Compliance Chats

To help make compliance a little more relevant to the everyday, “Compliance Chat” videos are informal conversations where Senior Institutional Compliance Liaison Mary Gower meets with subject matter experts covering frequently asked compliance questions and issues in quick, bite-sized clips.

Compliance Training Videos

Protection of Minors

[August 2023] The increasing volume of minors in youth camps, UA events, middle-colleges and other affiliated programs underscore the significance of protective measures for the well-being of these younger students within the university environment. Under Board of Regents’ policy Chapter 09.12 – Protection of Minors, the university provides a policy and regulation framework designed to ensure the safety of minors participating in programs, events, and activities.


I'm here with Bridget Ballou and Jesse Benton to discuss protection minors at the University. As you walk around campus you likely have noticed the growing number of students under the age of 18 in class, in Residence Life, and in other Student Activities.

"Protection of Minors" is a set of policies and measures aimed at keeping individuals under 18 safe and secure when they're on our campuses. Such policies reflect the institution's commitment to maintaining a secure and supportive space for all members of the campus community.


Three key things university employees need to know about minors attending the university are:

  • Some university employees involved in the protection of minor processes are "mandated reporters." The list of included employees is sent in Statue set by the state, which may change over time.

However everyone is encouraged to report whether they are a mandatory reporter or not.

Mandatory reporters must submit a report to the state of Alaska's Office of Children's Services within 24 hours a reasonable cause to respect that a child has suffered harm as a result of abuse or neglect. This includes reporting requirements and follow-up investigation after the event has taken place, as well as here at UA, we report all concerns to the Equity and Compliance Office.

  • Training and certification. Certain work teams and departments that frequently interact with minors, such as admissions teams assisting minors regularly, should provide staff with appropriate training and certification to handle situations involving minors effectively and responsibly.

  • Employees need to start the Protection of Minors process at least 30 days prior to a minor event taking place on campus. Give yourself and your team or department plenty of time, because the process can involve multiple employees, work teams, background checks, and collaboration with external partners. 


Employees should be aware that certain activities involving minors may require heightened levels of supervision and additional mitigation processes. These could lead to different procedures, potential timeline delays, and the need for specific authorizations.

Decisions on such activities may be based on risk assessments, staffing considerations, equipment requirements or insurance coverage, among other factors. When volunteers and protection of minors activities are combined, there are additional procedures and authorizations that are needed.

These could involve risk management assessments, Title IX training, waivers and more, to ensure the safety and well-being of minors involved.

As a best practice to protect both employees and minors, avoid being isolated or alone with a minor at any time. If such situations are unavoidable, employees should take steps to ensure the safety of both parties. For assistance in developing action plans for such scenarios, employees can reach out to their Protection of Minor’s contact.

The upcoming new protection of minors policy will require a minimum of two supervising adults to be present at every event involving minors, although there will be some exceptions.

Documentation and the retention of all records is vital to meet all the laws related to protection of minors.


If you see something of concern please make a report to the Office of Children's Services and notify your Protection of Minors contact. 

If you see something of concern, please make a report to the Office of Children's Services and notify your Protection of Minors contact.


Reports of concern can be made to the Office of Children’s Services:

(1-800-478-4444) phone

(907-269-3939) fax


Protection of Minors Contacts

UAA: Bridget Ballou,, (907) 786-1331

UAF: Jessy Benton,, (907) 474-6015,

UAS: Ryan Sand,, (907) 796-6015

Additional topics covered monthly

Additional topics covered monthly

Additional topics covered monthly

Videos 1-7 Covering the Executive Branch Ethics Act

As university employees, the Executive Branch Ethics Act (EBEA) provides us guidance for safely navigating situations such as compliant employment and contracting with the university, and serves as our Standards of Ethical Conduct.

#7 Partisan Political Activity

[July 2023] In recent times, university employees have become increasingly aware of the guidelines and restrictions surrounding their political activities. It is essential to understand the parameters set by the Executive Branch Ethics Act, and Board of Regents’ policy about partisan political  activities. This latest installment of the "Compliance Chat" video series provides a brief yet comprehensive overview of the guidelines aimed at avoiding potential issues concerning political activity.


The Executive Branch Ethics Act states that UA employees cannot use any UA resources - meaning funds, facilities, equipment, services - for partisan political purposes. That phrase “partisan political purposes” has a specific meaning. It's the intent to differentially benefit or harm a candidate, or potential candidate, for elective office; or a political party; or a political group. It does not include having the intent to benefit the public at large, through the normal performance of our official duties.

