The National Hispanic Institute (“NHI”) is an organization that fosters future leaders for the expanding Latino community throughout the United States and Latin America. NHI’s primary mission is to create experiences that engage achieving high school and college age youth in community leadership roles that advance our collective quality of life. NHI achieves this mission through formal leadership development and social entrepreneurship.
The purpose of this Code of Professionalism and Ethics is to further NHI’s mission and ensure that all NHI officers, trustees, directors, employees, volunteers, and program participants (collectively, “NHI Associates”) adhere to and promote the highest level of ethical standards, as well as preserve NHI’s integrity, relationships, and reputation in the communities that it serves.
This Code of Professionalism and Ethics is not intended to cover every applicable law or provide answers to all questions that may arise. NHI Associates must be able to rely on their own common sense of right and wrong. Before participating in any activity affiliated with NHI, NHI Associates should consider carefully whether their conduct is in the best interests of NHI and complies with the spirit and letter of NHI’s mission, this Code of Professionalism and Ethics, any applicable NHI policies, and all applicable laws. NHI expects and demands that all NHI Associates act consistently in accordance with the highest ethical principles and integrity when representing NHI.
Fundamental to the operations of NHI are certain core values, namely:
Honesty. Be honest. Demonstrate honesty by being truthful, trustworthy, and fair.
Integrity. Act ethically. NHI is committed to achieving excellence and expects a high standard of professionalism through ethical behavior, which means do the right thing, even if no one is watching.
Fairness. Be fair. Hold yourself accountable, work towards environments of fairness, and when you feel fairness is not achievable, work through your highest supervisor or the existing NHI channels to air your sentiments.
Respect for Others and Property. Treat everyone and all property with dignity and conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times. Do not infringe on the rights or personal values of others, and do not destroy or damage property. Create an environment that is free of bullying, harassment and retaliation, and report those who bully, harass, or retaliate. While NHI encourages, and indeed expects, the free expression of views and the discussions of differing viewpoints, all should be done in a professional and civil manner. Personal attacks on, or insults of, individuals have no place in the NHI environment.
Adherence to Mission and Scope. NHI’s work in the community is directed at building future community leaders for the Latino community. When matters arise beyond the scope of our duties and responsibilities, NHI officers and volunteers practice the use of our internal protocol, which may defer to expert services that are legal, medical, psychological, or social in nature.
Transparency. Be transparent in all activities. Promptly and openly identify and disclose conflicts of interest. Take appropriate steps to either eliminate such conflicts or ensure that they do not compromise NHI operations and values or violate the law. Do not exploit your position with NHI for personal gain.
Diversity. Support and value diversity. Promote an environment that embraces the similarities and differences all people bring to NHI.
Compliance. Obey both the spirit and letter of the law and all NHI policies and procedures.
Inclusion. NHI neither condones nor practices discrimination on the basis of race, gender, political affiliation, economic circumstances, or religious belief.
NHI Associates must agree not to release or use NHI information that has not been made public to private individuals, organizations, or government bodies unless demanded by legal process. Further, NHI Associates shall not use NHI proprietary information obtained in the course of their affiliation with NHI for the purpose of advancing their own private interests or otherwise for personal gain.
NHI strictly prohibits and does not tolerate any form of harassment against any individual involved with NHI programs or events. NHI Associates must maintain strictly professional relationships with all individuals involved with NHI and when representing NHI in public, refrain from engaging in harassment or other conduct that could reasonably be construed as inappropriate. This would include, but is not limited to, using inappropriate language, hazing, bullying, engaging in nonverbal or physical actions that are inappropriate or pervasive in nature, posting inappropriate or unsuitable materials in their work area, or posting or accessing inappropriate materials at NHI property or any location where a NHI program or event is being held. Violations may result in temporary suspension or permanent expulsion. If you have a question about whether a certain type of conduct is appropriate, please contact your supervisor at NHI or a member of NHI’s Board of Trustees.
NHI serves students in the United States and abroad. As the students involved with NHI look to their adult NHI counterparts for examples of respect, integrity, honesty and excellence, sexual misconduct in any form is expressly prohibited. NHI associates must not, under any circumstance, engage in inappropriate relations with an NHI student or participant and must understand the difference between appropriate physical contact versus contact that is, or could reasonably be perceived as being, sexual in nature, inappropriate, or disrespectful. To be clear, sexual misconduct in any form that involves an NHI associate will not be tolerated. Violations may result in permanent removal from any and all activities associated with NHI, and such violations may also be reported to law enforcement.
NHI expressly prohibits the possession of weapons or firearms of any type on NHI property or at any location where a NHI program or event is being held. Further, NHI Associates are prohibited from possessing or being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any type of controlled substance on NHI property or at any location where a NHI program or event is being held. Law enforcement will be involved in these matters.
Public statements and social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) messages/postings are powerful tools. NHI expects all NHI Associates to abide by NHI’s policies and guidelines in all their public communications and social media activities relating to NHI.
NHI Associates must communicate on social media sites professionally and respectfully, just as NHI would expect them to communicate were they present in person. All communications with young people must be appropriate, both in terms of the student’s age and the relationship between the adult and student. Profanity, sexualized language or jokes, images of a sexual nature, or similar communications involving adult topics, drugs or alcohol, are never appropriate around students, no matter if they occur in person, in an email or text message, or on a social media site.
NHI Associates must keep separate any social media communications that implicate NHI from their own personal communications. Young people may have difficulty distinguishing among an adult’s different roles. Therefore, NHI Associates must presume that any communications with a NHI student will be perceived by the student as relating to NHI as an organization and must act accordingly.
NHI expects all NHI Associates to perform all activities conscientiously, honestly, and in accordance with the best interests of NHI. NHI Associates must not use their position with NHI for personal advantage. When a NHI Associate is in a situation in which competing loyalties could cause he or she to pursue a personal benefit for themselves or their friends or family at the expense of NHI, there may be a conflict of interest. If a NHI Associate feels that a particular course of action they have embarked upon, or they may be contemplating acting upon, involves a conflict of interest with NHI, the NHI Associate should immediately consult with their supervisor at NHI or a member of NHI’s Board of Trustees. All NHI Associates should avoid conflicts of interest and circumstances that reasonably present the appearance of a conflict.
NHI is a Texas-based, 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit corporation designated as tax exempt by the IRS and conducts a biannual audit of its property and holdings. Local alliances operating on its behalf must follow the same practices of its parent organization, including the correct and proper reporting of income and expenses exclusively for purposes of programs and project of the National Hispanic Institute. Said programs and projects must be duly authorized by the National Hispanic Institute headquarters and may be administered authorized alliances, project administrators, and/or assigned individuals.
NHI Associates who are involved with preparing financial reports or facilitating transactions on behalf of NHI should set examples of honest and ethical behavior and ensure that all organizational assets and transactions are handled with the strictest integrity. NHI Associates involved in such activities must ensure that each transaction is executed in accordance with applicable procedures, authorization, and documentation.
If an NHI Associate believes (or is unsure how to proceed) that the actions of anyone involved with NHI are unethical or expose NHI or its members to risk, liability or disrepute, such NHI Associate must report the situation by contacting their direct supervisor or, if the conduct involves that direct supervisor, the next level above their direct supervisor, as soon as reasonably possible following the occurrence of the offending conduct.
You are also asked to report any such issues to the Incident Committee of the Board of Trustees (the “NHI Incident Committee”) at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. That Committee will treat each report with extreme discretion and privacy, and respect for all parties involved, and, if necessary, take action to resolve the issue promptly.
NHI takes all complaints of misconduct and violations of this Code of Professionalism and Ethics seriously. Any complaint reporting a possible violation of this Code of Professionalism and Ethics should be as detailed as possible, including the names of all individuals involved and any witnesses. Allegations of misconduct will be escalated internally to NHI’s Executive Vice President (who may determine to initiate an internal investigation) and the NHI Incident Committee. If such conduct is illegal in nature, such allegations will be promptly reported to the appropriate authorities. In the event that NHI determines that misconduct has occurred, NHI will, if deemed to be in the best interests of NHI and its members, suspend or terminate the alleged wrongdoer’s association with NHI, depending on the severity of the alleged misconduct.
NHI strongly encourages NHI Associates to notify the appropriate individuals within the organization and the NHI Incident Committee in order to report suspected misconduct in violation of the principals set forth in this Code of Professionalism and Ethics. NHI strictly prohibits retribution or retaliation of any kind for the good faith reporting of unethical or questionable behavior, misconduct, or violations of this Code of Professionalism and Ethics, NHI policies, or any applicable rule of law.
This Code of Professionalism and Ethics sets forth the fundamental principles, policies, and procedures that govern the conduct of NHI Associates. It does not create any rights for any such individuals. This Code of Professionalism and Ethics does not constitute an employment contract or an assurance of continued employment or association with NHI. NHI may modify or repeal the provisions of this Code of Professionalism and Ethics or adopt a new code whenever it deems necessary, with or without notice.
Every NHI Associate must review this Code of Professionalism and Ethics and comply with the spirit and letter of its terms. NHI expects all NHI Associates to know and follow this Code of Professionalism and Ethics. Failure to do so can result in disciplinary action, including suspension or immediate termination of such person’s association with NHI.