417.000 - Public Ethics, Sales and Commercial Activities
The College is governed by the provisions of Chapter 42.52 RCW; the Ethics in Public Service Act. This Chapter applies to all state employees. It governs the actions and working relationships of all employees at Clark College. Employees shall perform in accordance with this law in their dealings with fellow employees, suppliers, government representatives, the media, and other individuals with whom they have professional relationships that are associated with their responsibilities at Clark College. The president is responsible for ensuring that all College employees perform their responsibilities under this law or according to College procedures thereon, including but not limited to ethics, sales/solicitations and sales of goods and services – commercial activities.
The advertising or the distribution and sale of products by organizations not directly related to or a part of any College operation or program is prohibited.
Advertising and sales conducted as a part of the Bookstore, food services, and similar College enterprises is permitted. Certain extracurricular commercial activities approved by the director of student life and multicultural student affairs are permitted.
Any employee who is interrupted or disturbed at work by an individual engaged in commercial or fundraising activities is encouraged to make a record of the individual’s name and the company or agency represented and report all details of the incident(s) to the vice president of administrative services.
The vice president of administrative services will advise the individual or his/her supervisor that commercial activity on College or state property is subject to regulations and that action will be taken against any company or agency involved in unauthorized or inappropriate commercial or fundraising activities.
This procedure encompasses, but is not limited to, insurance, deferred compensation, and annuity contract sales.
The primary purpose of the College is the creation and dissemination of knowledge. In carrying out this purpose, it is often necessary for the College and its affiliated units to provide goods and services for fees that enhance, promote, or support its teaching, research, and community service functions. At the same time, the College is mindful that when it provides goods and services for fees, it may be competing with local private businesses.
This policy defines the legitimate purposes under which sales of goods and services
for fees may be approved and establishes a mechanism to review such sales in accordance
with Chapter 28B.63 RCW, Commercial Activities by Institutions of Higher Education. Recognizing
that the central purpose of the College is providing instruction, research, and community
service, this policy does not apply to charges for instruction in its regular, evening,
or community education programs; services provided in the practicum aspects of its
instructional and service programs; or services for fees in its extracurricular or
student services programs, including food services, athletic and recreational programs,
and the performing arts program.
Policy on Sales of Goods and Services for Fees
The College may engage in the direct sale of goods and services to individuals, groups, or external agencies for fees only when those services or goods are directly and substantially related to the purpose of the College. Charges for goods and services will be determined by taking into account the full cost of the item to the College, including overhead. The typical competitive price of items in the local community will also be considered in establishing the College charge. Price setting will occur with particular effort to avoid any connotation that the College is taking advantage of its size or legal/tax status within the community.
The extent of advertising by the College as well as the quantity of goods/services produced will be strictly governed by that which is appropriate within the purpose of the College as it relates to the particular event or activity.
The direct sale of goods or services to the College community (faculty, staff, students, and patients) for fees that are for the convenience and support of the broad educational purpose of the College is distinctly different from sales to individuals or organizations external to the College. Different criteria have been established to evaluate requests for those sales programs as follows:
- Criteria for Sales to College Community Members
Each of the following criteria will be used in assessing the validity of providing goods, services, or facilities to members of the College community.
a. Are the goods, services, or facilities substantially and directly related to the College’s instructional, research, or service purpose?
b. Do the goods, services, or facilities offer a special convenience and support to the College community or facilitate the extracurricular, community services, or student life of the College community?
c. Is the price or fee for the goods, services, or facilities established at a level that represents the full cost, including overhead where applicable?
d. Are the goods or services provided primarily to members of the College community or invited guests?
2. Criteria for Sales to the External Community
Each of the following criteria will be used in assessing the validity of providing goods, services, or facilities to the external community:
a. Do the goods, services, or facilities represent a resource that is directly related to the College’s educational purpose, which is not commonly available or otherwise easily accessible, and for which there is a demand from the external community?
b. Is the price or fee of the goods, services, or facilities representative of the full costs of the goods or services, including overhead? The typical price of such items in the private marketplace will also serve as a guideline in establishing the price or fee.
Review and Approval Procedures
Approval for the direct sale of any goods or services covered by this policy is vested in the Clark College Executive Cabinet. Before any sales project may be implemented, the department proposing the project must provide to its vice president a request setting forth all pertinent information about the sales plan and justification for the program that addresses the elements of this policy and how the stated evaluation criteria are met. The vice president will submit the request to the Executive Cabinet with his/her recommendation. The vice president of administrative services will maintain files on the requests submitted and notify the applicant of the decision made by the Executive Cabinet.