This includes municipal elections as well. Even though municipal elections are supposed to be nonpartisan, they still fall within this definition of partisan political activity; so using UA resources to support a candidate still counts as partisan political activity even if it's a municipal election.


Isn't that an infringement on our right to engage in political activity?

The EBEA doesn't tell us that we cannot endorse candidates, or campaign, or make donations in our individual capacities - we still have all those individual rights - it just says that we cannot use our access to UA resources for those activities. Employees can endorse a particular candidate or take a position for or against a ballot proposition in their individual capacity; it just says that they can't use UA resources in order to do so.


I've seen candidate debates on campus, is that permissible?

A candidate debate, as long as all the candidates are invited and treated equivalently, does not have the intent to benefit or harm any individual candidate, so does not violate the statute. And the people who within the university are working to set up those candidate forums are working to benefit the public interest at large through the normal performance of their official duties as long as they don't manifest any favoritism in setting those events up.


What about political rallies or party conventions held on campus?

If there's a meeting room, or arena, or other facility that UA offers to rent out to individuals, or businesses, or other entities, those facilities can be rented out on equal terms for a campaign, or a political party, or a political group. As it's got to be on the same terms, and it's got to be on the same price that we would be willing to let it go out for a business convention or something like that. And we have to be willing to offer that same arrangement to any of the candidates running against that person. We would need to rent facilities out to campaigns in the same way that we would rent them out to any other entity.


Displaying or distributing partisan political material while engaged in an official UA business is not permissible. If you are working off-site, you can have the campaign materials in your own home work area, just keep the materials out of the background when you're on an official Zoom call.

Activities on your own time and away from your work area, such as employees that wish to waive campaign signs on a street corner during their lunch time, are okay as long as you aren't using any UA resources. So if you want to campaign, you can take personal leave or faculty time off and use that time for campaigning away from your work area. The university does not limit that to unpaid leave.

Employees can have their name listed in a campaign ad, but we recommend you not include your UA affiliation or if your picture is going to appear in the ad don't have it taken by some UA Landmark or containing a UA logo.

It can be appropriate to list your profession, like college professor, since UA is not the only college in Alaska, but avoid mentioning the University of Alaska by name.


What about legislators visiting a campus?

Legislators often have very good reasons to visit a campus to learn more about a particular program, or learn more about the university in general, that's not a violation of the EBEA. And we can arrange events to give legislators a tour or something like that.

We do try to be careful to caution the legislator not to turn the visit into a campaign event and similarly a political science professor might want to have a legislator come in to give a guest lecture on some topic - that furthers UA's educational mission, and that's permissible; again assuming we're careful to avoid having it turned into a campaign activity.


What if I write an email to a legislator from my UA email address about an important topic, would that get me into trouble?

We recommend for several reasons that when you're going to be writing to a legislator that you use your private email address for that and do so outside business hours. 

There are many reasons for that:

  1. It's too easy to inadvertently step across the line between lobbying and electioneering. If I am telling a legislator “I want you to support this bill that's lobbying and that's not prohibited by the EBEA but if that email says I want you to support this bill and if you don't I'm going to start making contributions to whoever your next opponent is.” In this example I've crossed that line -- that's electioneering, and I can't use UA resources for that.

  2. Using a UA email address can convey the impression that I'm speaking on behalf of the University. Regents' policies state that if I'm communicating with a legislator or with someone in the governor's office, the president has to authorize that kind of official communication. Even though it might not amount to a violation of the partisan political activity prohibition, it would violate this other Regents' policy about being an official spokesperson on behalf of the University.

  3. Even if my email says I'm just talking in my personal capacity, for example because I'm on the board of my kids soccer league and I want support for funding intramural sports, remember the EBEA prohibits us from using UA resources to further our personal or financial interests. So even though it may not be partisan political activity, if I'm using UA resources to further my personal interests, that's still forbidden by the EBEA entirely aside from whether it's partisan political activity or not.

  4. Even if it's something on which the president has authorized me to write an email to legislators – and this frequently comes up when somebody is targeting the university budget for cuts, and the president will say "we want to encourage you to have your input to the Senate finance committee or the house finance committee on this" some legislators when they see an email coming with a UA email address down at the bottom will discount those points that you're trying to make in the email.

