The University of Southern Indiana (USI) is committed to the highest standards of moral, legal, and ethical behavior. These standards are outlined in the Code of Ethics found in the University Handbook. All members of the USI community have a responsibility for the stewardship of the University's resources. Internal controls and operating procedures are intended to protect the University's assets and interests by detecting or preventing improper activities. However, there are no absolute safeguards against willful violations of laws, regulations, policies or procedures.
The University will investigate possible fraudulent or dishonest use or misuse of University resources or property by faculty, staff, or students. Anyone found to have committed fraud relevant to University assets is subject to disciplinary action by the University, up to and including termination or expulsion, and investigation by external criminal justice authorities when warranted.
The Vice President for Business Affairs is responsible for the administration, interpretation, and application of this policy.
Fraud, Fraudulent Act or Misconduct: A deliberate act (or failure to act) with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized benefit, either for oneself or for the institution, by using deception or false suggestions or suppression of truth or other unethical means, which are believed and relied upon by others. Depriving another person or the institution of a benefit to which he/she/it is entitled by using any of the means described above also constitutes fraud. Examples of fraudulent acts include, but are not limited to, the following:
Forgery or alteration of documents
Unauthorized alteration or manipulation of computer files
Fraudulent financial reporting
Misappropriation or misuse of University resources (e.g., funds, supplies, equipment, facilities, services, inventory, or other assets)
Authorization or receipt of payment for goods not received or services not performed
Authorization or receipt of unearned wages or benefits
Conflict of interest, ethics violations
NOTE: The University will not rely on a determination by a criminal justice authority to criminally prosecute as the basis for determining if an act is fraudulent. The presence of the elements named in the definition will determine if the act is fraudulent for internal disciplinary purposes.
Whistleblower: A person or entity making a protected disclosure is commonly referred to as a whistleblower. Whistleblowers may be employees, students, vendors, contractors, or the general public. The whistleblower reports suspected fraudulent behavior. The whistleblower does not investigate the facts or determine the corrective or remedial action that may be warranted.
USI administrators and all levels of management are responsible for maintaining a system of internal controls which prevent, detect, or deter fraudulent or dishonest conduct. Each member of the management team is expected to recognize risks and exposures inherent within his or her area of responsibility and to be alert for any indication of irregularity. Management should contact the Internal Audit Department as soon as fraud is detected or suspected.
Employees who know or suspect that other employees are engaged in a fraudulent act have a responsibility to report such activity to their supervisor or appropriate administrator. However, in the interest of confidentiality or if the employee is uncomfortable reporting to his supervisor or administrator, the employee may notify the Internal Audit Department directly by one of the methods described under Reporting a Fraud.
Any employee who is aware of a fraud and does not immediately report it will be subject to disciplinary actions. Employees who report suspected fraudulent activity will be protected from reprisal or retaliatory action as stated in the Whistleblower Protection provisions. Whistleblowers should not confront the individual under suspicion or initiate investigations on their own. Such action may compromise any ensuing investigation and violate the individual's constitutional rights.
IMPORTANT: All claims of fraudulent activities must be made in good faith. Baseless allegations, made with disregard for truth or accuracy, or frivolous complaints will not be tolerated. People making such allegations may be subject to institutional disciplinary action and/or legal actions by the individuals accused of fraudulent conduct.
The Internal Audit Department will coordinate the investigation and resolution of reported fraudulent activities with appropriate USI departments and external law enforcement officials/agencies as appropriate and in accordance with the following guidelines:
All investigations will be conducted in the strictest confidence.
If an investigation reveals theft/fraud, charges will be filed with the appropriate criminal justice authority.
Restitution, including costs associated with the investigation, may be required from the accused.
Human Resources will determine the extent to which disciplinary action, in accordance with personnel policies and procedures, will be imposed.
Reporting a Fraud
Any person may report allegations of suspected improper activities by one of the following methods:
All emails and phone mails will be received by the Director of Internal Audit or the Internal Audit Manager. The identity of the individual conveying information will remain confidential to the extent possible within the legitimate needs of the law and the investigation.
A whistleblower may remain anonymous. Because investigators are unable to interview anonymous whistleblowers, it may be difficult to evaluate the credibility of the allegations. Therefore, it is critical that anonymous whistleblowers provide detailed information and sufficient corroborating evidence to justify their claims that a fraudulent act has occurred. Unspecified or broad allegations of wrongdoing cannot be investigated.
The University cannot guarantee confidentiality, but generally, the whistle-blower's identity will not be disclosed unless (1) the person agrees to be identified; or (2) identification is required by legal proceedings.
For having made a report of fraud or misconduct, the whistleblower may not be dismissed from employment or expelled from school; have salary increases or employment related benefits withheld; be transferred or reassigned; be denied a promotion or grade the employee or student otherwise would have received; or be demoted, penalized, or threatened in any way.
Whistleblowers who believe they have been retaliated against may file a written complaint with the Director of Internal Audit. A proven complaint of retaliation shall result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, against the retaliating person.
University employees enjoy whistleblower protection under Indiana Code 21-39-3. Nothing in this policy shall be construed in such a way as to conflict with the provisions and protection of the Indiana Code, which can be reviewed online at www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title21/ar39/ch3.html#IC21-39-3