Compliance for Educators

Even if you aren’t RSCA active, you still have compliance responsibilities. Below are some of the most common compliance issues encountered by faculty.

Compliance Committees

If your instructional activities include human subjects, living or deceased animals, or biohazardous materials, you may still need approval from the appropriate compliance committee. Check the links in the left sidebar for the IRB (human subjects), IACUC (animals), or IBC (biohazards) to review the requirements and find application forms and instructions.

Under University Policy S14-6 [pdf], any faculty member with an IACUC-approved protocol is directly responsible for the welfare of the animals associated with that protocol. The faculty member is also responsible for meeting all IACUC requirements and safety recommendations. This responsibility persists irrespective of whether the PI is located on or off campus. 

Once an IACUC protocol is approved, neither the faculty member nor any other personnel can make changes to the protocol without prior written approval from the IACUC unless the immediate well-being of the animal is at stake. If the faculty member or personnel make unapproved changes to the protocol to protect the health and safety of the animal, the PI must contact the Campus Veterinarian, Dr. Rosemary Broome, and the IACUC immediately.


FERPA protects student records and requires the students' consent to release any information beyond that included in the directory. SJSU considers the student's enrollment dates and degrees earned to be "directory information" for purposes of FERPA.

Grades and other official student records cannot be provided to anyone (excluding military recruiters) without the student's consent. It is a best practice only to keep records of these types on the cloud or other online locations and not download them onto a digital device.

You should inform them immediately if your SJSU digital device has FERPA-protected records and Customs and Border Protection seizes it while traveling. If your digital device contains FERPA-protected records and is lost or stolen, please contact the SJSU Information Security Officer immediately.

Conflicts of Interest

The Political Reform Act of 1974 limits the decisions that SJSU employees can make on behalf of the State of California. This legislation prohibits SJSU employees from “making, participating in making, or in any way attempting to use their official position to influence an SJSU decision in which the employee knows or has reason to know that they have a Financial Interest.”

The State of California defines a Financial Interest as:

  • Any business entity in which the employee is a director, officer, partner, trustee, employee, or holds any management position.
  • Any business entity in which the employee has a direct or indirect investment worth $2,000 or more, including stock ownership by the employee or the employee’s spouse or dependent child.
  • Any source of income that provides $500 or more in value promised to or received by the employee within 12 months before the decision is made.
  • Any real property in which the employee has a direct or indirect interest worth $2,000 or more. The employee’s home is not included in this calculation, but any other investment property would be.
  • Any donor of a gift or gifts totaling $520 or more received or promised to the employee within 12 months before the decision is made. The $520 limit includes meals, travel costs, or anything else of value.

If you have a Financial Interest, you must disqualify yourself from any involvement in a decision by SJSU or the State of California. Disqualification includes not engaging in any written or oral communication regarding the decision.


California State Attorney General’s Office – Conflicts of Interest

Export Control

The federal government heavily regulates interactions with North Korea, Syria, Iran, Cuba, and specific regions of Ukraine. A license may be required even for teaching or scholarly collaborations. Contact Jessica Trask, the Senior Director of Research Services, before engaging in any activities involving an embargoed or comprehensively sanctioned country.

U.S. export control laws and embargos apply to all international travel, even for conferences or teaching activities. Please refer to the International Travel page for guidance before you travel on any university business.