  5. Sometimes we get complaints from legislators who have gotten emails from a UA email address and we have to investigate those and even though if we look at them and decide this is not partisan political activity, it still takes time and resources to conduct that investigation, and so our strong recommendation is if you if you want to write to a legislator it's almost always preferable to do so using your private email.

Those aren't all the reasons, but they're some of the more important reasons why we always encourage if you're writing to a legislator or to somebody in the executive branch use your private email for that rather than a UA email.


What about students who are not University of Alaska employees, but they use their UA email address to engage in partisan political activities?

Well, the executive branch ethics act says that even though the students themselves if they're not employees are not bound by the EBEA, we cannot either use, or authorize the use by somebody else, of UA resources. So if we learn of a student who has been sending out partisan political activity we do have a responsibility to not authorize that use by contacting the student and saying we would respectfully request that you refrain from using UA emails for partisan political activity.


Student political clubs are allowed to use their own funds, including funding they have may have from the student government, in order to engage in partisan political activity that's why they exist in the first place as long as they don't abuse that discretion by doing something that would violate the EBEA or other provisions of law like trying to disguise funds that do come to the student political club from a political party.

But they do have more flexibility to engage than what we as University employees would be able to do as far as the political activity.


What if an employee wants to run for public office?

Well an employee doesn't have to resign from the University in order to run for office but may have to resign if they win.

If you're going to run you should disclose that as an outside activity through the outside activity disclosures that we've previously discussed, and the same is true if you're going to be a Treasurer or other have some other official role in somebody else's campaign. If you win, you may need to resign at that point.

State legislators are not allowed to hold a position of profit with the state, so would have to resign from a full-time UA position before getting sworn in as a legislator.

Under certain narrow circumstances you might be allowed to continue to teach courses as an adjunct as long as it is temporary and non-salaried, but that's a fairly narrow exception. For the most part people who get elected to a municipal board or to a school board don't have to resign but would need to report that also as an outside activity.

If you get elected mayor it depends on whether it's a full-time job or not. If it is a full-time job as mayor then it may be not compatible to work full-time for both the mayor's office and for the University. Not because of any partisan political activity prohibition, but because the outside activity rules make it virtually impossible for any UA employee to have two full-time jobs.


For more information check out the general counsel ethics website

If you have ideas for future compliance chats please send them to

#6 Misuse of Official Position

[June 2023] At the University of Alaska issues such as misuse of official position are addressed in the Executive Branch Ethics Act (EBEA). Regarding our use of our official positions, the EBEA states that employees may not “use, or attempt to use, an official position for personal gain, and may not intentionally secure or grant unwarranted benefits or treatment for any person.”


"Misuse of Official Position" has some very similar aspects to the topic of "Improper Influence in Grants, Contracts, Leases and Loans" which we already talked about.

The Grants, Contracts, Leases and Loans statute is narrower in the sense that it only deals with Grants, Contracts, Leases and Loan whereas Misuse of Official Position statute talks about any kind of matter, not just one of those four.

But the Grants, Contracts, Leases and Loans statute is also a little broader in that it prohibits me from holding a specific UA position affecting a personal or financial interest in a particular grant, contract, lease or loan. Whereas with respect to Misuse of Official Position, it tells me rules that I have to abide by, things that I cannot reach out and try to do, but it wouldn't make me leave that particular position with the university.


An example: It's best to think of Grants, Contracts, Leases and Loans in terms of nepotism. If my son and I are both working for the same unit, then he cannot be my supervisor no matter how careful he's being to treat me the same as all his other direct reports. That's just a rule, period, that he cannot be in that position.


How is the Misuse of Official Position statute different?

There's a general rule that we may not use or attempt to use our official positions for personal gain, and may not secure or grant unwarranted benefits or treatment for any person.

And that is followed by six specific prohibitions.

The sixth needs its own chat as that deals with Partisan Political Activity which can take some time to cover.


Number one is we cannot seek other employment or contracts through the use or attempted use of our official position.

What you cannot do is to use your official position to provide somebody with any favors in order to get that job offer as a quid pro quo.


Example, implying that a letter of reference is tied to whether or not a position is open.

It's okay for me to write letters of recommendation, and it's okay for me to inquire about job openings, but once I link those two together and imply that how the letter comes out might depend on whether I got a job offer that's prohibited.

Similarly,  if I'm steering University business towards a company with an understanding that they'll hire me after I leave the university, that's prohibited.


