Gifts made to university employees may be in the form of entertainment, social invitations, sporting events, favors, personal property, services, or discounts. Gifts from vendors, contractors, and others conducting business with WPI are most often given as a gesture of goodwill and appreciation, but all faculty and staff should be aware that gifts are generally given with the intent to influence a business decision. This behavior is customary business practice, but such activity serves no useful purpose and can create conflicts of interest. It is the obligation of the employee responsible for a business relationship to handle gifts properly and in accordance with university policy as stated below.

University employees (and family members of university employees) may not accept gifts of more than a token or nominal value (generally, $100 or under) from a supplier or vendor under any circumstances. University employees must refrain from accepting gifts of any value when the gifts give the appearance of impropriety.

University policy prohibits the offering of a gift or entertainment by WPI employees that could in any way be construed as wrongfully or unfairly attempting to influence a decision that would benefit either WPI or its employees. The expenditure of university funds for gifts to employees or students other than those provided through authorized recognition programs is prohibited. For further information, please refer to the university's Business Expense Policy, as posted on the Division of Finance and Operations’ website.

Questions & Answers

Q.  A vendor servicing my department treats me to sporting events three or four times a year. Is this appropriate?
A.  No. An individual event may have a nominal value, and if so would be acceptable, but the circumstances change when frequency becomes an issue and thus increases the total value of such gifts. Since the value and frequency of this vendor's gift are significant and could influence your business decisions, you should not accept the invitations.

Q.  A consultant working with the university has offered to let me stay at his vacation home on Cape Cod for the weekend. Should I accept the invitation?
A.  No. This gift would have more than a $100. value and acceptance would give the appearance of impropriety, so it would be inappropriate for you to accept the invitation.