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WVU board approves new policies governing ethics, identity theft and tobacco

The West Virginia University Board of Governors today (Feb. 8) gave final approval to a trio of updated policies, and also sent out for comment the latest updated rule as it works to complete policy revisions in the wake of the adoption of laws permitting more independence from the state Higher Education Policy Commission. 

The three rules, unanimously approved, deal with conflicts of interest, outside consulting and ethics; identify theft detection and prevention; and a tobacco-free campus. 

The rule that will be posted for comment covers procurement and purchasing. 

The new conflict of interest/consulting/ethics rule received “a lot of review and discussion,” Deputy General Gary Furbee said, most of which involved clarifying situations and definitions. As a result, the rule approved Friday had several updates from what was originally proposed; Matthew Valenti, a faculty representative on the board, praised the University officials for crafting a “clear and more concise rule.” The only change from what was proposed was the addition of language to make it clear classified staff was also covered. 

The identity protection rule primarily broadens its scope to include an outline of the guiding principles for using, securing, and maintaining Information Technology Resources. 

As for the tobacco-free campus rule, it reinforces, clarifies and strengthens the existing ban on use of tobacco on campus. For example, while the use of e-cigarettes and vaping was banned in the previous policy, in effect since 2013, it was not specified and general enforcement was acknowledged to be lax. 

A key part of the new policy is the specified requirement of enforcement. The specifics of how that will be done are still being worked out, but will be in place before the policy takes effect on Aug. 1. 

The proposed procurement rule, which will be available for comment beginning Monday (Feb. 11) through March 13. Any changes resulting from the comments will then be posted for 10 days before the Board considers the final version at its April 12 meeting in Morgantown. Follow this link to the University’s policies web page to see both current rules and policies. 

In other business, the board approved: