooperation may require the University to temporarily suspend any fact-finding aspect of an investigation while the law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering evidence. The University will promptly resume its resolution/investigation of the complaint after receiving approval from law enforcement or as soon as notified that law enforcement has completed the evidence gathering process, whichever is earlier. This length of time will vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case, but in no case will the university suspend any investigation for an ongoing or indefinite period.

 

    1. External Reporting – Complainants always have the right to file a complaint with the United States Department of Education.  A complaint must be filed within 180 calendar days of the date of the alleged conduct unless the time for filing is extended by OCR for good cause shown under certain circumstances.

Office for Civil Rights
Dallas Office
U.S. Department of Education
1999 Bryan Street, Suite 1620
Dallas, TX 75201-6810
Telephone: 214-661-9600
Facsimile: 214-661-9587
Email: OCR.Dallas@ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
1.800.421.3481
ocr@ed.gov

    1. Employee Reporting Requirements –  Under Texas law, all university employees (besides the university Chaplains and health care professionals mentioned above) are considered mandatory reporters. This means if, in the course and scope of their employment, they witness or receive information regarding the occurrence of an incident that (1) they reasonably believe constitutes Sexual Misconduct under this policy and (2) is alleged to have been committed by or against a person who was a student enrolled at or an employee of the institution at the time of the incident, they must promptly report (preferably within 24 hours) the incident to the Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Office.
      1. Contents of Report – The report should include all relevant details needed to determine what occurred and address the situation, including the name(s) of the parties or witnesses and any relevant facts, including date, time, and location and requests for confidentiality. The University provides an incident reporting form for such reports to be made.
      2. Modifications to Reporting Requirements – There are two modifications to these reporting requirements:
        • Modification for Confidential Employees  The University Chaplain(s); on-campus medical and mental health service providers; or other employees who receive such information under circumstances that render the employee’s communication confidential or privileged under other law are only required to report the type of incident that occurred to the Title IX Office (and may not include information that would violate the legal expectation of privacy, absent consent to do so.)
        • Public Awareness Events – Employees who learn of incidents as a part of a public awareness event sponsored by ACU or related student organizations (e.g., Take Back the Night) are not required to report.
      1. Confidentiality – Although employees are required to report conduct under this policy to the Coordinator, they will otherwise maintain the privacy of the information related to the matter reported. In other words, notification to an employee does not necessarily mean information will be shared with the accused individual.
      2. Notice of Obligations – To the extent possible, the employee should explain this obligation to the Reporter before the report is made, identify reporting options (i.e., confidential, direct, and law enforcement), and clarify that the individual has an option to ask that the Coordinator maintain his or her confidentiality.
      3. Importance of Information – Even if no action is requested by the reporter or they are unsure about what they want to do, such reporting to the Coordinator is legally required by Texas law and is necessary for various reasons, including to ensure that persons possibly subjected to such conduct receive appropriate services and information; that ACU can track incidents and identify patterns; and that, where appropriate, ACU can take steps to protect the University community. Reported allegations will be reviewed by the Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator, who will assess the report and consult with the Complainant.
      4. Failure to Report – Employees who have an obligation to report under this policy and fail to do so may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination, as required by Texas law for failure to report Sexual Misconduct.  Determinations related to such action will be made in accordance with any applicable disciplinary procedure as established by policy or contract (e.g., Special Termination).

 

  1. INTAKE, SUPPORTIVE MEASURES AND NOTICE OF RIGHTS AND OPTIONS
    1. Intake and Notice – Once the Title IX Office receives a report of sexual misconduct, it will attempt to contact the Complainant within 24 business hours in order to offer Supportive Measures and explain the Complainant’s rights and options under this process, including evidence preservation, support in notifying law enforcement, prohibitions against retaliation, an explanation of the relevant resolution procedures, and the Complainant’s ability to pursue no action or file a Formal Complaint that results in either adaptable or structured resolution.  The Complainant will be provided with a copy of the relevant rights and options and provided a link to this policy.
    2. Supportive Measures – Supportive Measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant (or the Respondent) before or after the filing of a Formal Complaint or where no Formal Complaint has been filed.  They are designed to restore or preserve equal access to ACU’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or ACU’s educational environment or to deter Sexual Misconduct.
      1. General Examples – Such measures can include but are not limited to counseling or academic support services, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of campus, or modification of classes or ACU work schedules (e.g., either a Complainant or Respondent may be permitted to drop an academic course without any academic penalty when the parties are enrolled in the same course). (To the extent possible, Complainant and Respondent will be offered counseling services by different counselors in the ACU Counseling Center.) The parties will also be informed regarding relevant on-campus and off-campus resources, which include the assignment of a Title IX Liaison, academic support services, and the right to report a crime or seek a protective/restraining order from campus or local law enforcement.  These measures and resources are available to Complainants even if they choose not to file or pursue a Formal Complaint or if the status of a Respondent to the university is unclear (e.g., un-enrolled student or non-employee). In keeping with legal requirements, such measures should be individualized and appropriate based on the information gathered by the Coordinator or designee, making every effort to avoid depriving any student of her or his education. The Coordinator or other designee is responsible for ensuring the implementation of Supportive Measures.
      2. Temporary Mutual No Contact Order – Mutual restriction on contact between the parties may be ordered by the Coordinator upon request of either party or based on the administrative prerogative of the Coordinator as a Supportive Measure.  Such an order will be in writing and serves to bar any communication between the parties allegedly involved prohibiting any attempt to contact or respond to any communication from the other party, either directly or through others (e.g., friends, family members). The Coordinator or designee will work with the parties involved to help facilitate the order between the parties so that they may attend classes and use common university facilities as appropriate. A No Contact Order may be extended after the conclusion of any resolutions process at the request of either party or based on the determination by the Decision Maker (i.e., Permanent Mutual No Contact Order). In cases where a demonstrated violation of this No Contact Order has been shown, the responsible party may face disciplinary sanction under this policy, including separation from the university pending the final resolution.
      3. Emergency Removal of a Student – If based on a report of Sexual Misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator believes that the safety of any person is in imminent danger as a result of the incident, he/she will notify the President. The university also reserves the right to remove a student from campus or student housing based on the Title IX Coordinator’s individualized safety and risk analysis that determines the student presents a threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the report of Sexual Misconduct. Notification of emergency removal and the reasons for it will be communicated to the student as part of the removal process and sent to the student’s email following the process.  The email will also explain that the student has the immediate opportunity to appeal the removal decision by email to the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Engagement.  If the appeal is granted, the student may be allowed to return pending other necessary stipulations.  If the appeal is denied, the removal will remain in effect until a final decision has been made pursuant to the standard procedures unless, before a final decision is made, the Coordinator determines that the reasons for imposing the removal no longer exist.
      4. Administrative Leave of an Employee – The Title IX Coordinator may place an employee on paid or unpaid administrative leave based on Reports of Sexual Misconduct pending the outcome of any subsequent structured or adaptable resolution process.
  1. COMPLAINANT RESPONSE

After understanding their rights, Complainants have the option of requesting no action be taken or filing a Formal Complaint.

    1. Request for No Further Action – If Complainant requests that their name not be revealed to the Respondent and/or request no further action against the Respondent, the Coordinator will evaluate such requests by balancing the Complainant’s desire with the university’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment as well as its ability to proceed without Complainant’s cooperation or participation. In other words, while the university wants to respect the Complainant’s request, it is important to note the law may require the university to override the request, especially in cases involving sexual violence that poses an ongoing risk to the campus community. In making this decision, the university will consider a number of factors, including but not limited to:
  • The seriousness of the alleged incident (e.g., force or violence was used, weapon involved, multiple Respondents);
  • Whether the institution has received other reports of Sexual Misconduct committed by the alleged Respondent;
  • Whether the alleged incident poses an increased risk of harm to others;
    • Does the incident pose an increased risk of the alleged Respondent committing additional acts (e.g., other complaints against the Respondent or threats of additional action by Respondent)?
    • Does the incident pose an increased risk of someone else committing additional acts under similar circumstances (e.g., a pattern of acting or a certain location)?
  • Whether the university possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence to proceed without Complainant’s participation (e.g., security cameras or physical evidence).

 

      1. Honoring Complainant’s Request – If the university determines that it can honor the Complainant’s request, it will ask the Complainant to sign a case drop form, and the case will be closed with the understanding that the Complainant can later change his or her mind. The university will still take any steps it determines necessary to protect the health and safety of the ACU community in relation to the Report consistent with the Complainant’s requests. For example, this might include taking steps to limit the effects of alleged misconduct, such as providing increased monitoring, supervision, or security at a location where the misconduct occurred or additional prevention or public awareness training with specific groups.
      2. Moving Forward Without Complainant – When the university determines it must move forward despite the Complainant’s request, the university will inform the Complainant of its need to move forward prior to commencing a Formal Complaint, which would include the identity of the Complainant. In response, the Complainant may request that the university inform the Respondent that he or she asked the university not to move forward, and the university will honor that request. In this type of case, the Coordinator will sign the Formal Complaint but will not be considered the adverse party or Complainant.
    1. Formal Complaint – Moving forward with either an adaptable or structured resolution process (see Sections XII and XIII) requires that the Complainant make and a Respondent receive a Formal Complaint, which is a written document signed by the Complainant (or Coordinator, if the Complainant is no longer involved) alleging Sexual Misconduct against a Respondent.
      1. Contents – The university will provide the Complainant with a form that will allow the Complainant to provide a summary of the allegations, including time, date, and location of the alleged conduct and the name of the Complainant. The Formal Complaint will also include and briefly explain whether Complainant prefers an adaptable or structured resolution process.
      2. Timing of Complaint – There is no time limit for the submission of a Formal Complaint under this policy.  Although laws specify timeframes within which any related legal claim must be brought, the University will assess all Formal Complaints as outlined below.
  1. INITIAL ASSESSMENT    

No later than five business days after receiving the Formal Complaint, the Coordinator will make an initial assessment related to whether the alleged conduct would constitute Sexual Misconduct even if proved. This is sometimes referred to as a reasonable cause determination. No reasonable cause exists when, even assuming that all the facts reported by the Complainant are true, no violation of this policy could exist.

    1. Mandatory Dismissal (No Reasonable Cause) – The Coordinator will dismiss the Complaint if the initial assessment reveals the alleged conduct, even if proved as Complainant alleges, would not qualify as Sexual Misconduct under this policy.  The case will be closed, and a Notice of Dismissal will be provided to the parties in accordance with Section X.
    2. Discretionary Dismissal – The Coordinator may dismiss the Complaint if the initial assessment reveals that the Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the university at the time the Complaint is filed or specific circumstances prevent ACU from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the alleged conduct.  The Coordinator may also dismiss a Formal Complaint if at any time the Complainant notifies the Coordinator in writing that he/she would like to withdraw the complaint or any allegations. If dismissed, the case will be closed, and a Notice of Dismissal will be provided to the parties, as explained in Section X. If a Formal Complaint is dismissed for any reason, any related reports of University Code of Conduct violations may be forwarded to the Dean of Students or to Human Resources, as applicable, to be addressed under those policies and processes.
    3. Category One Transfer – If the Coordinator determines that reasonable cause exists, but the alleged conduct qualifies as Category One Sexual Misconduct under Section IV. H. 1., he/she may transfer the case to the Dean of Students or to Human Resources to be handled pursuant to applicable code of conduct or special termination processes, as applicable. In that case, a Notice of Transfer will be provided to the parties in writing along with a copy of the Formal Complaint.
    4. Reasonable Cause Exists – If reasonable cause exists, the Notice of Complaint will be provided to the parties, as explained in Section X. The Coordinator will also consider the appropriate resolution process in keeping with the Complainant’s request, category of misconduct, and his/her own discretion.

           

  1. NOTICE OF DISMISSAL OR COMPLAINT

Depending on the outcome of the initial assessment of the Formal Complaint, the Coordinator will issue a Notice of Dismissal or Notice of Formal Complaint to the parties.

    1. Notice of Dismissal – The written Notice of Dismissal will include the Formal Complaint as well as the Coordinator’s rationale and basis for the dismissal.  It will also include whether the Coordinator has provided any information related to the alleged conduct to the Dean of Students or Human Resources, as applicable, to be addressed under other university policies and processes.  A Complainant may file an appeal related to the Coordinator’s decision to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Section XV, F of this policy.
    2. Notice of Complaint – The written Notice of Complaint will include the Formal Complaint as well as the Coordinator’s determination of the appropriate Category (1, 2, or 3) of the alleged conduct and outline the available and recommended resolution process (See Definitions, Section IV. H. and Resolution Processes, Sections XII-XV).  The Notice will also contain legally required statements related to the following:
      1. Presumption of Innocence – Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the resolution process;
      2. Advisor – Parties may have an advisor of their choice, who may be an attorney;
      3. Evidence –  Parties may inspect and review the evidence (inculpatory and exculpatory) in keeping with applicable law before a decision is made;
      4. False Statements – Both this policy (Section III, B) and ACU’s Student Code of Conduct that prohibits knowingly providing false or misleading information to a university authority;
      5. Meetings – Parties will receive written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all investigative interviews, hearings, or other meetings, with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate; and
      6. Supplement – If in the course of an investigation, ACU decides to investigate allegations that are not included in the notice, ACU will provide notice of the additional allegations.
    3. Timeframes for Resolution Processes – Generally, the university attempts to conclude all adaptable resolutions, internal or pre-hearing investigations within 60 calendar days of issuing the Notice of Complaint  As set out in the relevant sections below, an additional 30-60 calendar days is typically required for (1) parties to review the draft resolution agreements or investigations reports (and related evidence); (2) the investigator or facilitator to finalize the report or resolution agreement; Decision Makers to conduct a live hearing, where applicable; (3) Decision Makers to consider the evidence and draft a ruling; and (4) a separate Decision Maker to consider and rule on any appeals. Depending on the complexity and extent of the alleged conduct, more or less time may be required. In other words, the timeframes are not exact as the university allows for temporary delays of the resolutions processes or the limited extension for good cause with written notice to the parties of the delay or extension and the reasons for the action. Good cause may include considerations such as the absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities.

 

  1. RESPONDENT’S RESPONSE TO NOTICE OF COMPLAINT
    1. Initial Meeting with Respondent – After receiving the Notice of Complaint, the Respondent will have the opportunity to meet with the Coordinator or designee to address any questions related to the process and to explain the Respondent’s relevant rights and options, including (1) available Supportive Measures and resources and (2) whether Respondent is willing to pursue an adaptable resolution, if available. (The Coordinator will ultimately decide the appropriate resolution process in keeping with the parties’ requests, category of misconduct, and his/her own discretion. That determination will be shared with the parties in writing.)
    2. Refusal to ParticipateWithdrawal, or Transfer – If a Respondent refuses to respond or participate, the Coordinator will move forward with the applicable structured process. Pursuant to Texas law, after the Notice of Complaint has been issued alleging that the Respondent committed any sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking, ACU may not end the disciplinary process or issue a transcript to the student until the institution makes a final determination of responsibility.  Upon a student’s request, the university may remove the transcript hold if the institution determines that good cause exists.  Such requests should be made in writing to the Title IX Coordinator. In such incidents, ACU will expedite the resolution process as possible and necessary to accommodate the parties’ interests in a speedy resolution.
  1. ADAPTABLE RESOLUTION OPTIONS

With the approval of the Coordinator, the parties may elect to pursue adaptable resolution options, which can include but are not necessarily limited to those listed below.  The use of adaptable resolution procedures is optional and voluntary and may be ended at any time at the request of either party or at the discretion of the Coordinator or designee. Offering such options is not meant to discourage an individual from pursuing a structured resolution. In instances where the parties do not wish to engage in the adaptable procedure or in situations where attempts at the adaptable procedure are unsuccessful, the structured procedure may be followed.

    1. Verbal Warning  An adaptable resolution might take the form of the Coordinator or designee, appropriate supervisor/administrator, and/or Complainant discussing the issues with the Respondent in order to establish the kind of behavior that Complainant feels is objectionable and how repetition might lead Complainant to seek a structured resolution and related sanctions.
    2. Respect Agreement Process – The Respect Agreement Process (RAP) is a form of restorative justice that provides students with an opportunity for the parties to reach an agreement related to the harm caused by the alleged misconduct. (RAP is not available to employees). Rather than focusing on what policies have been violated, RAP identifies the harm caused, provides opportunities for those that caused harm to take responsibility for their behavior, and identifies mutually agreeable actions necessary to repair the harm.  By fully participating in this process, the Respondent will not be charged with a policy violation.

 

1. RAP Terms – While there are various ways to attempt to reach a Respect Agreement, the parties must agree to the following terms should they wish to participate in the process:

  • Both the parties must participate in individual conference meetings with appropriate staff to learn more about the RAP prior to participating;
  • Participation in this process does not constitute a responsible finding of a policy violation and therefore is not reflected on a Student’s disciplinary record;
  • Either party can end RAP at any time prior to signing the agreement (and Complainant retains the ability to file a formal complaint);
  • RAP can only be used once per Respondent;
  • Neither party will rely on or share statements or information disclosed as a part of the RAP process in any subsequent structured process.  However, parties must be aware that information used during the RAP process is subject to subpoena for use in any related or potential legal action. Participants can have an advisor present for any and all meetings;
  • Any agreements that are reached during RAP must be documented, approved by the Title IX Coordinator, and signed in-person or electronically by both parties; and
  • If no agreement is reached, the matter may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator for further action;
  • If parties fail to comply with the final agreement, they can be sanctioned under the Code of Conduct for failure to comply with university directive;
  • If the Respondent is later found responsible for any violations in the future, the respect agreement can be used in the sanctioning phase;
  • University reserves the right to suspend or terminate the process at any time, prior to both parties formally agreeing to the terms in the contract, and revert back to the structured process;

2. RAP Options – Examples of possible options that students and the Coordinator or designee may utilize in the RAP include but are not limited to the following: individual meetings with the parties, co-located or “shuttle” meetings, facilitated face-to-face meetings, exchange of written letters or statements that address structured questions related to the harm caused, impact and addressing the harm.  Statements could be shared either in person or by the Title IX Coordinator.

  1. STRUCTURED RESOLUTION GENERALLY

ACU has established two structured resolution tracks that apply based on how the Coordinator categorizes the alleged conduct. The Internal Administrative Investigation track applies to Category One or Two Sexual Misconduct, while the Live Hearing track applies to Category Three Sexual Misconduct.  Both of these processes are outlined below. However, the following information applies to both tracks.  (It is important to note that at any time prior to reaching a determination under the structured process, the parties, with the Coordinator’s approval, can voluntarily agree to pursue an adaptable resolution.)

    1. Goals – The goals of the structured resolution processes are to determine (1) if a preponderance of the evidence shows that the alleged violation occurred (i.e., it is more likely than not) and (2), if so, what actions the university should take to respond to the violation and prevent a recurrence. In so doing, the university strives for the resolution processes to be prompt, fair, and equitable.
    2. Advisor – Parties involved in a structured resolution process may be more comfortable navigating the process with the help of a support person (Advisor). An Advisor is someone whom the party trusts to provide advice and support during the process. The Advisor need not be affiliated with the university but may not have personal involvement regarding any facts or circumstances of the alleged misconduct (e.g., the Advisor can be a friend, a family member, a person from a support or advocacy agency, or an attorney). The Advisor may accompany the party to any part of the resolution process, including any meetings with university personnel. (The process will not be significantly delayed to accommodate the Advisor’s schedule.) During the internal or pre-hearing investigation process, the Advisor’s only function will be to assist and/or consult with the party they are advising.  In other words, the Advisor may not actively participate in the process in any way. The Advisor may not act as a spokesperson or in any way interfere with the meetings or investigation.  As explained further below, during the Live Hearing portion of Track Two, the Advisor also serves the required role of cross-examining the other party or any witnesses. For students, in order for the university to disclose any case information to the selected Advisor, there must be a signed FERPA release form on file for that individual.
    3. Investigation and Gathering Evidence – The Coordinator will assign the internal administrative or pre-hearing investigation to an internal or external investigator. Although each investigation will vary based on allegations, scope, and other factors, the parties will be provided an equal opportunity to be interviewed regarding the alleged conduct and present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. During the course of the investigation, the investigator may utilize some or all of the following methods, in whatever order the investigator deems most appropriate: preparation of written statements (Track One only); interviewing the parties and key witnesses in order to gather relevant information; documenting or evidence-gathering or review, and consulting expert witnesses including local law enforcement or forensic experts (as necessary and available). It is the responsibility of the investigator, not the parties, to gather the relevant evidence from the parties and witnesses to the extent reasonably possible. Throughout the process, the investigator will maintain appropriate documentation and provide status updates to the parties.
      1. Written Statements – In Track One investigations, the Title IX Coordinator or the Investigator may request that parties prepare written statements related to their versions of the relevant facts surrounding the complaint, including evidence of a violation under this policy or relevant evidence related to consent, incapacity, or force as herein defined.
      2. Party Interviews – The investigator will interview the Complainant and the Respondent separately. This meeting is an opportunity for the participant to discuss his/her recollection of the event in question, voice any concerns, and work with the investigator to determine what information may be helpful in the investigation of the allegations, including the impact that this experience has had on them. The investigator may interview the parties more than once, as necessary.
      3. Witness Interviews – The parties have the right to identify any relevant witnesses, and the investigator will attempt to contact and interview any witnesses that he or she deems relevant to the resolution of the complaint. Witnesses should only be encouraged to cooperate and to speak the truth. If either party, individually or through others (e.g., friends, family members, attorneys), attempts to threaten, intimidate, or otherwise improperly influence a witness, such action may result in a separate disciplinary action by the university. The investigator will attempt to contact and interview any witnesses identified by the parties that the investigator deems to be relevant to the resolution of the complaint. The investigator may also interview any other persons who he/she finds to be potentially relevant to this matter. Witnesses may not bring support persons to their interviews. The investigator will employ best efforts to interview relevant witnesses who are no longer on campus, attempting to contact them by telephone or email.
      4. Expert Witnesses – The investigator reserves the right to consult with any experts deemed necessary to the determination of the facts of this case. An expert witness could be consulted to review or provide a professional opinion regarding evidence discovered in the investigation.
      5. Document Review – The investigator will attempt to obtain any documents or other materials deemed relevant to the investigation.
      6. Privileged Information – Investigators or Decision Makers, including Hearing Officers, will not require, allow, or rely upon, or otherwise use questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege unless the person holding such privilege has waived the privilege.
        • Medical Records – The university, as a part of any structured process, cannot access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless the university obtains that party’s voluntary, written consent.

b)  Sexual History – Questions and evidence about the party’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant unless such questions and evidence about prior sexual behavior related to (1) Respondent attempting to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, (2) specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent; and (3) attempts to prove that Respondent has a prior pattern or practice as it relates to the conduct alleged in the Complaint.

  1. TRACK ONE – INTERNAL ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATION
    1. Review of Investigation Report Draft and Relevant Evidence – Once the investigation has been completed, the investigator will evaluate the information obtained during this process and prepare a preliminary draft report summarizing the relevant facts received through the investigation, noting and disclosing any evidence relevant and probative to whether the alleged conduct occurred (including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence). This typically includes but is not limited to interview transcripts, any written or electronic communications between the parties, social media posts, or physical evidence, redacted as necessary to comply with any applicable federal or state law regarding confidentiality. The investigator will share the preliminary report and related evidence with the parties and give them one week to provide written comments or feedback to the investigator.
    2. Report Finalized and Submitted – The investigator will then take up to an additional week to consider the feedback and revise the report as the investigator deems necessary and prepare a final report. The final report will include written findings of facts and the investigator’s recommendation as to whether a violation occurred, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not). The investigator may also draw conclusions regarding the credibility of witnesses and reliability and relevance of documentation. The investigator will then submit the final report to the Coordinator.
    3. Determination by Coordinator – Upon determination by the Coordinator that all of the issues regarding the complaint have been appropriately investigated and addressed, he/she will take up to five business days to review the report and relevant evidence and determine whether it is more likely than not that the accused individual(s) violated the policy. In making this decision, the report will be considered and given deference by the Coordinator but is not binding on his/her decision. If the Coordinator concludes that it is more likely than not that the policy was violated, the Coordinator will also consider sanctions for violations (See Section XVI). If the Coordinator concludes that the preponderance of the evidence does not support a violation, the parties will be notified as set out below.
    4. Notice of Determination – When a determination is reached regarding findings and/or sanctions, the Coordinator will concurrently provide both parties with written notice of the same within seven days of the decision through email. The notice will inform both parties regarding (1) how the Coordinator weighed the evidence and information presented based on preponderance standard; (2) how the evidence and information support the result and sanctions. The Complainant should also be informed of any other remedies offered to him or her individually or actions taken by the university to prevent a recurrence. Finally, the notice will also include information regarding the parties’ right to appeal. Sanctions are typically not imposed until after the parties have had time for appeal.  However, the Coordinator may decide to impose sanctions immediately if deemed appropriate so long as that decision is communicated to the parties in the notice of determination.  Additionally, the Coordinator also has the discretion to allow a student Respondent to complete any pending coursework remotely if deemed appropriate by the relevant faculty members.
    5. Appeal – Either party may appeal the findings or sanctions imposed to a different Decision Maker(s) by filing a written appeal with the Office of General Counsel (via email to ogc@acu.edu) within three business days of the above notification. The appeal must indicate whether the findings or sanctions (or both) are being appealed and under which of the grounds for appeal. The only grounds for appeals are as follows:
      • Procedure – Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome
      • New Evidence – New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
      • Conflict or Bias – The Title IX Coordinator or investigator had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.

