POL-U5940.01 Using University Resources

Dates and Approval

Effective Date:

December 2, 2002

Revised Date:

August 31, 2023

Approval Date:

August 31, 2023

Approved by:

President Sabah Randhawa

Who does this policy apply to?

The state ethics law establishes high ethical and public service standards and holds University employees accountable to the public in many areas including outside work, consulting, compensated professional activities, using university facilities, property, and equipment, outside business interests, and conflicts of interest. The law and this policy applies to all faculty and staff, including student employees.



There is no overview for this policy.


Personal Use

Not for the business use of the University.

University Facilities

 Facilities of the University include, but are not limited to, use of stationery, postage, machines, and equipment, use of University’s employees during working hours, vehicles, office space, publications of the University, and clientele lists of persons served by the University. Also considered University resources.

University Property

All buildings, grounds, or assets owned or controlled by the University and the streets, sidewalks, plazas, parking lots, and roadways within the boundaries of property owned or controlled by the University. Also considered University resources.

Policy Statements

1. University Ethics Advisor Provides Consultation to Employees on the State Ethics Laws

As directed in RCW 42.52.365 Executive branch agencies—Ethics advisors—Ethics training, the President has designated a University Ethics Advisor (Assistant Vice President for Risk, Ethics, Safety & Resilience) for this advisory role to assist University employees with their understanding of the state ethics laws.

2. Employees are Responsible for Lawful Use

All University employees, including student employees, are responsible for the lawful use of University resources, including funds, facilities, tools, property, and their time as defined in RCW 42.52 Ethics in Public Service, WAC 292-110-010 Use of State Resources, and various applicable University policies.

Because University employees are held personally responsible for adverse findings and enforcement actions taken by the Executive Ethics Board, including investigations and payment of fines, and the fact that results of enforcement are posted online and made public, University employees are encouraged to consult with the University Ethics Advisor regarding lawful use of university resources and compliance with the state ethics laws. 

Employees may, at any time, file a complaint with the Ethics Board (www.ethics.wa.gov) or make a whistleblower report per POL-U1000.15 Administering the State Employee Whistleblower Act. 

3. University Resources to be Used for Official State Purpose

Employees are permitted use of University resources to conduct official University duties, activities reasonably related to the conduct of official University duties, activities related to state employment, and activities otherwise allowed by statute.

4. Personal Use of University Resources Is Limited

This section applies to any use of state resources not included in Section 3 of this policy. Per WAC 292-110-010 Use of State Resources, in part, personal use of University resources is limited to de minimis use. A University employee's use of state resources is de minimis only if each of the following conditions are met:

  1. There is little or no cost to the University or state,
  2. Any use is brief,
  3. Any use occurs infrequently,
  4. The use does not interfere with the performance of any University employee's official duties,
  5. The use does not compromise the security or integrity of state property, information systems, or software,
  6. The use is not for the purpose of conducting an outside business, in furtherance of private employment, or to realize a private financial gain,
  7. The use is not for supporting, promoting the interests of, or soliciting for an outside organization or group, and
  8. A University employee may use University resources for wellness or combined fund drive activities as long as use conforms with the de minimis conditions listed above or as authorized in state law and rule.


Acceptable levels of use of University resources by faculty and research employees engaged in compensated professional activities is allowed under POL-U2100.04 Faculty Policy on Compensated Professional Activities.

Personal use of state vehicles is strictly prohibited  as stated in the Washington State Enterprise- Wide Transportation Policy.

5. University President May Authorize Limited Use of University Employee Time and Resources

As allowed in part under WAC 292-110-01 Use of State Resources, the University President authorizes Deans and Directors to permit, at their discretion, the limited use of University staff time and resources for the following uses:

  1. Supporting, promoting, or soliciting for charitable activities;
  2. Employee recognition, including birthday, retirement, wedding/baby showers, or other similar celebrations;
  3. Activities supporting University organizational effectiveness provided the University's policy allowing use of state resources for such purposes is approved by the Ethics Board; and/or
  4. State or intermittent University sponsored health activities, for example, vaccinations, diabetes screenings, cholesterol screenings; or recording participation in an agency or PEBB sponsored wellness program.

The President further delegates the University Ethics Advisor to offer advice to University employees regarding the use of University resources for this purpose.

6. No Expectation of Privacy

Technologies such as electronic mail, facsimile transmissions, the internet, and voice mail may create an electronic record. This is what separates these from other forms of communication such as a telephone conversation. The ethics rules do not distinguish between the various forms of communication. Electronic records are reproducible and therefore cannot be considered private. Such records may be subject to disclosure under the RCW 42.56 Public Records Act , or may be disclosed for audit or legitimate state operational or management purposes.

7. University May Seek Reimbursement for Approved Personal Use

In some limited situations, as approved under state ethics laws and applicable University policy, the University may seek reimbursement for limited personal use of University resources by the University employee.

8. Use of University Facilities and Property in Political Campaigns Prohibited

No University employee may use or authorize the use of any of the University’s facilities or property, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of assisting a political campaign for election of any person to any office or for the promotion of or opposition to any ballot proposition.

Exceptions: See RCW 42.52.180 Use of public resources for political campaigns for a list of exceptions.