Date: December 6, 2010
To: All Employees
From: Vivian Fernandez
Vice President Faculty and Staff Resources
Subject: Holiday Gifts and Receptions

As an institution, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, establishes policies which reflect our need to maintain public trust. During the holiday season, it is especially important to review university policies related to ethics and conflicts of interest since it is common for vendors to show appreciation to their customers by distributing gifts or extending invitations to social events.

In order to help determine what is appropriate, employees should refer to Code of Ethics for Administrative and Professional Staff Members and Conflicts of Interest – Faculty. These policies establish parameters for the acceptance of gifts or participation in social events sponsored by individuals or organizations that conduct business with the university.

In general, employees may accept gifts of nominal value, such as complimentary calendars, pens, or other items offered to the general public through mass mailings. However, these may only be accepted if their use does not create the impression of an endorsement. Employees may not accept personal gifts or items of value from individuals or organizations that conduct business with the university. If an employee does receive such items, they must be returned. Perishable items received as gifts may be donated to a local charity instead of returning them to the vendor. In all cases, a note should be sent to the vendor explaining why the gift could not be accepted, and indicating whether the gift is enclosed for return or has been donated to charity. Employees also should refrain from attending vendor holiday parties and receptions that primarily serve a social purpose.

Please refer to the Rutgers University ethics website for more detail on what is considered appropriate behavior by university employees.