After receiving an appeal, the Office of General Counsel will provide the appeal to a Decision Maker, who will conduct an initial determination regarding whether the appeal meets one (or more) of the above grounds.   If the Decision Maker determines that the appeal, even if proved as alleged, would not meet one (or more) of the grounds for appeal, the Office of General Counsel will notify the appealing party that the appeal will be denied for failure to state an appropriate ground for appeal and notify the parties that the decision is final. If the Decision Maker determines that the appeal, if proved as alleged, would meet one (or more) of the grounds for appeal, the Office of General Counsel will notify the opposing party of the appeal and allow him or her the opportunity to file a response within one week. The appeal will be considered by a Decision Maker(s) selected by the Office of General Counsel.  The Decision Maker(s) will review the written appeal, any response from the opposing party, the Investigation Report, and the Coordinator’s decision. Within fourteen calendar days, after the appeal is filed or the response is received, the Decision Maker(s)will issue a final written decision simultaneously to both parties.

  1. TRACK TWO – PRE-HEARING INVESTIGATION AND LIVE HEARING
    1. Review of Pre-Hearing Investigation Report Draft and All Directly Related Evidence – Once the investigation has been completed, the investigator will evaluate the information obtained during this process and prepare a draft pre-hearing report summarizing the relevant evidence received through the investigation. The investigator will provide the parties and their Advisors, if any, with an opportunity to inspect and review both a copy of the draft report and any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint, including inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or other source. Such evidence will be provided in either electronic format or hard copy and will be preceded by a non-disclosure agreement for any Advisors. This typically includes but is not limited to interview transcripts, any written or electronic communications between the parties, social media posts, or physical evidence, redacted as necessary to comply with any applicable federal or state law regarding confidentiality. The parties will have ten calendar days to review this material and provide any written comments or feedback to the investigator.
    2. Report Finalization and Rereview to Parties – The investigator will then take up to an additional seven calendar days to consider the party’s feedback and revise the report as the investigator deems necessary and prepare a final report. The final report will include sections related to the allegations, procedure and findings of facts. Then, at least ten calendar days prior to any hearing, the investigator will provide the parties and their Advisors, if any, with a copy of the final report in either an electronic format or hard copy. The parties will then have the option of providing feedback on the final report prior to the hearing.
    3. Pre-Hearing Review – Prior to the hearing, the Decision Maker(s) will consider both the final report and any feedback. Procedures for the hearing will be provided at least ten calendar days in advance to all parties by the Office of General Counsel. If a party does not have an Advisor, ACU will assign an Advisor to the party. The Hearing Officer may also elect to meet with the parties and their Advisor to discuss any relevant evidentiary issues prior to the hearing and review the hearing process that sets out additional information related to the format of the hearing and roles of participants.
    4. Live Hearing – The Decision Maker(s) and designated Hearing Officer will conduct a live hearing during which both parties’ Advisors will have the opportunity to cross-examine any participating parties and any available witnesses that the Hearing Officer deems relevant.
      1. General Format – The hearing will be conducted live, either in person or virtually (at ACU’s discretion), with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other.  Regardless of format, ACU will create a recording or transcript and make it available to the parties upon request for inspection and review.
      2. Roles and Cross-Examination
        • Hearing Officers – The Hearing Officer will oversee the hearing process, consider each question posed by the parties’ Advisors or anyone else for relevance, and explain any decision to exclude a question that is not relevant. The Hearing Officer may invite an explanation or argument related to why a question is relevant prior to making this decision.
        • Advisors – Advisors’ only role in the hearing is to ask relevant questions of the other party if they choose to participate in cross-examination, and any available witnesses.
        • Parties – Parties may not directly question the other party or witnesses.
        • Decision Maker(s) – The Decision Maker, who will make the decision following the hearing, will consider the evidence presented at the hearing and pose relevant questions to the parties and witnesses either directly or through the Hearing Officer.
      1. Evidence
        • Relevance – As mentioned above, relevance is the primary standard of admissibility of evidence and questions posed. Evidence is relevant if it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence, and the fact is of consequence in determining whether the allegation occurred. Although relevant, the Hearing Officer may exclude evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues or being misleading, or by considerations of undue delay, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.
        • Evidence Not Subject to Cross-Examination – Even if a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the hearing, the Decision Maker(s) may rely on any prior statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. In other words, a decision-maker may consider statements made by the parties and witnesses during the investigation, emails or text exchanges between the parties leading up to the alleged misconduct, and relevant statements about the alleged misconduct, regardless of whether the parties or witnesses submit to cross-examination at the live hearing.  A Decision Maker may also consider police reports, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner documents, medical reports, and other documents even if those documents contain statements of a party or witness who is not cross-examined at the live hearing. However, the Decision Maker(s) cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
        • Availability of Evidence – The University will ensure that directly related evidence that is subject to the parties’ inspection and review is available at the hearing to give each party equal opportunity to refer to such evidence during the hearing, including for purposes of any cross-examination.
    1. Written Determination of Outcome – Following the hearing, the Decision Maker(s) will decide whether it is more likely than not that the policy was violated, and if so, the Decision Maker(s) will also consider appropriate sanctions for violations (See Section XVI). When a determination is reached regarding findings and/or sanctions, the Coordinator will concurrently provide both parties with written notice of the same within seven calendar days of the decision through email. The notice will address the following areas:
      1. Allegation – Identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment;
      2. Procedure – A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
      3. Findings of Fact – Findings of fact supporting the determination;
      4. Conclusion – Conclusions regarding the application of the policy to the facts;
      5. Rationale and Remedies – A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions ACU imposes on the Respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to ACU’s education program or activity will be provided by ACU to the Complainant; and
      6. Appeal – ACU’s procedures and permissible bases for appeal.

The Complainant should also be informed of any other remedies offered to him or her individually or actions taken by the university to prevent a recurrence. Sanctions, especially those requiring separation from campus, may be implemented immediately if deemed appropriate. The Coordinator also has the discretion to allow a student Respondent to complete any pending coursework remotely if deemed appropriate by the relevant faculty members.

    1. Appeal  Either party may appeal the findings or sanctions imposed to a different Decision Maker(s) by filing a written appeal with the Office of General Counsel (via email to ogc@acu.edu) within seven business days of the above notification. The appeal must indicate whether the findings or sanctions (or both) are being appealed and under which of the grounds for appeal. The only grounds for appeals are as follows:
      1. Procedure – Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome
      2. New Evidence – New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
      3. Conflict or Bias – The Title IX Coordinator, the investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) or hearing officer had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.

After receiving an appeal, the Office of General Counsel will provide the appeal to a Decision Maker, who will conduct an initial determination regarding whether the appeal meets one (or more) of the above grounds.   If the Decision Maker determines that the appeal, even if proved as alleged, would not meet one (or more) of the grounds for appeal, the Office of General Counsel will notify the appealing party that the appeal will be denied for failure to state an appropriate ground for appeal and notify the parties that the decision is final. If the Decision Maker determines that the appeal, if proved as alleged, would meet one (or more) of the grounds for appeal, the Office of General Counsel will notify the opposing party of the appeal and allow him or her the opportunity to file a response within one week. The appeal will be considered by a Decision Maker(s) selected by the Office of General Counsel. Within fourteen calendar days, after the appeal is filed or the response is received, the Decision Maker will issue a final written decision simultaneously to both parties.

  1. SANCTIONS
    1. Range of Sanctions – Anyone who violates this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary sanctions. Disciplinary measures available to remedy violations include, but are not limited to, the following: verbal warning/reprimand; written warning/reprimand placed in employee or student files; requirement of verbal and/or written apology to Complainant; mandatory education and training on harassment; referral for psychological assessment or treatment; alternate placement, suspension, probation, termination, or expulsion; or other action the university deems appropriate under the circumstances. Additionally, supportive or emergency measures may become permanent. If a student or student group is found to be in violation of this policy, any of the sanctions set forth in the ACU Student Code of Conduct may also be involved. If a faculty member is found to have violated this policy and if the discipline is determined to include termination, this process will substitute for any other, including Special Termination in the Faculty Handbook.
    2. Determining Sanctions – In determining what disciplinary or corrective action is appropriate, the university will consider the totality of the circumstances, including but not limited to: number of Complainants and Respondents involved; employment/student positions or status of the parties; relevant portions of the prior disciplinary record of the Respondent; threatened or actual harm caused by the Respondent; and frequency and/or severity of the alleged conduct.
    3. Transcripts – Texas law requires that the university include a notation on the transcript of any student ineligible to re-enroll at ACU for a reason other than an academic or financial reason, including violation of this policy. Additionally, on request by another university, ACU is required to provide to the requesting university information relating to a determination by ACU that a student enrolled at the institution violated this policy by committing sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking.  Upon a student’s request, the university may remove the notation if the student is eligible to re-enroll or the institution determines that good cause exists to remove the notations.  Such requests should be made in writing to the Title IX Coordinator.

 

APPENDIX A

Selected State of Texas Definitions

Sexual Assault: (a) A person commits an offense if the person: (1) intentionally or knowingly: (A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent; (B) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent; or (C) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or (2) intentionally or knowingly: (A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means; (B) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor; (C) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; (D) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or (E) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor. (b) A sexual assault under Subsection (a)(1) is without the consent of the other person if: (1) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by the use of physical force or violence; (2) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against the other person, and the other person believes that the actor has the present ability to execute the threat; (3) the other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unconscious or physically unable to resist; (4) the actor knows that as a result of mental disease or defect the other person is at the time of the sexual assault incapable either of appraising the nature of the act or of resisting it; (5) the other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unaware that the sexual assault is occurring; (6) the actor has intentionally impaired the other person’s power to appraise or control the other person’s conduct by administering any substance without the other person’s knowledge; (7) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against any person, and the other person believes that the actor has the ability to execute the threat; (8) the actor is a public servant who coerces the other person to submit or participate; (9) the actor is a mental health services provider or a health care services provider who causes the other person, who is a patient or former patient of the actor, to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the actor; (10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser; or (11) the actor is an employee of a facility where the other person is a resident, unless the employee and resident are formally or adaptablely married to each other under Chapter 2, Family Code. Tex. Penal Code § 22.011.

Assault: (a) A person commits an offense if the person: (1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse; (2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or (3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative. Tex. Penal Code § 22.01.

Dating Violence: (a) “Dating violence” means an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an actor that: (1) is committed against a victim: (A) with whom the actor has or has had a dating relationship; or (B) because of the victim’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; and (2) is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. (b) For purposes of this title, “dating relationship” means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of (1) the length of the relationship, (2) the nature of the relationship, and (3) the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. (c) A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a “dating relationship” under Subsection (b). Tex. Fam. Code § 71.0021.

Family Violence: “Family violence” means: (1) an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself; (2) abuse, as that term is defined by Sections 261.001(1)(C), (E), and (G), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or (3) dating violence, as that term is defined by Section 71.0021. Tex. Fam. Code § 71.004.

  • Household: “Household” means a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other. Tex. Fam. Code § 71.005.
  • Member of a Household: “Member of a household” includes a person who previously lived in a household. Tex. Fam. Code § 71.006.

Stalking: (a) A person commits an offense if the person, on more than one occasion and pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person, knowingly engages in conduct that: (1) constitutes an offense under Section 42.07, or that the actor knows or reasonably should know the other person will regard as threatening: (A) bodily injury or death for the other person; (B) bodily injury or death for a member of the other person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship; or (C) that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property; (2) causes the other person, a member of the other person’s family or household, or an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship to be placed in fear of bodily injury or death or in fear that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property, or to feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended; and (3) would cause a reasonable person to: (A) fear bodily injury or death for himself or herself; (B) fear bodily injury or death for xa member of the person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the person has a dating relationship; (C) fear that an offense will be committed against the person’s property; or (D) feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended. Tex. Penal Code § 42.072.

 

The conduct discussed in this policy may also constitute violations of the criminal and civil law, which may provide opportunity for redress beyond the scope of this policy. Criminal definitions under state and federal law for some of the conduct described under this policy can be found in Appendix A to this policy.  The university will respect a Complainant’s decision either to pursue law enforcement remedies or to decline to pursue that option as discussed further in Section VI.C.

Policy No. 413 
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator:
 Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: January 1994
Reviewed Date:
 December 2015
Date of Scheduled Review:
 December 2019

ATTENDANCE CONTROL

PURPOSE
To provide a method to control employee attendance to maintain efficient operations.

SCOPE
This attendance control policy applies to exempt and non-exempt employees.  For information about faculty attendance policies, please see the Faculty Handbook.

POLICY
Every employee has the responsibility to maintain a good attendance record.  Supervisors will exercise the primary management-level responsibility to control employee attendance.  Excessive employee absence or lateness are undesirable performance factors and will be managed by supervisors according to the procedures below.

DEFINITIONS

  1. Absence.  An absence is defined as any absence from work during scheduled working hours (including overtime), excluding absence for work-incurred injuries, vacation, jury duty, death in the family or leave of absence without pay.
  2. Lateness.  Lateness is defined as arriving to work, returning from break time, or returning from lunch later than normally scheduled.
  3. Leaving Early.  Leaving early is defined as leaving work, leaving for break time, or leaving for lunch earlier than normally scheduled.

PROCEDURE
Supervisors will administer the attendance standards and procedures outlined below, regardless of employee position, eligibility for sick leave benefits or length of service.

Notification

  • Advance Notice.  Supervisors will require employees to give advance notice, when possible, of lateness or absence.
  • Timing of Notice. If possible, notification calls must be made within one hour following the start of the employee’s assigned shift.
  • Employee to Maintain Contact.  Supervisors will require employees to maintain contact for any period of absence beyond one day, unless the employee has provided a doctor’s certification covering a specified period.
  • Scheduling Absences.  Employees who must be absent for personal reasons or medical appointments will be advised to schedule such appointments outside working hours, if possible.  When the need for being absent from work is known in advance, the employee will notify the supervisor immediately.  (See Policy No. 321, Unpaid Personal Time Off)
  • Performance Appraisals.  Employee attendance will be evaluated by each supervisor in connection with employee performance appraisals.  The records of employees with attendance problems will be reviewed more frequently.
  • University Action. Chronic absenteeism, lateness or other unusual infractions of attendance standards will be handled according to Policy No. 430, Corrective Action.

Policy No. 414
SOLICITATION AND DISTRIBUTION
Responsible Department: Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief of Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: January 1994
Reviewed/Updated Date: March 2021
Date of Scheduled Review: March 2025

SOLICITATION AND DISTRIBUTION

PURPOSE
To ensure a productive work environment where employees and university operations may function without disruption.

SCOPE
This policy applies to employees and non-employees during work time and while on university premises.

POLICY
ACU strives to establish a work environment that is productive without undue disruptions to the work day. Therefore, soliciting by one employee of another, or collecting from one employee by another, is prohibited while either employee is on work time. Distributing literature and circulating petitions during work time or in work areas at any time is also prohibited. Finally, trespassing, soliciting or distributing literature by anyone outside the university is prohibited on university premises.

DEFINITIONS
“Work time” is all time on the premises other than before and after work and at meal periods.

Policy No. 415
SUBSTANCE ABUSE 
Responsible Department:
 Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: January 1994
Revised/Updated: July 2021
Date of Scheduled Review: July 2025

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

PURPOSE
The university earnestly solicits the understanding and cooperation of all employees and employee organizations in implementing the policies set forth herein.

  1. To establish and maintain a safe, healthy working environment for all employees.
  2. To insure the reputation of the university and its employee as good, responsible citizens worthy of the trust placed in them.
  3. To reduce the incidence of accidental injury to person or property.
  4. To reduce absenteeism, tardiness and indifferent job performance.
  5. To provide assistance toward rehabilitation for any employee who seeks the university’s help in overcoming addiction to, dependence upon, or a problem with alcohol or drugs.
  6. To comply with federal requirements for a drug-free environment.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all employees and applicants for employment

DEFINITIONS

  1. Alcohol or alcoholic beverages means any beverage that may be legally sold and consumed and that has an alcoholic content in excess of .5% by volume.
  2. Drug means any substance (other than alcohol) capable of altering the mood, perception, pain level, or judgment of the individual consuming it.
  3. Prescribed drug means any substance prescribed for the individual consuming it by a licensed medical practitioner.
  4. Illegal drug means any drug or controlled substance, the sale or consumption of which is illegal.

PROCEDURES (OR PROCESS)

Employee Assistance Program
An employee who feels they have developed an addiction to, dependence upon, or problem with alcohol or drugs, legal or illegal, is encouraged to seek assistance. Employees may seek help by writing in confidence or asking for a personal appointment with the Director of Human Resources. Each request for aid will be treated as confidential by the Director of Human Resources and only those persons “need to know” will be made aware of such requests.

Rehabilitation itself is the responsibility of the employee. However, any employee eligible for the university’s group medical plan seeking medical attention for alcoholism or drug addiction will be entitled to the special limited alcoholism or drug addiction benefit of the university’s group medical plan in effect at the time of rehabilitation. During enrollment in a formal treatment program, employees may use sick and vacation leave.

The employee must have been employed for at least one year; must maintain weekly contact with the Human Resources; provide certification that they are continuously enrolled in a treatment program and actively participating in that program to remain employed. Upon successful completion of treatment, the employee will return to active status without reducing pay or seniority.

Rejection of Treatment — Failure of Rehabilitation
If an employee fails to complete rehabilitation, they may be subject to termination.

Alcoholic Beverages
No alcoholic beverages will be brought into or consumed upon university premises. Drinking alcohol or being under the influence of alcoholic beverages while on duty is cause for discharge.

Prescription Drugs
No prescription drug shall be brought upon university premises by any person other than the one for whom the medication is prescribed. The prescription by a licensed medical practitioner shall be used only in the manner, combination, and quantity prescribed. Any employee whose abuse of prescription drugs results in excessive absenteeism or tardiness or is the cause of accidents or poor work will be referred to the Employee Assistance Program for rehabilitation. If the employee refuses to participate in rehabilitation, they shall be discharged.

Illegal Drugs
The use or possession of illegal drugs or controlled substances on or off duty is cause for discharge.

Employment of Persons Addicted to or Dependent Upon Alcohol or Drugs
A person presently using illegal drugs or having a history of alcohol or drug dependency will not be knowingly employed unless sufficient evidence of rehabilitation is satisfactory to the university.

Policy No. 416
DRESS AND PERSONAL APPEARANCE
Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed/Updated: May 2016
Date of Scheduled Review: May 2020

DRESS AND PERSONAL APPEARANCE

PURPOSE
To establish guidelines for appropriate dress and appearance during normal business hours at the university.

SCOPE
This policy applies to employees at ACU.

POLICY
Employees are expected to maintain an appropriate appearance that is businesslike, neat and clean as determined by the requirements of the area in which the employee works. Appropriate appearance includes:

  • Apparel. Employees should wear appropriate and clean attire. The following is a list of some examples of inappropriate dress, but is not all inclusive:
    • Faded and/or tattered jeans, shirts without collars or shirts displaying advertising or writing.
    • Overalls, sweatshirts/pants, jogging suits, shorts or tank tops.
    • Any clothing with spaghetti straps, any clothing that reveals bare backs, midriffs or shoulders, or any revealing or provocative clothing.
  • Hair – Hair should be clean, combed and neatly trimmed or arranged. This pertains to sideburns, moustaches and beards. Shaggy, unkempt hair is not permissible.
  • Personal Hygiene – Good personal hygiene habits must be maintained.

PROCEDURE
The supervisor is responsible to evaluate the dress and appearance of employees under his or her supervision. If an employee is not dressed appropriately, the following steps should be taken by the supervisor:

  1. On the first occasion, an oral warning should be given to the employee, and the university’s dress and appearance standards should be reviewed.
  2. On the second occasion, the employee should be sent home to change clothes immediately as well as given a written warning. Pay for the day that the employee is sent home begins when the employee returns to work.
  3. Further violations may result in discharge.

Policy No. 417

Responsible Department: Office of Human Resources

Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer

Effective Date: January 1994

Reviewed/Updated Date: February 2021

Date of Scheduled Review: February 2025

THE USE OF TOBACCO & SMOKING RELATED PRODUCTS IN THE WORKPLACE

THE USE OF TOBACCO & SMOKING RELATED PRODUCTS IN THE WORKPLACE

PURPOSE
To provide a safe and healthy workplace.

SCOPE
This policy applies to employees and visitors at ACU.

POLICY
The use of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, and vaporizers is strictly prohibited on campus. This policy establishes the University as a smoke free institution and includes but is not limited to tobacco and other smoking related products and devices. The use of these items is prohibited in all property owned by the University including vehicles, campus grounds, and parking lots.

DEFINITION
“Tobacco and Smoking Related Products” means all tobacco-derived or tobacco containing products including, and not limited to, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, hookah smoked products, pipes, and oral tobacco (e.g., spit and spitless, smokeless, chew, snuff) and nasal tobacco (e.g. snus). It also includes any product intended to mimic tobacco products or the smoking of any other substance.

Policy No. 418
TELEPHONE USE POLICY
Responsible Department:
 Information Technology
Responsible Administrator: Executive Director, Information Technology
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed/Updated Date: October, 2015
Date of Scheduled Review: October, 2019

TELEPHONE USE POLICY

PURPOSE
To provide guidelines for using university telephones.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all employees at ACU.

POLICY
Efficient telephone service is vital to university business. Employees must adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Answer all calls promptly and courteously.
  2. Hold personal calls, both incoming and outgoing, to emergencies or essential personal business and keep them as brief as possible.
  3. No personal long distance calls will be allowed.

Policy No. 419
OFFICE EQUIPMENT POLICY
Responsible Department:
 Information Technology
Responsible Administrator: Executive Director, Information Technology
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed/Updated Date: October, 2015
Date of Scheduled Review: October, 2019

OFFICE EQUIPMENT POLICY

PURPOSE
To provide guidelines for using university office equipment.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all employees at ACU.

POLICY
Office equipment such as computers, copiers, fax machines, and like items are to be used for university purposes only. Any malfunction of the equipment should be immediately reported to the Help Desk. Misuse of university property may lead to corrective action.

During the course of employment, many employees will be working with confidential data regarding students, employees, and/or finances of the university. Employees must protect this information by safeguarding it when in use, storing it properly when not in use, and being sure that it is password protected. It is also expected that this information will only be discussed with those who have a legitimate need to know.

Policy No. 420

The responsible Use of Information and Technology Policy can be accessed at: Policy for the Responsible Use of Information and Technology Resources.

Policy No. 421

View the Whistleblower Policy or submit an anonymous report online.

Policy No. 423
Policy on Identity Theft Red Flag Rules
Responsible Department: Office of Risk Management
Responsible Administrator: Director of Institutional Compliance & Risk Management
Effective Date: May 1, 2009
Reviewed/Updated Date: February 2022
Date of Scheduled Review: February 2026

PURPOSE  

To implement and maintain an identity theft program in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) and use these guidelines to establish policies and procedures that meet the requirement of the final rules.

SCOPE  

This policy applies to all departments that manage or process data related to covered accounts as defined below. In addition, this policy applies to all departments that manage or process personal identification data that could be used to access information from another department or other party related to covered accounts, as defined below. 

DEFINITIONS  

Cardholder: means a consumer who has been issued a credit or debit card. This includes student identification cards which may be used as debit cards. This does not include student identification cards that are stored-value cards.  

Clear and conspicuous: means reasonably understandable and designed to call attention to the nature and significance of the information presented. 

