1.05 Standards of Conduct

Policy 1.05

Policy: Berklee aspires to foster a campus-wide climate of respect and awareness in which all members of our diverse community operate in a manner that is characterized by the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct. To support this goal, Berklee has established a code of conduct and has identified principles of behavior that support Berklee’s mission, values, and expectations. All individuals associated with the Berklee community are expected to perform their duties honestly, responsibly, and in accordance with the highest professional standards and business ethics. All individuals associated with the Berklee community should exhibit personal and professional conduct that is characterized by integrity, dignity, civility, and respect.

Ethical business practices and professional conduct require a motivation to act at all times in a manner of which Berklee can be proud. This standard requires adherence to all applicable laws, regulations, and Berklee policies. 

This policy is not intended to restate all policies and procedures that govern ethical behavior. The policies and procedures themselves should be consulted as necessary. Berklee’s Human Resources policies can be found in the Human Resources Policy Manual. The student code of conduct can be found in the Student Code of Community Standards.

Regardless of whether a certain situation is described in this policy, all individuals are expected to adhere to the highest standards of ethical behavior that is the hallmark of Berklee.

Ethical, Professional Business Behavior

As noted above, Berklee is committed to conducting its operations in accordance with the highest professional, ethical, and legal standards. Individuals are expected to treat students, each other, customers, and vendors with respect and dignity. 

Specific examples include, but are not limited to the following: 

Email and Electronic Communications

Berklee provides staff members access to a Berklee email account for the primary purpose of conducting necessary Berklee business. Email is the official means of communicating throughout campus. As such, staff members are expected to use good judgment and a professional, respectful approach when sending messages to others. The informality of email and other means of electronic communication may lead individuals to be more casual than they would otherwise be. However, electronic messages may be subject to discovery and/or subpoena for investigatory or legal matters. Staff should take care in the tone and content of their email and other electronic communications.


Berklee prohibits discrimination and sexual or other types of harassment or abusive behavior. Instances of such discrimination or harassment should be reported to a manager, Human Resources, the Office of Student Affairs, or the Office of Academic Affairs. Each individual is responsible for becoming familiar with Berklee’s Equity Policy.


Bullying refers to the repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals or a group, directed toward an employee or student or a group of employees or students, that are intended to intimidate and create a risk to the health or safety of the individual(s). Bullying includes behavior that intimidates, degrades, offends, or humiliates another individual, often in the presence of others. Bullying typically involves an ongoing pattern of behavior that creates feelings of defenselessness in the target and undermines an individual’s right to dignity in the workplace or learning environment. Actions that use information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group and that is intended to harm others is a form of bullying. 

Workplace Violence

Berklee prohibits threatening or abusive behavior in the workplace. Workplace violence is defined as behavior which creates a work environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, violent, or abusive, regardless of whether the behavior may affect a person’s psychological or physical wellbeing. Instances of such behavior should be reported to a manager, the Office of Public Safety, Human Resources, the Office of Student Affairs, or the Office of Academic Affairs. Each individual is responsible for becoming familiar with Berklee’s prevention of violence policy.

Substance-Free Workplace

As a drug-free workplace, Berklee prohibits the unauthorized manufacture, possession, use, sale, or distribution of drugs in the workplace. Working while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any illegal substances is also prohibited.

Smoke-Free Workplace

Consistent with Berklee’s responsibilities under the Massachusetts Smoke-Free Workplace Law, M.G.L. Chapter 270, section 22, and our commitment to promoting the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff, smoking, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and e-cigarettes is prohibited inside all Berklee facilities, including the residence halls, and is prohibited within 25 feet of an exit, entrance, or operable window of any campus building. In recognizing the health risks of people who smoke and the hazards of second-hand smoke to nonsmokers, it is our expectation that all members of the Berklee community comply with Berklee’s commitment to a smoke-free workplace. 


Business decisions should be made on the basis of quality, service, price, and similar competitive factors. Individuals should avoid even the appearance that decisions were influenced by business courtesies. In the course of carrying out their responsibilities to Berklee, individuals may be offered personal gifts, tips, or money by students, parents, visitors, or vendors. Individuals should not give, seek, or accept in connection with Berklee’s business any of the following: 1) any type of compensation; 2) any monetary gifts, financial assets, or gratuities, regardless of the amount; or 3) any other gift or gratuity of more than nominal value, including meals, entertainment, living accommodations, trips, or personal favors and preferences. “Nominal value” means of a value less than $200 accepted infrequently. Individuals may pay for and accept non-monetary gifts and customary business amenities of a nominal amount, like meals and tickets to athletic events, if intended to foster goodwill and not to influence a business decision. If an individual is offered or receives a gift that they suspect does not comply with this policy, the individual should report it to a manager or Human Resources.


Individuals must treat all information obtained through their association with Berklee with the utmost care. Student information is confidential as a matter of law and may be shared only with authorized persons in accordance with all laws and regulations, as outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for the United States and the Organic Law 15/1999 of December 13 for Spain. Berklee also complies with and enforces the standards for the protection of personally identifiable information (PII), as specified by Massachusetts privacy laws, the payment card industry, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for the United States.

All software, information, and information technology of Berklee is the property of Berklee. Berklee reserves the right to enter and monitor all computer files, including electronic mail, for business purposes at its discretion, such as investigating theft, misuse, disclosure of information, and/or personal abuse of computers or software. 

