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General Policies

Reporting Concerns About Inappropriate Activities | Prohibited Relationships | Conflicts of Interest | Confidential Information | Swarthmore Name, Logo, and Letterhead | Solicitation | Employment of Family Members | Taking Courses at Swarthmore | Charitable Giving | Pets in the Workplace | Attendance at Student Parties and Social Events | Smoking/Vaping | Desks and Lockers | Computers and Electronic Communication | Intellectual Property Policy | Small Motorized E-VehiclesTravel | Personal Automobile Use | Social Media Guidelines

Reporting Concerns About Inappropriate Activities

Swarthmore College takes seriously its commitment to ensure a safe educational, living, and working environment. Our community places a high value on ethical behavior, individual responsibility, and personal integrity. As members of this community, we each have a responsibility to share concerns of inappropriate activity. For more information about identifying inappropriate activities, please see the Reporting Concerns about Inappropriate Activities web page.  

If you encounter or become aware of behavior that is inappropriate or unethical, there are several different ways you can share your concerns. You may contact a member of the President’s Staff, including the Provost, or the EO Officer directly if you believe you are being subjected to inappropriate demands or conditions. You may also contact any member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee of the Board of Managers by emailing if you are not comfortable contacting one of the aforementioned individuals.

External Whistleblower Hotline

If you do not feel comfortable with any of these options, the External Whistleblower Hotline (866- 292-7713)is a confidential avenue you may choose. This toll-free line is available 24/7. The line is managed by an outside company that will listen and direct your concern to the appropriate college official for prompt and corrective action. You may remain anonymous or you may choose to identify yourself. Regardless of your decision, your information will be documented and addressed appropriately. 

Bias Incident Reporting 

The purpose of the Bias Response Protocol is to establish an understanding of how Swarthmore College defines a “bias incident” and to identify and describe how the College responds to reports of bias incidents, harassment and hate crimes.

Issues related to diversity and inclusion are multidimensional and complex. The Swarthmore College community should expect that the definitions and procedures will continue to evolve. The College encourages active engagement by all community members in the ongoing conversations and efforts if we are to make real progress toward our goal of cultivating a diverse and inclusive learning environment. Shared responsibility is at the core of this goal. Learn more about the College’s Bias Incident, Harassment, and Hate Crime response.

Suspected Criminal Activity

Contact Public Safety directly to report suspicious or suspected criminal activity as well as emergencies that involve an immediate threat to person, property, or the College environment.

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Policy

Swarthmore College strives to safeguard the well-being of minors visiting campus and/or participating in College-sponsored programs. The College’s Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Policy addresses the mandatory reporting obligations of all individuals who are employed by the College including staff, instructional staff members (including faculty), independent contractors, volunteers, or any individual who provides a program, activity, or service sponsored by the College, when child abuse is suspected.  This policy also describes what to report and details on how to make a report. To understand your obligations, read the full Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Policy.


Swarthmore prohibits retaliation against anyone who makes a good faith effort to appropriately disclose perceived wrongdoing and the College makes every effort to redress such situations. Inappropriate activity can range from being asked to engage in a clearly illegal or unethical activity, such as falsifying research data; misdirecting College funds or resources; or requiring a staff member or student to do something that is clearly not related to their role at the college.

Prohibited Relationships

Romantic or sexual relationships between staff members and students or between a staff member and another employee, when one of the participants is in an evaluative, position of power or supervisory position over the other, are prohibited. 

New hires are required to disclose any relationship which could potentially violate this policy prior to or at the time an offer is extended.

Employees who are involved in a romantic or sexual relationship with a subordinate are required to disclose the relationship to Human Resources. In addition, prior to accepting a promotion or internal transfer to a position which would potentially result in a prohibited supervisory relationship, the employee is required to disclose the relationship to Human Resources to ensure there is no potential violation to this policy. Failure to disclose and respect these standards may be grounds for College action, up to and including termination of employment.

Options for Resolution

Complaints alleging a violation of this policy may be initiated by any individual, including either party in the prohibited relationship or a third party. The College may also initiate action on its own accord. If a complaint is raised, there will be no presumption that the relationship was welcome to the student or subordinate employee.

The College will conduct a prompt and equitable investigation and take appropriate remedial or disciplinary action. Where the complaint also involves behavior that may constitute sexual harassment, the complaint will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator for resolution under the Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy. To see the Instructional Staff’s (including faculty) Policy on Prohibited Relationships, visit the Provost’s office site on Handbooks and Other College Policy. Assistance and information relating to this policy are available from the Equal Opportunity Officer or the Vice President of Human Resources. 

Conflicts of Interest

We expect that staff members will not engage in activities that compromise the College's position or integrity through actions such as self-promotion, appropriation of the assets of the College, influence peddling, or abuses of confidence. Staff, who own or have an interest in an outside business, must annually disclose these outside interests to their supervisors, and should ensure that business activities are kept entirely separate from their employment at the College. Staff members may not solicit or conduct their outside business on College time or property, without prior written approval from their supervisor and senior staff member. The detailed Conflict of Interest Policy may be found here (pdf). 