Each category of goods or services sold is to be considered individually so as to avoid the unplanned expansion of any sales program. All new categories of sales must be justified to and reviewed by the area vice president in accord with this policy.
All current sales programs must be evaluated by the vice presidents, following the procedure for initial review and approval stated above. Periodic reevaluation will be initiated on a not more than five-year interval. All review materials and results will be submitted to the vice president of administrative services.
Each occupational program at the College utilizes an advisory committee consisting of lay community members. Advisory committees provide input to the College regarding the development and operation of relevant and effective occupational preparatory and supplemental programs.
Where pertinent, commercial activities and sales resulting from practicum will be reviewed by the relevant advisory committee and advice sought by the College to avoid violations of this policy.
Decisions by the relevant advisory committee will be made available to the public when concerns are raised regarding commercial activities.
The vice president of administrative services is designated as the individual available to:
- Resolve matters concerning the internal application of this policy. Accounting Services
reviews requests from vice presidents to establish revenue budgets. Should Accounting
Services believe that the request is inconsistent with this policy, the matter will
be referred to the vice president of administrative services.
- Address questions from members of the external community about specific commercial
- Review and approve requests for advertising in normal paid media channels (yellow
pages, newspapers, etc.) for commercial activities governed by these policies.
- Meet with representatives of the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce on at least an annual basis to review new commercial activities to ensure that these policies are being followed and to deal with any concerns raised by existing commercial activities.
The products or services resulting from practicum are not covered by these policies nor are there statutory restrictions on their sale. However, the College acknowledges that appropriate concern may be expressed about the apparent commercial nature and possible competition caused by the sale of goods or services resulting from the practicum aspects of its instructional and service programs and extracurricular or student services programs.
The College will ensure that the goods and services of this nature are governed by and limited to that which is necessary for the programs conducted under the College’s purpose. Review procedures within this policy also apply to the goods and services resulting from practicum.
Students have the right to engage in incidental sales of personal property in private transactions, provided College facilities are not expressly used for this purpose.
The distribution of materials on College property is subject to reasonable limitations as to time, place, and manner, which are consistent with applicable federal and state law. Material which contains or constitutes unprotected speech or expression will not be allowed on College property.
The use of College grounds or facilities for the purpose of commercial or private gain is prohibited except where commercial activity, such as the sale of books, instructional supplies, or food, contributes to the operation of the instructional program or where limited sale is specifically authorized by the Executive Cabinet for the benefit of an approved College activity.
- Student fundraising activities must be approved by the Director of Student Life and
Multicultural Student Affairs or designee.
- Merchandise, periodicals, magazines, and books offered for commercial sale will be
sold only through the Bookstore or Food Services, except when approved pursuant to
the above regulations.
- Books, magazines, newspapers, handbills, leaflets, or similar materials, except those
which are commercial, obscene, or unlawful, may be distributed only in designated
areas on campus and at such times when such distribution does not interfere with the
orderly administration of College affairs or the free flow of traffic. Distribution
of materials will not be construed as support or approval of the content by the College
community or Board of Trustees.
Persons desiring to distribute such publications must first register with the Director of Student Life and Multicultural Student Affairs or designee for the coordination of distribution sites and schedules.
- Handbills, leaflets, newspapers, and similar materials must clearly identify the publishing
agency and distributing organization or individual. Distribution of materials must
be in accordance with Administrative Procedure 535.001 BULLETIN BOARDS/POSTING OF SIGNS AND FLYERS.
- Printed matter may not be placed on any vehicle parked on campus.
- Solicitation on College-owned or operated facilities is expressly prohibited (unless
at the specific request of the person or group being solicited or as permitted by
the appropriate College officials) except by written permission of the president or
designee, or when conducted pursuant to an agreement, lease, or other formal arrangement
with the College.
- Sale or distribution of materials will be conducted in a manner such that accessibility to pathways, automatic doors, etc., is not blocked or prohibited.
- All meetings and/or events that take place on our main campus must utilize the McClaskey
Culinary Institute (MCI) Catering services for any and all catered food and beverages.
- McClaskey Culinary Institute (MCI) Catering is to have right of first refusal for
all catering needs of the college community. MCI will respond within three instructional
days. If MCI Catering concludes that it cannot accommodate the food service requests
of an organization, either internal or external, permission will be granted by MCI
Catering to bring outside food to campus.