Other confidential matters warrant appropriate care to ensure their protection. These include business information about Berklee learned through one’s employment, proprietary information about any organization with which Berklee does business, and information about an individual’s employment benefits and compensation, except pursuant to established Human Resources policies and practices.

Conflict of Interest and Professional Relationships

Individuals should avoid any activity that may constitute or have the appearance of constituting a conflict of interest with the mission or interests of Berklee. A conflict of interest occurs when behavior or actions impair or give the appearance of impairing an individual’s ability to make fair and objective decisions when conducting the business of Berklee or developing our students through the course of their studies. 

Employees shall devote time and effort to Berklee activities in accordance with their agreed-upon time commitments. Because individuals may have diverse financial and professional interests, it may require considerable care to avoid a conflict of personal interests with those of Berklee. There may be instances in which an individual is asked to recuse oneself to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Berklee assets, equipment, and opportunities should be used for the advancement of Berklee activities only and not for private use, whether it be production, performance, or teaching.

Use of the Berklee Trademark

Berklee is a registered trademark in the United States, European Union, Japan, Korea, and other countries. Individuals may not, without Berklee’s prior written consent from the Office of Communications and Marketing or the senior vice president for Academic Affairs/provost, use any symbol, logo, or graphic used by or associated with Berklee for personal use. Individuals may not use the Berklee name as part of a personal email address, website, domain name, or social media presence.  

Endorsements of External Entities and Products

Many requests for promotional materials or endorsements are made from outside vendors with whom individuals at Berklee have a professional relationship. Individual endorsements can be mutually beneficial to a Berklee employee and to the vendor. However, such endorsements can also lead to misunderstandings and to the misuse of Berklee’s name. It should be very clear that these endorsements do not represent Berklee broadly, but the specific individual instead. Promotional material that identifies an employee of Berklee as an endorser, but does not give an opinion concerning the quality of a product as associated with Berklee as an institution is permissible. Promotional material that gives an opinion about the quality of a product or service is only permissible when done by an individual in their personal capacity.

Workplace Safety and Environmental Protection

Because Berklee values the safety and health of its employees and students, compliance with all occupational health and safety regulations and recognized industry standards is critical. It is Berklee’s policy to comply fully and to have individuals perform their duties in accordance with all applicable statutes, ordinances, regulations, orders, and permits relating to public health, safety, and the environment.

Berklee protects the environment by promoting cost-effective business practices and strives to meet or exceed all environmental laws and regulations; minimize waste; ensure proper disposal of waste; promote recycling of materials; eliminate emissions of dangerous substances into the air, water, or earth; encourage the use of alternative transportation; purchase products that contain recycled materials and are recyclable or reusable; and cause the least environmental harm during manufacturing, use, and disposal.

Principles of Financial Management

Individuals who are involved in managing Berklee assets have a responsibility to ensure that accounting standards and principles are properly and consistently followed, including, but not limited to generally accepted accounting principles and requirements, and to ensure that the highest standards of financial management and ethics are upheld. 

Reporting Violations

Berklee has mechanisms in place to permit individuals to report violations in good faith without fear of retaliation. If an individual becomes aware of any violation of this code of conduct or of any other violations, they should report the matter to:

  • a supervisor, manager, or vice president. All complaints will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.
  • Human Resources. Complaints may be made to the senior director of employee relations and staffing, or the vice president of Human Resources by calling 617-747-2375. All complaints will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.

Each report will be handled with the highest degree of sensitivity and confidentiality to the extent permitted by law and sound business practice. An individual may file a complaint about policies, practices, systems, and violations of state or federal law with any of the above offices. Complaints related to fraud, abuse, or misuse of Berklee resources or assets, conflict of interest, or violation of Berklee codes, local or federal laws, accounting, financial reporting, internal controls, or auditing may also be reported to the entities listed above. 

The Ethics Point Hotline is an additional means for all members of our community, including our Valencia campus and outside vendors and individuals, to anonymously and confidentially report activities that may involve criminal, unethical, or otherwise inappropriate activity or behavior. Complaints may be filed through this hotline by calling 888-286-5092 toll-free within the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Complaints may also be filed electronically by accessing Ethics Point directly from the berklee.edu home page. All reports submitted through Ethics Point will be taken seriously and handled promptly.

While anonymous complaints may be made through Ethics Point, the difficulty of obtaining necessary details and verifying relevant information may make such complaints difficult to pursue.

The Ethics Point reporting system is not a substitute for existing reporting channels. Berklee has elected to provide this service as an additional means for reporting where maintaining the reporter’s anonymity and confidentiality is important. Reporters are encouraged, however, to first attempt to resolve problems through established communication channels whenever possible. 

Examples of complaints that can be appropriately reported through Ethics Point include, but are not limited to accounting and auditing matters; falsification of contracts, reports, or records; fraud; improper giving or receiving of gifts; improper supplier or contractor activity; theft; embezzlement; abuse or misuse of institutional resources; data privacy/integrity; inappropriate use of Berklee technology; misuse of Berklee resources or property; conflict of interest; environmental and safety matters; sabotage; vandalism; or unsafe working conditions.

Education and Training

Berklee will continuously improve education and training procedures to ensure employee awareness and understanding of standards of conduct. Managers are responsible for ensuring that all employees are aware of the standards of conduct and associated obligations. 

Violations of the standard of conduct policy may result in corrective action up to and including termination of employment.

Berklee reserves the right to amend, suspend, or cancel this policy at any time, with or without notice. In the event that a conflict exists between this policy and the terms and conditions of the Berklee faculty union contract agreement, the union contract agreement will supersede this policy.


December 2018