Any activities and interests that are potential conflicts of interest require advance supervisory approval. Failing to report such activity immediately or continuing an activity if your supervisor has disapproved of it, is grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal.

Confidential Information

Accessing, without authorization, information that the College considers privileged or confidential, releasing such privileged or confidential information, or using such information for non-College purposes, violates College policy and is grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal.

Privacy and Security of Confidential Information

Swarthmore College is committed to respecting the privacy and confidentiality of personal data and information. Please review the Swarthmore College Privacy Notice to understand important information about your privacy at the College. 

The College’s formal Information Security Plan is designed to ensure the security, integrity, and confidentiality of non-public customer information, protecting it against anticipated threats, and guarding it against unauthorized access or use. 

An employee failing to comply with the security policies of the College could be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal and legal action for personal liability.

Swarthmore Name, Logo, and Letterhead

You may not use Swarthmore's name, seal, any of its authorized logo emblems, or College letterhead without authorization from the Vice President of Communications or their designee. Improper use for commercial, personal, organizational, or political gain is subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.


Except for authorized Swarthmore College charitable giving campaigns, such as advancement/development activities, direct solicitation (one individual directly and actively asking another individual for a contribution or a sale) by staff members of other staff members on Swarthmore time or in work areas is prohibited. Work time is defined as any time that those soliciting, or those being solicited, are supposed to be on duty. While we recognize that there are many charitable groups and activities that staff members willingly support, directly soliciting contributions or sales can easily turn into an uncomfortable situation when some staff do not wish to support a particular effort. 

Solicitation or distribution of unauthorized materials by anyone not employed by Swarthmore College is prohibited at all times and in all areas of the College.

Employment of Family Members

Employment of immediate family members in situations where one family member has direct influence over the other's conditions of employment is not permitted. If you are a manager or supervisor, relatives may not be hired in any position within your span of control, i.e., in any department that reports to you, or in any position reporting to a supervisor who reports to you. 

Immediate family for this purpose is defined as spouse, domestic or intimate partner, daughter, son, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, aunt, uncle, nieces, and nephews, including step-relations.

In some cases, a concern over conflict of interest may arise involving other relatives, such as relatives by marriage. In any case where you are unsure about a potential conflict, you should fully disclose the circumstances to Human Resources. Where such a conflict arises and there is no open position to which one staff person may be moved, one of the individuals may be unable to remain with the College.

Taking Courses at Swarthmore

Any full-time or part-time benefits-eligible staff member or their spouse or domestic partner may enroll, without charge, in one course each semester for non-degree credit or audit, depending upon the permissions of the staff member’s supervisor and the instructor of the course. All retired staff members of Swarthmore College are also eligible for this benefit. If an individual enrolls in two or more courses for credit in a semester, normal tuition or audit fees will be charged. In cases where a College staff member wants to attend an oversubscribed class, preference is normally given to degree candidates of the College. As an extension of Swarthmore College's inter-institutional agreements with Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College, courses at those institutions are also available, within limits, under this policy. All inquiries should be directed to the Registrar's Office.

Charitable Giving

Swarthmore College serves the community actively through its own educational, research, and community service mission. Because of our not-for-profit status and our primary role of service to the community, it is inconsistent with Swarthmore College's charter and policy to use College funds to make monetary contributions to other organizations or causes, including contributions for attendance at non-Swarthmore charitable fund-raising events. These guidelines are not intended to discourage individuals from making contributions of their own funds to charitable causes of their choice.

Pets in the Workplace

As a general policy, the College does not permit pets to be in the public areas of College buildings (research animals and guide dogs/service animals excepted). The College will permit staff members to have their pets inside their private office, as long as this does not present any health and safety concern to others in the building and is not unreasonably disruptive to the regular work environment. These pets cannot be allowed to wander outside the office into public areas.  Employees who do bring their pets to work are wholly responsible for making sure that their offices remain clean.

Administrative offices open to the public during working hours are considered public spaces and thus pets may not be brought into these areas. 

The privilege of bringing a pet to work (excluding service animals) is subordinate to the health, safety, and comfort of persons who may come into contact with animals at the office.  An animal may be excluded from the office if it:

  • causes any person to experience allergic reactions, fear, or any other physical or psychological   discomfort;
  • distracts any employee from their work; or
  • reduces any employee’s productivity or quality of work.

Pets on College Grounds

All dogs on College property, except for the Crum Woods area, must be leashed. In the woods area, the Borough leash law shall apply—pets must be leashed or under voice control.

Attendance at Student Parties and Social Events

Student parties and social events are intended for students and their invited guests. Staff should not be present unless their attendance is directly related to their role and responsibilities as an employee of the College. Inappropriate attendance will be considered misconduct and subject to disciplinary action.


