Jan 22, 2018 | Atlanta, GA
One of the recommendations resulting from 2016’s Black Student Experience Task Force included the request for an anonymous reporting system, a tool that would enable a systematic investigation for any allegations of discrimination on campus.
Georgia Tech already had such a tool. But at the time, it wasn’t being used for student-related matters. Today, the EthicsPoint reporting system is set up to address a broader array of concerns.
Melissa Hall, an associate director in the Department of Internal Auditing, said that the act of expanding the reporting categories had an additional benefit: It initiated a thorough review of all the information contained on the site, as well as a process for keeping it up to date.
“Going forward, it’s something we’re going to review every two years,” Hall said.
Anyone with a concern such as unsafe working conditions, academic misconduct, or abuse are encouraged to access the EthicsPoint system. When a report is submitted, personnel within the responsible unit are notified by email to investigate the claims. Alleged financial improprieties are referred to Internal Auditing, for example, just as allegations of discrimination are directed to staff in Institute Diversity. The University System’s Board of Regents is also alerted and has oversight for all filed reports.
“We acknowledge receipt [of a complaint] within 48 hours, so the submitter knows there is an awareness of their report,” Hall said.
Once a user submits a report, they receive unique login credentials that enable them to monitor status updates, upload supporting documentation, or respond to any follow-up questions the investigator may have.
Hall said she’s aware the primary reluctance people have when reporting is whether or not there will be anonymity in the process. In response, she pointed out that EthicsPoint is a third-party system — which keeps the reporter’s identification secure — and that the Institute’s focus is ensuring that staff, faculty, and students are operating within the boundaries of ethical behavior.
“Our interest is investigating the claims and taking corrective action if necessary, not trying to identify the source of the information,” she said.