- This policy applies to all meetings and events held on our main campus that utilize
funds from Clark College and Clark College Foundation accounts for the purchase of
food and beverages. It shall not, however, apply to informal meetings that are not
catered, but that may have small food or beverage items brought by attendees.
- One time, limited food sales that benefit an approved College activity are allowed
if approved by the President or designee.
- Commercial vendors serving College events must follow all College procedures for facilities use and follow all applicable Clark County Health Department requirements to include permitting.
Revised Policy/Procedure Approved by Executive Cabinet
November 12, 2019
Requests to conduct raffles through the College (which includes the ASCC) must be submitted to the Executive Cabinet through the vice president of administrative services. The Executive Cabinet will decide whether or not the raffle is to be conducted. Administrative Services will receive and maintain the financial reports. The Clark College Foundation is excluded from these procedures but is subject to similar procedures in Chapter 9.46 RCW. The following rules apply specifically to raffles:
Raffles involving the public:
- No more than two raffles are allowed per calendar year for the entire College.
- The Vancouver Police Department must be notified by the organization conducting the
raffle five days or more before event.
- Raffles cannot be held for a period longer than twelve consecutive days.
- Persons working on the raffle cannot be paid from raffle funds and must be either currently registered College students or College employees.
Raffles not involving the public:
- Tickets can only be sold to College employees or currently registered students (but
not to the public).
- Prizes can only be awarded to College employees or currently registered students (but not to the public).
Either Type of Raffle:
- Gross revenues from all raffles held by the College during a calendar year may not
exceed $5000 without obtaining a license from the Gambling Commission.
- The net income must be used in a way that relates to the College purpose.
- The organization conducting the raffle must maintain and file with Administrative Services records of income, expense, and use of net revenue for each event.
Tickets must bear an individual consecutive number and must not cost more than $5.00 each. A prize or prizes must be awarded on the basis of a drawing from the tickets.
Prizes must be obtained prior to the drawing.
No free tickets are allowed. Raffle Tickets must meet Gambling Commission requirements, which can be found at http://www.wsgc.wa.gov/docs/5-164.pdf.
Other games of chance, fundraising activities such as lotteries, etc., have different rules.
Procedures for issuing or selling gift certificates must be in written form and reviewed
by the College’s internal auditor in advance. Procedures should include a description
of security features, terms of
redemption, segregation of duties, tracking and reconciliation methods, etc. (Money handling practices should be consistent with department’s cash control policies and procedures. Supporting documentation should be kept according to College records retention and disposition procedures.) The internal auditor is to be contacted for assistance in establishing a written policy prior to implementing the gift certificate, etc.
College employees (administrators, faculty members, classified or exempt staff, or student employees) are subject to the provisions of Chapter 42.52 RCW, the Ethics in Public Service Act. In general, College employees are prohibited from:
- Having any interest (financial or otherwise) that is incompatible with public duties;
- Having a beneficial interest in state transactions involving the employee’s direct
or indirect participation;
- Assisting another person in a state transaction in which the College employee participated
or which was under the employee’s official responsibility within two years prior to
providing the assistance;
- Engaging in a business or professional activity that would be expected to require
divulging confidential official information;
- Disclosing confidential information or knowingly withholding or concealing a public
- Using an official position to secure a beneficial interest, special privileges, or
exemptions for themselves, family members, or any other persons;
- Accepting certain kinds of employment or participating in certain types of transactions
within two years after leaving College or state employment;
Accepting honoraria from any other entity or person without the prior authorization of Clark College. Certain types of honoraria are not allowed (per criteria in RCW 42.52.130(2));
Accepting gifts of any kind that would reasonably be regarded as a reward for official action or inaction, that have an aggregate value in excess of $50.00 from a single source in a calendar year, or a single gift from multiple sources with a value in excess of $50.00;
Employing or using people, money, or property under the College employee’s official control, direction, or official custody, for anyone’s private benefit or gain. An employee may make occasional, limited use of state resources for private benefit only if there is no actual cost to the College or if the cost is “de minimis” (insignificant or negligible) and use does not interfere with the performance of official duties. WAC 292-110-010, the rule adopted by the Executive Ethics Board, sets forth the minimum applicable standards that apply to College officers and employees;
Giving, paying, loaning, transferring, or delivering, directly or indirectly, anything of economic value to another person if there is reason to believe that receipt of such may violate the Act;
Using College/state resources or facilities for proposing or opposing a political campaign or ballot proposition;
Having an interest in an investment (without College approval) if employed in certain positions by the College responsible to invest funds, or
Asking for or giving or receiving, either directly or indirectly, any compensation, gift, reward, or gratuity from a source except the State of Washington for performing, omitting, or deferring the performance of any official duty unless otherwise authorized by law.