Smoking/vaping is prohibited in all indoor public spaces throughout the campus, including classrooms, laboratories, libraries, lounges, hallways, and stairwells. Smoking/vaping is prohibited within 25 feet of entrances to buildings as this creates a second-hand smoke zone for others entering or leaving the building.

Desks and Lockers

The College provides desks, lockers, and other storage space such as filing cabinets for many staff in the course of their work. Such storage space is the property of the College. The College reserves the right to have access to that space as needed. There should be no expectation of personal privacy in such spaces. Do not keep valuable or confidential personal items at work. The College is not responsible for your personal items.

Computers and Electronic Communication

Swarthmore College provides staff members with access to computers and electronic communication for the purpose of conducting the College's business. While Swarthmore College does not monitor the usage of these systems and equipment except for normal maintenance, such equipment, systems, and messages are the legal property of Swarthmore College. Therefore, the College can be required to provide legal authorities access to systems, equipment, and messages and is permitted to retrieve information for internal purposes. In the case of a clear institutional need (e.g., an internal investigation or the unanticipated absence of a staff member), the College reserves the right to retrieve and review the contents of an employee’s computer or electronic communications.

While the College makes reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of computers and electronic communications, the very nature of the technology makes it impossible for the College to guarantee privacy. It is possible that any communications created, sent, or retrieved, or even deleted may be retrieved and read by individuals other than the intended recipient.

Individuals with access to the Swarthmore College network have the following obligations and responsibilities: 

  • to respect the intellectual property of individuals and the College and
  • to protect computer accounts from unauthorized use by others.

Every account is provided for the use of a specific individual and may not be shared with nor loaned to others. Additionally, office computers are generally assigned to specific individuals for College-related work. For additional information, please review the College’s Information Technology Policies and Guidelines.

Notwithstanding Swarthmore College's right to read and retrieve any email, such messages should be treated as confidential by other staff members and accessed only by the intended recipient, or an authorized supervisor or other authorized representative of the College. Employees are not authorized to retrieve or read any email that is not sent to them. Email messages are subject to the same standards of professionalism as other types of communication and must not violate the College's policies regarding equal employment opportunity, discrimination, or harassment. For more information, see the Equal Employment Opportunity website. The email system is also subject to the College's non solicitation and confidentiality policies. 

Employees who violate these policies or who use the email system for improper purposes are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment. 

Following a separation of employment, the College will end an employee’s email access on the last day of employment or last day worked, depending upon the circumstances relating to the employee’s termination.

Intellectual Property Policy

The College’s Intellectual Property policy can be found on the ITS website.

Small Motorized E-Vehicles

Information regarding the use of small motorized electronic vehicles on campus can be found on the Fleet Management website.


Exempt Staff

All College-related travel must be authorized in advance by your department head. Additional travel-related policies are maintained by the Business Office.

Authorized and documented travel carries accidental death coverage while you are conducting College business out of town, within the provisions of the coverage. For more information on travel authorization, travel advances, allowable expenses, or expense reporting, contact your supervisor or the Budget office.

Non-Exempt Staff

For non-exempt staff that travels on College-related business for longer than one day, special Federal Wage and Hour regulations define how the staff member is paid for travel time. College guidelines follow explicitly the relevant regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Travel time on public transportation that occurs during the staff member’s normal work hours is paid at straight time, even if they occur on a Saturday or Sunday. For example: if your work schedule is 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and you travel on a Sunday between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., you would be paid for 2.5 hours of travel time, since your work schedule begins at 8:30 a.m.

Staff members will not be paid for travel time outside of their normal schedule, unless requested by their supervisor for legitimate business reasons. For example, if your supervisor requests that you travel from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on a Saturday, you would be paid for that travel time. If you chose to travel at that time for your convenience, the time would not be paid.

All hours worked while away on College business are paid at straight time, except for hours worked more than forty (40) in one week. Both work and travel time are considered in the calculation of overtime.

Personal Automobile Use

The College reimburses staff members for their position-related vehicle expenses (gas, auto insurance, etc.) by providing a fixed-rate mileage allowance. Find out more information in the Business Travel and Expense Policy.

Social Media Guidelines

To assist staff members in making responsible decisions about use of social media as it relates to the workplace and/or your professional identity or role, the College has established the following guidelines. 

Carefully review these guidelines and ensure your postings are consistent with the College’s Notice of Non-Discrimination and Statement of Equal Opportunity, Sexual Assault and Harassment, Privacy and Security of Confidential Information, Intellectual Property, FERPA, and applicable HIPAA policies. Inappropriate postings, including discriminatory remarks, harassment, and threats of violence, or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct, will not be tolerated and may subject the offending staff member to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Refrain from using social media while on work time or on equipment the College provides unless it is work-related as authorized by your manager or department. Do not use Swarthmore College email addresses to register on social networks, blogs, or other online tools for personal use.