Code of Conduct

INTRODUCTION

This Code of Conduct is designed to set standards of responsibility and mutual expectations for the Trustees  of Trinity  College. As members of the board,  trustees pledge to uphold the standards set forth  herewith to collectively enhance the well being of and  to  promote the  mission of the College. The  Mission  Statement of Trinity  College identifies the College as  a community united in a quest for excellence in liberal  arts education whose purpose is to foster critical thinking, freeing the mind of parochialism and prejudice.  The standards articulated below embrace the spirit of this statement, requiring the trustees to carry out their responsibilities to the College in an atmosphere  of personal trust and free expression while maintaining the highest standards of personal integrity.

THE STANDARDS

I. Comportment

This relates to how  trustees act in fulfilling their  responsibilities as members  of the board regarding: 

  1. Attendance
    Attendance is required at all board meetings. If attendance is impossible, the trustee shall notify the  chair in writing  as much in advance as possible with  the rationale for the forthcoming absence. In addition, attendance is expected at committee meetings to which  each trustee has been assigned. Lastly, it is expected  that trustees will spend an additional day on campus each year to interact with various College constituencies.
  2. Participation
    • The effectiveness of the board is only as good as the participation of its members. The effective trustee will prepare for all meetings by:
    1. Analytically reading and reviewing all correspondence to the board and responding when appropriate;
    2. Thoughtfully and thoroughly preparing for each meeting  of the full board, standing subcommittee, or charter committees;
    3. Actively participating in each meeting of the full board, standing subcommittee, or special project team by asking provocative questions, providing insight, opinions, and alternative viewpoints;
    4. Proactively offering or applying individual talents and desires to the work before the board; and
    5. Proactively and immediately addressing miscommunication or conflict by approaching the board chair or working within the subcommittee when such scenarios may arise.
    • Dissent
      An essential ingredient of participation in a meeting is for the participants to benefit from a full discussion of the pros and cons of issues pro¬≠ posed for decision by vote. In fact, the absence of healthy debate and dissent in discussions frequently leads to faulty decisions. By advocating responsible dissent, leaders create a climate where  passive acceptance of issues will be challenged. Accordingly, trustees are encouraged, without fear of reprisal, to offer alternative points of view to the prevailing sense of the meeting, the status quo, or to decisions previously made or to policies in place.  Honest dissent is welcomed in an environment of mutual  trust that encourages an open and free exchange of ideas.
    • Registering Dissent
      There are several appropriate ways to register dissent.  In all cases, in strict confidence, dissent may be registered:
    1. In the meeting where the discussion is taking place (most appropriate);
    2. With  the board  chair;
    3. With  the trustee  chair of the appropriate committee; 
    4. With  the president or the secretary of the College;
    5. With  another  trustee. 
  3. Confidentiality
    • Deliberations of the board are highly confidential. In the normal course of fulfilling  their  responsibilities,  trustees  will  be  exposed  to  highly sensitive and confidential information. This  information may be in written or oral form  and will usually come  from  the  board  chair,  the president,  or other  senior  member of the administration.
    • Disclosure  of  confidential  information to  any  person  for  any  reason without the express consent  of the board  chair or the administration is a violation  of the trust placed in the trustees collectively.  The  College encourages  trustees to engage in active dialogue  with  all the constituencies of the College; nonetheless, trustees are expected to refrain from discussing sensitive policy issues or other confidential information with anyone outside of the board.
    • Violation of this trust may result in immediate separation  of the offending trustee from the board.
  4. Conflict of Interest
    • A conflict of interest arises when a trustee, or any  member of his or her immediate family, stands to benefit personally, either directly or indirectly, as a result  of his or her trusteeship, when the interests of the College and those of the trustee overlap in such a way  as to cause a potential conflict.
    • Conflicts of interest can take many forms and are to be  rigorously avoided when even  a remote possibility of conflict arises. Each trustee has an obligation to  immediately notify the chair of any conflict of interest that  may  arise or that  might be viewed as others as a potential conflict.
    • The College asks each trustee to sign a Conflict of Interest disclosure form annually.
  5. Interaction with the President, Administration, Faculty, Staff, and Students
    • Trustees are encouraged to interact freely with  all of the  College's con¬≠stituencies and especially  the president, administration, faculty, staff, and students. It is especially  important that  trustees  share  their  feelings  and ideas with  the president and other members of the administration as part of the ongoing responsibility of being  an effective  trustee. Nonetheless, as noted above, trustees  are  expected to  be mindful of their pledge of confidentiality to  the  board and to utilize  sound judgment when interacting with any  member of the Trinity College community. At all times, trustees must refrain from discussing any pending board business or policy issues with the various Trinity constituencies unless such outreach is endorsed by the chair or the board itself. Lastly, trustees  need to be sensitive, in dealing with the administration, that they  enjoy special access and that this is a privilege not to be abused by promoting personal agendas or by being  insensitive to demands on Administrative time.
II. Philanthropy and Fundraising

    1. Personal Priorities

    • Trustees are expected to make Trinity one of their   primary philanthropic obligations, including gifts to Annual Giving, capital campaigns, and special projects.

    2. Development

    • Trustees are expected to play an active role in the   development activities of the College, assisting the  Development Office by:
    1. Identifying possible donors and/or
    2. Personally soliciting donors (usually with an officer  of the  College) and/or
    3. Personally arranging a meeting with a prospective donor for an officer of the College where the trustee may or  may not be in attendance.