This policy applies to all members of the W&L community, but does not apply to reporting of suspected child abuse and/or neglect (which is separately addressed in the University's Protocol for Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect).
Baseless Allegations - Allegations made with the knowledge of their falsity or reckless disregard for their truth.
Improper Activities - The following constitute a non-exclusive list of improper activities:
i) Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct - A deliberate act or failure to act with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized benefit from the University. Examples of such conduct include, without limitation:
• Forgery or alteration of any documents
• Unauthorized alteration or manipulation of computer files
• Fraudulent financial reporting
• Pursuit of a benefit or advantage in violation of the University's Conflict of Interest Policy
• Misappropriation or misuse of University resources, including funds, supplies, or other assets
• Authorization or receipt of compensation for services not received or not performed, or hours not worked; and
ii) violations of law.
Whistleblower - An individual who informs a supervisor/department head, Vice President for Administration, Dean, or the Chair of the Audit Committee, about any potential improper activities.
Supervisors/Department Heads are required to notify their Vice President, the relevant Dean, or the Provost of reports/concerns of suspected improper activities.
Supervisors/Department Heads should take reasonable care in dealing with allegations of improper activities to avoid:
• Baseless allegations
• Premature notice to persons suspected of improper activities and/or disclosure of such suspected conduct to others not involved in the investigation
• Violations of whistleblower protection
Accordingly, a supervisor/department head who is informed of suspected improper activities should NOT contact the person suspected and should NOT discuss the matter with anyone other than the VP/Dean/Provost or the Office of General Counsel.
Once the VP/Dean/Provost is aware of any suspected improper activities, he/she will assess the allegations to see that they are not baseless and will then conduct an investigation (or direct that an investigation be conducted), reach a conclusion on whether the improper activity occurred, and proceed to take whatever action, including disciplinary measures, he/she deems appropriate. In handling reports, the VP/Dean/Provost may consult with appropriate persons, but should not disclose such suspected conduct to those not involved in the investigation or who do not have a need to know.
The Office of General Counsel will serve as a resource to the VP/Dean/Provost throughout the investigation and handling of the matter. The VP/Dean/Provost will prepare a report summarizing the suspected improper activity, the investigation, the conclusion, and the actions taken, and the Office of General Counsel will retain such record for the purpose of documenting resolution of reported alleged improper activity. If the General Counsel, upon review of the summary report, believes that the matter has not been sufficiently addressed, the General Counsel may forward the matter to the Chair of the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees Finance Committee for review. The General Counsel will provide a status report of all complaints and their disposition under this policy to the Audit Committee at its regular meetings.
If the VP/Dean/Provost, upon receipt of a report of improper activity, for any reason feels uncomfortable handling the matter, he/she may forward the report to the Chair of the Audit Committee and request that the Audit Committee review, investigate (as appropriate) and resolve the matter.
If, for any reason, an individual feels uncomfortable using the reporting mechanisms set forth above and wishes to make a report of improper activity directly to the Audit Committee, he/she may do so in writing in a sealed envelope addressed to the Chair of the Audit Committee, W&L Board of Trustees, c/o General Counsel's Office, 7 Courthouse Square, Lexington, Virginia 24450 (sealed envelopes sent to General Counsel's Office will be delivered intact to the Chair of the Audit Committee for evaluation). W&L Cognizant Policy Officers and Compliance Partners under the University's Protocol for Implementation of the Matrix Compliance Program are authorized to communicate personally with the Chair of the Audit Committee on the compliance program and/or possible criminal conduct that could expose the University to liability.
The Office of General Counsel will serve as a resource to the Audit Committee in its review, investigation (as appropriate), and resolution of any reported misconduct under this policy. A record of all complaints/reports made under this policy will be maintained by the Office of General Counsel for the purpose of documenting resolution.
The University and its employees may not retaliate against a whistleblower with the intent or effect of adversely affecting the terms and conditions of employment (including, without limitation, threats of physical harm, loss of job, punitive work assignments, impact on salary or wage). A whistleblower who believes that he/she has been retaliated against may file a written complaint in a sealed envelope addressed to the Chair of the Audit Committee, W&L Board of Trustees, c/o General Counsel's Office, 7 Courthouse Square, Lexington, Virginia 24450 (sealed envelopes will be delivered intact to the Chair of the Audit Committee).
The University will use its best efforts to protect whistleblowers against any form of retaliation. It cannot guarantee confidentiality, however, and there is no such thing as "unofficial" or "off the record" reporting. The University will keep the whistleblower's identity confidential, unless (1) the person agrees to be identified; (2) identification is necessary to allow the University or law enforcement officials to investigate or respond effectively to the report; (3) identification is required by law; (4) the person accused of improper activities is entitled to the information as a matter of legal right in disciplinary proceedings.
Individuals bringing forth baseless allegations may be subject to disciplinary action independent of this policy.