Two, a UA employee cannot accept receive or solicit compensation for the performance of official UA duties or responsibilities from anybody else other than the University.

That could include a $5 tip - or any compensation. Don't accept anything of value offered as compensation for your University work.


They can make a contribution to the university, but not to me as an individual.


What if I'm being compensated for work that I did for another employer and not the University?

As long as you disclose that as an Outside Activity, and got that approved, you're OK. That's why it's important that outside activity occurs away from regular UA work time.


The third one is a UA employee cannot use UA time, property, equipment, or other facilities to benefit personal or financial interests.

Example: using UA vehicle on the weekend.

It applies to any significant property.


The fourth, an employee cannot take or withhold official action in order to affect a manner in which the public officer has a personal or financial interest.

That is one point of difference between this statute and the Grants, Contracts, Leases, Loans statute

If the matter in which you have an interest does not concern a grant, contract, lease, or loan, then your job can still include duties concerning that matter as long as you were very careful to individually avoid taking or withholding action anytime that matter comes up.


Remember the definition of official action is very broad and can include any involvement advice, assistance or recommendation.

So that broad definition of "official action" means that we have to be very careful.


The fifth one is, we cannot attempt to benefit a personal or financial interest through coercion of a subordinate, or require another University employee to perform services for our private benefit at any time.


Example my employees have offered to help me stain my deck, is that ok? What if I pay them?

If it's truly voluntary on their part, there's no violation. But if you bring it up as their supervisor it may be received as a thinly veiled requirement.

So if you need help it should be from someone other than your subordinate.

Regarding compensation, the rule still applies, though paying them does make it seem less likely that you are coercing them, or are requiring them since they could say no more readily.


What if the helpers are students?

You should apply the same rule as to any student over whom you have any kind of authority.

There isn't a specific definition of subordinates in the statute, but we don't want UA employees to be trying to coerce students any more than we want them to be trying to coerce direct reports.

If you have ideas for future compliance chats, please email them to

#5 Restrictions Post-Employment

[May 2023] Most obligations under the Executive Branch Ethics Act end with the termination of university employment with two exceptions.  This includes (1) the information that we glean from our UA official duties and (2) the other has to do with advice, assistance, and representation. 



If an employee is about to retire or leave the university to take another job, does that mean that their Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act obligations are complete at that point?

For the most part, yes. Bear in mind if you're going to work for another employer, that employer may have their own ethical obligations and in particular if you go to work for the State of Alaska you'll be bound by the same Executive Branch Ethics Act that governs us as UA employees.  But, for the most part, once we leave employment with the university we don't have to follow the EBEA anymore but with two exceptions.  This includes (1) the information that we glean from our UA official duties and (2) the other has to do with advice, assistance, and representation.

  1. Current and former employees have an obligation to continue keeping confidential that information that is confidential by law and also to refrain from using or disclosing any information that might have any benefit for myself or for an immediate family member. And those obligations still apply even after the employee leaves university employment. The obligation to keep confidential that information that is confidential by law is indefinite and permanent.
  2. For two years after leaving UA employment employees cannot advise, assist, or represent someone on a matter that was under consideration by the administrative unit for which they worked, and in which they personally and substantially participated. This exception is temporary and it's also waivable and it doesn't really come up very often.


Examples of prohibited post-employment activity for a period of two years after you leave employment include:

  • Employee is on a hiring committee; a dissatisfied job applicant is thinking about suing the university and wants to hire this employee to be a consultant.
  • Employee was on the selection committee for a contract award or otherwise participated personally substantially in it; one of the people or businesses who put in a proposal that was not selected wants to pay the employee to be an expert witness.  
  • Employee was on a grade review committee;  and the student wants to appeal that determination to Superior Court and wants to pay the employee to help write that appeal.
  • Employee helped write a university regulation or a Regent's policy;  outside employer wants to pay for employee’s help in lobbying the Board of Regents to change it. 


This rule applies only if it is for compensation. Compensation is defined pretty broadly so it also includes travel reimbursement.  But if it is something you are doing with no compensation at all then it is not a violation of the statute.  But, with or without compensation, you still have the duty to respect the information limitations.  So even if there's no compensation, you cannot disclose information that's confidential by law, or disclose or use information that could be of any benefit at all, whether financial or not, to yourself or a member of your immediate family.


