Chapter 22. Miscellaneous Matters

22.1 Student Employment Office

Follow this link for procedures, rules and regulations guiding student employment at Brown.

22.2 Centralized Purchasing

All purchases paid for from University-funded budgets must be approved by the Purchasing Office, which is responsible for reviewing all procurement requests and for overseeing the competitive bid process. The Purchasing Office is also responsible for researching new vendors for pre-qualification and inclusion in the University's vendor base.

Follow this link for more information or contact the Purchasing Office about purchasing policies and procedures at Brown.

22.3 Credit Cards

22.3.1 Purchasing Card Program

The goal of the purchasing card program is to eliminate most of the paperwork associated with University purchases of, and payment for, goods and materials costing less than $3,000. The Purchasing Card allows users to: Place orders with ease; receive goods and supplies fast; eliminate approval processes; and reduce paperwork.

Follow this link for all guidelines, rules and regulations guiding the purchasing card program.

22.3.2 Corporate Credit Cards for Individuals

Use of the American Express Corporate Card facilitates the management of Brown’s travel expenditures. The Corporate Card is the primary payment vehicle for all travel expenses incurred by Brown travelers. The Corporate Card program provides travelers with a wide variety of travel benefits and allows the University to capture travel data that improves management reporting and vendor negotiations.

Travelers may choose to use a personal credit card other than the American Express Corporate Card so long as there are no additional costs to the University.

All full-time employees who take at least one trip per year are strongly encouraged to apply for an American Express Corporate Card. Employees should contact the Controller's Office, extension 1777 to obtain a Corporate Card application or more information. Follow this link for the online version of this information.

22.4 Theft of Equipment and Replacement Procedures

Follow this link to the Office of Insurance and Risk.

22.4.1 Information on Property Insurance Coverage

Follow this link to the Office of Insurance and Risk.

22.4.2 Scheduling Miscellaneous Equipment and Fine Arts

Follow this link to the Office of Insurance and Risk.

22.4.3 Computer Equipment

Follow this link for computer purchasing guidelines.

22.4.4 University Equipment at an Employee Residence

Follow this link to Property Management Guide.

22.4.5 Personal Property

Follow this link to Property Management Guide.

22.4.6 Theft Reimbursement

Follow this link to Property Management Guide.

22.4.7 Property Damage

Follow this link to Property Management Guide.

22.4.8 Reporting a Loss for Reimbursement

Follow this link to Property Management Guide.

22.5 Auto Insurance Coverage

Follow this link to the Office of Insurance and Risk.

22.5.1 Auto Liability

Follow this link to the Office of Insurance and Risk.

22.5.2 Employee Responsibilities

Follow this link to the Office of Human Resources.

22.5.3 Personal Vehicles

Follow this link to the Office of Insurance and Risk.

22.5.4 Rental Vehicles

Follow this link to the Office of Insurance and Risk.

22.6 Dealing With On-The-Job Illness and Injury

The University Health Services are organized primarily for the care of undergraduate and graduate students; the Service is neither equipped nor staffed to provide routine health care to employees. Any employee, however, may make an initial visit in a serious emergency or in conjunction with injury resulting from an occupational accident.

In the event of an apparently serious accident or illness, it is imperative to call Police and Security, the Health Services (x3305 or 3953) as well as the Providence Rescue Squad, either directly (274-3344) or via Security (x3322). If it is in fact a serious accident, it is most important to have the Rescue Squad on the way as soon as possible.

22.7 Smoking in Brown University Facilities

For reasons of public health, and in compliance with RI law, employees may not smoke indoors in any building at Brown University. This prohibition extends to all public areas, including but not limited to employee lounges, hallways, lecture halls, classrooms, conference rooms, rest rooms, rental space, private offices, and sports arenas. In addition, smoking is prohibited in all residence halls and dining facilities.

Employees are permitted to smoke outside, provided that there will be no migration of smoke into the workplace. Smoking at a distance of at least 35 feet from the entrance to any University building should be appropriate to prevent smoke migration.

Employees with questions or concerns about the implementation of this policy should contact the AVP for Human Resources or the Director of Environmental Health and Safety. Employees should report violations of this policy to their supervisor.

22.8 Sale, Transfer, and Other Disposition of University Property

Disposition of surplus property is defined as any property to be traded-in against a new purchase, cannibalized for spare parts, externally transferred, donated to a non-profit charitable/community organization, sold for salvage value, or destroyed (waste removal). No property, whether purchased with University funds or otherwise acquired, may be defined as surplus without the prior written approval of the Director of Purchasing or his/her designee.

Departments are strictly prohibited from gifting or selling surplus materials directly to Brown faculty, staff, students, and other individuals. This provision is mandated in order to minimize the University’s risk exposure to product liability, sales tax exemption regulations, potential loss of commercial discounts, and potential violations of special pricing structures if deemed a reseller. When a sale of surplus property is deemed appropriate, the transaction will be administered by the Purchasing Department under a competitive process in accordance with the position set forth in this document.

Follow this link for complete guidelines for this policy.

22.9 The University Bookstore

The Bookstore's primary goal is service–to provide the community with a wide range of quality book services, as well as other academic and general retail services. The most important academic service is to provide course books and course materials for sale to students each term. Follow this link to find out about faculty course book and material ordering and about general communication with the textbook department.

22.10 Temporary Change in Assignment

A faculty member may be asked by the University to assume a special assignment on a part-time or full-time basis for a continuous period of time, usually not to exceed one year, or in an Acting capacity for which higher pay is warranted. It is University policy to supplement the employee's salary at the rate of pay equal to the appropriate level of the assignment as determined by the Human Resources Department and/or the Dean of the Faculty, Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences, or Dean of Public Health for the specified period of time. At the end of the special assignment, with return to regular job duties, supplemental pay ends and the employee's salary returns to the approved annual rate for that position and employee.

22.11 Nepotism

In the appointment of faculty and staff members, Brown University seeks those persons best qualified to discharge teaching, research and service obligations. From time to time, implementation of this policy has resulted in members of the same family or household being appointed to the faculty and/or to the staff, when it has been clearly established that both individuals were the best qualified candidates for the positions they sought.

In such cases, when two members of the same family or household work at Brown, it is University policy that neither of these individuals should supervise the work of the other, nor be judge or advocate in regard to the other's salary, promotion, or conditions of employment. And both individuals should be sensitive to the possibility of a conflict of interest, or even to the appearance of such a conflict.

Specifically, University policy is that no faculty member, department head, or administrative officer shall vote, make recommendation, or in any way participate in the decision of, or seek to influence any matter which may directly or indirectly affect, the appointment, tenure, promotion, or other employment status or interest of such person's parent, child, spouse, sibling, in-law, or domestic partner.

Hiring or supervising a family member presents a conflict of interest and is prohibited by the Conflict of Interest Commitment Policy and Guidelines. In exceptional instances where a member of the family seeks to recommend, appoint or hire a family member within his or her academic unit for a faculty position, there shall be immediate, full disclosure to the Dean of the Faculty or where appropriate the Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences or the Dean of Public Health. A competitive search process appropriate for the type of position is normally required (e.g., search plan, solicitation of qualified candidates). [Appointments other than an appointment as a member of the faculty will not be permitted without following the University’s normal hiring policies.] The interested faculty member must recuse himself or herself from taking part in the decision making process. The Dean in consultation with other appropriate University officers, may make an exception for a limited duration faculty appointment. If it is determined that the family member is the best qualified for the position, prior to appointment or hire, the Dean and the hiring faculty member will determine if a management plan to avoid conflicts of interest can be structured which will permit the appointment to be made. If a satisfactory arrangement cannot be achieved, the appointment or hire will not be permitted.

22.12 Conflict of Interest

Follow this link to view Brown University’s Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy.

All members of the Brown community have an obligation to address both the substance and the appearance of conflicts of interest and commitment and, if they arise, to disclose them to the appropriate University representatives and withdraw from debate, voting, or other decision-making processes where a conflict of interest exists or might arise.

Brown University recognizes that some members of the Brown community may have outside service, business, and professional interests. Such interests, however, should enhance one’s role as a member of the Brown community and neither compromise one’s ability to meet one’s University responsibilities nor harm the University reputation.

A conflict of interest may take many forms but arises when a member of the Brown community might be able to use authority of his or her Brown position a) to influence the University’s business decisions in ways that give improper advantage or financial benefit to oneself, a family member or associate or b) to obtain for oneself, a family member, or associate a financial benefit beyond the compensation he or she receives from Brown, an affiliated hospital, or one of its affiliated practice plans or foundations.

A conflict of commitment occurs when a commitment to activities outside of one’s University responsibilities by a member of the Brown community interferes with his or her capacity to meet his or her University responsibilities.

It is recognized that some outside service and professional responsibilities of members of the Brown community can and do benefit Brown. In the case of campus-based faculty, the value and importance of outside activities is explicitly recognized in the long-standing policy that full-time campus-based faculty members may devote to such activities an effort equivalent to not more than one day per normal work week on average, unless an exception has been granted. In the case of hospital-based faculty, the time allowed for services and professional activity with other organizations will be understood in the context of such faculty members’ affiliation with both Brown University and the hospital foundation, or practice plan that serves as the faculty member’s primary employer.

22.13 Administration of Non-Exempt Personnel of the Department

Staff employees report to Human Resources on their first morning of work to complete the several "Condition of Employment" forms. For an enumeration and description of these documents, see Human Resources Policies & Practices, Policy #20.061. For an enumeration and description of these documents, see Human Resources New Hire Resources. 

22.14 Grievance Procedure

The procedures available to members of the faculty for filing grievances are set down in the Faculty Rules and Regulations. Chairs should be familiar with the details of these procedures, and should also call them to the attention of all the department faculty. Grievance Procedures for non-faculty employees are explained in the section entitled "Problem Resolution Process" of the manual Human Resources Policies & Practices (Policy #20.071). Follow this link to view this policy.

22.15 Departmental Public Relations

Department chairs are urged to keep in touch with the Office of Media Relations, as faculty news is a primary interest of that office, which is located on the third floor of Maddock Alumni Center, 38 Brown Street. Media Relations is especially interested in working with department chairs to publicize faculty research and scholarship - papers, books, professional presentations and grants received, and advanced knowledge of such accomplishments is particularly helpful. Inside Brown, which Media Relations publishes monthly during the academic year, is the usual outlet for news of faculty awards, honors and appointments.