Pursuant to 9. Above, “gift,” which means anything of economic value, does not include:
Items from family members or friends where it is clear that the gift was not made to influence the employee’s official duties;
Items related to the outside business of the recipient that are customary and not related to the employee’s performance of official duties;
Items exchanged by employees at social events hosted or sponsored by and for coworkers;
Reasonable expenses for travel, lodging, and subsistence incurred in connection with official duties;
Items returned to the donor or donated to charity within thirty days of receipt;
Campaign contributions reported under Chapter 42.17 RCW, or
Discounts available to employees as members of a broad-based group.
Also, pursuant to 9. Above, and within the $50.00 limit, employees may accept such gifts as:
Unsolicited flowers, plants, and floral arrangements;
Unsolicited advertising or promotional items of nominal value such as pens, note pads, and calendars;
Unsolicited tokens or awards of appreciation such as plaques, trophies, and desk items;
Unsolicited items for the purpose of evaluation or review if the employee has no beneficial interest in the eventual use or acquisition of the item by the College;
Informational material, publications, or subscriptions related to the employee’s performance of official duties;
Food and beverages consumed at hosted receptions where attendance is related to official duties;
Admission to and the cost of food and beverages consumed at events sponsored by civic, charitable, governmental, or community organizations; and
Unsolicited gifts from dignitaries from another state or a foreign country that are intended to be personal in nature.
The items listed above are presumed not to influence an employee; however, the presumption
may be overcome based on the circumstances surrounding the giving and acceptance of
the particular item.
Notwithstanding the above, any employee of the College who is signing contracts, vouchers, or Purchase Requests may not accept, receive, take, or seek from a person who seeks to provide goods or services to the College, either directly or indirectly, flowers and plants; gifts from dignitaries; food and beverages in the ordinary course of meals where attendance is related to the performance of official duties; reasonable expense payments for travel, lodging, and subsistence incurred in connection with speeches, presentations, or appearances made in official capacity or during attendance at seminars; or most other gifts even if valued less than fifty dollars.
These procedures are provided only as a summary of some of the major or important elements of the Act and are not intended to encapsulate all provisions. In matters where the possibility of a breach of ethics may exist, reference should be made directly to the Act and to advice of the Attorney General. College employees must secure a clarification from the College president or designee regarding any other employment, activity, or interest which might be considered a breach of ethics or which might interfere with the satisfactory performance of assigned College duties.
Clarifications are made on a case-by-case basis. Copies of the Ethics in Public Service Act are available upon request in the Office of the Vice President of Administrative Services or at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=42.52.
If it is determined that other employment or other interest is in conflict with assigned duties and that remedial action is required, the employee must take immediate action to end such conflict and advise the College president or designee of the action taken.
Failure to take remedial action as determined by the College president or designee shall constitute just cause to dismiss, suspend, or take such other disciplinary action as may be appropriate with respect to any College employee upon finding that the employee has violated any provision of the Ethics in Public Service Act (Chapter 42.52 RCW) and/or this policy.
Ethics Law Requirement – Approval of Honoraria
The state ethics law (RCW 42.52.130, effective 1/1/95) states that:
(1) No state officer or state employee may receive honoraria unless specifically authorized by the agency where they serve as state officer or state employee.
(2) An agency may not permit honoraria under the following circumstances:
(a) The person offering the honorarium is seeking or is reasonably expected to seek contractual relations with, or a grant from, the employer of the state officer or state employee; and the officer or employee is in a position to participate in the terms or the award of the contract or grant;
(b) The person offering the honorarium is regulated by the employer of the state officer or state employee, and the officer or employee is in a position to participate in the regulation; or
(c) The person offering the honorarium (i) is seeking or opposing, or is reasonably likely to seek or oppose, enactment of legislation or adoption of administrative rules, actions, or policy changes by the state officer’s or state employee’s agency; and (ii) the officer or employee may participate in the enactment or adoption.
RCW 42.52.010 defines “honorarium” as: “money or thing of value offered to a state officer or state employee for a speech, appearance, article, or similar item or activity in connection with the state officer’s or state employee’s official role.” Gifts, outside employment, and reimbursement for reasonable expenses are not within the definition of “honorarium.”
