An Improvement To Ethics Oversight

Boston College has recently launched a hotline for members of the community to voice concerns about ethical improprieties at BC. Hosted by EthicsPoint, a third-party vendor, this hotline includes a web-based and a phone-based platform for the submission of grievances that gives the option of submitting concerns anonymously.

The establishment of this hotline is an improvement to the University’s internal audit department. By giving people the option of submitting their complaints anonymously, the website relieves community members—some of whom might have otherwise felt that they could be negatively impacted by requesting an investigation—of worries that their job or grades could be at stake if the accused learns their identity. Using an outside company and their servers provides an extra layer of security in ensuring anonymity.

This new process will streamline reporting concerns, as there will be less potential confusion over which person or department should field a given complaint. EthicsPoint will receive all grievances, from athletics to research to student affairs issues, which the internal audit department will pursue without a conflict of interest.

Although the concern that complaints are more likely to fall through the cracks with an outside provider is a valid one, EthicsPoint has a system to track the progress of reports which mitigates that potential problem. Complainants should, nonetheless, monitor their grievances to ensure that they are being addressed.

Another potential worry is that anonymity will lead to false accusations. Although this is possible, it is unlikely to cause damage to the accused because the charges remain confidential during the investigation, which is run internally, meaning false charges will not make it into the community.

These hypothetical problems are minor, though. Overall, this new system improves internal control at BC, and members of the community should use it if they see or experience any behavior that could be illegal or unethical.

Featured Image by Alex Trautwig / Heights Senior Staff

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