Office of Financial Affairs and Treasurer



Reporting of Suspicious Financial Activity



POLICY:

Utica College employees must report to the appropriate parties, and the College must investigate, allegations of suspected improper financial activities. The College must also protect those employees who, in good faith, report these activities.

A College employee may not retaliate against an employee or applicant for employment who has made a protected disclosure or who has refused to obey an illegal order, nor may the employee directly or indirectly use or attempt to use the official authority or influence of his or her position for the purpose of interfering with the right of an applicant or an employee to make a protected disclosure to the College. It is the intention of the College to take whatever action may be needed to prevent and correct activities that violate this policy.

SCOPE:

This policy applies to all Utica College employees, including student employees and vendors hired by the College.

REASON FOR POLICY:

Utica College has a responsibility to ensure the stewardship of College resources and the public and private support that enables it to pursue its mission. This policy is designed to identify suspicious financial activities such as misconduct, deficiencies, and irregularities that have the potential to undermine that responsibility, ensure that such activities are investigated, and protect employees who report such activities.

PROCEDURE:

Filing a Report of Suspected Improper Activities
  • Any person may report allegations of suspected illegal or suspicious financial activities affecting Utica College. Knowledge or suspicion of such activities may originate from academic personnel, staff, and administrators carrying out their assigned duties, vendors, students, or other third parties. Allegations of suspicious financial activities may also be reported anonymously to the immediate supervisor; however anonymous reporting may hamper the College’s ability to thoroughly investigate the matter.

  • Allegations of suspicious financial activities should be made in writing so as to assure a clear understanding of the issues raised, but may be made orally. Such reports should be factual and contain as much specific information as possible, including a description of the questionable practice or behavior, the names of any persons involved, the names of possible witnesses, dates, times, places, and other available details.

  • Normally, a report by a College employee of allegations of a suspicious financial activity should be made to the reporting employee’s immediate supervisor or other appropriate administrator or supervisor within the operating unit. However, when there is a potential conflict of interest or for other reasons, such reports may be made to another College official whom the reporting employee may reasonably expect to have either responsibility over the affected area or the authority to review the alleged improper activity on behalf of the College.

  • When a person reports allegations of suspicious financial activities to an appropriate authority the report is known as a protected disclosure. College employees and applicants for employment who make a protected disclosure are protected from retaliation.

  • The appropriate authority will review the protected disclosure and determine what actions need to be taken. It is at the discretion of the appropriate authority to determine how to research the allegation, but it must be investigated. If the allegation refers to financial statement disclosures, disclosure concerns or violations, accounting, internal accounting controls, auditing matters, or violations of any financial controls listed within the College’s policies, the appropriate authority must contact the College’s audit firm.

  • The appropriate authority will then give the protected disclosure to the College’s audit firm. Auditors may enlist outside legal, accounting, or other advisors, as appropriate, to conduct any investigation of complaints regarding financial statement disclosures, disclosure concerns or violations, accounting, internal accounting controls, auditing matters, or violations of any financial controls listed within the College’s policies.

  • Any supervisor or appropriate authority who fails to report an allegation or fails to deal properly with an allegation may be subject to disciplinary action.
Investigation and Response The College’s audit firm will oversee the receipt and handling of complaints regarding financial statement disclosures, disclosure concerns or violations, accounting, internal accounting controls, auditing matters, or violations of any financial controls listed within the College’s policies. The firm will direct an appropriate investigation and provide a response. Based on its investigation, the audit firm can recommend to the supervisor an appropriate corrective action in response to the complaint or concern, if necessary, to ensure compliance with legal and ethical requirements relating to financial, accounting, and audit matters of the College. If the audit firm decides the matter should be referred to the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees, it will do so at that time.

Protection from Retaliation

Any employee who believes he or she has been subjected to or affected by a retaliatory conduct (1) for reporting suspected unlawful activity, or (2) for refusing to engage in activity that would result in a violation of law, should report such conduct to the appropriate supervisory personnel (if such supervisory personnel is not the source of or otherwise involved in the retaliatory conduct). Any supervisory employee who receives such a report, or who otherwise is aware of retaliatory conduct, is required to advise the audit firm and the director of human resources of any such report or knowledge of retaliatory conduct. If the employee believes that reporting such conduct to the appropriate supervisor is for any reason inappropriate or unacceptable, or will be ineffectual, or if the report to the supervisor has been made and the retaliatory conduct has not ended, the employee should report the incident directly to the College’s audit firm and the Director of Human Resources. All internal complaints will be investigated promptly and with discretion, and all information obtained will be handled on a “need to know” confidential basis. At the conclusion of an investigation, as appropriate, remedial and/or disciplinary action will be taken where the allegations are verified and/or otherwise substantiated.

RESPONSIBILITY:

It is the responsibility of all Utica College employees to report any suspicious financial activity regarding College business. It is the College’s responsibility to protect those employees from retaliation while taking appropriate action concerning the suspicious activity report.

ENFORCEMENT:

Enforcement of Utica College policies is the responsibility of the office or offices listed in the “Resources/Questions” section of each policy. The responsible office will contact the appropriate authority regarding faculty or staff members, students, vendors, or visitors who violate policies.

Utica College acknowledges that College policies may not anticipate every possible issue that may arise. The College therefore reserves the right to make reasonable and relevant decisions regarding the enforcement of this policy. All such decisions must be approved by an officer of the College (i.e. president, vice president for academic affairs, or vice president for financial affairs).

RESOURCES/QUESTIONS:

In addition to the internal complaint process set forth above, any employee who has information concerning allegedly unlawful conduct may contact the appropriate government agency or any of the following:

New York State Attorney General Hotline 1-800-771-7755

College's Audit Firm: D'Arcangelo & Co.,LLP (315) 735-5216

College Attorney: Merritt Locke (315) 733-0419

Questions about this policy should be directed to the Office of Human Resources, the Office of Financial Affairs, or the Office of the President.

Please note that other Utica College policies may apply or be related to this policy. To search for related policies, use the Keyword Search function of the online policy manual.




Effective Date:
04/16/2007