Thus, any College employee (faculty, staff, or administrator) expecting to receive an honorarium payment as defined above must obtain advance approval. Some honoraria may subsequently not be allowed if they fit any of the criteria in 2. above.
The College has a form that deals with all of the information necessary to meet these legal requirements. Contact Administrative Services to obtain this form to initiate the approval process.
The College has established the following payment schedule for guest lecturers and for honoraria for services performed at the College:
Clark College Non-Faculty
No compensation, unless it’s outside of regular working hours. If outside of regular working hours, then pay as adjunct below PAF – (AH.FH)
No compensation unless outside of regular working hours/contact, then pay as adjunct below.
PAF (AH.FH) – Will be compensated according to “other assignment” rate in Appendix B of AHE agreement.
Non-Clark College Employee
Invoice voucher ER– Will be compensated according to “other assignment” rate in Appendix B of AHE agreement. Higher rate and reimbursement for other expenses (e.g. prep time, travel, materials) may be approved by appropriate Executive Cabinet member.
Revised Policy/Procedure Approved by Executive Cabinet
September 28, 2010
The following interpretation of state ethics law and rules governs the selling of complimentary textbooks or receiving honoraria for reviewing textbooks:
- No problem exists if all proceeds are donated to the Clark College Foundation within
- Under a plan approved by the vice president of administrative services, proceeds may
be kept to benefit the department as long as the use of proceeds does not violate
- College employees cannot sell complimentary textbooks and personally keep the proceeds
if the proceeds would exceed $50.00 in any one calendar year.
- College employees cannot receive anything of value for the sale of a complimentary textbook, or receive an honorarium of any amount for reviewing the book, if it can be determined the employee made the decision or influenced the outcome of the decision to purchase the book.
References on this matter include College procedure 415.030, Chapter 42.52 RCW, and Chapter 292-110 WAC.
The following interpretation of the state ethics law governs an instructor when specifying his/her published textbook for a Clark College class he/she is teaching.
- The specified textbook (required or optional) will be approved as appropriate by the
division chair prior to being submitted to the Bookstore.
- The Bookstore staff notifies the vice president of administrative services when the
approved textbook requisition is received.
- The Bookstore staff will order from the publisher or through negotiated agreement
with the producer. (See Administrative Procedure 675.000 COPYRIGHTS/PATENTS.)
- The vice president of administrative services and the instructor will determine the method for transfer of profit to the Foundation.
The Washington State Whistleblower Program provides an avenue for state employees to report suspected improper governmental action. The law makes retaliation against people whose assertions result in a whistleblower investigation unlawful and authorizes remedies should it occur. The State Auditor’s Office (SAO) is solely responsible for investigating and reporting on assertions of improper governmental action in state government. The whistleblower program is a part of Washington State law under RCW 42.40.
Improper governmental action is defined as any action by an employee undertaken in the performance of the employee’s official duties which:
- Is in violation of federal or state law or rule, if the violation is not merely technical or of a minimum nature
- Is a gross waste of public funds or resources
- Is of substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety
- Is gross mismanagement
- Prevents dissemination of scientific opinion or alters technical findings
- Entails using a state computer or email for a private business
The Whistleblower Act specifically states that improper governmental action does not include personnel matters, for which other remedies exist. These types of personnel actions include, but are not limited to, employee grievances, complaints, appointments, promotions, transfers, assignments, reassignments, reinstatements, performance evaluations, reductions in pay, dismissals, suspensions, demotions, violations of state civil service laws, labor agreement violations, reprimands or other disciplinary actions.
Current employees may file a complaint within 12 months of the alleged improper governmental action. The notification should include a description of the improper action, the name of the employee(s) involved, the agency, and any other details necessary to conduct an investigation. The notification should be signed; however, complaints may be filed anonymously. The whistleblower’s name will be held in strict confidence.
More information about the Whistleblower Program is available at the State Auditor's Office.
Employees wishing to file a whistleblower complaint are encouraged to do so directly with the SAO. Employees can also report allegations of improper governmental actions to the College President, Vice President of Human Resources or to the Executive Ethics Board. If reported to a public official other than the SAO, that official must report the allegations directly to the SAO within 15 calendar days.
The SAO may be contacted by mail, online reporting form or email:
*Telephone calls will not be accepted by the SAO.
Revised Policy/Procedure Approved by Executive Cabinet
March 15, 2022