Policy on Anti-Nepotism for Senior Officers and Executives
Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of Liberty University (the “University”)
This policy applies to the following senior officers and executives of the University (collectively, the “Senior Officers”): President, Chancellor of Spiritual Affairs, Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Investment Officer, Provost, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Executive Vice Presidents, Senior Vice Presidents, any other Vice President employed by the University, the Director of Athletics, the President of Freedom Aviation, Inc., and any other officers or employees of the University or its subsidiaries as the President or the Board of Trustees may, from time to time, determine.
Liberty University is committed to leadership and actions that are above reproach, accountable and demonstrate good stewardship, and Senior Officers are expected to maintain an admirably high standard of actual and apparent integrity in carrying out their duties to the University. Senior Officers are expected to avoid circumstances where their familial or close personal ties to other University employees could have an actual or potential impact on impartial fulfillment of their supervisory responsibilities.
This policy addresses concerns related to nepotism, including within each Senior Officer’s division. Nepotism refers to actual or perceived partiality toward an individual in an employment setting because of a familial or close relationship. Nepotism may arise when a Senior Officer has supervisory authority for Employment Decisions (as defined below) for a Family Member (as defined below) or other individual with whom the Senior Officer has a Close Personal Relationship (as defined below). In this policy, these Family Members and other individuals are referred to as “Associated Persons.”
It is the policy of the University that:
- Associated Persons of a Senior Officer may not be employed by the University without approval of the Board and will not be employed in the same division as the Senior Officer absent special circumstances.
- Senior Officers may not attempt to exert influence related to Employment Decisions on behalf of an Associated Person, whether or not such individual works in the same division as the Senior Officer.
- The compensation arrangements for all Associated Persons, regardless of whether in the same division as the relevant Senior Officer, must be approved in writing at the time of hiring and reviewed annually by the Board. At the time of hiring and review, the compensation arrangements should include market or other data on the comparability and reasonableness of the compensation arrangements.
Actions that would constitute potential violations of this policy must be disclosed to the Board before the Senior Officer participates in any way in an Employment Decision to which the potential Nepotism relates.1 The requirements of this policy apply to work relationships that existed prior to the effective date of this policy, and remains in effect after termination of any familial or Close Personal Relationship, unless and until the Senior Officer can demonstrate that the relationship has no effect on his or her impartiality.
This policy is not intended to discourage University employment of individuals with whom Senior Officers have a familial or Close Personal Relationship. However, the Board believes that it is appropriate to put in place measures to avoid situations where such relationships could compromise or appear to compromise the impartial supervision of the employee’s job performance. Senior Officers are also reminded of their obligations under the Liberty University Board of Trustees Policy on Conflicts of Interest and Commitment for Senior Officers and Executives (the “Conflicts of Interest Policy”).
Adoption of Policies
The President, in consultation with the General Counsel, is obligated to cause the University to adopt written anti-nepotism policies more generally applicable to the University community, including University subsidiaries. Those policies may involve processes, procedures and limitations that are more stringent than those provided in this policy. Policies for University subsidiaries must provide for that Employment Decisions for Associated Persons of the University’s Senior Officers are to be treated in a manner consistent with the approach and requirements under this policy. The Board should receive updates on the University’s approach to addressing nepotism no less frequently than every other year, or when there are material changes to the anti-nepotism policies of the University.
This policy requires Senior Officers to acknowledge this policy and the officer’s compliance with the policy, in letter and in spirit. Specifically, each Senior Officer is required to:
- when initially appointed or hired, and annually thereafter, acknowledge in writing that he or she has reviewed this policy and is complying with it, in letter and in spirit; and
- disclose to the Board when an Associated Person has applied for, is hired to or is transferred to the division in which the Senior Officer leads. Such disclosures shall be made in the same manner as conflicts of interest are made under the Conflicts of Interest Policy.
When a disclosure is made to the Board pursuant to this Policy, the Board will either provide that the parties do not remain in the same division, or approve the limited circumstances where it may be appropriate for the Associated Person to remain in the same division. In doing so, the Board may require the development, implementation and regular review of a management plan to mitigate possible conflicts of interest. The goal of such a management plan is to mitigate actual and perceived favoritism and conflicts of interest and loyalty by establishing appropriate processes for Employment Decisions.
To maintain the integrity of Liberty University, the Board of Trustees, which is responsible for establishing broad institutional policies, has determined that Senior Officers should be free of claims of partiality in treatment at work, inappropriate influence and even the appearance of any partiality or influence as they carry out their duties. The purpose of this policy is to avoid favoritism, the appearance of or potential for favoritism, and conflicts of interest and loyalty often associated with nepotism. Nepotism is inconsistent with the University’s policy of making employment decisions and other business decisions based solely on its needs and individual qualifications, skills, ability and performance.
Definition of Glossary Terms
“Associated Person” means a Senior Officer’s Family Member or other individual with whom the Senior Officer has a Close Personal Relationship.
“Close Personal Relationship” means a relationship between close personal friends or other persons who share a relationship comparable to Family Members or similar close personal bond, persons living in the same household, persons who share an ongoing financial relationship outside of Liberty University, or persons who share a romantic or sexual relationship.
“Employment Decision” includes, but is not limited to, direct or indirect supervisory authority and influence in decisions related to hiring, compensation, work allocation, performance evaluation, promotion, and termination.
“Family Member” means a person’s spouse, ancestors, descendants (whether by blood or adoption), and siblings (whether by whole or half-blood or by adoption) and, in each case, their spouses.
“Nepotism” means actual or perceived partiality toward an individual in an employment setting because of a familial or close personal relationship. Nepotism may arise when a Senior Officer has authority for Employment Decisions for an Associated Person.
Application of Policy
Senior Officers who have questions about the application of this policy to a particular situation should seek advice from the General Counsel. Nothing in this policy is intended to limit the application of any other policy of the University. Questions about the interactions of multiple policies should be directed to the General Counsel.
Violation of the policy can lead to administrative action, up to and including termination.
Approved as of November 5, 2021
1. Note to Draft: Upon adoption, Senior Officers and Executives have ninety days to report existing relationships (if any) under this policy and to seek approval.