Staff Handbook - Chapter 5

University Policies and Procedures


A brief description of some of the policies and procedures that govern the workings of the University follow. More specific information on these policies and procedures can be found in the University Operations Manual, the State Merit Rules and the various collective bargaining agreements. In the event that a discrepancy exists, the University Operations Manual is the official source for all approved policies and procedures except where a collective bargaining agreement speaks specifically to an issue for unionized employees.

Non-Discrimination Statement

The University of Iowa does not discriminate in its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference. The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities. For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Coordinator of Title IX and Section 504 and the ADA in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, 319/335-0705 (voice) or 319/335-0697 (text), 202 Jessup Hall, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1316.

Statement on Diversity

The University of Iowa values diversity among students, faculty, and staff, and regards Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action as tools to achieve diversity. The University believes that a rich diversity of people and the many points of view they bring serve to enhance the quality of the educational experience at The University of Iowa.

Human Rights Policy

The University of Iowa brings together in common pursuit of its educational goals persons of many nations, races, and creeds. The University is guided by the precept that in no aspect of its programs shall there be differences in the treatment of persons because of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other classifications that deprives the person of consideration as an individual, and that equal opportunity and access to facilities shall be available to all. Among the classifications that deprive the person of consideration as an individual are those based on associational preference. These principles are expected to be observed in the internal policies and practices of the University; specifically in the admission, housing, and education of students; in policies governing programs of extracurricular life and activities; and in the employment of faculty and staff personnel. The University shall work cooperatively with the community in furthering these principles.  The Human Rights Policy is available in the University Operations Manual.

Sexual Harassment

The University of Iowa prohibits sexual harassment of any kind and will not condone such actions. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that affects a condition or term of employment, part of the employment or educational decision-making process, or creates an offensive educational or work environment. Sexual harassment may occur in relationships involving teacher/student, student/student, supervisor/subordinate, and between persons with the same University status. To read the complete text of these policies or procedures, please visit the University Operations Manual.


The University of Iowa is committed to maintaining an environment that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of every person and that fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect.  This commitment requires that the highest value be placed on the use of reason and that harassment in the University community be renounced as repugnant and inimical to its goals.  Harassment destroys the mutual trust which binds members of the community in their pursuit of truth.  The University is also committed strongly to academic freedom and free speech.  An educational institution has a duty to provide a forum in which free speech and differences of opinion are actively encouraged and facilitated, and where opinions and deeply held beliefs are challenged and debated.  Critical to this mission is providing a nondiscriminatory environment that is conducive to learning.  Respect of these rights required that members of the University community tolerate expressions of opinion that differ from their own or that they may find abhorrent.  The Anti-Harassment policy is available in the University Operations Manual.

Drug-Free Environment

The use or possession of illegal drugs as well as the abuse of alcohol and other intoxicants creates a serious threat to the health and well-being of the user and in some instances to fellow employees and private citizens.  The University of Iowa has a responsibility to provide a work environment free of drugs and alcohol, and employees have the right to perform their duties with coworkers not impaired by drugs and alcohol.  The Drug Free Environment Policy is available in the University Operations Manual.

Violence Policy

The faculty, staff, and students of The University of Iowa make up a community whose common commitment is to learning.  This commitment requires that the highest value be placed on the use of reason and that violence involving the University community be renounced as contrary to its goals.  Violence, whether actual or threatened, destroys the mutual trust which must bind members of the community if they are to be successful in pursuing truth.  The University therefore wishes to make clear that it considers acts and threats of violence to constitute serious violations of University policy, because they may undermine the University’s status as a community of learning.  By extension, the University forbids harassment which harms or demeans members of the community because of personal characteristics such as affectional or associational preference, color, creed, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, or race.  The Violence Policy is available in the University Operations Manual.

Disability Protection Policy and Accessibility Statement

The University of Iowa, as authorized by Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, shall take affirmative steps to employ and advance the employment of qualified individuals with disabilities and qualified disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam Era at all levels of employment.  The University of Iowa endeavors to make reasonable accommodations for the functional limitations of applicants, employees, and students with disabilities and disabled veterans pursuant to applicable federal and state law. The Disability Protection and Accessibility Statement is available in the University Operations Manual.


The University of Iowa encourages its faculty, staff and students to make good faith disclosures of University-related misconduct.  The commitment to improve the quality of the University through such disclosures is vital to the well-being of the entire campus community.  Retaliation, whether actual or threatened, destroys a sense of community and trust that is central to a quality environment.  The University, therefore, wishes to make clear that it considers acts or threats of retaliation in response to such disclosures to constitute a serious violation of University policy.  The Anti-Retaliation Policy is available in the University Operations Manual.

Financial Fraud

To assure the proper stewardship of University resources, the University Controller has established policies related to Financial Fraud, Cash Handling, Credit Cards, and other financial practices and procedures.  University faculty and staff who either utilize or manage University resources should be familiar with these polices and comply with their requirements.  The University encourages the reporting of suspected financial misconduct directly to University administrators, or anonymously through the use of EthicsPoint.  Additional information regarding ethical behavior and conduct expectations is available through the Office of the President.

Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources

The University of Iowa’s information technology resources have been assembled to facilitate the pursuit of excellence in the University’s missions of teaching, research, and service. The opportunity to use computing systems and software, as well as internal and external data networks, is important to all members of the University community. To preserve that opportunity for the full community, each individual faculty member, staff member, and student must comply with institutional and external standards for acceptable use of these shared resources. Although modest personal use of University-supplied technology resources may improve the skills of individual users, and otherwise contribute indirectly to the University’s mission, these resources should be used primarily for University-related educational and administrative purposes. By using University information technology facilities and resources, users agree to abide by all related University policies and procedures, as well as applicable federal, state, and local law. Violations may result in University disciplinary action or referral to appropriate external authorities.

Social Media Guidelines

The University of Iowa has developed guidelines intended to support the creative and innovative use of social media by employees to further University purposes in a manner that minimizes personal, professional and institutional risk.  University employees may use social media sites to conduct University business either for their own unit/college/division, for an authorized University committee or group, or may use it for personal reasons.  Whether your use of social media is for University business or personal use, being thoughtful about what and how much to share on a social media site is important.

Dispute Resolution

Staff employment issues may be addressed through a variety of means, including their departmental administrative channel (immediate supervisor through department head), the human resources office of their college or administrative unit, and formal grievance processes as appropriate to their classification. For additional assistance in defining the problem and for information regarding possible avenues of solution, the staff member may wish to consult the University Human Resources Office, the Office of the Ombudsperson, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, or the Staff Council Peer Support Committee. Managers and supervisors may contact Organizational Effectiveness/Faculty and Staff Services at 335-2085 for consultation regarding dispute resolution.  Additionally, a mediation service is available for non-contract covered staff members and information on this service can be found at Grievance procedures exist in the University Operations Manual and the various collective bargaining agreements to promote the harmonious and just resolution of disputes which may arise. The procedures are intended to be fair and usable and to encourage settlement of disputes at the earliest possible stage without retaliation. If a staff member prefers to use an informal dispute resolution mechanism, relief may be sought through the University ombudsperson, mediation and, where appropriate, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

Conflict of Interest

The University of Iowa and its employees are committed to the principle of free, open and objective inquiry in the conduct of its teaching, research, and service missions. Accordingly, it is crucial that University activities be conducted in an atmosphere that is free of conflicts of interest compromising this principle. For the purpose of protecting both the integrity and objectivity of its employees in the performance of their University obligations, it is the policy of the University that conflicts of interest should be avoided where possible, or otherwise disclosed and managed.

Conflict of Interest in Employment (Nepotism)

When an individual has responsibility to make decisions or recommendations relating to the employment of another individual, a conflict of interest can arise when two individuals have a familial or other relationship. This relationship may make it difficult for the individual responsible for making decisions or recommendations to be objective or it could create the appearance that such an individual could not be objective. Decisions or recommendations related to employment status include decisions concerning hiring, retention, promotion, salary, or employment responsibilities. The Committee on Conflict of Interest in Employment will review and approve proposals that establish mechanisms to avoid conflicts related to these issues.

Extramural Activity

Full-time P&S staff members are expected to devote their professional activities primarily to the functions of the University including research, teaching, administrative service, and public service directly related to the University. However, staff members may be given permission to engage in professional extramural activity within the guidelines set forth in the University Operations Manual.

Self-Identification Through Use of The University Name

University staff may, acting in their capacities as individuals, use the name of the University for self-identification purposes before the general public, subject to certain restrictions set forth in the University Operations Manual.

Iowa Gift Law

All faculty and staff members and immediate family are covered by the provisions of the gift law and are subject to its requirements.

No food or drink having a value of $3 or more may be accepted from an individual, firm, or organization doing business with the University. No gifts of any value may be accepted from an individual, firm, or organization doing business with the University.

Flexible Work Arrangements

The University supports the general concept of flexible work arrangements.  Flexible work arrangements apply to both Merit and Professional and Scientific ((P&S) staff.  Staff members covered by collective bargaining agreements may have benefits different then those described here; refer to the appropriate current agreement for exact entitlements and procedures.

A flexible work arrangement allows the application of an innovative approach to achieve a highly productive, harmonious work environment that is responsive to the changing professional and personal needs of today's workforce.  Flexible work arrangements refer to flextime, compressed work week, telecommuting, reduced work week/part-time, and job sharing.

Flexible work arrangements are not appropriate for all positions or in all campus settings.  The University is an organization with diverse work environments, many of which require specific staffing patterns to function effectively.  Additionally, health and safety considerations may preclude a specific flexible work arrangement.  A flexible work arrangement is not a right of employment.  It is established at the discretion of the employing unit and may be subject to change at the discretion of the unit.

For information about Flexible Work Arrangements, see the Operations manual or the Family Services Office web site.