Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1998-29

Advisory Opinion No. 1998-29
Advisory Opinion No. 1998-29

Application Of The Code Of Ethics To Priority Basketball Seating Provided
To Trustees , Faculty And Employees Of The University Of Connecticut

The University, through its Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, uses a priority point system to partially finance its intercollegiate athletic and intramural recreation programs. The point system encourages private contributions to the University of Connecticut Athletic Development Fund (UCADF) which, in turn, provides financial support to the various athletic programs at the University. Donors are awarded "points" based on the amount of their contribution to UCADF. Points determine eligibility to purchase season tickets and seating location. Historically, the University reserves preferred seating sections for University faculty and staff who may purchase two season tickets at face value. Additionally, University Trustees may purchase four season tickets at face value and certain senior personnel are provided up to four season tickets, with the face value of the tickets included as part of a compensation agreement. Mr. Thomas Callahan, Associate Vice President at the University, has asked whether it is permissible, under the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, to provide certain faculty, staff, and trustees preferred seating locations without regard to the established point system.

The State Ethics Commission has previously declined to interfere with the compensation and perquisites offered by the University to its own employees and affiliated public officials. See, State Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 97-14, 59 CLJ No. 1, p. 4D, (July 1, 1997). (Compare, State Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 98-9, 59 CLJ No.45, p. 5D, (May 5, 1998) wherein the Commission ruled that the receipt of excessive gifts and/or benefits by non-University personnel from the University soley by virtue of one’s state position was a use of office for personal financial gain, in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(c)). Therefore, under the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, the University may enter into arrangements with any of its faculty, staff, or Trustees to receive priority seating at athletic events, without regard to the point system. Any benefit received should be valued and included in the individual’s total compensation as required by the Internal Revenue Service. The appropriateness of foregoing the contributions to the UCADF is a University policy and does not fall within the purview of the State Ethics Commission.

By order of the Commission,

Stanley Burdick,

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:02:27 AM