Whistleblower Policy

Responsible Department: Legal Services 
Responsible Administrator: General Counsel 
Effective Date: May 1, 2009 
Reviewed/Updated Date: May 2012
Date of Scheduled Review: May 2016

I. Purpose

To proactively promote legal and policy compliance by encouraging all members of the ACU community to report any financial improprieties, illegal practices or policy violations committed by university employees or agents, and to protect from retaliation those who make such good-faith reports.

II. Scope

This policy applies to members of the board of trustees, officers, faculty, staff, student employees, and volunteers.

III. Definitions

  • “University Employees or Agents” – members of the board of trustees, officers, faculty, staff, student employees and volunteers
  • “Violation” – a breach by a university employee or agent of applicable (1) federal, state or local laws; (2) regulations of any governing or accrediting body, or (3) university or departmental policies.

IV. Procedure

A. Responsibility to Report and Protection from Retaliation

If any university employees or agents have a good faith reason to believe or suspect that a violation has or will occur, they have a responsibility to report those violations or suspected violations. University students, alumni, vendors, and guests may also report violations pursuant to this policy if they so choose. As long as report is made in good faith, the individual will not suffer harassment, retaliation, or adverse employment consequences based on making the report. Anyone who reasonably believes they have been retaliated against in violation of this policy should immediately contact the Office of Legal Services.

B. Prohibition Against Bad Faith Reporting and Retaliation

Any individual who does not act in good faith in reporting a violation or suspected violation will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment and/or legal action. Additionally, university employees and agents shall not harass, retaliate, or take any adverse action against an individual who makes a report in good faith (or encourage others to do the same). Such acts will be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.

C. Reporting Options – There are two reporting options: traditional and anonymous. 

1. Traditional Reporting
When possible, violations should be reported according to the procedures provided under other applicable university policies. Examples of university policies that set forth procedures for reporting violations include, but are not limited to, the Employee Complaint Procedure Policy; the Harassment Policy; the Political Campaign Activity Policy; and the Policy on Research Misconduct.

For violations that do not fall under existing policies or that do not have an established reporting procedure, the following guidelines should be followed (assuming there is no need for anonymous reporting):

a. Members of the Board and University Officers: report to the Board Chair or to the Office of Legal Services.

b. Faculty: report to their department chair or to their dean. If it is not appropriate to report to the chair or dean for any reason, the faculty member should report to the Provost and may also contact Human Resources.

c. Staff Members: report to their immediate supervisor. If it is not appropriate to report to the immediate supervisor for any reason, the staff member should report to the supervisor's superior and may also contact Human Resources.

d. Students/Student Employees: Student employees should report to their immediate supervisor. If it is not appropriate to report the violation to the supervisor for any reason, the student employee should report to the supervisor's superior and may also contact Human Resources. If the violation does not relate to student employment, students should report to the Vice President of Student Life or to their academic dean.

e. Volunteers: report to the university employee who coordinates their volunteer activity. If it is not appropriate to report the violation to the coordinator for any reason, the volunteer should report to the coordinator’s superior.

f. Alumni, Vendor, or Guest – report to the Office of Legal Services. 

2. Anonymous Reporting

If for any reason an individual finds it difficult to use one of the traditional reporting structures, he or she may report the violation anonymously online or by calling 325-674-2594. Anonymous reports will be forwarded to the proper university official or committee for appropriate action. If the reporting individual provides optional contact information, a university official (typically a representative from Human Resources or Legal Services) will contact him or her within seven business days in order to acknowledge receipt of the reported violation and: 

1. gather more information; 
2. explain what action has been taken; 
3. provide an update regarding the ongoing investigation; or 
4. if no further action or investigation is to follow, explain the basis for that decision.

In order to ensure that proper steps are taken to investigate and timely resolve anonymous complaints, the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees will, at least once a year, review a summary of all anonymous reports received by the university.