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Code of Ethics for Members of Tennessee Board of Regents :

Policy/Guideline Area

Governance, Organization, and General Policies

Applicable Divisions

Board Members


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


  1. Governance Responsibilities
    1. Public Trust
      1. The Tennessee Board of Regents is charged by statute with governance of the state universities, community colleges, and colleges of applied technology in the state university and community college system. The state universities are also each subject to the authority of a local governing board of trustees. Regents hold a position of public trust and are expected to carry out their governance responsibilities in an honest, ethical, and diligent manner.
      2. To ensure effectiveness, the Regents must adhere to the strictest of ethical standards including, but not limited to, TBR Policy Conflict of Interest Policy for Regents.
    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 governance responsibilities.
      2. A Regent must regularly attend and actively participate in board and committee meetings and special assignments.
    3. Regent Authority 
      1. 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.
      2. As individuals, members shall not speak for the Board unless so specifically authorized by the Board.
    4. Regent Responsibilities
      1. Regents shall undertake with due diligence a critical analysis of risks and benefits of any matter coming before the Board for action. Regents shall promote a culture of constructive debate about major initiatives and transactions and shall require staff to provide information necessary to carry out their duty of care to act in the best interest of the system.
      2. When participating in meetings of the Board or its duly constituted committees, members are responsible for the entire System without regard for any congressional district or area of the state or for any individual institution within the system. In matters coming before the Board, members are enjoined from espousing the cause of any one institution over the interests of others or the System as a whole.
  2. Conflict of Interest
    1. Conflict of Interest 
      1. Regents shall abide by the Conflict of Interest Policy for Regents, as amended from time to time.
      2. 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 unlawful for any Regent to be financially interested in any contract or transaction affecting the interests of any institution governed by the board, or to procure, or be a party in any way procuring, the appointment of any relative to any position of financial trust or profit connected with the universities and colleges governed. A violation of this provision shall subject the member so offending to removal by the governor or the Board.
        2. 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.
        3. 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 knowingly accept any gift, favor or gratuity from any person or entity under contract with the system or one of its institutions or seeking a contract with the system or one of its institutions.
      2. Regents shall not knowingly accept any gift, favor or gratuity from any person or entity, including another Regent, that might affect or have the appearance of affecting a Regent’s judgment in the impartial performance of the duties of office. However, this subsection shall not be construed to apply to a Regent’s incidental benefit from another Regent’s gift of money, property, or services to the system or one of its institutions or to any benefit commonly available to Regents by virtue of the office.
      3. 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 Regent’s Financial Interest Disclosure form with the General Counsel 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.
    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.
    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 the Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, T. C. A., Title 4, Chapter 5.
    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. Upon removal, the position shall be considered vacant, and the vacancy shall be filled as provided by law.



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


TBR Board Meeting, December 5, 2003; Revised TBR Board Meeting September 19 & 20, 2019.

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