General Principles

All members of the University community who are employed by the University, who act on behalf of the University or who work on campus are expected to conduct their operations in accordance with these general Principles of conduct excerpted from "Rights, Rules, Responsibilities" and other published policy documents (see references below).


The central purposes of a University are the pursuit of truth, the discovery of new knowledge through scholarship and research, the teaching and general development of students, and the transmission of knowledge and learning to society at large. Free inquiry and free expression within the academic community are indispensable to the achievement of these goals. The freedom to teach and to learn depends upon the creation of appropriate conditions and opportunities on the campus as a whole as well as in classrooms and lecture halls. All members of the academic community share the responsibility for securing and sustaining the general conditions conducive to this freedom.

Academic Integrity

The ability of the University to achieve its purposes depends upon the quality and integrity of the academic work that its faculty, staff and students perform. Academic freedom can flourish only in a community of scholars which recognizes that intellectual integrity, with its accompanying rights and responsibilities, lies at the heart of its mission. Observing basic honesty in one's work, words, ideas, and actions is a principle to which all members of the community are required to subscribe.

Statement on Diversity and Community

Princeton University is a community devoted to learning. We actively seek students, faculty, and staff of exceptional ability and promise who share in our commitment to excellence in teaching and scholarship, and who will bring a diversity of viewpoints and cultures. By incorporating a broad range of human experiences and a rich variety of human perspectives, we enlarge our capacity for learning, enrich the quality and texture of campus life, and better prepare for life and leadership in a pluralistic society.

As a community, we respect the dignity, individuality, and freedom of each member. At the same time, we strive to be a place where individuals and groups learn with and from each other. We aim to foster a sense of shared experience and common purpose, along with a collective responsibility for each other's well-being and for the well-being of the University as a whole.

Although we acknowledge the difficulties inherent in creating a community of individuals who are different from each other, we remain unwavering in our commitment to both diversity and community in a context of academic excellence. We seek to enable all members of this community to pursue their educational, scholarly, and career interests in an environment that recognizes both the distinctiveness of each person's experience and the common humanity that unites us all, and permits us to take full educational advantage of the variety of talents, backgrounds, and perspectives of those who live and work here.

Respect for Others

Respect for the rights, privileges, and sensibilities of each other is essential in preserving the spirit of community at Princeton. Actions which make the atmosphere intimidating, threatening, or hostile to individuals are therefore regarded as serious offenses. Abusive or harassing behavior, verbal or physical, which demeans, intimidates, threatens, or injures another because of his or her personal characteristics or beliefs is subject to University disciplinary sanctions. Examples of personal characteristics or beliefs include but are not limited to sex, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, and handicap. Making tolerance of such behavior or submission to it a condition of employment, evaluation, compensation, or advancement is an especially serious offense. Princeton University strives to be an intellectual and residential community in which all members can participate fully and equally, in an atmosphere free from all manifestations of bias and from all forms of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. As an intellectual community, it attaches great value to freedom of expression and vigorous debate, but it also attaches great importance to mutual respect, and it deplores expressions of hatred directed against any individual or group. The University seeks to promote the full inclusion of all members and groups in every aspect of University life.

Professional Conduct

Members of the University Community are expected to be honest, ethical, and straightforward in their official dealings with University processes, activities and personnel. This obligation includes honoring contracts and agreements and providing accurate information on official forms and documents as well as to official University personnel, offices and committees. Deliberate violations of this provision will be considered serious offenses; subsequent violations, or systematic violations in the first instance, will be considered extremely serious.

Members of the University community are expected to act with respect for the safety, personal rights, and property of individuals and groups both within and outside the University, and in accordance with local, state and federal laws. Some laws, such as those governing equal opportunity and nondiscrimination, underlie fundamental University policy.

Confidentiality, Privacy and Information Security

Members of the University community receive and generate on behalf of the University various types of confidential, proprietary and private information.  All information gathered and maintained by employees of Princeton University for the purpose of conducting University business is considered institutional information and, as such, each individual who uses, stores, processes, transfers, administers and/or maintains this information is responsible and held accountable for its appropriate use. It is expected that each community member complies with all federal laws, state laws, agreements with third parties, and University policies and principles pertaining to the use, protection and disclosure of such information.

Conflict of Interest

Members of the University community who act on Princeton’s behalf have an obligation to avoid activities or situations which may result in a conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest. Members of the University community must not use their University positions to influence outside organizations or individuals for the direct financial, personal or professional benefit of themselves, members of their families or others with whom there is a personal relationship.

Financial Responsibilities

In meeting its mission as a residential academic institution, the University incurs a wide variety of expenses. University resources should be used only to meet departmental and University objectives. Members of the University community must not accept money for research or gifts on behalf of the University or as part of their University activities except as prescribed by University policy. All funds provided for research must be spent in ways consistent with the funding documents and in compliance with the guidelines on allowable costs.

Managers are expected to operate their department within their budget. University officers, managers, and supervisors should treat all funds and other resources with the same care as their own. Members in charge of budgets have an obligation to monitor records of expenditures for compliance with University policies and procedures and to allow these records to be viewed by appropriate parties. Departmental files are the property of the University.

Range of Penalties

For violations of University-wide rules of conduct, members of the community are subject to several kinds of penalties. The applicability and exact nature of each penalty vary for faculty, students, professional staff, and employees.

In order to comply with these principles, it is expected that members understand and comply with all applicable University policies.

References for each section: