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News & Press: Colorado Technology Industry

Why Universities End Up in Scandalous Hot Water

Thursday, November 10, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Catharine Lurie
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Anonymous Employee Misconduct Hotlines Underutilized in Many Higher Education Institutions:

Penn State’s troubles are far from over and universities and colleges nationwide are likely scrambling to make sure their own processes are in place. What they are apt to find is that their employee misconduct response policies are either under defined or under enforced—both of which can land them in hot water.

The passing of Sarbanes-Oxley in 2002 sent many educational institutions and corporations alike scouting for a hotline to report financial fraud. What they didn’t do was employ that hotline for other campus misconduct. "Data shows that sixty percent of all employee misconduct incidents are related to harassment,” comments Steve Foster, President of Business Controls, Inc. (BCI), the country’s leading incident reporting and investigations firm. "But most universities simply comply with Sarbanes-Oxley for financial crimes when it can be a much more robust program to avoid incidents like Penn State is currently experiencing.”

It’s not like Penn State is the first university to have unethical practices unearthed in the media. A simple Google search brings up all kinds of lists for the worst university scandals. Very few deal with financial misconduct. Common scandal tends to center around fake diplomas, cheating, discrimination and sexual assault. "The first hurdle is having a system where faculty, students, administrators, anyone involved on campus can report suspicious and unethical behavior safely and anonymously. But it’s more than that,” Foster states. "It doesn’t have to be a big allegation to send up the red flag; and without a quick, but thorough investigatory process seemingly small issues can lead to large incidents in a hurry.”

Fosters’ company, Business Controls, is built on a three-level approach. "Have a way to report the issues via an anonymous hotline, be able to apply an ethical and legal investigatory process which leads to a firm understanding of how we got here, and how to prevent the issue(s) from occurring again. Without this process, you’re opening yourself up to big issues like Penn State is currently facing. The incident was reported, but it appears that it wasn’t investigated and it’s landed them in hot water. In the meantime, a lot of innocent children got hurt.”

About Business Controls
Business Controls, Inc. provides professional investigations, training, and consulting to help their clients mitigate risks related to employee misconduct. Business Controls puts organizations in a better position to manage employee related issues, limit their exposure to litigation, and stay compliant with numerous government regulations. An employee-owned organization since 1994, Business Controls has served over a quarter of the Fortune 1000 companies and over a million client employees in 22,000 client locations in 130 countries. For more information, visit


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