Covered accounts: Accounts that are used primarily for personal, family, household or business purposes that involve or are designed to permit multiple payments or transactions; any account for which there is a reasonably foreseeable risk to members or the safety and soundness of the university. Covered accounts include, but are not limited to, any account receivable from an employee or student, student loans, and student accounts under tuition payment plans. 

Identity theft: Fraud that is committed or attempted using a person’s identifying information without authorization. 

Member: An individual for whom a covered account is maintained. 

Red flag: An event or item that signals potential theft of personal information. 

Relevant department: An ACU department assigned with responsibility for designing procedures to comply with this policy and the FACT Act Identity Theft Red Flag Rules. 

Stored value cards: prepaid cards (such as laundry cards or dining hall cards) that do not require an electronic fund transfer from the cardholder’s account held by ACU for the purpose of transferring money between accounts or in exchange for money, property, goods, services, or cash.

RESPONSIBILITY AND OVERSIGHT 

The Director of Institutional Compliance & Risk Management (ICRM) will oversee the further development, implementation, and administration; ensure staff is trained; and oversee service provider arrangements. Administration methods for the program will include: 

  • Assigning to relevant department directors the responsibility for designing procedures that comply with the requirements of the program and training staff on specific responsibility for the program. 
  • Directors of relevant departments will deliver to the Director of ICRM an annual report regarding compliance with the red flag rules. This report should address matters such as the effectiveness of the policies and procedures that address the risk of identity theft in connection with the opening of covered accounts or existing covered accounts, service provider arrangements, significant incidents of identity theft and the relevant department’s response to these incidents, and recommendations for material changes to the program. 
  • Providing guidance for the appropriate board committee to approve material changes to the program. 

REQUIREMENTS OF THE PROGRAM

  1. Service Providers – If service providers are used in connection with covered accounts, the relevant department will ensure that the activities of service providers are conducted pursuant to reasonable policies and procedures that comply with the rules.

  2. Procedures – Relevant departments must document written procedures to be implemented that will: 
    • Define potential red flags for covered accounts 
    • Communicate the definitions of red flags to relevant personnel 
    • Detect red flags in the normal course of operations 
    • Respond appropriately to red flags to prevent and mitigate identity theft in connection with the opening of certain accounts or certain existing accounts 
    • Ensure procedures are updated periodically to reflect changes in risks to students and Abilene Christian University 
    • Be reviewed periodically by the Director of ICRM
  3. Risk Assessment – For potential red flags identified, the relevant department should document a risk assessment that identifies risks in these areas—financial, operations, compliance, reputation, and litigation. The risk assessment should consider the following: 
    • Types of covered accounts offered or maintained 
    • Methods provided to open accounts 
    • Methods provided to access accounts 
    • Previous experiences with identity theft 
    • Methods used to reflect changes in identity theft
  4. Detection of Red Flags – Relevant departments must address the detection of red flags: (1) when opening new covered accounts by obtaining identifying information about and verifying the identity of a person opening a covered account and (2) when authenticating identity, monitoring transactions, and verifying the validity of data change requests related to existing covered accounts. Possible sources used for detecting red flags may include: 
    • Alerts,  notifications,  or  other  warnings  received  from  consumer  reporting agencies or service providers, such as fraud detection services • Presentation of suspicious or altered documents 
    • Presentation of suspicious, inconsistent, or altered personal identifying information such as a suspicious address change 
    • Attempts to access an account by unauthorized users 
    • Unusual use of or other suspicious activity related to a covered account 
    • Notice from students or victims, identity theft law enforcement authorities, or other persons regarding possible identity theft in connection with covered accounts
  5. Response Program – Relevant departments should initiate appropriate responses for preventing and mitigating identity theft. A response is required whenever a red flag event has been identified. These responses may include: 
    • Monitoring a covered account for evidence of identity theft 
    • Contacting the known owner of the covered account 
    • Changing any passwords, security codes, or other security devices that permit access to a covered account 
    • Reopening a covered account with a new account number 
    • Not opening a new covered account 
    • Closing an existing account 
    • Not attempting to collect on a covered account or not selling a covered account to a debt collector 
    • Notifying law enforcement 
    • Determining that no response is warranted under the particular circumstances 
    • Documenting the response and the basis for the response decision 

STUDENT IDENTIFICATION CARDS AND RELATED CHANGE OF ADDRESS REQUESTS 

This section applies to relevant departments that issue cards, such as student identification cards, which may be used as debit or credit cards. This does not include student identification cards that are stored-value cards. This policy may also apply to ACU’s service providers to the extent that they issue credit or debit cards on behalf of ACU. If a service provider of ACU does not have a stated policy that complies with FACTA, the service provider must comply with this policy. 

  1. Required response – Pursuant to its obligations under FACTA, the relevant department shall assess the validity of a request for a change of address if it receives the notification of a change of address for a cardholder’s account and, within a short period of time afterward (during at least the first 30 days after it receives such notification), the relevant department receives a request for an additional or replacement card for the same account.Under these circumstances, the relevant department shall not issue an additional or replacement card until it assesses the validity of the change of address through the following steps: 
    • The relevant department shall notify the cardholder of the request in a clear and conspicuous manner provided separately from its regular correspondence at the cardholder’s former address or by any other means of communication that ACU and the cardholder have previously agreed to use; and 
    • Provide the cardholder a reasonable means of promptly reporting incorrect address changes. 
    • Documenting the results of the address verification process.
  2. Address Verification Alternative – The relevant department may satisfy the requirements of this policy by validating an address pursuant to the method set forth above in Section VI.1 when it receives an address change notification before it receives a request for an additional or replacement card. 

UPDATES 

This policy and related procedures should be reviewed periodically and, if necessary, updated to reflect changes in risks from identity theft to students and to the safety and soundness of Abilene Christian University taking into consideration: 

  • Experiences with identity theft 
  • Changes in methods of identity theft 
  • Changes in methods to detect, prevent, and mitigate identity theft 
  • Changes in the types of accounts that Abilene Christian University offers 
  • Changes in the business arrangements of Abilene Christian University, including mergers, acquisitions, alliances, joint ventures, and service provider arrangements 

Policy No. 423.1
Identity Theft Payment Card Industry Security Standards
Responsible Department: Financial Operations
Responsible Administrator: Controller 
Effective Date: June, 1, 2011 
Reviewed/Updated Date: February 2022
Date of Scheduled Review: Each anniversary of the effective date

PURPOSE

The purpose of this security policy is to help assure that Abilene Christian University is (1) being good stewards of personal information entrusted to it by its constituents, (2) protecting the privacy of its constituents, (3) complying with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, and (4) striving to avoid a security breach from unauthorized and inappropriate use of cardholders’ information. This policy works in conjunction with Policy No. 423 Identity Theft Red Flag Rules in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA). 

SCOPE

This security policy is intended for:

  • Any individual who accepts, captures, stores, transmits, or processes credit or debit  card payments received for the purchase of University products and services, for contributions, etc.
  • Any individual who supports University efforts in accepting, capturing, storing, transmitting, and/or processing credit or debit card information such as technical support staff members whose roles involve access to computer hardware and software involved in accepting, capturing, storing, transmitting, or processing credit or debit card information, and any individuals tasked with destroying credit and debit card information, etc.

DEFINITIONS

Cardholder Data: Cardholder data refers to all information from a credit card or debit card that is used in a transaction. Commonly used elements of cardholder data include the primary account number (PAN), cardholder name and expiration date displayed on the front of the card.

Sensitive Authentication Data: Sensitive authentication data is security related information used to authenticate cardholders and authorize card transactions. Sensitive authentication data elements include magnetic stripe data, personal identification number (PIN) or the encrypted PIN block, and the card validation code – the three or four digit number security code found either on the front or on the back of a card (a.k.a. CVV, CVV2).

POLICY

The following statements comprise Abilene Christian University’s payment card security policy:

  1. Compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) as published by the PCI Security Standards Council is required of all ACU employees and departments that accept, process, transmit, or store payment cardholder information.
  2. Only authorized ACU employees who are properly trained for PCI-DSS compliance may accept, capture, store, transmit, or processes cardholder data or access cardholder information, devices, or systems that store or access cardholder information:
    • Employees new to the role of handling cardholder data must be trained prior to receiving credit/debit card handling duties.
    • Employees whose payment card handling duties preceded implementation of this policy should receive training as soon as possible.
    • The content of the training program must be reviewed and approved by the Controller in Financial Operations.
    • Evidence of successful completion of the training program for each applicable employee is required on an annual basis and will be documented by the employee’s signature on a certification of training form or completion of an approved online training delivery method.
  1. Only PCI-DSS compliant equipment, systems, and methods that are approved by the Financial Operations Team may be utilized to process, transmit, and/or store cardholder information.
  2. Critical or high-risk technologies (for example, remote-access technologies,  wireless technologies, removable electronic media, laptops, tablets, personal data/digital  assistants [PDAs], and internet usage) may be used to handle or transmit cardholder data only if approval is obtained from Financial Operations that defines the following:
    • Authentication for use of the technology;
    • A list of all such devices and personnel with access;
    • A description of the acceptable uses of the technologies;
    • When applicable, automatic disconnect of remote-access technologies after a  specific period of inactivity.
    • Activation of remote-access technologies for vendors and business partners only when needed by vendors and business partners, with immediate deactivation after use.
    • Cardholder data may not be entered, processed, or transmitted by an ACU employee or contractor on a computer connected to the internet unless the computer is placed within a separate and secure LAN and only if internet access on the applicable computers is restricted to only the websites necessary to complete transactions.
  1. Third-party vendors processing or accessing cardholder data must be PCI-DSS compliant and must, prior to their engagement, provide Financial Operations with a copy of the Vendor’s Attestation or Certificate of Compliance with PCI DSS for their applicable validation types. If cardholder data is shared with service providers, the following items apply:
    • A list of such service providers must be maintained;
    • A written agreement must be obtained from such service providers indicating the service providers are responsible for the security of cardholder data the service provider possesses.
    • Financial Operations will monitor the status of service provider compliance with PCI-DSS at least on an annual basis.
  1. Each ACU employee or contractor acting on behalf of ACU who has access to cardholder information is responsible for protecting that information in accordance with PCI-DSS and University policy and procedures.
    • All media (consisting of all paper and electronic data containing cardholder data) must be physically secured at all times, and the transport of any such media containing cardholder data, if applicable, must be approved by management and tracked by a log or other method.
  1. Cardholder data must be destroyed or deleted so that it is not recoverable as soon  as it is no longer necessary for processing transactions.
    • Paper documents containing cardholder data must be destroyed by using a cross-cut shredder.
  1. Under no circumstances may unprotected primary account numbers be received or transmitted via end-user messaging technologies (for example, email, text messaging, chat, etc.).
  2. Sensitive authentication data may never be stored under any circumstances, even if encrypted, subsequent to the authorization of a transaction. If sensitive authentication data is received and deleted or destroyed, each merchant must have processes in place to ensure that the deleted or destroyed data is unrecoverable.
  3. To comply with PCI-DSS requirements, merchants transmitting cardholder data via the internet must complete quarterly internal and external vulnerability scans (external scans must be performed by an approved scanning vendor) and vulnerabilities identified during scans must be corrected in a timely manner.
  4. Financial Operations will maintain and communicate an Incident Response Plan to provide specific guidance on how to respond in the event of a suspected security breach, which could negatively affect cardholder information or the University’s compliance with PCI-DSS. Any such event must be immediately reported to the Controller in Financial Operations and the Director of Technology Support Services for an appropriate response in accordance with the Incident Response Plan.
  5. Non-ACU employees who are acting on ACU’s behalf must comply with PCI-DSS. Vendors/Merchants and service providers operating on the ACU campus that accept credit cards must execute a contract addendum assuring their compliance with PCI-DSS.
  6. Each merchant that accepts credit card payments must complete an annual Self Assessment Questionnaire (published on the PCI Security Standards Council website) to be reviewed by the responsible administrator or designee.

Failure to comply with these principles, as implemented in this Payment Card Security Policy, may result in the revocation of the ability to process credit and debit card transactions and/or could lead to disciplinary action. Because of the substantial penalties and fines that can be levied against Abilene Christian University, PCI-DSS compliance is of the utmost importance for all transactions involving payment cards.

 

Policy No. 424
Records Management Policy

Responsible Department: Legal Services and Library
Responsible Administrator: General Counsel and Dean of Library and Information Resources
Effective Date: May 1, 2009
Reviewed/Updated Date: May 1, 2013
Date of Scheduled Review: May 1, 2017

Records Management Policy

Policy No. 425
Responsible Department:
 Financial Operations
Responsible Administrator: Collections Coordinator
Effective Date: 10/13/14
Reviewed/Updated Date:
Date of Scheduled Review: 10/13/18

Employee Receivables Policy

PURPOSE
Abilene Christian University often extends credit to employees for charges related to parking permits, parking fines, campus store charges, and athletic passes charged to employee accounts. Account activity is viewable in the Wildcat Pay Portal accessed through myACU. This policy ensures proper review and approval over decisions to extend credit to employees.  Without proper oversight of the extension of credit, employees and the University could be placed at risk.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all faculty and staff who incur charges on their ACU account. The account is charged when employees receive parking fines, make purchases at The Campus Store, purchase athletic passes on their account, or incur other charges or fines/fees with any merchant across campus.

DEFINITIONS
ACU Account – Account each employee has with the university, regardless if the employee chooses to use it, that is linked to the employee’s banner ID and ID Card.

PROCEDURE (OR PROCESS)
For purchases on account of $250 or more, prior approval must be granted by the Billing & Receivables Manager.  The Billing & Receivables Manager will verify that the employee’s ACU account is in good standing with the University before approval is granted.

All charges on an account must be paid in full according to the University’s regular billing cycle. Account statements are generated electronically through the Wildcat Pay Portal on a monthly basis. Employees who have an account balance will receive an email notification, to their ACU email address, that their eBill is ready to view in the Wildcat Pay Portal.

All accounts are subject to late fees (interest charges) according to the University’s late fee schedule. More information can be found at www.acu.edu/payingyourbill.

COMPLIANCE
For employees who do not pay their account balance by the due date, the billing and receivables team will begin the collection process on accounts as they become past due:

  1. If still employed by ACU, payroll deductions of up to $100 per pay cycle for exempt employees and $50 per pay cycle for non-exempt employees will be made until the balance is paid in full.
  2. If employee has been terminated or terminates before balance is paid in full by step 1, the remaining balance will be deducted from the final pay check unless other satisfactory payment arrangements have been made with the University’s collection coordinator.
  3. If payment is not made, ACU will attempt to collect by sending a minimum of two (2) letters of contact requesting payment. The letters will be sent in 30-day intervals once it is determined that a payment agreement has been broken or when ACU is not able to collect the balance through payroll deductions.  For debts greater than $250, the second letter will indicate that the account will be referred to a collection agency if payment is not received within a specified period of time.

If collection efforts outlined in steps 1 through 3 have been met but failed and the debt is still delinquent, the debt will be sent to a third party collection agency. The employee is responsible for any and all collection fees, legal fees, and attorney fees incurred during this process.

Policy No. 430

PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT

Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: April 1, 1997
Reviewed/Updated Date: May 2016
Date of Scheduled Review: March 2020

PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT

PURPOSE
To set forth general supervisory guidelines for a performance improvement process aimed to document and correct undesirable employee conduct, as well as, develop or improve specific job skills or behaviors.

SCOPE
This policy applies to staff employees at ACU.

POLICY
The university seeks to establish and maintain standards of employee conduct and supervisory practices which will, in the interest of the university and its employees, support and promote effective business operations. Such supervisory practice include administering the Performance Improvement Plan when employee conduct or performance problems arise. It is also a tool to be used for the development or improvement of pre-determined job skills or behaviors. Major elements of this policy generally include:

  1. Constructive effort by the supervisor to help employees achieve fully satisfactory standards of conduct and job performance.
  2. Correcting employee shortcomings or negative behavior to the extent required.
  3. Notice to employees through communicating this policy that discharge will result from continued or gross violation of employee standards of conduct or unsatisfactory job performance.
  4. Written documentation of disciplinary warnings given and corrective measures taken.
  5. Documentation of performance improvement will become part of the employee’s personnel record.

OPTIONS FOR PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT
Depending on the facts and circumstances involved in each situation, a supervisor may choose to begin the Performance Improvement Plan at any step up to and including immediate discharge. However, in most cases, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Oral Warning. The employee’s supervisor should have a verbal discussion with the employee in private. During that meeting the supervisor should:
    1. Discuss with the employee the unacceptable behavior. Included in this discussion should be the who, what, when, where, how and why of the incident.
    2. Explain why the behavior is unacceptable; violated ACU policy or procedure; negatively impacts work flow; or created a performance issue.
    3. Suggest ways for the employee to improve their behavior to meet standards.
    4. Inform the employee that the verbal conference is the first step in the disciplinary procedure and further instances of unacceptable behavior will initiate progressively more serious disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
    5. Document the nature, content and date of the oral warning with a memo to the employee file. Original form should be mailed to the Director of Human Resources in a sealed confidential envelope. The oral warning may be repeated several times as the supervisor deems necessary. Specific time limits should be set on improving the behavior in question.
  2. Written Warning Notice. A written warning, in the form of a performance improvement plan, should occur if the behavior is not corrected following the verbal discussion(s). The performance improvement plan should contain the following:
    1. Describe the incident, noting any verbal discussion, which occurred prior to the written counseling. Give specific dates, times and a summary of what was said.
    2. Inform the employee what must be done to correct or improve the unacceptable behavior. Be specific.
    3. Discuss with the employee the training or directive necessary to achieve the desired goals.
    4. Set a specific time limit when correction or acceptable improvement should be noticed. The supervisor should have a follow-up meeting with the employee at the appointed time to discuss the program.
    5. State what disciplinary action will be taken if such behavior is not corrected or occurs again. Indicate that additional action may include termination.
    6. Have the employee sign and date the written warning indicating that the conversation did take place. If the employee refuses to sign, indicate the refusal on the employee signature line, initial and date it yourself. Original copy of the written warning should be sent to the Director of Human Resources in a sealed confidential envelope.
  3. Suspension. The nature of certain types of misconduct warrants placing an employee on suspension (in lieu of probation) and may be followed by a probationary period. A suspension is an imposed temporary absence from duty without pay. The purpose of this step is to make certain that the employee is aware of the seriousness of his or her behavior. Once again, continued errant behavior will result in further disciplinary action up to and including discharge.
  4. Discharge. For infractions deemed to be sufficiently serious, or where there is continued continued failure to respond appropriately to prior corrective action, discharge is appropriate. The area vice-president should be notified and approval of the employee’s division head and the Director of Human Resources must be obtained prior to the discharge of an employee under any circumstances.

Policy No. 440
Responsible Department:
 Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date:
 February 2008
Reviewed/Updated:
 March 2021
Date of Scheduled Review: March 2025

POLITICAL CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY

I. PURPOSE
To promote civic involvement while protecting Abilene Christian University’s status as a federal income tax exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

II. SCOPE
This policy applies to all ACU employees. Where applicable, this policy also applies to all students and student organizations.

III. STATEMENT OF LAW
Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits tax-exempt organizations, such as ACU, from participating or intervening in political campaigns on behalf or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Accordingly, the university may not endorse a candidate, provide or solicit financial or other forms of support for candidates or political organizations, or establish political action committees. Violations of these prohibitions could result in loss of the university’s tax-exempt status, imposition of taxes on the institution and its responsible managers, federal or state government lawsuits, audits, investigations or other penalties.

IV. POLICY
ACU’s policy on employee political campaign activity is established for the guidance of all employees, but it cannot expressly address every potentially prohibited activity under the federal law. The policy addresses all levels of political activity, up to and including filing and running for elected office, and offers a framework from which employees can safely exercise their constitutional rights to free speech and association while also respecting the prohibitions against inappropriate political involvement by non-profit organizations and their employees.

  1. Pursuit of Elected Office
    1. If employees plan to undertake public office or seek leave for that purpose, they should first consider primary obligations and responsibilities to the university and also consider potential problems the political activity could create for the university. In short, employees are free to seek elected office provided that it does not interfere with their obligations as employees of the university. In order to determine the feasibility of pursuing elected office consistent with obligations of employees to the university, employees will consult with their supervisor.
    2. Employee candidates may use their documented, official university title for identification purposes, provided that a reasonable person would not infer that it was an endorsement by the university.
  2. Individual Involvement in Campaigns – Employees, in their individual capacity, may involve themselves in support or in opposition to political candidates and campaigns pursuant to the following provisions:
    1. Individual political activity of employees must not interfere with the execution of their duties or responsibilities to ACU.
    2. Employees must not engage in political advocacy at ACU functions or through official university publications, unless they are a legally qualified candidate for public office and the activity is consistent with other provisions for candidate appearances in this policy.
    3. If employees are identified by their ACU affiliation in connection with their individual political activity (e.g. an endorsement in a political advertisement), they must ensure that:
      1. A clear and unambiguous message is also included indicating that they are acting on their own behalf and not at the direction or on behalf of ACU, so that a reasonable person would not believe the communication or activity to be an endorsement by ACU; and
      2. The affiliation is their documented, official ACU title.
  3. Use of University Facilities and Resources
    1. ACU employees may not use or provide university resources including, but not limited to university mailing lists, office space, property, telephones, technology, photocopying, or personnel to support or oppose a political candidate, campaign, party, action committee or group.
    2. ACU and its employees may not use institutional letterhead or email in support of or in opposition to a candidate, campaign, political party, or political action committee. Unsolicited interoffice communications, including but not limited to email and other digital communications, in support or against a candidate for public office are prohibited. Moreover, ACU or its employees may not place political advertising (e.g. signage) on university property, and no political candidate or non-student political group should be permitted to place political advertising on university property.
    3. Subject to university policies on permission and scheduling, recognized student organizations may use ACU facilities for partisan political purposes, so long as they pay the usual and normal charge, if any, for such use. However, prolonged partisan use of ACU facilities should be avoided.
    4. Individual students may not place political advertising (e.g. signage) on university property. However, subject to other relevant university policies, recognized student organizations may temporarily post political advertising (e.g. signage) on university property during their on-campus events.
  4. Candidate Appearances – ACU and its employees and student groups may invite candidates for political office to appear in their candidate capacity only if the candidate appearance meets and adheres to the following:
    1. The appearance consists of speeches, question-and-answer sessions, or similar communications in an academic setting;
    2. No political fundraising occurs;
    3. It is made clear that ACU takes no position with regard to the candidate; and
    4. All candidates seeking the same office must be provided an equal opportunity to appear.
  5. Academic Courses and Schedules – Academic coursework may require that students participate in political campaigns of their choice, but only if the university and the related faculty neither influence the students’ choice of candidate nor control their campaign work. Students may be excused from classes for which the assignment was given in order to fulfill these requirements. ACU may (but is not required to) rearrange class or work schedules to permit members of its community to participate in the election process, provided that it is done without reference to particular candidates or political parties.
  6. Advertising in University Publications – ACU publications may accept paid political advertising as long as it is accepted on the same basis as other nonpolitical advertising and not attributed to the university’s own views. The publication should ensure that the advertisement is identified as paid political advertising and must also make advertising space available to all candidates on an equal basis.
  7. Student Publications – Student publications may run editorials expressing the editors’ views on candidates for public office, provided that the publication’s editorial policy is free of editorial control by university administrators or faculty advisors with respect to such views. A statement on the editorial page must indicate that the views expressed are those of the student editors and not those of ACU. The university may provide financial and administrative support to such publications.
  8. Issue Advocacy – ACU and its employees may engage in permissible lobbying and public policy education activities within the constraints ordinarily applicable to such activities conducted by universities, provided that heightened, different, or targeted lobbying and public policy education activities do not coincide with campaign events.
  9. Political Contributions and Fundraising – Employees may, in their individual capacity and in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws, donate or raise non-university funds in support of candidates for public office, political campaigns, political parties or political action committees. ACU may not reimburse employees for political contributions.
  10. Political Appointments – Employees may accept political appointments to any level of government service consistent with other provisions in this policy.

V. FORMAL COMPLAINT RESOLUTION
Any complaint regarding a violation of this policy against prohibited political campaign activity must be made in writing, outlining the facts surrounding the violation and the section of the policy allegedly violated. Complaints concerning university employees should be submitted to the Human Resources Office, while complaints concerning students or student organizations should be submitted to the office of the VP for Student Life/Dean of Students.