The bar on assistance, advice, or representation only lasts for two years.  As we discussed earlier, if you are, in the course of providing this advice or assistance, drawing on information that's confidential or that could benefit you or a family member and has not been publicly disseminated yet, that information protection obligation remains in place. The restriction that is specific to advice, assistance or representation for compensation is two years. 


There's a specific provision in the statute that says that if it is the University that wants you to come back to work for them as a contractor, or maybe as an employee, then this prohibition doesn't apply. There are some wage and hour rules and retirement rules that might have limitations on how quickly you can do that but the ethical obligation doesn't apply if it's the same agency like the university that wants you to work on that issue. 

If it would be to work for someone else under this provision rather than the university, the former employee can apply to the university president to waive the bar of that statute if the university president is convinced that it's not adverse to the public interest. That waiver has to be submitted to the Attorney General's office for approval.

For more information, contact the General Counsel’s office (907-450-8080) or the Attorney General's office (907-269-5100).

#4 Avoiding Improper Influence

[April 2023] The EBEA states that “employees, or an immediate family member, may not attempt to acquire, receive, apply for, be a party to, or have a personal or financial interest in a state grant, contract, lease, or loan if the employee may take or withhold official action that affects the award, execution, or administration of the state grant, contract, lease, or loan.”


This section of the Executive Branch Ethics Act restricts employees and immediate family members from having a personal or financial interest in University or state contracts, grants, leases or loans if the employee may withhold or take action official action that would impact the outcome. 

It protects that principle in two ways: a disclosure requirement and a prohibition.

Disclosure requirement:

As UA employees we have to report in writing to the ethics supervisor a personal or financial interest held by ourselves, or our immediate family members, in any UA grant,  contract, lease, or loan, that is awarded, executed or administered by the university. 


As a UA employee neither myself, nor any immediate family member, may enter into, or try to enter into, or apply for, or have a personal or financial interest in, any university grant, contract, lease or loan if I may take or withhold official action that affects anything about that grant, contract, lease or loan.


Examples of issues that need to be disclosed:

The most common is if two immediate family members are each employed by the University, at least one of them has to disclose that in writing to the ethics supervisor. And this situation is so common that there's a specialized form we use for disclosure of employment of an immediate family member. Immediate family member(s) not employed by UA submitting a bid to become a private contractor would still be a personal or financial interest and need to be disclosed.


Can my immediate family member be an employee or a private contractor?

The disclosure requirement covers a broader array of contracts, grants, leases, or loans, than the prohibition does -- most of the disclosures made by employees are situations that are not prohibited. If the employee has any influence, even in an advisory role, over the grant, or contract, or lease, or loan, it triggers a prohibition. An advisory role is still official action.


If I don't have any influence at all, such as a decision made by a separate component of UA, is it prohibited?

Then although this still has to be disclosed, your immediate family member is not prohibited from applying for that, as long as neither immediate family member has any kind of supervisory role with respect to the other. In other words, is not in a position from which they can participate in any employment, or grievance, or compensation, retention, promotion, leave, or other personnel decisions concerning the other family member, then that's permissible.  The disclosure still has to be made, but no remedial action will be necessary beyond that. 

Possible scenarios:

  • If the immediate family member is trying to contract with the university on a matter that's completely unrelated to the employee’s position or authority the disclosure still has to be made, but they are not prohibited from applying. 
  • If the immediate family member would be prohibited from applying because the university-employed family member has a supervisory role, the ethics supervisor can make an assessment in that situation to explore if it's feasible to reassign duties away from the family member to someone else. If that is found to be feasible, that's the preferred solution to address a potential conflict.
  • If your immediate family member wants to apply for a position that you would normally supervise, then the ethics supervisor can work with your work supervisor to see if it is practical to take those particular supervisory duties away from your position, and assign them to another position. If it's practicable to do that, then the ethics supervisor writes up a formal memo to accomplish that, and once your work supervisor approves that reassignment memo, then you don't have that supervisory authority anymore. It's not always feasible to make that reassignment, but where it is, and where that's properly documented, that fixes the problem. 

#3 Use or disclosure of information

[February 2023] Everyday in our university jobs we hear and read interesting information and sometimes it can be difficult to figure out whether it is OK to share that information with friends and family members. As university employees, the Executive Branch Ethics Act provides guidance for these situations, and serves as our Standards of Ethical Conduct. 

Question One (00:09)

Does the duty not to use or disclose information apply only to information that is confidential by law?

