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 Higher Education


2010-05 Public Employees / Higher Ed
Agency's decision to allocate more than $25 to recognize one or more employees, in lieu of expending up to $25 per employee per fiscal year, does not violate the Ethics Act so long as the expenditure on any one employee does not exceed $100, and the total amount expended for this purpose during the fiscal year does not exceed the sum total of $25 per employee. 

2011-05 University President

  • May spend public funds to pay membership dues for the President, but not the President’s spouse, to join the local Rotary club.
  • Public funds may only be spent for President’s membership dues (and one-time new member fee), not on meals or any other cost or fee associated with Rotary membership, such as contributions to a related philanthropic organization. 
  • Ethics Act does not prohibit the University Foundation—a separate, non-government entity—from paying for the spouse’s membership in Rotary and/or for paying for meals associated with Rotary meetings or functions for the President and/or the President’s spouse.
  • Higher Education exemption available only when the activity has been approved as part of the employment contract.
2012-20 Public University  
  • May use public funds to purchase prizes or incentives, including gift cards, for wellness related competitions or promotions when prize recipients include University employees.
  • $25.00 gift limit not applicable because wellness program administrators are not interested parties to recipients.
  • May use reasonable amount of public funds for wellness-related incentives so long as there is a rational basis for such expenditure.
2013-31 Elected Member of Board of Public Works
  • An elected Member of the Board of Public Works is permitted to allow a private foundation to participate in the State purchase card program, and also to receive rebates from the financial institution.
  • The financial benefit to the private foundation would result in an overriding public benefit. The purpose of the private foundation is to support a public institute of higher education. West Virginians are students at the public university. Both the State and the students are beneficiaries of a donation made to a private foundation formed to aid the public university.

2021-06 College Professor
  • Public higher education institutions may use public funds for meals for college-approved student events, regardless of wheth​er the event is held on or off campus, if the expenditure is for a legitimate government purpose.
  • A public higher education institution may not exclusively invite one candidate for public office to speak about his or her platform to a class.