Any investigation of all formal, written complaints involving employees will be conducted or coordinated by Human Resources. An investigation of all formal, written complaints involving students will be conducted or coordinated by the office of the VP for Student Life/Dean of Students. To the extent reasonably possible, complaints will be handled confidentially by the coordinating office, with the facts made available only to those who have a need to know for purposes of investigation or resolution. The coordinating office will make a determination as to whether there was a violation of the policy, ensure that appropriate university administrator(s) take necessary action, and inform the complainant and the respondent of the final disposition of the complaint.

Responsible Department: Office of Institutional Effectiveness
Responsible Administrator: 
Associate Provost and SACSCOC Liaison
Effective Date: 
May 1, 2021
Reviewed/Updated Date:
Date of Scheduled Review: 
May 1, 2023

I. PURPOSE

This policy establishes procedures to assure effective and timely compliance with all applicable rules regarding substantive changes as defined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

II. SCOPE

This policy applies to all levels and across the university in regard to the Board of Trustees, university administrators, faculty, or staff wishing to make a substantive change as defined below. All initiators of substantive change are responsible for complying with this policy and for coordinating these changes with their respective senior administrator and ACU’s SACSCOC Liaison (Chris Riley). All substantive changes require ACU to notify SACSCOC, by and through ACU’s President or SACSCOC Liaison, before implementation. Many substantive changes also require SACSCOC approval, before implementation.

III. DEFINITIONS

A. Substantive Change – Substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of a SACSCOC-accredited institution. Examples of potential substantive change include but are not limited to the following:

1. Institutional-Level Changes

  1. Change in Measure of Student Progress to Completion at the Institutional Level
  2. Competency-based Education by Course/Credit-based Approach at the Institutional Level – A competency-based educational program is outcome-based and assesses a student’s attainment of competencies as the sole means of determining whether the student earns a degree or a credential organized around traditional course-based units (credit or clock hours). Approval is required if 50% or more of the educational program relies on measured achievement of competencies rather than credit or clock hours.
  3. Governance Change – Significantly altering governing board bylaws, the board’s scope of authority or responsibility, the number of board members, or how board members are selected.
  4. Institutional Closure or Relocation – Relocating or closing of an off-campus site, branch or main campus;
  5. Institutional Contingency Teach-Out Plan – Precautionary measure if university is on probation by SACSCOC, state authorization revoked, or subject to certain USDE actions
  6. Merger/Consolidation/Acquisition – Initiating a merger/consolidation with another institution or acquiring another institution or a program or location of another institution;
  7. Mission Change – Altering significantly ACU’s educational mission; and
  8. Ownership, Means of Control or Legal Status Change

2. Program Changes

  1. Clock-Credit Hour Conversion at Program Level
  2. Competency-based Education by Direct Assessment – Progression and completion of a program is based solely on demonstrating mastery of prescribed competencies. There are no academic terms (i.e., calendars), courses, or credit hours. Student progress through a program’s competencies at their own pace within limits, if any, established by the institution. 25-49% of program requires SACSCOC notification prior to implementation and 50% or more of program requires SACSCOC approval
  3. Cooperative Academic Agreements – an agreement with another entity to deliver program content with credit being recorded on an ACU transcript as an ACU course
  4. Dual Academic Awards – a student receives instruction at two (or more) institutions in prescribed curricula leading to each institution granting academic awards at the same credential level
  5. Joint Academic Awards – a student receives instruction at two or more institutions in a prescribed curriculum leading to the institutions granting a single academic award bearing the names, seals, and officials’ signatures of each participating institution
  6. Method of Delivery Change– adding a new method of delivery (i.e., competency-based education, distance, or face-to-face) to an existing program when 50% or more the program is now available through the new method
  7. New Programs (Including Certificates)– 25% or more new content is a significant departure from the institution’s existing programs. 25-49% requires SACSCOC notification prior to implementation and 50% or more requires SACSCOC approval
  8. Program Closure (Including Certificates)– Closing a program requires a SACSCOC-approved a teach out plan. Closure is based on when students can no longer start, not the date instruction ends. Program closure includes ending a program at all locations or by all methods of delivery, but also includes ending a student’s completion option at a specific location or by a specific method of delivery.
  9. Program Designed for Prior Learning – initiating a program requiring students to possess and receive ACU credit for prior learning as a condition of admission
  10. Program Length Change (Including Certificates)– A program credit hour increase or decrease of 25% or more and students’ expected time to completion increases or decreases by more than one term or its equivalent or comparable measure
  11. Program Re-Open – A closed program may re-open within five years of the closure date by submitting notification.

3. Off-Campus Instructional Sites (OCIS)/ Additional Locations Changes

  1. Opening OCIS – a new location geographically apart from the institution’s Abilene campus where instruction at least 25% of a program’s instruction is delivered.  25%-49% requires SACSCOC notification prior to implementation and 50% or more requires SACSCOC approval. For the purpose of an off-campus instructional site, a for-credit credential for which an institution awards a degree, diploma, certificate, or other credential at any level of instruction (graduate or undergraduate).
    The percentage of the total instruction required to earn a credential measured in credit hours, clock hours, competencies, or other generally accepted measure of progress to completion.

    1. If instruction is delivered to a location by distance education (synchronously or asynchronously) and if a student is required to be at the location to receive instruction, then the location is considered an off-campus instructional site.
    2. A clinical training site at which no didactic instruction is delivered is not an off-campus instructional site.
  2. Relocating an OCIS – Moving instruction to a new location geographically separate from – i.e., noncontiguous to – the current location
  3. Changing Name or Address of OCIS– If instruction is not moving but the name or physical address only of a site will change (e.g., renaming a street, changing the ZIP code, or re-branding the site).
  4. Closing at OCIS– Closing an off-campus instructional site requires SACSCOC approval of an acceptable teach-out plan. A site is considered closed as of the date the institution stops admitting students to the site; closure is not the date of last instruction.
  5. Re-Opening OCIS– An off-campus instructional site previously approved for closure may be re-opened within five years of the closure date by submitting notification.

Based on the foregoing, the following changes do not qualify as substantive changes and do not require any reporting to or approval by SACSCOC.

  • Initiating a new certificate program using existing courses or content;
  • Initiating a new track or closing a track within an existing major; and
  • Initiating off-campus sites where student can obtain 24% or less of credits toward a program.

B. Initiator – individual seeking substantive change and responsible for contacting SASCOC Liaison regarding determinations related to substantive change requirements and any result reporting to or approval from SACSCOC.

C. Notification – a letter submitted from the President or SACSCOC Liaison to the SACSCOC President summarizing the proposed change and including specific information or attachments required by SACSCOC related to the change.

D. Prospectus – a report no longer that 25 pages (not counting attachments) that outlines various aspects of the proposed change including an abstract, determination of need, faculty qualifications, library and learning resources, student support services, physical resources and financial support, and description of institutional evaluation and assessment processes. For complete description, see Appendix A of SACSCOC’s policy statement on substantive change (p. 62-81).

 

IV. PROCEDURE

A. Coordination – ACU’s SACSCOC Liaison will serve as the coordinator of the this process and advise Initiators related to substantive change requirements and any required reporting to or approval from SACSCOC. In this regard, the SACSCOC Liaison will serve as an ad-hoc member of all academic curriculum and program committees and as a member of Provost Cabinet. Additionally, upon request, the Accreditation Liaison will be provided with agenda for and regularly review all available minutes from the following meetings in order to identify potential substantive changes: academic Deans’ Council, Senior Leadership Team, and Board of Trustees.

B. Evaluation and Determination – The Initiator should consult the SACSCOC Liaison as early as possible in the change process in order to (1) evaluate whether the change is substantive in nature (2) allow the SACSCOC Liaison to seek guidance from SACSCOC resources and staff, if necessary, and (3) if a change is substantive, provide for ample time to satisfy the timeframes for notification and/or approval. Relevant information needed for this consultation including but is not limited to a brief description of the possible change; tentative timeline for approval, including steps in the approval process; and the earliest possible date for implementation. The following provides common substantive changes and their appropriate timeline for consultation to the SACSCOC Liaison (SL) and notification to/approval from SACSCOC.

Type of Changes SACSCOC Requirement Contact Liaison
Governance Change; Institution, Program, or Location Acquisition; Merger/Consolidation; Ownership, Means of Control, or Legal Status Change; Competency-based Education by Direct Assessment (50% or More) Prospectus for Full Board approval must be submitted by either:

  • 3/15 for Board’s biannual meeting in June
  • 9/1 for Board’s biannual meeting in December
6 months prior to deadline
All Institutional Changes (Not Mentioned Above); Clock-Credit Hour Conversion; Competency-based Education by Direct Assessment (25-49%); Cooperative Academic Arrangement with Non-Title IV Entities (25-50%); Joint Academic Award with non-SACSCOC Institution(s) or Entity(ies); New Program (50-100% new content); Program Closure; Program Length Change; Off-campus Instructional Site (50% or more of program); Off-campus Instructional Site Relocation (Branch) Prospectus for Executive Council approval must be submitted by either:

  • 1/1 for implementation between 7/1 – 12/31 of the same calendar year
  • 7/1 for implementation between 1/1 – 6/30 of next year
9-12 months before desire implementation
Cooperative Academic Arrangement with Title IV Entities; Cooperative Academic Arrangement with Non-Title IV Entities (Less than 25%); Dual Academic Award; Joint Academic Award with SACSCOC Institution(s); Method of Delivery (50% or more); New Program (25-49% new content); Program Designed for Prior Learning; Program Re-open; Off-campus Instructional Site (25-49% of program); Off-campus Instructional Site Relocation (Non-Branch); Off-campus Instructional Site Name or Address Change; Off-campus Instructional Site Re-open Notification must be submitted to SACSCOC prior to implementation 2 months
prior to implementation
Close a Program, Site, Program at a Site, or Method of Delivery A teach-out plan should be submitted for SACSCOC approval as soon as possible after the decision is made to close (i.e., stop admitting students). 6 months prior to closure

 

C. Determination – If the SACSCOC Liaison needs assistance in reaching a final determination regarding whether a change is substantive or what reporting or approval process is required, he/she will consult the Provost and/or President as necessary.

D. Notification or Prospectus – If it is determined that a notification is required, the SACSOC Liaison will obtain needed information from the Initiator and develop a draft notice for review by the Initiator before submitting the final notice to SASCOC. If it is determined that a prospectus is required, the Initiator will prepare the required documents with the assistance of the SACSCOC Liaison, who will provide final drafts for the President’s review and signature prior to submission. The SACSCOC Liaison will track progress of SACSCOC’s review of any notification or prospectus. The SACSCOC Liaison will update Initiators on outcomes and maintain copies of all correspondence with SACSCOC related to substantive changes.

E. Education At least once each academic year, the Accreditation Liaison will provide written notice to the President, Provost and Provost Cabinet, department chairs and division vice presidents in relation to the substantive change policies and procedures. These recipients are responsible for ensuring that their respective areas provide notice of any potential substantive changes under this policy.

V. COMPLIANCE

Responsibility for compliance with SACSCOC substantive change policy requirements rests with the administration. If an institution fails to follow the substantive change policy and procedures of the SACSCOC, it may lose its Title IV funding or be required by the U.S. Department of Education to reimburse it for money received by the institution. In addition, the institution may be referred to the Commission for the imposition of a sanction or for removal from membership.

For that reason, if a substantive change is initiated without following the procedures outlined in this policy, the President or Provost may direct the immediate cancellation or cessation of that change, with due regard for the educational welfare of students.  In areas outside of academic affairs, the same sanction may be applied by the President or relevant Vice President.

VI. MISCELLANEOUS

For more information on substantive change, visit the SACSCOC’s substantive change site, which contains its policy and procedure statement on substantive change and related resources, or contact ACU’s SACSCOC Liaison, Chris Riley at x2918 or chris.riley@acu.edu.  Please do not directly contact SACSCOC.

Employee Communications

Policy No. 501

Responsible Department: University Marketing
Responsible Administrator: Chief Marketing Officer
Effective Date: February 2008
Reviewed/Updated Date: May 2015
Date of Scheduled Review: May 2019

INTERNAL COMMUNICATION POLICY

I.  PURPOSE
The Internal Communication Policy seeks to define groups, message classifications, guidelines, distribution and channels for group communication using technology at ACU.  These policies and procedures will distinguish the various messaging mediums including myACU announcements and forums and large group or mass email communications with the goals of increasing efficiency in communicating to broad and specific groups, encouraging community interaction and information exchange, and using technology effectively.  Specifically it is the aim of this policy to acknowledge that email is the primary medium of communication for faculty and staff while also addressing the problem of unwanted email or “spam” through the proper use of the myACU portal.

II. SCOPE
This policy applies to all faculty and staff at ACU.

III.  POLICY

  1. myACU Announcements
    1. Users of myACU will be able to view these announcements under the community section of myACU.  Users will be divided into the following groups:
      1. Employees
      2. Students
    2. Any university employee (faculty or staff) or student with an announcement to post to one of these groups will provide (via email or form submission) the text/information to the Gatekeeper of that announcement group as identified below in Section D.  The Gatekeeper will have discretion to determine if that announcement is appropriate for that group based on its audience.
  2. Large Group Email Lists
    Currently the university utilizes email lists that go out to all employees and all students.  Employees receive myACU News emails, and the VP for Student Life controls a student email list. Other large group email may still be used in the following situations:

    1. myACU News – myACU News, the employee newsletter, will continue to be sent weekly via email; if a high volume of announcements are needed to go out, and it is determined necessary by Human Resources, a second email may go out that week.
    2. Emergencies and Threats to Campus Operation – other than myACU News, the all-student email lists/all employee email lists will be reserved for urgent messages that pertain to immediate threats to the ACU family, threats to the daily campus operation or emergency situations (imminent weather emergencies, campus-wide cancellations, urgent crime or public safety issues, etc.)
    3. Compass – The Compass is designed to equip faculty and staff with important resources, empower employees to share information about the university, and engage them by providing a simple way to pass on information. Information is collected from various sources: online content, news releases, blog posts, videos, TVeyes monitoring service, Google alerts, emails, local media, social media, Smartsheets, story submission form, marketing meetings, and information from our team and other university employees. University Marketing distributes this to key audiences each week.
    4. Subscribed email lists – employees may maintain an email list for sending out information relating to their position or, if the person is a Gatekeeper, they may email a message for their specified audience as long as there is an opt-out option (e.g. Adams Center Announcements, COBA Connection email, Agriculture Department newsletter, etc.)
    5. Other Mutually Agreed Upon Exceptions – any other all-employee email (e.g. health insurance change notifications) must be mutually agreed upon by the Director of Human Resources and Chief Marketing Officer.  Any all-student email must be approved by the VP for Student Life.
  3. myACU Community Forums
    myACU Community Forums will be an appropriate place for topics that involve or would be enhanced by feedback, interaction and discussion from all myACU users, with the supervision of a moderator.
  4. “Gatekeepers”
    Gatekeepers are responsible for approving messages and the medium to be distributed to the specified audience.

 

Audience Gatekeeper
All Employees Human Resources
Faculty Provost/Human Resources
Staff/Student Employees Human Resources
All Students VP for Student Life
College Dean
Department Department Chair
Major Department Chair
Class (freshman, sophomores, etc.) Student Life
Parents Student Life/Admissions
Recruits Director of Recruiting
Admits Director of Recruiting
Alumni/Friends Alumni Relations
Trustees President
Residence Halls Director of Residence Life
Donors Advancement
Crime/Public Safety/Parking/Traffic Chief of Police
Technology Alerts for Campus Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Policy No. 502
Responsible Department:
 University Mail Services
Responsible Administrator: Manager of Mail Services
Effective Date:
 July 1, 2009
Reviewed/Updated Date:
 March 2021
Date of Scheduled Review:
 March 2025

CAMPUS MAIL POLICY

PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to define the parameters of campus mail for the university.

SCOPE

This policy applies to students, staff, faculty and visitors to campus that may want to communicate with any person employed by or attending the university.

DEFINITIONS

Campus mail is correspondence sent to anyone with a campus mailbox by students, faculty, staff or visitors to campus.

POLICY

ELIGIBLE MAILERS

The following groups may send campus mail to anyone with an ACU mailbox:

  • ACU Departments or employees
  • Current ACU mailbox occupants
  • ACU students enrolled in the current term
  • Official student or university organizations — The student or university organizations officially recognized by ACU
  • ACU affiliates — The businesses or organizations that have an office or an official presence on the ACU campus
  • Visitors to the ACU campus — Occasional visitors to the ACU campus may send a small amount of campus mail


MAIL CONTENT

ACU reserves the right to refuse to box any campus mail that is not compatible with ACU standards. This mail will be considered undeliverable and returned to the sender, or discarded if there is not a return address.

MAILING GUIDELINES

All campus mail must meet the mail piece design and mailing preparation guidelines. These guidelines are listed on Mail Services’ Web site.

POSTAGE

Campus mail does not require postage. However, Mail Services does assess boxing and other fees in certain cases.

MAIL FROM OFF CAMPUS BUSINESSES AND ORGANIZATIONS

Mail from off campus businesses and organizations (including ACU employees and student’s own personal businesses) is acceptable as campus mail to students only. The mail piece must be submitted for approval in advance of submitting the mailing. ACU reserves the right to refuse to box any campus mail from an off campus business or organization. At the time of mailing, the mailer must pay the appropriate Off Campus Flyers boxing fees on all mail pieces.

LIABILITY

All campus mail is sent at the sender’s risk. ACU is not liable for any loss, damage, delay, mis-delivery, non-delivery or rifling of campus mail. Proof of delivery is only available for campus mail sent with Assured Delivery service.

Policy No. 510
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date:
 January 1, 1994
Reviewed/Updated Date:
 July 1, 2013
Date of Scheduled Review:
 July 2017

OFFICIAL NOTICE AND SAFETY BULLETIN BOARDS POLICY

PURPOSE
To provide a permanent and official channel of communication to employees.

SCOPE
This policy applies to the campus of ACU.

POLICY
Important university information will be displayed permanently on the official notice and safety bulletin boards located outside Room 213 of the Hardin Administration Building and in the Physical Plant Building between the main office and the break room.

  1. Legally required posters and notice.
  2. University standards and rules of conduct.
  3. Safety rules and related information.Employees will be responsible for regularly checking and reading the official notice and safety bulletin board and for following the rules, regulations and instructions posted there.

Policy No. 530
Responsible Department:
 Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Human Resources Director
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed/Updated:
 May 2015
Date of Scheduled: May 2019

COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

PURPOSE
To provide a process for employees to discuss complaints or problems with management and to receive careful consideration and a prompt resolution.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all employees at ACU.

POLICY
It is in the best interest of the university and the employee to resolve work-related complaints as soon as possible at the lowest possible level of supervision.

  1. Each employee of the university should discuss work-related complaints or problems with management.
  2. It is the policy of the university to consider and attempt to resolve employee complaints or problems in a prompt and fair manner.


DEFINITIONS

“Complaint” is defined as a condition of employment or application of a policy that the employee thinks is unjust or inequitable.

PROCEDURE

  1. Supervisor’s Role.  To resolve complaints and problems, the employee is encouraged to first seek assistance from his or her immediate supervisor, who should attempt to resolve the problem.  The supervisor is responsible for handling the complaint as an important business matter, striving to arrive at a prompt, equitable solution.  The immediate supervisor, after obtaining all of the facts and reviewing the problem, will give the employee an answer within two (2) working days, or will notify the employee if additional time is needed to investigate the problem.  If desired, the supervisor may request assistance from the Director of Human Resources. Occasionally, an employee’s complaint involves his or her supervisor.  Supervisors should realize that employees often do not feel free to express such concerns to them.  Therefore, employees are encouraged to discuss complaints with the next higher level of management to avoid an awkward situation.  As an alternative, the employee may discuss the complaint at any time with the Director of Human Resources.  An employee may ask the Director of Human Resources, another employee or another manager to be present at a complaint discussion with any level of management.
  2. If the employee feels that the supervisor’s response is not satisfactory, the employee, with or without his or her supervisor, may present the problem to the department head.  The department head should be sure that all efforts have been made to solve the problem, including working out solutions with other departments should more than one department be involved in the matter.  The department head will provide the employee with a response within five (5) working days, or notify employee if additional time is needed.
  3. Should the employee involved be dissatisfied with the department head’s response, the employee will so notify the department head and may then present the problem to the dean of the college of the vice president of the division for his or her review.  During this presentation, the employee may act alone, or with his or her supervisor and/or the department head.  The vice president will provide the employee with a response within five (5) working days, or notify the employee if additional time is needed to investigate the problem.
  4. If the employee feels that the vice president’s response is not satisfactory, he or she may make a written appeal to the President.  All written documentation on the case will be furnished to the President for review.  The President may, in his or her discretion, empanel the other members of management to review the facts of the particular case, and offer recommendations.  The President’s decision shall be final.

Performance Development

Policy No. 610
April 1, 1997
Reviewed January 2021
Scheduled Review January 2025

PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL

PURPOSE
To provide a process for two-way communication between supervisors and employees for purposes of performance development and establishing goals.

SCOPE
This policy applies to half, reduced and full time staff employees.

POLICY
The employee performance appraisal process is designed to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. To enhance individual employee performance and ensure effective university operations.
  2. To summarize both formal and informal performance discussions held between supervisors and employees as well as establishing performance standards and goals.
  3. To document performance areas in which employees do well, including those areas requiring improvement and plans to correct performance shortcomings.

PROCEDURE (OR PROCESS)
Each supervisor is responsible for setting and communicating performance standards for his or her employees at the beginning of and throughout the review period. Each supervisor is also responsible to observe and discuss with his or her employees’ positive and negative aspects of their performance in relation to standards throughout the review period. And, on a not less than biennial basis, each supervisor is responsible for conducting formal written performance appraisals with each subordinate employee summarizing past discussions, and setting performance goals.

  1. Timing.  Staff employees will receive an appraisal not less than biennially.
  2. Performance Appraisal Forms.  AA copy of the employee performance appraisal form for both the employee and the supervisor should be downloaded from this webpage.
  3. Performance Appraisal Discussion.  Supervisors will hold a discussion with the employee regarding each performance appraisal, discussing the supervisor’s section and the employee’s section. The discussion should be held at a prearranged time in a private location free from interruptions.
  4. Employee Signature.  The employee will be asked to comment on the appraisal and acknowledge it by signing the form. He or she will then be given a copy of the signed appraisal. If the employee declines to sign the form, they should be encouraged to discuss any concerns and submit a written response, which will be attached to the appraisal, prior to signing.. In the event the employee still declines to sign the appraisal, the supervisor should write “employee declined to sign” at the bottom of the form, add his or her initials and the date, and give the employee a copy of the appraisal. The supervisor should then notify his or her manager and the director of Human Resources.

Policy No. 620 
Responsible Department:
 Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator:
 Chief Human Resource Officer
Effective Date:
 January 1, 1994
Revised/Updated:
 December 2015
Date of Scheduled Review:
 December 2019

PROMOTIONS POLICY

PURPOSE
To support the basic organization-building process of promoting qualified employees to positions of greater responsibility and recognition.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all positions.

POLICY

  1. When a position vacancy occurs, opportunities to promote from within may be explored consistent with the goal of filling positions with the most capable individual available.
  2. Job posting, employee performance appraisals and professional development and training will provide the primary input to the internal selection process.
  3. At times, external recruiting sources will be used simultaneously with the internal search.
  4. Receipt of a promotion does not constitute a commitment for continued employment in a new position for any specific time, nor is there a guarantee that an employee will be able to return to his or her former position if he or she is unsuccessful in the new job.

RELATED POLICIES

Policy No. 621 
Responsible Department:  Human Resources
Responsible Administrator:  Director of Human Resources
Effective Date:  October 1995
Reviewed Date:  September 2019
Date of Scheduled Review:  September 2023

JOB POSTING

PURPOSE
To provide a system by which employees may investigate, apply and be selected for job openings on an equal basis with outside applicants.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all non-exempt and exempt staff positions.

DEFINITIONS
The university supports the practice of promoting from within when practical. It also believes that employees have the primary responsibility for their own career development.  If hiring from within, the supervisor with the open position should advise the internal applicant to notify their current supervisor when an interview is scheduled.

PROCEDURE (OR PROCESS)

  1. When a vacancy occurs, the appropriate supervisor will submit an approved Request for Personnel (RFP) Form to the Human Resources Office. This completed form includes all job-related requirements necessary for proper job posting.  A current job description, formatted according to the template found on the Human Resources website, must be emailed to humanresources@acu.edu.
  2. Once the RFP and job description have been received, the position will be sent to the Senior Leadership Team within one business day for approval. It can take up to five business days for the approval process to be completed.
  3. When a current employee is selected to fill a posted vacancy, the two departments involved will confer and agree on a suitable transfer date.  Such transfers are expected to occur within two to three weeks from date of job acceptance.  All such transfers must be coordinated with the Human Resources Office.

Safety and Health

Policy No. 710
ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES
Responsible Department: Office of Risk Management
Responsible Administrator: General Counsel
Effective Date: October 1, 1994
Updated/ Reviewed Date: March 2021
Date of Scheduled Review: March 2025

ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES

PURPOSE
Establish guidelines for accidents and injuries.

SCOPE
Applies to all University employees.

POLICY
An employee who incurs a job-related illness or injury is required to report immediately to his/her supervisor.

PROCEDURES

Reporting and Responding to Accidents/Injuries

  1. If the injury appears to be potentially serious or life threatening such as; loss of consciousness, significant bleeding, or neck or head injury, immediately call 911 to request medical assistance. Employees should not be transported or transport people who are seriously injured.
  2. If the injury is minor such as; minor cuts, scrapes, or bruises, attempt to assist the person and provide basic first aid.
  3. All accidents and injuries, regardless of the severity, should be reported to the Office of Risk Management as soon as possible by calling to 325-674-2363 or emailing risk@acu.edu. If the accident occurs outside normal business hours, notify ACU Police at 325-674-2911.
  4. Attempt to obtain the names and contact information of witnesses to the accident/injury.
  5. Do not make any statements regarding ACU’s responsibility, fault, or willingness to pay for any damages or injuries as a result of the accident.
  6. Do not remove any objects or clean the area until notified by ACU Police or the Office of Risk Management.  This is necessary to allow for the scene to be photographed and investigated.
  7. If the accident involves a vehicle, the employee should immediately notify ACU Police at 325-674-2911 and follow the   Vehicle Accident Procedures on the Risk Management website.

Documenting Accidents/Injuries

  1. An accident report should be completed within 48 hours utilizing the online Accident Report form. Accident procedures and reports for employees, students, and visitors are provided on the Accidents and Incidents page of the Risk Management website.
  2. Risk Management will compile statements, witness accounts, photographs, and other applicable documentation to prepare a written report providing details and circumstances surrounding the accident/injury.

Work-Related Accidents/Injuries

  1. Employees who are injured in the performance of their duties should report the incident and seek treatment based on the extent of the injury. The Office of Risk Management should be consulted if the employee/supervisor is unsure of how to respond to an injury.
    • Call 911 for serious injuries to request assistance/transport to Hendrick Medical Center located at 1900 Pine Street.
    • If an injury requires medical treatment, refer the employee to the ACU Medical Clinic located on campus at the northwest entrance of the Royce & Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center, next door to the Teague Special Events Center, Phone 325-674-2625.
    • Minor injuries should be attended to in the workplace.
  2. Employees may use their own physician, but the physician must be in the workers’ compensation Health Care Network Directory or treatment will not be covered.

Employee Responsibilities:

  1. Notify supervisor of work-related accidents or injuries regardless of where they occur and take all reasonable actions to prevent further damage or injury.
  2. Assist in completing an Accident Report and provide the names of witnesses.
  3. Keep the Office of Risk Management informed of medical treatment plans due to the fact that some procedures require pre-authorization from the insurance provider.
  4. Provide documentation for claims processing to the Office of Risk Management and notification of any changes in work status or activity restrictions.
  5. Provide additional information/documentation to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier as requested.
  6. Comply with all procedures/requirements for medical treatment, activity restrictions or limitations, and rehabilitation or therapy.

Supervisor Responsibilities:

  1. Ensure that the employee receives appropriate medical treatment.
  2. Ensure the accident/injury is reported to the Office of Risk Management as soon as possible and that the online Accident Report is completed within 48 hours.
  3. Ensure the accident scene is preserved until notified by ACU Police or the Office of Risk Management that the investigation has been completed.
  4. Work with the Office of Risk Management & the Office of Human Resources to implement a Return to Work plan for employees that have activity restrictions as a result of their injury.

Risk Management Responsibilities:

  1. Review the accident report and determine if the injury is work-related.
  2. Complete and process all necessary documents as required by the state and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier and coordinate the necessary medical treatment, claims, and payments.
  3. If the injured employee is unable to work, contact the employee on a regular basis to communicate updates and obtain progress reports.
  4. Act as liaison between the employee, claims manager, and physician to help prevent confusion regarding activity restrictions, treatment plans, or other requirements.
  5. Coordinate activity restrictions or limitations with the employee’s supervisor and monitor compliance and employee progress/results.

COMPLIANCE

Failure to comply with these procedures may jeopardize the health and well being of employees, students, or visitors to the campus.  In addition, the University may incur unforeseen exposure/liability or the employee concerned may be responsible for the medical expenses.

Policy No. 720
HAZARD COMMUNICATION POLICY
Responsible Department: 
Office of Risk Management 
Responsible Administrator: 
Safety Manager
January 1, 1994
Reviewed: 
March 1, 2011
Date of Scheduled Review:

HAZARD COMMUNICATION POLICY

I. PURPOSE
Abilene Christian University has a commitment to provide each of its Employees a safe and healthy work environment. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all Hazardous Chemicals used or produced on campus are evaluated and that the information concerning the hazard(s) is transmitted to employers and Employees in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) 29 CFR 1910.1200 Hazard Communication Standard and the State of Texas Hazard Communication Act Sec. 502.001.

II. SCOPE
This Hazard Communication Policy has been developed by the University to ensure that all Employees receive consistent and accurate information about the hazardous substances they work with or near on the campus. “This transmittal of information is to be accomplished by means of comprehensive hazard communication programs, which are to include Container Labeling and other forms of warning, Material Safety Data Sheets and Employee training.” 1910.1200(a)(1), Written Hazard Communication Program 1910.1200(e)

III. DEFINITIONS

A. Chemical is defined as any element, Chemical compound or Mixture of element and/or compounds.

B. Chemical Name is the scientific designation of a Chemical in accordance with the nomenclature system developed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) or the Chemistry Abstracts Service (CAS) rules of nomenclature, or a name which will clearly identify the Chemical for the purpose of conducting a hazard evaluation.

C. Combustible Liquid is any liquid having a Flashpoint at or above 100 0F (37.8 0C) but below 200 0F (93.3 0C), except any Mixture having components with Flashpoints of 200 0F (93.30 C), or higher, the total volume of which make up 99 percent or more of the total volume of the Mixture.

D. Compressed Gas is a gas or Mixture having, in a Container, an absolute pressure exceeding 40 psi at 70 0F (21.1 0C); or a gas or Mixture of gases having, in a Container, an absolute pressure exceeding 104 psi at 130 0F (54.4 0C) regardless of the pressure at 70 0F (21.1 0C); or a liquid having a vapor pressure exceeding 40 psi at 100 0F (37.8 0C) as determined by ASTM D-323-72.

E. Container is defined as any bag, barrel, bottle, box, can, cylinder, drum, reaction vessel, storage tank, or the like that contains a Hazardous Chemical. For purposes of this section, pipes or piping systems and engines, fuel tanks, or other operating systems in a vehicle, are not considered to be Containers.

F. Employee is defined as any individual currently classified as an Employee by Human Resources and/or currently on the University payroll who may be Exposed to Hazardous Chemicals under normal operating conditions or in Foreseeable Emergencies.

G. Explosive is a Chemical that causes a sudden, almost instantaneous release of pressure, gas, and heat when subjected to sudden shock, pressure, or high temperature.

H. Exposure or Exposed is a condition under which an Employee is subjected in the course of employment to a Chemical that is a Physical or Health Hazard, and includes potential (e.g. accidental or possible) Exposure. “Subjected” in terms of Health Hazards includes any route of entry (e.g. inhalation, ingestion, skin contact or absorption.)

I. Flammable is a Chemical that is capable of burning or easily igniting and falls into one of the following categories:

1. Aerosol, Flammable is an aerosol that, when tested by the method described in 16 CFR 1500.45 yields a flame projection exceeding 18 inches at full valve opening, or a flashback (a flame extending back to the valve) at any degree of valve opening.

2. Gas, Flammable is a gas that: at ambient temperature and pressure, forms a Flammable Mixture with air at a concentration of thirteen (13) percent by volume or less; or a gas that, at ambient temperature and pressure, forms a range of Flammable Mixtures with air wider than twelve (12) percent by volume, regardless of the lower limit.

3. Liquid, Flammable is any liquid having a flashpoint below 100 0F (37.8 0C), except any Mixture having components with flashpoints of 100 0F (37.8 0C) or higher, the total of which make up 99 percent or more of the total volume of the Mixture.

4. Solid, Flammable is a solid, other than a blasting agent or Explosive as defined in 29 CFR 1910.109 (a), that is liable to cause fire through friction, absorption of moisture, spontaneous Chemical change, or retained heat from manufacturing or processing, or which can be ignited readily and when ignited burns so vigorously and persistently as to create a serious hazard. A Chemical shall be considered to be a Flammable Solid if, when tested by the method described in 16 CFR 1500.44, it ignites and burns with a self-sustained flame at a rate greater than one-tenth of an inch per second along its major axis.

J. Flashpoint is the minimum temperature at which a liquid gives off a vapor in sufficient concentration to ignite.

K. Foreseeable Emergency is defined as any potential occurrence such as, but not limited to, equipment failure, rupture of Containers, or failure of control equipment which could result in an uncontrolled release of a Hazardous Chemical into the Workplace.

L. Hazardous Chemical is any Chemical which is a Physical or a Health Hazard.

M. Hazard Warning is defined as any words, pictures, symbols, or combination thereof appearing on a Label or other appropriate form of warning which convey the specific Physical and Health Hazard(s), including target organ effects, of the Chemical(s) in the Container(s).

N. Health Hazard is a Chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur in Exposed Employees. The term “Health Hazard” includes Chemicals which are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, agents that act on the hematopoietic system, and agents that damage the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes.

O. Label is any written, printed, or graphic material displayed on or affixed to Containers or Hazardous Chemicals.

P. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) is a written or printed material concerning a Hazardous Chemical which is prepared in accordance with OSHA requirements.

Q. Mixture is defined as any combination of two or more Chemicals if the combination is not, in whole or in part, the result of a Chemical reaction.

R. Organic Peroxide is an organic compound that contains the bivalent -0-0- structure and which may be considered to be a structural derivative of hydrogen peroxide where one or both of the hydrogen atoms has been replaced by an organic radical.

S. Oxidizer is a Chemical other than a blasting agent or Explosive as defined in 29 CFR 1910.109(a), that initiates or promotes combustion in other materials, thereby causing fire either of itself or through the release of oxygen or other gases.

T. Physical Hazard is a Chemical for which there is scientifically valid evidence that it is a combustible liquid, a compressed gas, Explosive, Flammable, an Organic Peroxide, an Oxidizer, Pyrophoric, Unstable (Reactive) or Water-Reactive.

U. Pyrophoric – is a Chemical that will ignite spontaneously in air at a temperature of 130 0F (54.4 0C) or below.

V. Unstable (Reactive) is a Chemical which in the pure state, or as produced or transported, will vigorously polymerize, decompose, condense, or will become self-reactive under conditions of shocks, pressure or temperature.

W. Water-Reactive is a Chemical that reacts with water to release a gas that is either Flammable or presents a Health Hazard.

X. Work Area is a room or defined space in a Workplace where Hazardous Chemicals are produced or used, and where Employees are present.

Y. Workplace is defined as an establishment, job site, or project, at a geographical location containing one or more Work Areas.

IV. PROCEDURE

A. Applicability
This operating policy applies to Employees who may be Exposed to, under normal conditions of use or in a Foreseeable Emergency, a Hazardous Chemical which may be present in the Workplace. Employees who work in or visit Workplaces containing laboratories must also comply with the Chemical Hygiene Safety Program.

B. Hazard Determination

1. A Hazardous Chemical is defined by OSHA as “any Chemical that is a Health Hazard or a Physical Hazard.” 1910.1200(c) “Definitions: Hazardous Chemical”

a. “Health Hazard is a Chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur in Exposed Employees. The term “Health Hazard” includes Chemicals which are carcinogens, toxic or highly toxic agents, reproductive toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, and neurotoxins, agents which act on the hematopoietic system, and agents which damage the lungs, skin, eyes, or mucous membranes.” 1910.1200(c) Definitions

b. “Physical Hazard is a Chemical for which there is scientifically valid evidence that it is a Combustible Liquid, a Compressed Gas, Explosive, Flammable, an Organic Peroxide, an Oxidizer, Pyrophoric, Unstable (Reactive), or Water-Reactive.” 1910.1200(c) Definitions

c. Additional Hazardous Chemicals is a term OSHA uses to broadly define not only generic Chemicals but also paints, cleaning compounds, inks, dyes, and many other common substances. Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to determine if the Chemicals they produce or repackage meet the definition of a Hazardous Chemical. A Chemical Mixture may be considered as a whole or by its ingredients to determine its hazards. It may be considered as a whole if it has been tested as a whole and an MSDS has been issued accordingly. Otherwise the Mixture must be evaluated by its components. “If the Mixture contains 1.0 percent or more of a Hazardous Chemical or 0.1 percent of an ingredient listed as a carcinogen or suspected carcinogen, the whole Mixture is assumed to have the same Health and/or carcinogenic Hazards as its components.” 1910.1200(d)(5)(ii)

C. Chemical Inventory List

1. Each Workplace supervisor will develop and maintain a Chemical Inventory List (CIL) alphabetically for every Hazardous Chemical known to be present in the Work Area(s). The identity of the Chemical appearing on the CIL must be the same name that appears on the manufacturer’s Label and the MSDS for that substance. The CIL will be updated by the Workplace supervisor when a new MSDS is received and before the introduction of a new Hazardous Chemical to accurately reflect all the Hazardous Chemicals present in each Workplace. The CIL will be electronically accessible by each Workplace using the ChemSW Chemical inventory system software. CIL is defined as “a list of the Hazardous Chemicals known to be present using an identity that is referenced on the appropriate Material Safety Data Sheet (the list may be compiled for the Workplace as a whole or for individual Work Areas).” 1910.1200(e)(1)(i)

2. Master Chemical Inventory List (MCIL) will be electronically accessible by the Office of Risk Management using the ChemSW Chemical Inventory system software. The Office of Risk Management will oversee a hard copy of the list and annual archiving of the MCIL. “An employer shall maintain a Workplace Chemical list for at least 30 years.” Texas Hazard Communication Act Sec. 502.005.

D. Labeling Procedures

1. No Hazardous Chemical will be accepted for use at the Workplace, or shipped to any other Workplace or Work Area(s), unless Labeled with the following information:

a. Identity of the Hazardous Chemical(s).

b. Appropriate Hazard Warnings.

c. Name and address of the Chemical manufacturer.

d. Importer or other responsible party.

2. No Hazardous Chemical may be used in the Work Area unless Labeled with at least the following information:

a. “Appropriate Hazard Warnings, or alternatively, words, pictures, symbols, or combination thereof, which provide at least general information regarding the hazards of the Chemicals, and which, in conjunction with the other information immediately available to Employees under the hazard communication program, will provide Employees with the specific information regarding the Physical and Health Hazards of the Hazardous Chemical.” 1910.1200(f)(5)(i)

b. “All Labels shall be legible, in English, and prominently displayed on the Container. The identity of the material that appears on the Label shall be the same as the Chemical name that appears on the manufacturer’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and the Department’s CIL.” 1910.1200(f)(9)

c. “If the Hazardous Chemical is regulated by OSHA in a substance specific health standard, the Label used shall be in accordance with the requirements of that specific standard.” 1910.1200(f)(4)

d. “In certain situations involving individual stationary process Containers, the Label may be replaced by a sign, placard, process sheet, batch ticket, or other means to convey the identity of the Hazardous Chemical and the appropriate Hazard Warnings. If these other forms of warning are used, they must be readily accessible to Employees in their Workplace  or Work Area during each work shift.” 1910.1200(f)(6)

e. “Labels are not required on portable Containers into which Hazardous Chemicals are transferred from Labeled Containers, if and only if, the contents of the portable Container are intended for immediate use by the Employee who performed the transfer. Labeling of the portable Container will prevent any possible misuse of the material by others and is highly recommended. “Immediate use” means that the Hazardous Chemical will be under the control of and used only by the person who transfers it from a Labeled Container and only within the work shift in which it is transferred.”1910.1200(c)

f. “Any portable Container of a Hazardous Chemical that is not intended for immediate use shall be properly Labeled by the Workplace. The “in-house” Label can be either hand-made or pre-printed and shall contain the information identified in Section 7.1. Employees with questions concerning the appropriate in-house label to use should refer to the manufacturer’s MSDS or ask their supervisor.” 1910.1200(f)(7)

g. “No Label on a Container is to be defaced or removed unless the Container is immediately marked with the required information. No Employee shall remove any Label unless specifically directed to do so by their supervisor. Any Container without a Label shall be immediately reported to the Work Area supervisor.” 1910.1200(f)(8)

E. Material Safety Data Sheets

1. “Chemical manufacturers, suppliers, and importers of Hazardous Chemicals are required to develop and provide a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for their products.” 1910.1200(g)(1)

2. A MSDS provides detailed information concerning the Chemical’s composition, Health and Physical Hazards, proper disposal practices, and appropriate handling and control measures.

3. Each Workplace will maintain an electronically accessible file that contains copies of all manufacturers’ MSDS alphabetically for each Chemical listed on their CIL.

4. MSDS files will be electronically accessible by each Workplace using the ChemSW CIS chemical Inventory system software. This file will contain the most current version of the manufacturers’ MSDS. “The employer shall maintain in the Workplace copies of the required Material Safety Data Sheets for each Hazardous Chemical, and shall ensure that they are readily accessible during each work shift to Employees when they are in their Work Area(s). Electronic access, microfiche, and other alternatives to maintaining paper copies of the Material Safety Data Sheets are permitted as long as no barriers to immediate Employee access in each Workplace are created by such options.” 1910.1200(g)(8)

5. Each Workplace will maintain a hard copy of MSDS in a binder(s) Labeled MSDS to be located in a common Workplace area for emergency responders’ use or in the event of software or hardware malfunction or other unforeseeable emergency “to ensure that they are readily accessible with no barriers, with immediate employee access.” 1910.1200(g)(8)

6. Each Workplace will maintain a hard-copy CIL to be used as an index for the MSDS hard copy. The index will be placed in the front of each Workplace MSDS binder with the following information:

a. Hazardous Chemical common name, filed alphabetically.

b. Hazardous Chemical manufacturer’s name.

c. Hazardous Chemical MSDS location within the binder(s).

d. Hazardous Chemical location(s) within the Workplace.

e. Date of current MSDS.

f. Maximum quantity of Hazardous Chemical within the Workplace.

F. Employee Training

1. The supervisor will ensure each new Employee receives an introduction to the Hazard Communication Policy and completes the computer-based training during the Workplace new employee orientation.

2. Initial Training will be provided by the supervisor to each Employee on the Hazardous Chemical(s) in the Work Area(s) at the time of the initial assignment and will include the following as a minimum:

a. Overview of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.

b. How to recognize / detect the presence of Hazardous Chemicals in the Work Area.

c. How to access and read an MSDS.

d. Labeling requirements and procedures.

e. Identification of Hazard Warning.

f. Protective controls and measures.

g. Workplace or Work Area specific procedures regarding Hazardous Chemicals.

3. Additional training will be provided by the supervisor to Employees upon the introduction of any new Physical or Health Hazard into their Work Area(s).

4. Recommend supervisors document Hazard Communication training.  Documentation should be maintained in the Workplace.

5. Prior to performing any “non-routine” task that could involve Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals; the supervisor will review all the potential hazards of the task with the Employee(s). The supervisor will prescribe appropriate work practices and protective controls. The Office of Risk Management can provide consulting services to the Workplace on non-routine tasks.

G. Contractors

All contractors performing any work on University property must provide a list of all Hazardous Chemicals they will be using. The CIL will be provided to the contractor’s designated University liaison or project coordinator. The contractor will provide, upon request by the University, a copy of any and all MSDS for the Chemicals they are using. The University will provide, upon request, a copy of the University’s Hazard Communication Policy and inform the contractor, prior to the start of work, of the location of all known Hazardous Chemicals and potential
hazards that may be present in the Work Area.

H. Exemptions

1. In accordance with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), the Hazard Communication Policy does not apply to:

a. Any hazardous waste subject to regulations issued under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Solid Waste Disposal Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976.

b. Any hazardous substance which is the focus of remedial or removal action being conducted under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

c. Wood or wood products, including lumber which will not be processed, where the Chemical manufacturer or importer can establish that the only hazard they pose to Employees is the potential for Flammability or combustibility. Wood or wood products which have been treated with a Hazardous Chemical covered by the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, and wood which may be subsequently sawed or cut, generating dust, are not exempt.

d. Articles defined as any manufactured item other than a fluid or particle which is formed to a specific shape or design during manufacture; has end use function(s) dependent in whole or part upon its shape or design during end use; under normal conditions of use does not release more than small (trace) quantities of a Hazardous Chemical; and does not pose a Physical Hazard or Health Hazard risk to Employees.

e. Foods which are sold, used, or prepared in a retail establishment and foods intended for personal consumption by Employees while in the Workplace.

f. Any drug, as defined in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, when it is in solid, final form for direct administration to the patient; any drugs which are packaged by the Chemical manufacturer for sale to consumers in a retail establishment; and any drugs intended for personal consumption by Employees while in the Workplace.

g. Cosmetics which are packaged for sale to consumers in retail establishments, and cosmetics intended for personal consumption by Employees while in the Workplace.

h. Any consumer product or hazardous substance as defined in the Consumer Product Safety Act or the Federal Hazardous Substance Act, where the employer can show that it is used in the Workplace for the purpose intended by the Chemical manufacturer or importer of the product; additionally, if the use of the product results in a duration and frequency of Exposure which is not greater than the range of Exposure that could reasonably be experienced by consumers when used for the intended purpose.

i. Nuisance particulates where the Chemical manufacturer or importer can establish that they do not pose any Physical or Health Hazard covered under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.

j. Ionizing and Non-ionizing Radiation.

k. Biological Hazards.

2. In accordance with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), the following items are exempt from labeling requirements:

a. Any pesticides that are subject to labeling requirements and regulations as defined in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, issued by the EPA.

b. Any Chemical substance or Mixture that is subject to labeling requirements and regulations as defined in the Toxic Substances Control Act (ToSCA), issued by the EPA.

c. Any food, food additive, color additive, drug, cosmetic, or medical or veterinary device or product, including materials intended for use as ingredients in such products, that is subject to labeling requirements and regulations as defined in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act of 1913, as issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Department of Agriculture, respectively.

d. Any consumer product or hazardous substance is subject to the labeling requirements and regulations as defined in the Consumer Product Safety Act and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, respectively, as issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

e. Agriculture or vegetable seed treated with pesticides as subject to labeling requirements and regulations as defined in the Federal Seed Act (7 U.S.C. 1551 et seq.) and the labeling regulations issued under that Act by the Department of Agriculture.

V. COMPLIANCE

1. The supervisor is responsible for implementing the program elements of this policy into their operations and ensuring compliance by their Employees.

2. All Employees are required to comply with the following guidance concerning OSHA inspections per Public Law 91-596 Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

SEC. 8. Inspections, Investigations, and Recordkeeping: Upon presenting appropriate credentials to the owner, operator, or agent in charge, representative is authorized to enter without delay and at reasonable times any factory, plant, establishment, construction site, or other area, Workplace or environment where work is performed by an Employee of an employer.

SEC. 9. Citations: Upon inspection or investigation, representative believes that an employer has violated a requirement of any regulations prescribed pursuant to this Act; he shall with reasonable promptness issue a citation to the employer.

SEC. 17. Penalties: Any employer who willfully or repeatedly violates the requirements of section may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $70,000 for each violation, but not less than $5,000 for each willful violation.

3. Violations of this policy and/or procedures may result in disciplinary action or other action the University deems appropriate under the circumstances.

VI. MISCELLANEOUS

For the complete 29 CFR part 1910, subpart Z, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9991

For the complete Public Law 91-596 84 STAT. 1590 91st Congress, S.2193 December 29, 1970, as amended through January 1, 2004. (1)
https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=OSHACT&p_id=2743

For the complete State of Texas Health And Safety Code, Title 6. Food, Drugs, Alcohol, And Hazardous Substances, Subtitle D. Hazardous Substances, Chapter 502. Hazard Communication Act
https://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/HS/htm/HS.502.htm

Policy No. 730

Responsible Department: Office of Risk Management
Responsible Administrator: Director of Risk Management
Effective Date: July 1, 1994
Reviewed Date: February 2016
Date of Scheduled Review: February 2020

BLOOD-BORNE PATHOGENS EXPOSURE CONTROL PLAN

PURPOSE
To reduce exposure and the potential for disease to employees occupationally at risk for contact with blood and other potentially infectious materials.

SCOPE
This policy applies to those who have duties or responsibilities to perform tasks and procedures where occupational exposure occurs such as nurses, athletic trainers, intramural director, food preparers, and Human Performance Lab assistants.  It also applies to positions who may periodically have the potential for occupational exposure such as campus police.

POLICY
This exposure control plan is accessible to all employees and will be reviewed at least annually and updated as often as changes in positions, tasks or procedures require.  This plan is located in the Medical Clinic for ease of accessibility for all employees.

Methods of compliance are various strategies, practices, and/or protocols developed by the university based on present literature to minimize or remove the potential for exposure to employees.

DEFINITIONS

  1. Blood-home Pathogen.  A bacteria or virus that can cause disease and can be transmitted from one person to another through the blood or other body fluid.  These pathogens include, but are not limited to, Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).  Malaria, syphilis and brucellosis are other diseases resulting from exposure to blood-borne pathogens.
  2. Contaminated Sharps.  Any contaminated object that can penetrate the skin including, but not limited to, needles, scalpels, broken glass, broken capillary tubes and lancets.
  3. Hepatitis B (HBV).  A viral infection of the liver which is transmitted through the blood of the infected person (either chronic carriers or those in an acute stage).  Infection is usually most severe in adults and less severe in children.  The results of Hepatitis B infection may include: liver failure, cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis and liver cancer.
  4. Exposure Incident.  A specific eye, mouth, other mucous membranes, non-intact skin or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that results from the performance of an employee’s duties.

PROCEDURE
Since it is possible to become infected through a single exposure, opportunities for exposure must be prevented to the greatest degree possible.  Employees who can reasonably expected exposure to blood-home pathogens must adopt Universal Precautions as an infection-control method.  This implies that all human blood and other potentially infectious materials (such as body fluids and human tissues) will be treated as though they were known to be infectious.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided by the department.  The selection of protective equipment depends on the nature of the exposure, but generally includes latex gloves, and may include lab coats, gowns and goggles.

  1. Employees MUST use appropriate PPE whenever there is potential occupational exposure.
  2. Gloves must be worn whenever hand contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials, mucous membranes or non-intact skin can reasonable be anticipated.  Gloves must be worn when touching contaminated items or surfaces.
  3. Disposable (single-use) gloves, such as surgical or exam gloves, must be replaced as soon as practical when they become contaminated or as soon as feasible if they are torn or punctured or their ability to function as a barrier is compromised.
  4. Disposable (single-use) gloves should NEVER be reused.
  5. Utility gloves may be decontaminated for resuse as long as the integrity of the gloves is not compromised.  However, they must be discarded if they become cracked or torn or show any other sign that their ability to function as a barrier is compromised.
  6. Contaminated disposable PPE is discarded into a Medical Waste Disposal System established by each department and removed on an as needed basis.
  7. Sharps containers are located in patient care areas.  Containers are puncture resistant, labeled, leak-proof on the sides of the bottom, closeable, and translucent.  Needle disposal units are checked daily and properly disposed of as needed.
  8. Contaminated needles and other contaminated sharps are not recapped or removed unless NO other alternatives is feasible.
  9. Reusable sharps (scissors, tweezers) are placed in appropriate containers until they are decontaminated for reuse.
  10. Hand washing facilities are readily accessible to employees in appropriate places.
  11. Employees must wash their hands immediately or as soon as feasible after removing gloves or other personal protective equipment.
  12. Employees must wash their hands and any other skin with soap and water, and flush mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) and water, immediately or as soon as feasible after contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials.
  13. Employees will be provided with antiseptic hand cleaner and towels if hand washing facilities are not feasible.
  14. If sink or running water is not immediately available, an antiseptic hand cleaner in conjunction with clean cloth/paper towels or antiseptic towelettes can be used.  The product utilized is Purell Brand Instant Hand Sanitizer.
  15. Eating, drinking, applying cosmetics or lip balm, and handling contact lenses is prohibited in any work area where there is a reasonable likelihood of occupational exposure.
  16. Food and drink shall not be kept in refrigerators, freezers, shelves, cabinets or on countertops or bench tops where blood or other potentially infectious materials are present.
  17. All procedures involving blood or other potentially infectious materials are performed in such a manner so as to minimize aerosolization, splashing, spraying, spattering or generation of droplets.
  18. Mouth pipetting/suctioning of blood or other potentially infectious materials is strictly forbidden.
  19. All work sites are maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.  Regular cleaning is provided in each department.  Specific methods for cleaning environmental surfaces contaminated with potentially infectious material will be kept by the department responsible for decontamination.
  20. All equipment and environmental and work surfaces must be cleaned and decontaminated after contact with blood or potentially infectious materials
  21. All receptacles (reusable) which have a reasonable likelihood for becoming contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials are inspected and decontaminated on an as needed basis.  PPE will be worn and employees will not place hands into full receptacles to retrieve material.
  22. Spills of blood or other potentially infectious materials will be wiped up immediately, or as soon as feasible, and the areas decontaminated with appropriate disinfectant.
  23. Employees will wear utility gloves when cleaning contaminated equipment and surfaces.
  24. Employees will use mechanical means to pick up broken glassware that may be contaminated.  Broken contaminated glassware may never be picked up by hand, even if gloves are used.
  25. Disposal of all regulated medical waste shall be in accordance with applicable local, state and federal regulations.  B&E Environmental Systems, Inc. is the agency utilized by Health Services to remove medical waste from the office.
  26. Hepatitis B vaccine and vaccination series will be provided free of charge to all employees identified as having occupational exposure, unless:
    1. the employee previously received the complete vaccination series
    2. testing reveals the employee is already immune
    3. the vaccine is contraindicated for medical reasons
    4. the employee chooses not to be vaccinated

The first dose of the vaccine should be administered within 10 working days of the employee’s assignment to a job involving occupational exposure.  Before the vaccine is made available, the employee will receive training about the efficacy, safety, method of administration and benefits of vaccination.

Vaccination is performed under the supervision of a licensed physician or under the supervision of another healthcare professional.  Hepatitis B vaccine is provided according to the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Immunization Practices Advisory Committee.

An employee is entitled to refuse vaccination, but the employee MUST sign a Hepatitis B Vaccine Declination form.  This is not optional.  An employee who initially declines to be vaccinated may elect to be vaccinated later at no cost to the employee.

Employees are to report all exposure incidents as defined in Section IV Definition D.  If exposure is questionable, inform your immediate supervisor for further direction.  When an exposure incident occurs, employees are to determine extent of injury and obtain first aid.  Steps necessary to care for the area that is exposed should be taken immediately.  A written accident/exposure incident form shall be completed with the following information:

  1. Description of exposure and how it occurred
  2. Identification and documentation of source individual if possible
  3. Collection of blood for HIV/HBV testing if indicated

Upon obtaining consent, an exposed individual’s blood will be collected and tested for HIV and HBV as soon as feasible.  An employee may consent to have blood drawn but does not have to give consent for a HIV test.  Blood shall be held for a period of 90 days by the testing facility.  If the employee chooses to have the HIV test performed within 90 days, the initial specimen collected is used.  Otherwise, the laboratory may discard the sample after 90 days.

EMPLOYEE REFUSAL FOR HIV AND HBV TESTING IS DOCUMENTED AND FILED IN THE EMPLOYEE’S RECORD.

The employee will be provided with the following:

  1. Post-exposure prophyaxis, when medically indicated
  2. Counseling
  3. An evaluation of (potential) reported illnesses.  This benefits the employee by providing the most up-to-date information available regarding potential illnesses.  In turn, the employee will have the benefit of early medical evaluation of such illnesses and receive current recommended treatment.  This facility utilizes an internal employee health department to perform Hepatitis B vaccination and post-exposure follow-up.  The above listed healthcare professional (HCP) has a copy of the “Blood borne Pathogen Standard” provided by this facility.  The HCP receives a copy of the exposure incident report.  The HCP receives a copy of the source individuals blood test, if available, and are kept confidential.  The HCP receives or has all medical records maintained by the employer relevant to the appropriate treatment of the exposed employee, including vaccination status.

LABELS
Potentially bio hazardous materials are color-coded red or identified with the biohazard symbol and the word “BIOHAZARD” in contrasting color on a fluorescent orange or orange-red label.

MEDICAL RECORDS
A confidential medical record is maintained for each employee with occupational exposure.  The medical record includes:

  1. Name and social security number
  2. Hepatitis B immunization status (dates) and any of the following that apply:
    • Exposure incident report
    • Written opinion of healthcare professional
    • Form refusing Hepatitis B vaccination
    • Form refusing post-exposure evaluation and follow-up

Employee medical records are maintained in the Health Services Office.  Employee medical records are kept confidential and will not be disclosed without the employee’s consent or as required by law.  Employee medical records are retained for the length of employment plus 30 years.

TRAINING
All employees will be provided with training before they being work involving occupational exposure.  Thereafter, training will be provided at least annually and whenever changes in tasks or procedures require.  Training will be provided during work hours at no cost to the employee by someone who is familiar with the standard as it relates to the occupational hazard.  Training will include:

  • An explanation of the Blood borne Pathogens Standard and where a copy of the standard is filed.
  • General information about the epidemiolgy and symptoms of blood borne diseases.
  • Modes of transmission of blood borne pathogens.
  • An explanation of the exposure control plan and how to obtain it.
  • How to recognize tasks involving occupational exposure.
  • The use and limits of engineering controls, work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Where PPE is located and how to use, remove, handle, decontaminate and dispose of it.
  • How to select appropriate PPE.
  • The effectiveness, safety, benefits and method of administering Hepatitis B vaccine and that vaccination will be provided free of charge.
  • What to do if there is an emergency spill of blood or other potentially infectious material.
  • What to do if an exposure incident occurs.
  • Post-exposure evaluation and follow-up that will be made available to employees in case of an exposure incident.
  • The system of labels and color-coding used to warn of biohazards.
  • An opportunity for interactive questions and answers.

The employer will maintain a record of all training sessions.  The training record will include:

  1. Date of training
  2. Contents of training (a summary of list of subjects)
  3. Name and qualification of trainer
  4. Name and job title of each person attending

Training records are kept in the ACU Medical Clinic.

Training records are retained for 3 years following the training session.  Employees may inspect training records or obtain a copy by contacting the ACU Medical Clinic.

Any employee who has a question about this exposure control plan or how it is implemented in this facility is encouraged to contact the ACU Medical Clinic for more information.

Policy No. 740  

Responsible Department: Risk Management
Responsible Administrator: Director of Risk Management
Effective Date: July 15, 2003
Revised/Updated: January 2019
Date of Scheduled Review: January 2023 

PURPOSE

To further the mission of the University, ensure safety of the community, reduce liability claims, control insurance premium costs, and comply with the University’s auto liability carrier’s stipulations by establishing a driving policy that outlines safety standards, driving terms and conditions, and additional requirements to help mitigate potential risks.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all Vehicle Operators authorized to operate Vehicles in the course and scope of conducting University Business. All Vehicle Operators are subject to this policy and must comply with the guidelines herein regardless of where the vehicle is being operated. Portions of this policy may not be applicable to sworn ACUPD officers while operating police vehicles to conduct official duties.

DEFINITIONS

  1. University Business is defined as any activity by a person representing the University that is determined to be within the scope of his or her assigned duties and includes University sponsored or approved activities.
  2. Vehicle is defined as any motorized vehicle used to conduct business on behalf of the University by which persons or property can be transported; this includes: personal vehicles or vehicles owned, leased, or rented by the University.
  3. Vehicle Operator is defined as any person authorized to operate a vehicle on behalf of the University on University Business.
  4. Routine Driver is defined as a vehicle operator who is authorized to operate a Vehicle on a routine or regular basis (more than four times per month) to conduct University Business.

PROCEDURE

A. Operating University Vehicles

The Office of Institutional Compliance & Risk Management, in collaboration with each department, will maintain a current listing of all vehicle operators who are designated as Routine Drivers. A Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) check will be conducted on all Routine Drivers on an annual basis. Refer to Appendix A for details on MVR check procedures, insurance coverage, and driver training requirements.

  1. Vehicle Operators must meet the following terms and conditions prior to operating a Vehicle:
    • Use is for University Business;
    • Must be at least 18 years of age;
    • If under the age of 21, recommend supervisors only allow operation of a Vehicle within 50 miles of the campus;
    • Maintain a valid U.S. driver’s license; and
      For Routine Drivers:
    • Annual MVR check; and
    • Complete applicable training.
  2. Refer to Appendix B for details on operating golf, utility cart-type, gator, or other offroad vehicles (ORVs).
  3. Refer to Appendix C for detailed terms and conditions for operating passenger vans and buses.
  4. The following safety standards must be complied with at all times while operating a Vehicle on University Business:
    • Comply with all traffic safety laws;
    • Enforce seatbelt requirements;
    • No driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
    • No use of speed/radar detectors;
    • No speeding or reckless driving;
    • No use of headphones or ear buds while driving;
    • No texting while driving; and
    • No use of cell phones while driving unless using a hands-free device.
  5. The following uses are prohibited while operating Vehicles on University Business:
    • Transporting of passengers or material for compensation;
    • Pushing another vehicle;
    • Towing without prior permission from the Office of ICRM and Operations offices;
    • Transporting dangerous chemicals, flammable items, firearms, or other hazardous materials without prior approval of ICRM; and
    • Operating University-owned, leased, or rented vehicles outside the U.S. without prior approval of the Office of ICRM.

B. Maintaining University Vehicles

  1. The following are required to properly maintain Vehicles.
    • Vehicle inspection, registration, proof of insurance, and accident forms, must be current and maintained in each vehicle at all times.
    • Operators should report damage or other concerns to the Office of ICRM.
    • Operators should monitor oil and other fluid levels and periodically check tire pressure and tread
  2. The following actions are recommended to secure Vehicles.
    • Take all reasonable precautions to prevent damage or theft of vehicles when parked or not in operation.
    • Roll up all windows and lock all doors.
    • Where possible, park in lighted and/or protected areas.

C. Operating Rental Vehicles

When unable to procure a vehicle through the Operations/Facilities office (325-674-2665 or facilitiesmgmt@groupmail.acu.edu), renting a vehicle to conduct University Business is preferable to using a personal vehicle. This helps control potential liability exposure to the University and/or the Vehicle Operator.

  • Operators must meet the vehicle terms and conditions described in section IV.A.1.
  • The vehicle must be rented for University Business.
  • Refer to Appendix D for details on obtaining and operating rental vehicles.

D. Operating Personal Vehicles

All Vehicle Operators must meet the following terms and conditions to use their personal vehicle to conduct University Business:

  • Meet the vehicle operator terms and conditions described in section IV.A.1;
  • Meet the insurance prerequisites in Appendix A, section C; and
  • The vehicle must be in good operating condition.

E. Vehicle Accident Procedures

  1. All vehicle accidents must be reported to the Office of ICRM as soon as possible, but not to exceed 24 hours.
    • In the event of a serious injury or fatality, the Vehicle Operator will notify the Office of ICRM at 325-674-6142 as soon as possible.
    • If the accident occurs outside normal business hours, the Vehicle Operator will notify ACU Police at 325-674-2911.
  2. Refer to Appendix E for detailed information concerning vehicle accident and reporting procedures.
  3. For any demand, claim, or summons served to a Vehicle Operator involved in an accident asserting liability, contact the Office of ICRM immediately.

V. COMPLIANCE

Violations of these policies and/or procedures may result in disciplinary action or other action the University deems appropriate under the circumstance. Furthermore, if an MVR check reveals that a Vehicle Operator is uninsurable, the Vehicle Operator’s driving privileges will be revoked. The revocation period will be for three or five years, dependent upon the nature of the offense(s).

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D

Appendix E

Policy No. 760
University Policy for Animals on Campus

Effective Date: May 1, 2018
Date of Last Review: February 2019
Date of Scheduled Review: May 2022

University Policy for Animals on Campus

PURPOSE
To ensure the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and visitors regarding animals on campus. Abilene Christian University (ACU) complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related regulations in allowing the use of service animals for
students, employees, and visitors. ACU complies with the Fair Housing Act (FHA) in allowing residents, to include students and employees, the use of emotional support animals that are approved as an accommodation. Employees may not bring emotional
support animals to work. Exceptions may be made to this policy on a case-by-case basis as required by applicable law. This policy does not apply to animals related to instructional or research activity. Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all members of the ACU community, including faculty, staff, students, volunteers, vendors, visitors, and residents of university owned property.

DEFINITIONS
“Control” – the animal must be properly housed and restrained or otherwise under the dominion and control of the Owner at all times. No Owner shall permit the animal to go loose or run at large. If an animal is found running at large, the animal is subject to capture and confinement and immediate removal from the University. Control also means that the animal should not be allowed to bark repeatedly. However, if a dog barks just once, or barks because someone has provoked it, this would not mean that the dog is out of control.

“Disability” – with respect to a person per ADA: (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment.

“Emotional Support Animals” (ESA’s) – per FHA is defined as any animal that provides emotional support, well-being, or companionship that alleviates or mitigates symptoms of the disability; the animal is not individually trained for work tasks. Emotional support animals are not limited to dogs and can be other species of animal. Emotional support animals are not considered service animals. ESA’s should not be brought to ACU property prior to approval being granted. The University will make an individualized
assessment of each proposed ESA.

“Owner” – the actual owner of an animal and/or the person who has the care, custody or control of such animal.

“Pets” – an animal sufficiently tame to live with a family and are kept and cared for as companions.

“Service Animals” (SA’s) – per ADA is defined as animals (dogs only) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf,
pulling a wheelchair, and alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, among others. Service animals are working animals, not pets.

“Trainee” – an animal undergoing training to become a service animal. A trainee will be housebroken and fully socialized. To be fully socialized means the animal will not, except under rare occasions, bark, yip, growl or make disruptive noises; will have a good temperament and disposition; will not be aggressive. A trainee will be under control of the Owner, who may or may not have a disability. If the trainee begins to show improper behavior, the Owner will act immediately to correct the animal or will remove the animal from the premises.

PROCEDURE

A. Pets
Members of the University community and visitors to the campus are generally permitted to bring their pets to public outdoor areas of the Abilene campus. Pets are only allowed outdoors; they are prohibited from all University buildings. Athletic venues are subject to a different policy (Please obey posted signs or contact the athletic office for venue specific rules). Pets are permitted at the Intramural Field while in accordance with this policy. Students, employees, and guests are not permitted to have pets in the residence halls or university housing. All pets must be controlled by a leash, tether, or harness that does not exceed six feet in length. Pets may not be tethered to a tree or structure or left unattended for any period of time. Unless otherwise permitted by this policy, pets are prohibited from all outdoor University events. Owners must immediately clean up after their animals and ensure the animals’ behavior does not cause a nuisance or harm to individuals or University property. Owners are responsible for any damage or injury caused by their pets, as well as appropriately caring for their pets. The University is not liable for harm to pets while on campus. Excluding the Rhoden Field Lab manager and Residence Directors (with supervisor permission), pets are not allowed at any other university locations, including the Dallas campus, or any international campuses.

Further questions, assistance in enforcing this policy, or reports of an animal that poses a threat or is otherwise disruptive may be directed to the ACU Police Department (ACUPD) at (325) 674-2911 or the Office of Institutional Compliance & Risk Management at (325) 674-6142 or risk@acu.edu. Any individual bitten or harmed by an animal on campus should immediately contact ACUPD.


B. Service Animals

The University provides equal access and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities to participate in any program, service, or opportunity provided by the University, and complies with applicable laws related to service animals.

For an individual to qualify for having a service animal on University property:

  • The individual must have a disability as defined by the ADA; and
  • The accompanying animal must be trained to do specific tasks for the qualified individual.

General Rules

  • ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest or ID tag.
  • ADA does not restrict the number of service animals or the type of dog breeds
    that can be service animals.
  • SA’s must be trained even though a license or certification is not required.
    Specific questions about the individual’s disability may not be asked.
  • The appropriate way to ascertain that an animal is a service animal is to ask
    (only if it is not apparent):
    (1) Is the animal required because of a disability; and
    (2) What work or tasks it has been trained to perform

Concerns of whether an animal is a pet or service animal should be reported to the Office of Institutional Compliance & Risk Management at (325) 674-6142 or risk@acu.edu. Faculty may consult with the University Access Programs by email at alpha@acu.edu or by phone at (325) 674-2667 to determine whether (1) the animal is a pet or service animal, and (2) the environment of the classroom warrants the exclusion of an SA.

Students can be required to provide documentation to the ADA Compliance Officer to demonstrate that an animal is individually trained to perform tasks for a student with disabilities, and faculty may request notification provided by the ADA Compliance Officer
for the classroom/lab setting. SA’s should not be excluded without consultation with the ADA Compliance Officer to ensure that these settings are as accessible as possible.

Allergy or Fear
Allergies or fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to individuals using service animals. If students have an allergy to or fear of service animals on campus, they are encouraged to contact the University Access Programs at (325) 674-2667 or alpha@acu.edu to assist in resolving the issue. If employees have an allergy to or fear of to service animals on campus, they are encouraged to contact their supervisor and the Office of Human Resources to assist in resolving the issue. The University will attempt to reasonably accommodate all parties.

Trainee
Service animals in training, or trainees, are allowed on campus in accordance with policy guidelines for service animals. Faculty, staff, and students should not bring service animals in training to the classroom/lab, ACU owned residences, or workplace unless otherwise permitted by this policy. Service animals are required to be trained to perform tasks, but not required to be professionally trained and certification is not required.

Reasonable Accommodation
Students who require the use of a service animal on campus are encouraged to contact the University Access Programs at (325) 674-2667 or alpha@acu.edu to voluntarily register as a student with a disability. Information provided to University Access Programs is confidential and specific information about the disability will not be released without the consent of the student.

Employees may request the assistance of a service animal as a reasonable accommodation for their disability; such requests must be handled through the Office of Human Resources and according to the Americans with Disabilities Act Policy No. 041.

C. Emotional Support Animals
Emotional Support Animals are not considered service animals under this policy or applicable law. ESA’s are not permitted in University buildings or other settings and must follow the guidelines for pets on campus. ESA’s may be allowed in on-campus and offcampus ACU residences when approved by the Office of Residence Life or the Director of Off-Campus Properties, respectively. Employees may not bring emotional support animals to work.

For an individual to qualify to have an emotional support animal in his or her residence:

  • The individual must have a disability as defined by the ADA;
  • The individual must have an already established relationship with the animal;
  • Student’s must be approved by the Office of Residence Life and follow Resident
    Life policies and procedures for ESA’s;
  • Off-Campus ACU Properties residents must be approved by the Director of Off-Campus Properties and follow their applicable lease agreement

D. Exclusion or Removal of Animals
Exclusion or removal of animals are determined on an individualized basis and when one or more of the following conditions exists:

  • The animal is disruptive and not effectively controlled;
  • The animal is not housebroken;
  • The presence of the animal would fundamentally alter the nature of the job,
    service, or activity (e.g. labs that require a sterile environment);
  • The animal’s presence, behavior, or actions pose an unreasonable or direct
    threat to property and/or the health and safety of others (including inappropriate
    hygiene and cleanliness);
  • The animal is physically ill;
  • The animal may be in danger; or
  • The animal’s presence may compromise the integrity of certain research

E. Owner Responsibilities
The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of service animals. Owners are responsible for:

  • The cost of any property or other damage due to the animal;
  • The control and reasonable behavior of the animal at all times;
  • The service animal’s appropriate hygiene and cleanliness, including regular
    bathing and grooming, as needed;
  • The immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste; and
  • Complying with University policy and procedures including federal, state and
    local laws for animal rights and owner responsibilities

F. Restricted Areas
Service animals are permitted to accompany individuals with disabilities in all areas of campus where community members and visitors are allowed to go. SA’s should be permitted in as many instances as possible. The University may prohibit the use of
Service Animals in certain locations due to health or safety restrictions. Restricted areas for SA’s may include but are not limited to food preparation areas (except communal food preparation areas in residence halls), research laboratories or classrooms that contain research animals, areas that require protective clothing, and other areas as required by federal, state or local laws. The ADA does not override public health rules that prohibit dogs in swimming pools. However, service animals
must be allowed on the pool deck and in other areas where the public is permitted.