No, and the duty not to use or disclose information has two parts.

Part one is limited to information that is confidential by law. Current and former employees can not use or disclose, without appropriate authorization, information that is confidential by law.

Examples of information that is confidential by law are:

Information that's protected by FERPA (student records) would be one obvious example. Basically if there is a law that says the University has a duty to keep information confidential, then all university employees have an ethical as well as a legal duty to keep that information confidential.

Part two is a little more involved. Even if the information is not confidential by law, if it is information that the employee received through their official duties, and if that information could in any way result in a benefit for the employee or the employee’s immediate family members, then the employee cannot use or disclose that information if the information has not been disseminated to the public.

This requirement is not limited to financial benefit. It includes anything that is to a person’s advantage or self-interests, or from which a person profits, regardless of the financial gains. So it includes financial benefits, but it also includes service, privilege, exemption, patronage, advantage, advancement, or really anything of value.

Question Two (01:50)

How far does the “immediate family member” group extend?

“Immediate family member” would include a spouse or domestic partner, child or children  (including stepchildren and adopted children), parent, sibling, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and my father-in-law, mother-in-law, or sibling-in-law. So if I, as a UA employee, have any information that could benefit somebody in that group and in that scope, then I cannot share it. Or if one of my immediate family members is employed at UA and that person has information that might benefit me, then they cannot share that information with me.

Question Three (02:28)

If I know of someone that is outside the University who has learned the protected information, does that count as being publicly disseminated?

No, the state regulations have a specific list of things that have to be met in order for information to be regarded as being publicly disseminated. If it has been distributed through a newspaper or other printed publication; through broadcast media; a press release; a newsletter; a legal notice; a nonconfidential court filing; a published report; a UA website; posting on the Alaska Online Public Notice System; a public speech; or public testimony before the legislature or an agency.

Information that has not gone public through one of those channels, even though it may have to be produced in response to a public records request,or it may have otherwise been accessed by a member of the general public, it has not been "disseminated" to the public. So we should not disclose or use it if it might benefit ourselves or our immediate family members.

Question Four (03:36)

Who do we report it to if we suspect that someone has shared protected information, and what are the consequences?

It should be reported to the ethics supervisor for the particular unit of the university for which you are working. And those are listed on the ethics website for the general counsel's office. It may also have to be reported some place else, if it entails a crime or Title IX violation or something like that, but the place to start would be the ethics supervisors. Disciplinary action for an employee sharing protected information would follow the same progressive discipline approach that any other violation of policy would for an employee.

Question Five (04:19)

After we stop working for the University, are we released from these obligations?

No, these requirements regarding the sharing of confidential information apply to current and former employees. Most provisions of the Executive Branch Ethics Act stop being applicable to us when we stop working for the university, but these particular provisions apply to former employees. So even after leaving the university's service you still have these obligations to keep that information confidential.

If you have ideas for future compliance chats, please email them to

#2 Outside Activity or Employment 

[January 2023] It’s important that employees be familiar with the guidance that covers the reporting requirements and restrictions on outside employment. All UA employees, full or part-time, are subject to the outside employment restrictions set forward under the Executive Branch Ethics Act (EBEA), which serves as UA’s Standards of Ethical Conduct and its implementing regulations published by the Department of Law.  

Scenario one: (00:26)

Kaya is a UA faculty member and is contacted by John Hopkins University to work on a research project on a part time basis. What are the steps that Kaya needs to take in considering this opportunity and making sure that she's compliant?

First Kaya should talk informally to her work supervisor about the prospect and about any potential drawback.

Then get a form for disclosure of activities outside the University of Alaska and answer the questions. Once signed it goes to the supervisor for approval and then to the designated ethics supervisor who reviews the whole package for compliance.

Note UA resources are not to be used for outside work.

Scenario two: (2:30)

Sam is a supervisor and receives a disclosure form of outside activities or employment. What are the top three things that he should keep in mind when looking to approve or to possibly not approve this request?

One: whether the outside activity will take time away from the employee’s official university duties.

Two: whether they're going to limit the scope of the employee's official university duties.

Three: whether the outside activity is otherwise incompatible or in conflict with the discharge of the employee's university duties.

Scenario three: (3:17)

If a UA employee takes outside employment to supplement their income is there a limit to the number of hours they can work?

General guidelines are that employment under 10 hours is not generally regarded as interfering with the employee's primary duties to the university.

