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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Code of Ethics for Members of Tennessee Board of Regents :

Policy/Guideline Area

Governance, Organization, and General Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, System Office, Board Members


The purpose of this policy is to establish ethical standards for members of the Tennessee Board of Regents.


  1. Preamble
    1. Public Trust
      1. The Tennessee Board of Regents is charged by statute with governance of the state universities, community colleges, and Tennessee colleges of applied technology in the state university and community college system. The state universities are subject to the authority of a local governing board of trustees, referred to as a state university board.
      2. To ensure effectiveness, the Regents must adhere to the strictest of ethical standards.
    2. Time Commitment
      1. In undertaking the duties of the office, a Regent shall make the necessary commitment of time and diligence to carry out the Regent’s public governance responsibilities.
      2. A Regent must regularly attend and actively participate in board and committee meetings and special assignments.
    3. Regent Authority
      1. Individual members of the Board enjoy equal rights with all other members:
        1. The right to vote,
        2. The right to participate fully in all considerations before the Board,
        3. The right to enter motions and to submit recommendations, and
        4. All rights and privileges afforded the Board by law and regulation when sitting in deliberative session.
      2. As individuals, when not participating in meetings of the Board or any of its duly constituted committees, members enjoy the same rights and privileges of any citizen of the State of Tennessee as pertains to the governance, control, and management of institutions under the Board.
      3. As individuals, members shall not speak for the Board unless so specifically authorized by the Board. 
    4. Regent Responsibilities
      1. When participating in meetings of the Board or its duly constituted committees, members are responsible for the entire System.
      2. They are responsible for representing the entire System without regard for any congressional district or area of the State or for any individual institution within the State.
      3. Members are enjoined from espousing the cause of any one institution over the interests of others or the System as a whole. 
  2.  Code of Ethics Policy
    1. Conflict of Interest
      1. A conflict of interest occurs when the personal interests, financial or otherwise, of a Regent actually or potentially diverge from the Regent’s obligations as a Board member.
        1. It is a conflict of interest for any person or any company with whom such person is an officer, a director, or an equity owner of greater than 1% interest to bid on any contract for products or services for a governmental entity if such person or a relative (spouse, parent, sibling, child) is a member of the board having responsibility for letting or approving such contract. 
        2. Each Regent will abide by the Board’s Conflicts of Interest Policy as amended from time to time.
        3. A Regent shall not use the authority, title, or prestige of the office to solicit or otherwise obtain a private financial, social, or political benefit for the Regent or any other person which would be inconsistent with the public interest.
        4. A Regent shall abstain from any deliberations or vote on a matter which the Regent identifies as a conflict of interest.
    2. Gifts and Expenses
      1. No Regent shall accept or receive, directly or indirectly, from any person, firm, or corporation to whom any contract for the purchase of materials, goods, supplies, equipment or services for the Board or its member institutions may be awarded any money or anything of value or any promise, obligation, or contract for future awards or employment. 
      2. Regents serve without compensation. However, they are entitled to receive reimbursement for expenses incurred while representing the Board in their official capacity. 
    3. Financial Disclosure
      1. Each Regent shall, upon appointment to office and annually each January thereafter, file the financial interest disclosure form in Policy with the Secretary of the Board of Regents.
  3.  Compliance
    1. Disclosure Requirements
      1. Persons who believe that a conflict of interest may exist either personally or with respect to another person covered by the ethics policy shall make a written disclosure of the facts and circumstances surrounding the situation.
      2. For members of the Board, disclosure should be made to the General Counsel (TBR Policy, Section VII)
    2. Review of Disclosures
      1. Disclosures made under Section II by or about a member of the Board of Regents shall be evaluated by the Board or a duly appointed committee thereof. A member of the Board making a self-disclosure shall not be entitled to vote regarding the disposition of the disclosure. (TBR Policy, Section X)
    3. Hearing
      1. An appointed Board member accused of a material violation of this Code of Ethics is entitled to a due process contested case hearing in accordance with T.C.A. § 49-8-204(c).
    4. Removal
      1. Upon a finding in a contested case hearing that an appointed Board member materially violated the Code of Ethics, the appointed Board member may be removed from the Board by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board membership. (T.C.A. § 49-8-204 (b))



T.C.A. §§ 12-3-106; 49-8-101 et seq.; 49-8-203 et.seq.


TBR Board Meeting, December 5, 2003.

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