Board Policy - Nepotism


Tomkins Cortland Community College, Inc. is committed to upholding the highest standard of ethical conduct with respect to the organization’s hiring and business practices. This policy must be considered when hiring, promoting, transferring any employee as well as any business transactions that may directly be influenced by familial or household relationships. This is a College-wide policy, including the affiliate units such as Faculty Student Association and the TC3 Foundation. 


The goal of this Nepotism Policy is to avoid creating or maintaining circumstances in which the appearance of favoritism or possibility of favoritism and/or conflicts of interest exist. 

Relevant Policies: 

Tompkins Cortland Community College – Sexual Assault, Dating Partner and Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking Prevention 

New York State Law 130.20 – 130.65 

Tompkins Cortland Community College – Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment Public Officers Law Section 73 and Section 74 


Nepotism – Favoritism based on familial relationships (by blood or marriage or dating relationship or household relationship) that benefits the person in a position of trust directly or indirectly. This includes supervision of anyone in such relationships. This also applies to faculty teaching anyone on the “close relatives” listing which results in assessment of student learning. 

Conflict of Interest- a conflict, real or the appearance of, the private interests of an individual and the official responsibilities of a person in a position of influence or control. Close relatives, partners, those in dating relationships or members of the same household are not permitted to be in positions that have direct or indirect reporting responsibilities to each other. 

Close relatives are defined as the following: husband, wife, father, mother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandfather, grandmother, son, daughter, nephew, niece, father-in-law, mother-in- law, sister-in law. 


Individuals will not be hired or promoted into a position that would create a conflict to this policy. If an employee becomes a party to such a relationship, the employee must disclose this information to their supervisor and the Office of Human Resources. The employee(s), supervisor(s), and the Executive Council representative will attempt to resolve the situation. If a resolution cannot be identified, the Office of Human Resources will implement a resolution, up to and including employee resignation. Length of employment and responsibilities of each employee may be a consideration. If the impacted employee is in a bargaining unit they may ask for consultation with their union representative at any meeting on the subject. The impacted employee may apply for vacant positions for which they are qualified that do not create a nepotism situation and must go through the normal hiring process. 

If the conflict involves a business transaction, the employee must notify the Vice President of Finance and Administration as well as the Office of Human Resources with a request to recuse themselves. “Close relatives” shall not approve the business transaction of a “close relative”. Close relatives must recuse themselves from the total bidding, reviewing, and selection process of business transactions that benefit them or familial or household members as this presents a conflict of interest. 

Examples of Nepotism* 

  • No “close relative”, as defined above, should hire their “close relative”. 
  • A department director’s “close relative” is hired by a supervisor within that department. This is indirect nepotism because the department director has authority over the supervisor, presenting a conflict of interest for the department director. 
  • A “close relative” may not contract with a family member’s business. The “close relative” should recuse themselves, and notify the Vice President of Finance and Administration and the Office Human Resources. 

*Provided as examples, not an exhaustive list. 


It is the responsibility of all employees to identify to the Office of Human Resources any potential or existing personal relationships that fall under the purview of this policy. It is the responsibility of employees who have a business conflict of interest to present the existence of this conflict to the sources noted above. Employees who fail to disclose familial or household relationships or business conflicts of interest covered by this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. 


Any exceptions to this policy must be approved in writing by the appropriate Executive Council representative, the Vice President of Human Resources, and the President. The Vice President of Human Resources is responsible for providing a written justification for the exception to be included in the personnel files of all parties. Any exceptions, including the rationale, shall be reported by the President to the Board of Trustees. 









Office Name 


Title or Position 


Telephone Number 






Questions regarding the policy 



Human Resources 


Vice President, Human Resources 






Approved by the Tompkins Cortland Community College April 15, 2023