Exceptions to these restrictions may be requested and will be considered on a case by case basis.

Approved ESA’s are permitted only in residence halls or off-campus ACU residence unless approved as mentioned by this policy.

G. Etiquette Around Service Animals and Their Owners:

  • Do not pet, touch or otherwise distract a service animal when it is working.
  • Doing so may interfere with its ability to perform its duties.
  • Do not feed a service animal. Their work depends on a regular and consistent feeding regimen that the owner is responsible to maintain.
  • Do not attempt to separate the owner from the service animal.
  • Do not harass or deliberately startle a service animal.
  • Avoid initiating conversations about the person’s disability. Some people do not wish to discuss their disability.

H. Special Situations or Exceptions
Students and employees should contact the Office of Institutional Compliance & Risk Management at (325) 674-6142 or risk@acu.edu to discuss any special situations regarding service animals or emotional support animals that are not covered by this policy, as well as any exceptions to this policy that might be requested by other ACU community members. All exceptions must be approved in writing.

I. Legal Compliance
All animal owners are responsible for abiding by applicable federal, state, and local regulations and ordinances. In example, the City of Abilene’s Animal Ordinance (Chapter 6, Article IV) requires all dogs and cats (four months of age or older) owned within the city limits to have a current rabies vaccination. An owner shall provide proof of current vaccination for the dog or cat upon request by city officials or ACUPD. It is a Class C Misdemeanor offense to own or keep an animal within the city limits in violation of the section referenced above.

J. Grievances
In the event of a dispute about an accommodation related to a service or emotional animal or an animal restriction, students are encouraged to attempt to resolve the issue with University Access Programs and/or the Office of Residence Life. Students may also file a complaint in accordance with the University’s student handbook. Employees are
encouraged to attempt to resolve disputes with their immediate supervisor and the Office of Human Resources. Employees may also file a complaint in accordance with Complaint Procedures Policy No. 530.

K. Contact Information

ACU Police Department Emergency Calls: 911 (325) 674-2911
acupolice@acu.edu
Off-Campus Properties Terry Bowman – Director (325) 674-6817
bowmant@acu.edu
Office of Human Resources Wendy Jones – Chief Human Resources Officer (325) 674-2359
humanresources@acu.edu
Office of Institutional Compliance & RIsk Management Kris Sutton – Director (325) 674-6142
risk@acu.edu
Office of Residential Life McGlothlin Campus Center Rm 43 (325) 674-6321
reslife@acu.edu
University Access Program ADA Compliance Officer (325) 674-2667
alpha@acu.edu

Employee Separation

Policy No. 810

April 1, 1997
Reviewed July 2003

EMPLOYEE SEPARATION

PURPOSE
To ensure timely and accurate communication between the university and the employees who are terminating employment with ACU.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all employees at ACU.

DEFINITIONS
The categories of separation and their definitions are:

  • Resignation.  A voluntary separation, including:
    • Resignation (employees should give two weeks written notice).
    • An absence of three or more consecutive working days without notice to the university. (See Policy No. 413, Attendance Control).
    • Failure to return from leave of absence as arranged with the university.
  • Release.  A separation in which the employee is not qualified or adapted for the type of work assigned and no other assignment is available.  Release usually results from no fault of the employee.  Employees who are unable to perform satisfactorily during the new employee orientation period will be considered as released.
  • Deceased.  The death of an employee in active employment.
  • Retirement.  A voluntary separation by an employee age 55 or older who has ten years service as full-time employee.
  • Reduction in Force.  Work is no longer available.  Recall is not expected (job eliminated, contract expired, department closed).
  • Discharge.  A separation in which the employee is removed from the payroll for violation of employee standards of conduct or safety regulations, unsatisfactory job performance, or any other reason deemed by the university to warrant separation.

PROCEDURE

  1. Notice to Employee.  There are no requirements for advance notice to employees upon separation.
  2. Pay in Lieu of Notice.  Where a future date is established for separation, immediate removal from duties may occasionally be desirable to minimize the adverse effect on other employees or to allow the separated employee to seek new employment.  In such cases, up to two weeks pay may be provided in lieu of notice.  The prior approval of one higher level of management and acknowledgment by the Director of Human Resources must be secured by the supervisor.
  3. Management Approvals.  When an employee is released, separated due to a reduction in force, or discharged, approval will be required from one level of management above the employee, and the Director of Human Resources.
  4. Change in Status.  The immediate supervisor of the separated employee is responsible for initiating the Personnel Action Form (PAF) and designating the appropriate separate code.
  5. Resignation.  Upon receipt of the PAF by the Human Resources Office, an exit interview will be scheduled with the employee.
  6. Outstanding Balances.  An employee who has an outstanding balance on any personal accounts will agree to pay or make arrangements to pay any indebtedness owed to the university.  Failure to pay or make arrangements with the Business Office to pay any amount owed to the university will result in the amount being deducted from final pay.
  7. Return of Equipment/Uniforms.  Prior to the last day of work, the supervisor must obtain all departmental equipment and uniforms (if applicable) from the separated employee.
  8. Exit Interview.  Separated employees, whether voluntary or involuntary, will be referred to the Human Resources Office for an exit interview with the Director of Human Resources or a designated representative on or before their last day of work.  University keys, ID, parking decal, telephone credit cards, ACU credit cards, employee handbook and other university property are to be returned at this time.  (See Policy No. 820, Exit Interviews)
  9. Employment References for Separated Employees.  (Refer to Policy No. 040, Personnel Records and Privacy)
  10. BENEFIT ELIGIBILITY
    Generally, when an employee is separated, ACU benefits discontinue, with these exceptions:

Health Insurance Benefits.
Extended coverage and conversion privileges of the health insurance benefit plan is provided in accordance with conditions outlined in the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).  When participants (employee and dependents) lose eligibility for health insurance coverage because of the events stated below, the eligible participants may elect to retain group benefits.  The continued coverage can remain in effect for 18 or 36 months depending on the reason that eligibility terminated.  Participants covered on the group at the time of the qualifying event are eligible for continued coverage.

Events allowing the 36-month continuation are:

  1. Death of an employee.
  2. Divorce of an employee.
  3. Medicare eligible employee (employee becomes eligible for Medicare, leaving dependents without group coverage).
  4. Children who lose coverage due to certain contractual eligibility limitations.

Events allowing the 18-month continuation are:

  1. Loss of coverage due to reduction of employee work hours.
  2. Voluntary employee termination including retirement.
  3. Employee layoff for economic reasons.
  4. Employee discharged, except for gross misconduct.

Vacation.
(See Policy 311, Vacations) Contingent upon two weeks notice, up to 80 hours of accrued vacation may be paid upon termination for staff employees.

Policy No. 820
Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed Date: January 2012
Date of Scheduled Review: January 2016

EXIT INTERVIEWS

PURPOSE
To determine and document the reasons employees leave ACU, to offer an opportunity for the airing of unresolved grievances, to provide employees with information regarding their continuation of benefits, and to solicit constructive feedback to improve the university.

SCOPE
This policy applies to all employees of ACU.

POLICY
A week prior to the employee’s last day of employment, Human Resources will send an email to the terminating employee with information regarding the employee’s continuation of benefit options, exit interview survey, and a separation checklist.

PROCEDURE

  1. Supervisors will notify the Director of Human Resources as soon as possible after the separation decision has been made and communicated.
  2. The Director of Human Resources or designated representative will send an email a week prior to the employee’s last day of employment with the following:
    1. Current Benefits Spreadsheet (Shows the specific benefits the employee had elected and how long the benefits will remain effective, as well as continuation options if applicable).
    2. COBRA paperwork (This paperwork needs to be completed by the employee in order to elect continuation of health, dental, or vision insurance as well as continuation of the employee’s flexible spending account. The employee will need to mail the completed forms as well as a check for their premiums to Businessolver).
    3. Employee Separation Checklist (This checklist should be completed with the employee’s supervisor and returned to Human Resources on or prior to the employee’s last day of work).
    4. Shared Leave Bank Donation Application (This application should be completed and returned to Human Resources on or prior to the employee’s last day of work).
    5. Survey (This survey will ask the employee to rate the aspects of their employment at ACU).
  3. The email sent to the terminating employee will provide the employee with the option to make an appointment with the Director of Human Resources if desired.

Travel and Expenses

Policy No. 910

Responsible Department: Finance & Operations
Responsible Administrator: Travel Office Manager
Effective Date: October 1995
Reviewed/Updated Date: April 2022 
Date of Scheduled Review: October 2025

TRAVEL AND ENTERTAINMENT

General Overview

The Abilene Christian University Travel and Entertainment Expense Policy provides guidelines and procedures for all faculty, staff, students, and guests who are traveling or entertaining on behalf of the University. Independent contractors and other non-ACU employees must also comply with the University’s travel policy. Reimbursement will be made for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred during normal business or while traveling on authorized business. Travel costs are to be allocated and expended within established budgetary limitations and travelers are not to make commitments to travel or to incur travel expenses without first obtaining the appropriate approvals. Every attempt should be made by the employee to submit all travel requests, travel bookings, and for expense reporting to be processed in the Concur Travel and Expense Management System. These policies and procedures are intended for university-wide use. However, if a department elects to institute a more restrictive policy for purposes of budgetary control, Financial Operations will support that policy and will work with the department to ensure compliance.
All travelers are to comply with the following travel expense reimbursement policies and procedural guidelines.

University policy does not define specific dollar guidelines for what constitutes reasonable meal expense, because the reasonableness of an expense depends upon many relevant factors including the business purpose of the event and its attendees.

“Reasonable” means the amount that normally would be spent in that specific situation. The amount will vary depending upon circumstances: lavish or extravagant meals will not be paid for with ACU funds. Expenses for such meals may be subject to additional approvals.

When spending University funds, consider these questions to ensure that resources are being used appropriately and that we are being good stewards of the funds entrusted to us:
Is the expenditure in line with the guidance provided in the ACU Travel Policy and as approved in travel request?

If not, is there a good explanation as to why the expenditure is appropriate? Has the expenditure been adequately documented?

JP Morgan Travel Card

Only University employees are authorized to receive a university travel card. The University has contracted with JP Morgan to provide employees with a University Travel Card. If a supervisor determines that a travel card is needed, applicants will fill out the online Travel Card Application at least two weeks prior to travel. The card will be distributed to the traveler when receivedby ACU’s Travel Department.

Once received, the travel cardholder is responsible for activating their travel card by calling the toll- free number provided on the card. Each travel card is issued to an individual employee. ACU Travel is displayed on the card. The standard monthly creditlimit is $500 and limit increases are requested on a per trip basis via Concur. Frequent travelers are not required to submit a request in Concur and a set credit limit is applied to their travel card which is determined by their department. All cardholders are responsible for the secure use of their travel card and for reporting any fraudulent or suspicious activity immediately to JPMorgan if the card is lost or stolen. To report suspicious activity or report a card as lost, the cardholder should call the phone number on the back of the University card to speak with a JP Morgan Chase representative. Each cardholder should ensure that sufficient budget funds exist before making purchases and only use FOAPA numbers as authorized.

The ACU Concur website will be used on a per trip basis to submit travel requests, book travel, and filetravel expense reports to reallocate monthly charges.

Before using your ACU Travel card, please review and follow the University’s travel card policy. Since the ACU Travel card is issued to an individual employee, if an employee changes departments within the University, they will need to contact the Travel Office to update their FOPA information and default manager within Concur.

To apply for a JP Morgan Travel Card, visit ACU’s Travel website: acu.edu/travel.

Online Travel and Expense System

Concur is the Travel and Expense Management system to be utilized by all ACU employees for requesting travel approval, booking travel, and reporting expenses related to ACU approved business travel. All employee reimbursements and travel card charges must be processed through Concur. Consideration should be given to minimizing travel costs by maximizing flexibility in travel plans to allow for alternate airlines, schedules, and times, which can lessen travel costs. The purpose of the system is to eliminate routing paper throughout the University for these Activities, to provide a database for trips and expense reports, and to provide an automated tracking process of unprocessed items.

All air, lodging and car rental reservations should be booked through Concur or the ACU approved travel management company.

International and complex travel reservations may be booked with the ACU approved travel management company agent. Complex is defined as having more than one destination or more than one airline involved.

If emergency or enroute changes to travel plans are necessary, the traveler should contact the ACU approved travel management company. Making reservations or changes to travel plans through the appropriate channels maximizes the safety and security of ACU’s travelers.

When a trip is cancelled after the reservation has been made, it is the employee’s responsibility to cancel the flight, hotel, and rental car through Concur or by contacting the ACU approved Travel Management Company.

Concur can be accessed through Quicklinks via the myACU homepage or by navigating to acu.edu/concur.

Expense Reimbursement Limitations and Receipt Requirements

Prohibited Expenses

The following items should not be purchased with an ACU travel card:

  • Fuel in a personal vehicle – If an individual is using their personal vehicle for ACU business, they need to track mileage and turn in a Concur expense report for mileage reimbursement.
  • Gift cards, gift certificates, or store credits
  • Gifts purchased over 30 days in advance without an intended business purpose
  • Certain gifts, awards, prizes, and reception costs – please see ACU’s Gifts, Awards, Prizes, & Receptions Policy when making such purchases
  • Cash advances
  • Cash as a credit for returned items
  • Alcoholic beverages or tobacco products
  • Personal purchases including individual memberships. For example: Amazon, Spotify, and Sam’s Club memberships are prohibited.
  • Personal utility bills
  • Spousal or family expenses unless previous approval from the tax director has been obtained through a Spousal Accompaniment Approval form.
  • Cell phones or cell phone monthly bill payments – see the Cell Phone Policy
  • Internal ACU purchases such as ACU Billing, ACU Press, ACU Theater tickets, ACU Athletic tickets, ACU dinner tickets, ACU Meal Plans, or CopyCat are prohibited. These purchases should be made using a departmental FOAP.
  • Telephone and computer purchases – these items should be purchased through the Information Technology department.

The following purchases are considered prohibited, and the funds charged to the university card will need to be reimbursed to ACU through the Cashier’s Office:

  • Alcoholic beverages or tobacco products
  • Cell phones or cell phone monthly bill payments – see the Cell Phone Policy
  • Personal purchases that are not business-related expenses

Itemized receipts for lodging, car rental, air transportation, meals, and other travel expenses must be provided with the expense report. Expense reports are to be submitted via Concur within 30 days of completion of travel or on a monthly basis (for frequent travelers) with all required documentation. The ACU employee is responsible for ensuring that all charges are being applied to the correct FOAPA.

Out of pocket expenses (including airfare and other pre-trip expenses) will not be reimbursed until theconclusion of the trip.

Responsibility of Approvers

Approvers perform a critical control function for the University. Collectively, approvers ensure that expense reports processed for payment are authorized, documented, appropriately funded, and compliant with policy and are associated with activities that have a valid and necessary business purpose. Designated approvers should assist individuals, as necessary, with understanding applicable policies and compliance requirements.

The Concur system routes approval based on the FOAPA approver. When the requestor and owner are the same person, the request is routed to the requestor’s default approver. If Concur does not have a FOAPA approver, it will default to requestor’s manager.

It is the FOPA approver’s responsibility to ensure funds are available for the requested travel and when approving expense reports approvers must validate that all transactions are coded correctly, and all necessary documentation is provided.

Air Travel

All reservations for university business travel should be made using Concur and it is the responsibility of ACU travelers to book the lowest and most reasonable airfare through ACU’s preferred carriers (when applicable) consistent with their itinerary, the business purpose of their trip and the requirements of the funding source. Airline tickets should be purchased using the employee’s ACU Travel Card.

Every attempt should be made to make reservations early, since the lowest fares are usually available with 21 and 14-day advance purchases and to ensure that the most convenient and cost- effective fares are obtained. Federally funded travel may be subject to additional restrictions which are included in the “Federally Grant Funded Travel” section below. Upgrades in coach class such as Economy Plus seatingare considered a personal expense unless approved in advance by the employee’s budget approver.

Group travel arrangements should be made through the ACU approved Travel Management Company.

Traveler participation in frequent flyer programs must not influence flight selection, which would resultin additional costs to the University from the lowest airfare. The University will not reimburse travelers for tickets purchased with frequent flyer miles.

When a trip has been cancelled after a non-refundable ticket has been issued, the ticket can be applied to a trip in the future by that traveler on that airline, less a change or cancellation fee. Travelers must apply any unused ticket value toward a business trip in the future, to mitigate any financial loss to the funding source. In most cases the traveler has a year in which that ticket can be applied.

Lodging

University travelers should use Concur to book lodging accommodations to take advantage of negotiated rates and corporate discounts; exceptions will be made for conference bookings that are booked with registration. If the conference you are attending offers a discounted rate, please work with ACU’s approved Travel Management Company to ensure the hotel is booked at the discounted rate. This can be done in Concur using the Conference Rate Form.

When making reservations, single room accommodations and corporate rates should be requested (making sure the lowest rate available is obtained upon check-in). Employees and students should use ACU’s Sales Tax Exemption form and Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption form to request exemptions from applicable taxes when possible. When hotel accommodations are booked through Concur, our Travel Agency will attach a link to the traveler’s itinerary with the Hotel Tax Exempt Form needed for check-in. Incidentals such as magazines, newspapers, laundry, toiletries, in-room snacks, and beverages,housekeeping and in-room movies will be considered personal expenses and therefore are non-reimbursable.

Ground Transportation

Note: All activities in this section are subject to the University Driver Policy.

Travelers should use discretion when choosing ground transportation and ensure they use the most practical and economical option available.

Rental Cars
Travelers should rent cars from ACU’s preferred rental car companies and book through Concur to ensure that they obtain the University’s negotiated rates and insurance coverage. If you are renting a vehicle from a non-preferred vendor, you will be required to purchase insurance at the counter when picking up your vehicle (please consider these additional costs when determining the least expensive option at booking). Travelers are authorized to use rental cars based on the cost efficiency and availability of other means of transportation. For non-Enterprise/National rentals, insurance is not included in most rental rates and employees and or guests will need to add insurance to the rental at the time of booking. See the University Drivers Policy when determining which type of rental insurance coverage to accept. Please contact the Office of Institutional Compliance & Risk Management with insurance or driver policy questions at 325-674-6142 or risk@acu.edu.

The size of the rental car should be the least expensive model consistent with the number of travelersand the business purpose of the trip. Employees should rent a small or medium class vehicle unless a larger vehicle can be rented at no additional cost or if more than two (2) people share the same vehicle. Due to the exorbitant refueling rates charged by rental agencies, employees should refuel the rental vehicle prior to returning it to the agency. Fuel expenses may be submitted for reimbursement for a rental vehicle that was refueled.

Personal Vehicle
A rate that is equal to or below the Internal Revenue Service’s standard mileage rate will be used as reimbursement for the use of an individual’s personal vehicle while on ACU business. The rate includes all related expenses of operating the vehicle including fuel but does not include parking fees and toll charges which will be reimbursed separately. However, the total reimbursement for mileage, tolls, and parking is limited to the total cost of economy air fare plus estimated local transportation expenses for the same trip or the cost of a car rental and fuel for the trip’s duration. You can use the Rental vs Employee Reimbursement Calculator to determine the most cost-effective method for your trip transportation: https://legacy.enterprise.com/car_rental/mileageCalculator.do

All individuals who desire to use their personal vehicles for ACU business must maintain a current driver’s license and follow all policies and procedures outlined in the ACU Driver Policy.

Other Ground Transportation
Car Services (i.e., Uber, Lyft), Shuttles, taxicab, and bus fares utilized for transportation purposes while traveling are reimbursable expenses. If bus or rail travel is used, the traveler must select coach class.

Parking & Tolls
Reasonable parking charges and tolls associated with business travel will be reimbursed.

Meals

All meal expenditures are subject to university policies and this guidance regardless of funding source orintended recipient unless more restrictive guidance applies. An itemized receipt for meal expenses must be attached to the appropriate expense report. When morethan one person is included in the meal expense, the names of each person in attendance and their employment or business affiliation must also be included on the meal receipt or notated within the expense details.

Business Meals
All business meals away from ACU’s campus (including meals in Abilene) should be paid for using the employee’s Travel Card. The employees monthly credit limit of $500 should cover these types of expenses and a request will not be required unless additional funds are needed.

Business Meals while Traveling
While traveling on university business, expenses for meals are based on actual expenses incurred. Travelers, who are employees, should use their university issued travel card to pay for meals while traveling or travelers may claim a daily meal per diem not to exceed the GSA rate if claiming per diem is permitted by the department funding the travel expenses.

When traveling on ACU business, employees will use the request tool within Concur to request an amount equal to or less than the federal per diem rate to estimate the daily costs of meals during their trip and to provide the FOAPA approver the opportunity to see the estimated overall cost of meals. Funds will be added to the employee’s travel card credit limit using this amount.

GSA maximums do not apply to actual costs for meals unless specified in the terms and conditions of an award from a sponsoring organization/agency funding the travel. ACU will pay for 3 business related meals each day, if groceries or snacks are replacing a meal the Travel Card can be used, but additional meals and/or snacks in addition to Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner should be paid out of pocket by the employee with no reimbursement from ACU.

Federally funded travel may be subject to additional restrictions which are included in the “Federally Grant Funded Travel” section below.

Student Per Diem
Per Diem allowances for students cannot exceed the allowance set by the GSA for a particular city or foreign country or the budget allocated for the travel by the department or school. Please see “Travel Cash Advances” section below for additional details regarding these types of requests.

Standard Tipping Guideline
The University will reimburse employees for tipping waiters, taxi drivers and baggage handlers, but will not reimburse tips paid to a hotel housekeeper.

Standard tipping guideline is 15% of the total at a restaurant, $1-$2 for each bag handled by a baggage handler, and a 10% tip for a taxi driver.

Spousal Accompaniment

If an employee wishes to include his or her spouse or family on a business trip, the employee is responsible for any additional expenses, including the difference between meals, transportation, and all other incidentals. Spousal accompaniment on a business trip or entertainment event with a verified business purpose must be pre-approved through a Spousal Accompaniment Approval Form in advance by the tax director or the employee’s supervisor. The completed Spousal Accompaniment Approval form should be submitted with the corresponding expense report.

Travel Cash Advances

Employees and students may obtain travel advances for expected business expenses through Concur. These advances are loans and are the responsibility of the employee or student. Travel Advance Requests should be submitted at least seven (7) days prior to the specific date the advance is needed and should not exceed the amount of expected expenses. Cash advances should only be used if the student or employee will be unable to use their travel card for trip related purchases. Every attempt should be made to pay for all travel costs utilizing the employee’s ACU issued Travel Card.

Travelers are responsible for documenting the use of the advance and providing receipts to be submitted in Concur and included with the employee’s trip’s expense report. Any balance remaining from the advance must be returned by personal check or cash to the Cashier’s office, and the cashier’s receipt must be attached to the Expense Report within Concur. Any advance not settled by an expense report may be deducted from the employee’s paycheck.

Travel Cash Advances that are issued for Student Per Diem will require a signature from the recipient documenting they received the issued amount and the student per diem listing should be submitted as documentation with employee’s Concur expense report.

International Travel

In addition to meeting all travel policies outlined in the ACU Travel Policy, any student, faculty or staff member proposing to undertake University-supported or University-related international travel mustfollow the appropriate approval, insurance, and travel security requirements set forth in the International Travel Approval Policy.

A global perspective is essential to ACU’s academic mission, and the University has long supported international travel to conduct research, study cultures and languages, promote collaboration with peerinstitutions, represent the University, and for other academic, administrative, and sanctioned student activities. The purpose of this policy is to outline the approval process for University-supported or University-related international travel, and related requirements, thereby promoting such travel while mitigating associated risks.

Federally Grant Funded Travel

Travel costs charged to grants and contracts must follow the regulations of the sponsoring entity and the terms and conditions of the individual awards. Restrictions may include the need for prior approval from the sponsor, use of U.S. flag carriers, limits on the total amount that can be charged for travel and compulsory use of government per diem allowances for lodging and/or meals. The traveler should check with the specific agreement or contact the Director of Research well in advance of departure to determine if any additional restrictions are applicable. Travel policies of federal and non-federal sponsors vary.

In addition to meeting all other University policy requirements, the following conditions apply to travel charged to sponsored projects:

Receipt Retention
Grant related expenses without a receipt, regardless of the amount, will not be reimbursed on federally funded travel. The grant office cannot accept the university’s missing receipt form for grant related purchases.

Meal Expenses
While traveling on university business, expenses for meals are based on actual expenses incurred. Travelers, who are employees, should use their university issued travel card to pay for meals while traveling.

