Statement of Ethics

Statement of Ethics

A Definition of Ethics

Ethical behavior is characterized by honesty, fairness, and equity in interpersonal, professional, and academic relationships.  The ethical person is often described as one who is fair, honest, straightforward, trustworthy, dispassionate, and unprejudiced and respects the dignity, diversity, and rights of individuals and groups of people. 

Inconsistency in fairness or honesty undermines credibility and leads to perceptions of unethical behavior. To maintain ethical integrity, individuals must consistently demonstrate honesty and fairness in their actions, thereby upholding the credibility expected of their administrative role.

The Importance of Ethics

The credibility of college administrators as a whole, depends upon whether they are perceived as honest. If integrity contributes to credibility, then ethical behavior is a singular prerequisite to being a successful leader. 

When public institutions are administered and led by consistently honest individuals, questions of credibility and demands for public accountability are less likely to arise.

Statements of ethical standards do not necessarily ensure ethical behavior. Yet public statements of intent and regular review of established standards set an expectation that public officials will intentionally act with integrity and in the public interest.

Expectations for Ethical Behavior

It is the expectation of ACCCA, as an organization, that all administrators of community colleges must be committed to the principles of honesty, transparency, and equity. 

Administrators must refrain from attempting to limit the freedoms of faculty, classified professionals, and students for any reason. Concurrently, they must not willingly permit the rights and privileges of any members of the college community to take precedence over the best interests of the public served by the college.

As stewards of the college community, administrators are entrusted with the responsibility of exercising judgments characterized by virtue, fairness, consistency, and equality. They are expected to uphold transparency and dependability in their words and actions as leaders. 

Administrators must address issues and individuals impartially, free from prejudice or implicit bias, while also engaging in self-reflection to recognize and mitigate their own biases.

The values stated by ACCCA require administrators to prioritize excellence in education and unwavering adherence to ethical principles.

To uphold ethical standards, managers and administrators within the college community, including members of our organization, must actively strive to understand, be mindful of, and constantly promote equity while preserving diversity. Please see the ACCCA Equity Statement for further details.

Our Principles, Our Ethics

Administrators must respond to many constituencies: to elected or appointed governing boards; to colleagues and other administrators, to faculty and staff; to business partners and especially to students and the community. 

In the course of that duty, we are judged by how we respond on a daily basis. ACCCA considers the following behaviors to be examples of principled and ethical conduct for administrators in the California Community Colleges.

An Administrators Professional Responsibility to Students, Colleagues and the Community

The behaviors listed below constitute personal integrity, social responsibility, and the recognition of and respect for the diversity of our communities.  

They encourage collaboration in the spirit of a common good, and assume inclusiveness, belonging, and equitable conduct. A separate Equity Statement further clarifies the intent of the Board regarding DEIA.

  • Always act in the best interest of your community, your students and your institution. 
  • Respect all students, colleagues and members of the community and regard them as individuals and independent decision-makers.
  • Sustain a climate of trust and mutual support, and defend others against disparagement, embarrassment, or capricious judgment.
  • Put students first in the decision-making process and ensure their access to that process.
  • Build consensus by encouraging transparency, openness, and accessibility and maintaining positive two-way communication with others.
  • Nurture and support professional growth in yourself and others, academic development in students and engagement with the community.
  • Challenge unethical behavior when it happens and seek to model the ethical behavior you expect to see in others.
  • Model continuous learning and stay informed on the latest practices and professional standards, as well as the educational needs of the community.
  • Uphold established standards of behavior and encourage others to do the same. 


A community college administrator is entitled to all rights and due process as outlined in their institution’s policies and procedures in exchange for the ethical and principled behaviors they demonstrate. As a matter of clarity, we feel individuals should have the right:

  • To be considered for employment without regard to race, sex, religion, creed, age, national origin, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation.
  • To a clear written statement of the philosophy, goals and objectives of the district.
  • To a written contract identifying terms and conditions of employment.
  • To work in a setting of institutional support and a climate of professional respect.
  • To be assigned authority commensurate with responsibilities and resources adequate to carry out assigned functions.
  • To act independently within the scope of authority to carry out responsibilities assigned.
  • To perform duties and carry out responsibilities without disruption or harassment.
  • To be provided with legal and financial protection from liability in carrying out duties of the position.
  • To participate in formulating and implementing institutional policy at a level appropriate for the position held.
  • To speak for the institution at the level of assigned authority.
  • To participate in professional associations.
  • To confidentiality regarding personal matters.
  • To participate in, and to be supported at an appropriate level in activities providing for professional growth such as career advancement and promotion, sabbatical leaves, other leaves, and conference attendance.
  • To consistent support from supervisors for the proper performance of work assigned.
  • To be evaluated in a professional manner on a regular and systemic basis, and to receive adequate notice of dissatisfaction with performance or action to terminate in accordance with existing statutes.
  • To due process in accordance with written procedures which are communicated to the administrator prior to appointment.
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