If the outside activity is taking 27.5 hours or more per week, the ethics supervisor will have to look closely to see how the employee and the work supervisor are working to manage that time commitment without interfering with the university duties.

In between that 10 hours and 27.5 hours, deference will be given to the work supervisor's judgment about how well the particular employee will manage the commitment while giving primary attention to their UA duties.

If outside work is occurring during regular university work time the employee may need to take annual leave or faculty time off, or adjust their regular working hours with their supervisor's permission.

Scenario four: (5:13)

What about volunteer work?

Some volunteer work should be reported if it takes time away from the employee's official duties; limits the scope of the employee's official duties; or is otherwise incompatible or in conflict with the proper discharge of the employee's official duties. Employees should report official positions within outside organizations (e.g. Board Membership, Officer position).

Scenario five: (6:13)

Outside the July 1 annual reporting requirement when does an employee need to file a report?

The statute requires that the report be made annually, around July 1st, even if nothing has changed about the outside activity.

If an employee takes on a new outside activity, or there are significant changes to a current activity, then a new disclosure needs to be made.

If you have any ideas for future "Compliance Chats" please go ahead and email us at

#1 Gifting Guidelines for UA Employees

[December 2022] As we are nearing the holidays, in this inaugural "Compliance Chat" Mary Gower is joined by Andrew Harrington to discuss gifting compliance guidelines. They address four scenarios about employees receiving gifts and the best way to handle each situation.

Scenario one: (00:22)

A software vendor is taking their top university clients out for an expensive dinner. How should one proceed?

You should politely decline the invitation, or if you decide to go, you should insist on paying for your own $100 dinner rather than accepting the gift. As university employees we're not allowed to accept or receive gifts under circumstances in which it would reasonably be inferred that the gift is intended to influence our professional actions, or decisions, or judgment.

Scenario two: (01:28)

An employee at convocation wins  a university sweatshirt. What do they need to do?

As long as it was somebody from the university who was tossing out the sweatshirts, you're fine keeping the sweatshirt, and you don't have to report that as a gift. Anything that you get from our employer is not a gift. The Executive Branch Ethics Act focuses on gifts from third parties intended to influence our actions or judgment.

NOTE: While gifts from UA to its employees need not be reported under the EBEA, UA under certain circumstances may have to report the gift value to the IRS as employee income.  This applies to any cash or cash equivalent gift regardless of amount, and to non-cash gifts that exceed a de minimis value.

Scenario three (02:30)

A vendor sent me a tower of holiday treats with meats and cheeses - a $250 value. Can I keep this gift? Do I need to do any reporting on it?

You will need to report it. Take the perishables and try to give them to the food bank, or the soup kitchen: someplace that will be able to take advantage of them, because you cannot keep it for yourself. Next best would be to treat it as a gift to the entire university, and distribute those as widely as possible among your department, or your unit, or your university. Send a polite thank you note saying that you will not be able to accept gifts like that in the future.

(03:52) I see less expensive gifts over the holidays like a tin of popcorn, or a box of cookies, or things like that. Do those have the same rules?

State law says that a gift of under $150 does not need to be reported; and an occasional gift of fifty dollars or less is not presumed to be designed to influence our official actions or judgment. 

The university has a stricter standard. We're not supposed to accept any gifts from any entity that go above the level of something like a coffee cup or a pen or a calendar.

Scenario four (04:45)

I'm at a conference, and they do a drawing for next year's registration - thousand dollar value - and my name is drawn. How do I handle that in regards to compliance?

As long as that registration discount is available to the university rather than to you personally, then you can accept that, and whoever the university may decide to send the next year can take advantage of that discount. It's not benefiting your own personal or financial interest, that's benefiting the university.

Where do people go for more information? (06:12)

The General Counsel's office has a website specific to the Executive Branch Ethics Act and associated university policies.

The state of Alaska has its own website specializing in the Executive Branch Ethics Act.

For each one of the universities the HR senior business partner serves as the ethics designee. Or you can contact the General Counsel office. such as the Executive Branch Ethics Act (EBEA). Acceptance of gifts is covered in the EBEA, which serves at UA’s Standards of Ethical Conduct.  



NOTE:  While gifts from UA to its employees need not be reported under the EBEA, UA under certain circumstances may have to report the gift value to the IRS as employee income. This applies to any cash or cash equivalent gift regardless of amount, and to non-cash gifts that exceed a de minimis value.