Business Purpose
The business purpose section of Concur should clearly identify the relationship of the travel to the purpose of the award. When a trip involves multiple purposes, the basis for allocating the charges to thesponsored project must be stated.

Fly America Act and Open Skies Agreements
Use of the U.S. flag carriers is required for all international travel charged to a federal award unless certain exceptions are met. This requirement shall not be influenced by factors of cost, convenience, orpersonal travel preference.

Advance Approval Required
Grants from some federal agencies and most federal contracts require that all international travel, even if included in the award, be approved from 45 to 90 days in advance by the sponsor’s administrative officer. Some non-federal entities require approval in advance of all travel whether domestic or international. Travelers should consult with Executive Director of Research for details on obtaining approval.

Penalties and Fees
Penalties or cancellation fees for airline, hotel, and car rentals are generally NOT allowable and employees should always receive pre-approval before charging such costs to an award.

Risk of Non-Compliance
Violation of this policy, including misuse of a university issued Travel Card, may result in the loss of University travel card privileges, taxation or loss of reimbursement, disciplinary action including termination or legal action.

Contact Information

ACU Travel Office
travel@acu.edu
325-674-2774

Director of Research
Megan Roth
mkr15a@acu.edu
325-674-2885

Policy No. 911

Responsible Department: Accounts Payable
Responsible Administrator: Accounts Payable Accountant
Effective Date: September 2003
Reviewed/Updated Date: September 2019
Date of Scheduled Review: June 2022

PURCHASING CARD POLICY

PURPOSE
The purpose of the Purchasing Card Program is to improve the purchasing process by streamlining purchases, expanding user flexibility, and increasing efficiency.

SCOPE
All ACU employees using the university purchasing card for operational and business purchases.

POLICY
Cardholder Responsibilities

  1. Ensure the proper and secure use of the p-card and respect the card as if it were their own.
  2. The cardholder may initiate transactions on behalf of others in his/her department; however, the cardholder is responsible for all use of his/her card.
  3. Ensure that sufficient budget funds exist for making purchases and only use FOAP numbers the cardholder is authorized for.
  4. Review and follow the p-card website including all other university policies.
  5. On a monthly basis, in SDOL (JP Morgan’s Smart Data On-Line website), reallocate monthly charges, and provide valid business purposes.
  6. Provide monthly expense reports to Accounts Payable.
  7. Reports should be electronically sent to accountspayable@acu.edu.

Supervisor Responsibilities

  1. Ensure each transaction is a legitimate ACU business expense. If the expense is related to a federal, state, or private grant project, the supervisor must ensure that the expense is allowable under the grant. The supervisor signature on the expense report shows approval of all transactions that have been made by the cardholder and that the expense is allowable for the grant project (if applicable).
  2. Ensure the cardholder(s) follows p-card policies as well as all other university policies.
  3. Ensure fraud does not occur by a cardholder, including a cardholder being reimbursed through other means for items purchased on the p-card.
  4. In SDOL (JP Morgan’s Smart Data On-Line website), ensure the cardholder(s) allocates their pcard transactions to appropriate FOAPs as well as provides business purposes.
  5. Ensure the cardholder(s) provides completed expense reports on a timely basis to Accounts Payable.
  6. Reports should be electronically sent to accountspayable@acu.edu.

Changes to a Purchasing Cardholder’s

Supervisor Please use the P-Card Change or Close Request form to notify Accounts Payable of a change to a cardholder’s supervisor. Noting these changes is important for reporting purposes. Please send the form electronically to Accounts Payable at accountspayable@acu.edu.

Cardholder Agreement & Testing

Before a new cardholder receives his/her p-card, he/she will be required to sign the Purchasing Cardholder Agreement and pass the p-card test. The Purchasing Cardholder Agreement references the cardholder’s responsibilities as well as any prohibited purchases which must be agreed to by the cardholder prior to receiving and maintaining a university purchasing card. Each cardholder must receive at least a 75 on the test. The purpose of the purchasing card test is to educate purchasing cardholders on reporting deadlines, prohibited purchases, and the p-card policy. Each cardholder will be required to re- take the test any time the card is up for renewal.

Making Purchases

The p-card can be used for all ACU purchasing needs including operational and business related expenses. When making a purchase with a p-card, it is recommended that cardholders check as many sources as possible to assure optimal price, quality, and delivery. The card can be used in the following methods:

  • In person
  • Telephone
  • Internet (secure websites only)
  • Mail order form

Sales & Use Taxes

ACU purchases made in Texas and for use in Texas are generally exempt from Texas sales and use taxes. It is the responsibility of the cardholder to obtain tax exempt status when making a purchase. ACU’s tax ID number is printed on the front of each p-card for tax exempt verification. If the vendor requires additional proof, ACU’s Texas Sales & Use Tax Exemption Certification is available for viewing and printing. Purchases made in other states are generally subject to that state’s sales tax laws.

Prohibited Purchases

The following items should not be purchased with an ACU purchasing card:

  • Travel expenses (with the exception of fuel in a university vehicle)
  • Fuel in a personal vehicle – If an individual is using their personal vehicle for ACU business, he/she needs to track mileage and turn in a Concur expense report for mileage reimbursement. Mileage reimbursements not only cover fuel costs but also wear and tear on the vehicle.
  • Gift cards, gift certificates, or store credits
  • Gifts purchased over 30 days in advance without an intended business purpose
  • Certain gifts, awards, prizes, and reception costs – please see ACU’s Gifts, Awards, Prizes, & Receptions Policy when making such purchases
  • Cash advances
  • Cash as a credit for returned items
  • Alcoholic beverages or tobacco products
  • Personal purchases (personal memberships such as Amazon Prime memberships are prohibited)
  • Personal utility bills
  • Spousal or family expenses
  • Cell phones or cell phone monthly bill payments – see the Cell Phone Policy
  • Internal ACU purchases such as ACU Billing, ACU Press, ACU Theater tickets, ACU Athletic tickets, ACU dinner tickets, ACU Meal Plans, or CopyCat are prohibited. These purchases should be made using a departmental FOAP.
  • Telephone and computer purchases – such items should be purchased through the Information Technology department
  • Other purchases in violation of university policy – see the Employee Handbook for more detail

Receipts & Documentation

It is recommended that a receipt be obtained for all transactions. For all meal expenses, an itemized receipt must be obtained regardless of the amount. For other purchases not related to meals, an itemized receipt is required for transactions totaling $25 or more. If the amount of the transaction is below $75 and documentation of the purchase cannot be obtained from the vendor, fill out a Missing Receipt Statement in its entirety and put the statement in the receipt’s place in the monthly expense report. If the amount of the transaction is $75 or more, vendor documentation must be provided or cardholder reimbursement will be required. If the cardholder does not provide receipts over $75 on three occasions, their card will be suspended until proper documentation is provided. If an employee has been terminated and receipts are missing that cannot be obtained by the department, the supervisor will be asked to fill out a Missing Receipt for Terminated Employees form to be submitted along with the corresponding monthly report.

A receipt can be one of the following:

  • Invoices
  • Sales receipt
  • Itemized E-mail Receipt
  • Cash register tape
  • Packing slip/ Order Form

All receipts must provide the following information:

  • Vendor name
  • Date of purchase
  • List of items purchased
  • Unit cost
  • Total cost

Other required documentation includes:

  • A business purpose for each charge. (Business purposes can be written into a report if the reallocation deadline has passed, but it is preferred that all business descriptions are saved on SDOL when allocations are processed.)
  • For meals and items purchased on behalf of another, include a list of attendees and their business or employment affiliations.
  • For fuel charges, indicate if the fuel was put into a rental or ACU vehicle (fuel for a personal vehicle may not be purchased using the p-card).

Account Allocation

Each cardholder has a default FOAP that is initially charged to each p-card transaction. If a pcard transaction should be applied to a FOAP other than the default FOAP, the reallocation must be completed in SDOL(JP Morgan SmartData On-Line website) by 5 p.m. on the 3rd business day of the month following the month in which the charge occurred. Business purposes/ comments should also be saved on SDOL before the deadline.

Changes to Default P-Card FOAPs

For any changes to a cardholder’s default FOAP on SDOL, please provide a completed P-Card Change or Close Request form electronically to Accounts Payable at accountspayable@acu.edu. Please allow 1- 2 business days for these changes to be applied on SDOL. Changes to default FOAPs affect future transactions only after the change has been applied.

Expense Reports & Supervisor Approval

If the cardholder has made any transactions, an expense report from SDOL (JP Morgan’s Smart Data On- Line website) must be printed at the end of the month. The expense report should be reviewed, approved, and signed by the cardholder and the cardholder’s supervisor. The dates of the expense report should include transaction posting dates from the 1st day of the month through the last day of the month. If the report was turned in without the full dates of the month, the cardholder will be asked to rerun the report or they will be asked to fill out an Omitted PCard Charges form to be submitted along with the corresponding monthly report. It is the cardholder’s and supervisor’s responsibility to ensure the expense report includes receipts, business purposes for every transaction, appropriate signatures, and other documentation listed on the p-card website. The expense report should be completed and electronically submitted to Accounts Payable by the 14th day of the month following the month in which transactions occurred. If the 14th falls on a weekend, the expense report is due on the following Monday.

Billing Discrepancies & Returns

The cardholder is responsible for resolving discrepancies directly with the vendor and requesting that any credit or additional charges be generated for the next billing cycle. If the cardholder is unable to resolve a discrepancy, the cardholder must fully document the situation and process the dispute form which can be received by contacting JP Morgan Chase. Disputes must be submitted to JP Morgan Chase within 60 days of the original transaction date. When a cardholder has returned an item, he/she is responsible for assuring that a credit appears on a future p-card statement.

Credit Limit Changes

To change the credit limit of a purchasing card, the Purchasing Card Credit Increase Request must be filled out fully and proper signatures must be provided prior to the limit change being processed by Accounts Payable. Temporary or emergency credit limit changes should be noted accordingly on the signed form submitted to Accounts Payable. On the form, provide an explanation/business purpose for the limit change.

P-Card Closure & Employee Termination

To request the closure of a purchasing card, complete the P-Card Change or Close Request form and electronically send the form to Accounts Payable at accountspayable@acu.edu. If a card is closed due to employee termination, please shred or return the purchasing card to Accounts Payable as well as completing and providing a signed PCard Change or Close Request form. Any outstanding p-card expense reports and supporting receipts must be provided to Accounts Payable regardless of the cardholder’s employment status. If an employee has been terminated and receipts are missing that cannot be obtained by the department, the supervisor will be asked to fill out a Missing Receipt for Terminated Employees form to be submitted along with the corresponding monthly report.

Compliance

The Accounts Payable department is responsible for monitoring p-card transactions for compliance with ACU policies and IRS guidelines. The signed p-card expense reports and their related documentation are audited on a monthly basis and filed by Accounts Payable.

If a cardholder does not submit his/her p-card expense report by the deadline or if a report is received in Accounts Payable that is in violation of the purchasing card policy, the cardholder and supervisor will receive an email notification from Accounts Payable allowing 7 days for the proper documentation to be provided. The cardholder will receive three email notices before the cardholder’s p-card is suspended.

Please note that the Finance department reserves right to suspend a card if a purchasing card report has not been received within 90 days of the reporting due date regardless of how many notices were sent to the cardholder. The suspension will be lifted after the proper documentation is received. Beginning December 1, 2012, if a cardholder has been suspended three times over a three year period, the cardholder will be permanently suspended from receiving an ACU p-card.

The p-card is a privilege granted to faculty and staff and must be used in a responsible and appropriate manner. Student employees are not eligible to receive a purchasing card. Fraudulent misuse of the card or policy disobedience can result in any of the following circumstances:

  • Temporary card suspension
  • Permanent card suspension
  • Financial restitution
  • Employment termination
  • Other disciplinary actions set forth under university policy

If a supervisor is not meeting their supervisor responsibilities, penalties may include:

  • The suspension of all cards underneath the supervisor
  • Employment termination
  • Other disciplinary actions set forth under university policy

Contact Information:

Accounts Payable Office
accountspayable@acu.edu
aphelp@acu.edu
(325)674-6167
(325)674-2785

Executive Director of Research
mkr15a@acu.edu
(325) 674-2885

Policy No. 912

Responsible Department: Accounts Payable
Responsible Administrator: Accounts Payable Accountant
Effective Date: April 1, 1997
Reviewed/Updated Date: June 2019
Date of Scheduled Review: February 2022

GIFTS, AWARDS, PRIZES, & RECEPTIONS POLICY

PURPOSE
To establish guidelines for ACU funded expenses relating to gifts, awards, prizes, and receptions given to employees, students, and non-employees (individuals and entities) and to encourage and ensure good stewardship regarding the usage of the University’s resources.

SCOPE
This policy applies to ACU employees and students acting on behalf of ACU using ACU funds.

PROCEDURE

  1. Appropriate Uses of Gifts, Awards, & Prizes
    Length of service; outstanding professional achievements; safety achievements; retirement; merits or contributions to the University; judged competitions, contests, or random drawings associated with the University.
  2. Cash
    1. Given to Employees (including students in an employment capacity) To request payment, please fill out a PAF and contact Human Resources with any questions. If a gift, award, or prize is given to an employee in the form of cash, the amount will be added to the employee’s W-2 as taxable income. The provider of the gift, award, or prize must inform the recipient of the tax consequences. To request payment, please fill out a PAF and contact Human Resources with any questions.
    2. Given to Non-Employees (individuals, entities, and students in a non-employment capacity) To request payment, please fill out a Request for Payment form and a Gift, Award, or Prize Purchase send the form to Accounts Payable with any attached receipts and a W-9 for the individual or business receiving the gift, award, or prize. If a cash gift, award, or prize is given in a non-employment capacity to an individual, entity, or student, the amount will be considered taxable income and will be added to the recipient’s 1099. If payment is requested and the appropriate documentation is not provided, the payment will not be processed. The provider of the gift, award, or prize must inform the recipient of the tax consequences.
  3. Merchandise
    1. Given to Employees (including students in an employment capacity) If an employee receives $600 or more in merchandise in any given calendar year from ACU, the fair value of the merchandise will be included in the employee’s W-2 as taxable income. To request payment, please provide a Request for Payment form and a Gift, Award, or Prize Purchase form to Payroll with any attached receipts. The provider of the gift, award, or prize must inform the recipient of the possible tax implications. The purpose of this form is to ensure that ACU continues to follow IRS regulations by tracking 1099-MISC, box 3 related purchases.
    2. Given to Non-Employees (individuals, entities, and students in a non-employment capacity) If an individual, entity, or student receives $600 or more in merchandise in any given calendar year from ACU, the total fair market value of the merchandise will be considered taxable income and added to the recipient’s 1099. The provider of the gift, award, or prize must inform the recipient of the tax consequences. To request reimbursement for merchandise, please fill out a Request for Payment form and a Gift, Award, or Prize Purchase send the form to Accounts Payable with any attached receipts If a cash gift, award, or prize is given in a non-employment capacity to an individual, entity, or student, the amount will be considered taxable income and will be added to the recipient’s 1099. The purpose of this form is to ensure that ACU continues to follow IRS regulations by tracking 1099-MISC, box 3 related purchases. If the appropriate documentation is not provided, the payment will not be processed.
  4. Gift Cards, Gift Certificates, & Store Credits
    Gift cards, gift certificates, and store credits may not be purchased using ACU funds for anyone. These purchases are considered prohibited and are non-reimbursable by the university.
  5. Door Prizes or Other Random Drawings
    Door prizes or other prizes given to anyone that are selected at random are considered taxable income to the recipient. Door prizes and random drawings are considered prizes and similar procedures apply, see Appropriate Uses of Gifts, Awards, & Prizes.
  6. Gifts Given for Special Occasions
    Gifts given to anyone for occasions such as birthdays, weddings, graduation (except for ACU graduating students), Christmas, baby showers, going away, or any similar event are reimbursable up to $75 per recipient. To request reimbursement, please fill out a Request for Payment form and a Gift, Award, or Prize Purchase send the form to Accounts Payable with any attached receipts. If the cash gift, award, or prize totals $75 or more, a W-9 form completed by the recipient must also be submitted to Accounts Payable.
  7. Higher Education Act
    Due to regulations outlined in the Higher Education Act, ACU will not provide any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly on success in securing enrollments or financial aid to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting or admission activities or in making decisions regarding the award of student financial assistance. This includes a sum of money or something of value other than fixed salary or wages.
  8. Payment of Services
    Individuals should not be paid for services in the form of a gift, award, or prize. If an individual or entity is performing a service for ACU, they should either be paid through Payroll as an employee or through Accounts Payable as an independent contractor. Please submit an Employee vs. Independent Contractor Worksheet if you are unsure of how the individual/entity should be paid.
  9. Student Financial Assistance for Living Expenses
    Due to ACU’s tax exempt status, a department cannot request payment through Accounts Payable or make direct payments for purchases such as groceries, rent, household bills, or other related living expenses for a student using departmental funds. If a student is in need of emergency financial assistance for living expenses, please contact Student Financial Services for scholarship information. Such taxable scholarships will be reported on the student’s 1098-T, and the student will be responsible for reporting the amount on his/her 1040 form. International students receiving scholarships for living expenses will have a 14% tax applied to their student account per IRS regulations. These scholarships cannot, in any way, represent the payment of services.
  10. Gifts Given to Student Athletes
    Gifts, awards, prizes, or other benefits given to a student-athlete are normally acceptable if it is demonstrated that the same gift / benefit is generally available to the institution’s students, faculty, staff, and their relatives or friends. No gift or other benefit shall be provided to a student-athlete based on his/her athletic ability. The paying department should contact the ACU compliance officer in the Athletic department prior to providing any gifts or other benefits to determine compliance with NCAA rules.
  11. Gifts Given to International Students
    1. Given in an Employment Capacity Gifts, prizes, and awards given in an employment capacity to a student holding an F-1 Visa will be paid through Payroll, reported on a W-2 or 1042-S, and will have taxes withheld based on W4 elections.
    2. Given in a Non-Employment Capacity Monetary gifts, prizes, and awards given in a non-employment capacity to a student holding an F1 Visa will be paid through Accounts Payable, reported on a 1042-S, and will have 30% in taxes withheld from the payment amount.
  12. Student Financial Aid & Tax Consequences
    Please note that gifts to students may have an unintended effect on financial aid. The student will be reporting additional income to the IRS, which is a factor in the amount of financial aid the student is awarded for the school year.
  13. Expressions of Sympathy Sympathy flowers/cards can be sent for the following occasions:
    1. Serious illness or a hospital stay of an employee, emeritus faculty member, student, board member, or immediate family member. An immediate family member is defined as a spouse, children, siblings, or parents.
    2. Death of an employee, emeritus faculty member, student, board member, or immediate family member. An immediate family member is defined as a spouse, children, siblings, or parents.

    An immediate family member is defined as a spouse, children, siblings, or parents.

  14. Receptions
    1. Retirement Receptions Expenses for a retirement reception for an employee that has been at ACU at least ten years and is at least 55 years of age may be reimbursed using ACU funds.
    2. Christmas and Graduation Receptions Expenses relating to graduation and Christmas receptions may be reimbursed when it is a legitimate ACU-related function. Each department may only have one Christmas and one graduation reception per fiscal year.
    3. Other Receptions Non-work related school or departmental luncheons, dinners, or parties/celebrations/receptions will not be reimbursed using ACU funds. Examples include weddings, baby showers, or other similar events. Occasional birthday receptions are allowable.

POLICY No. 930

Responsible Department: University Procurement and Financial Operations
Responsible Administrator: Purchasing Director/Controller
Effective Date: August 1, 2019
Reviewed/Updated Date: January 28, 2020
Date of Scheduled Review: January 1, 2022

PURCHASING POLICY

PURPOSE
The Procurement office is charged with several responsibilities:

  • Offering purchasing services to all departments to obtain goods and services at an optimum combination of prices, quality, and timeliness.
  • Reducing expenditures via discounts, co-operative networks, and partnerships with merchants.
  • Increasing productivity by providing departments with the tools and information, they need to make informed and cost-effective purchasing decisions.
  • Providing a variety of purchasing services for the ACU community from issuing purchase orders to completing credit applications, assisting with vendor selection, and resource assistance.
  • Administration of agreements such as, copiers, shipping, vending, and beverages.
  • The purpose of the furniture policy is to achieve substantial discounts, provide a high-quality product that will offer the best value to the University, and to help streamline and simplify the ordering process.

SCOPE
All ACU employees are responsible for purchasing goods and services within their department.

PROCEDURE
The following are the procedures and payment options when making purchases on behalf of ACU:

  • Use a university purchasing card (PCard) in accordance with PCard policies.
  • Prepare a Payment Request Form with the appropriate approval signatures and forward the form and related invoices to Accounts Payable for payment.
  • Enter a requisition in the purchasing system. A requisition will be transferred to a purchase order and sent to the vendor.
    • Please use this option when the vendor requires a purchase order. When the vendor provides an invoice, an appropriate approver other than the person who initiated the purchase order requisition must document approval for payment. Instructions for approving and creating purchase orders are detailed in the “Purchasing with Banner Finance Manual.”
  • An employee should not use a personal card for university purchases except when one of the forms of payment listed above is not available. Reimbursement requests for business related purchases with an employee’s card should be reviewed before payment.
  • Student purchasing for business purposes with personal funds is prohibited. A purchasing card or other acceptable forms of payment must be used for any business-related purchases.
  • If you are purchasing apparel for employees or students using ACU funds, you must contact the Tax officer in the Finance office for tax guidelines and polices on apparel.
    • All apparel purchases for employees or students must either be kept and placed as inventory and used for departmental purposes or, if given to the employee or student, the individual will be subject to a taxable fringe benefit.

Commissions/Rebates/Incentives/Gifts/Gratuities:

  • Any commissions, rebates, incentives, gifts or gratuities over $25 from vendors must be used for school use.
  • A conflict of interest between vendors and an ACU employee making purchasing decisions should be disclosed by the ACU employee to his/her supervisor, the University Procurement office, and also reported on the employee’s annual conflict of interest disclosure form.

Terms and Agreements:

  • Any documents described as “contracts”, “agreements”, “leases”, or an “understanding” that my obligate ACU in any way must be reviewed by the Office of General Counsel and the Finance office in accordance with the University’s Contracting Procedures.

Furniture Purchases:

  • When making furniture purchases, take into account how each piece will fit into the current and future environment.
    • Explore the entire line of furniture options to see what you may be able to do long term.
    • Consider how furniture will adapt to new technology.
    • Keep the workplace flexible and select furniture that can be easily moved and reconfigured as needs arise.
    • Select furniture with timeless appeal in style and color. o Make selections appropriate for each facility and end user.
    • Consider durability and quality when making selections. Keep in mind that the wear-and-tear on commercial furniture is greater.
    • Be mindful of the aesthetic appeal of each piece of furniture and how it will affect a facility aesthetically.
    • Exercise good stewardship by being mindful of pricing.
  • Two (2) preferred furniture vendors have been chosen and have proved the most advantageous to the University. These dealers offer a variety of manufacturers and have performed many successful installations throughout the university. We understand that it may be necessary to use other vendors. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Contact the University Procurement office for the list of preferred vendors.
  • All furniture purchases must be processed through the following guidelines and adhere to the university’s Renovation and Construction Policy:
    • Basic Office Furniture: (This includes but is not limited to desks, task chairs, side chairs, side tables, bookcases, and shelving)
      • Under $5,000
        • May be purchased from a vendor of the employee’s choice following the guidelines stated in the Purchasing Policy.
        • If construction is needed, employees must follow the guidelines stated in the Renovation and Construction Policy, in addition to the policy stated above.
      • Over $5,000
        • Employees must receive bids from each of ACU’s preferred furniture vendors.
        • Employees must follow the guidelines stated in the Purchasing Policy.
        • If construction is needed, employees must follow the guidelines stated in the Renovation and Construction Policy, in addition to the policy stated above.
    • Common Areas: (Any space that is open to all patrons, such as the general public, students, employees, visitors, alumni and others. This includes but is not limited to conference rooms, common areas, reception areas, waiting rooms, and classrooms)
      • No Dollar Threshold- Unlimited amount to budget expectation for approval
        • Employees must receive bids from each of ACU’s preferred furniture vendors.
        • Employees must follow the guidelines stated in the policy above.
        • If construction is needed, employees must follow the guidelines stated in the Renovation and Construction Policy, in addition to the policy stated above.
    • Renovation and Construction:
      • Employees must follow the guidelines stated in the Renovation and Construction Policy.
      • Employees must follow the guidelines stated in the policy above.