University of Iowa News Release
Oct. 25, 2005
UI Sets Up New System To Anonymously Report Financial Irregularity
The University of Iowa has established a new reporting system for members of the UI community to anonymously report potential financial misconduct so the university is in compliance with many of the new reporting requirements expected of publicly traded companies in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that can be applicable to non-profit organizations.
"We take seriously our mission of being responsible stewards of public resources and have established this new system as another vehicle for university employees to report possible misuse of university resources," said David Skorton, University of Iowa president.
Richard See, a member of the university's internal audit staff, said the new system is in addition to other reporting avenues that have been in place for some time.
"We still encourage employees who have concerns about potential financial misconduct to work at the department level to alleviate those concerns," he said. "However, if an employee is worried about possible retaliation, or for other reasons wishes to work at a different level, this avenue is now available to them."
The university is working with a private, third-party vendor called EthicsPoint to collect questions and claims of misconduct. University employees can contact EthicsPoint's Hotline directly with their concerns, either via the Web or a toll-free phone number. EthicsPoint will protect the anonymity for the person filing the report, if they wish. The report will then be forwarded to the university's internal audit department for investigation.
EthicsPoint can be contacted via its Web site at http://www.ethicspoint.com or by calling 866-384-4277.
Employees who bring forward concerns will be provided feedback regarding how the university addressed the matter by using the Web site and an anonymous identification number, said Dennis Domsic, associate vice president.
"We want to demonstrate to employees that we take their reports seriously and this feedback system will show them that their reported matter has been addressed," he said.
Even though the law does not apply to non-profit organizations like the university, the development of the new reporting system stems from the university's commitment to voluntarily adopt many of the good business practices mandated by Sarbanes-Oxley for publicly traded companies. Among Sarbanes-Oxley's requirements is that organizations establish reporting systems for employees who may know about a misuse of resources.
Other Sarbanes-Oxley requirements that the university has adopted include the refinement of the certification practices for financial statements so as to ensure they are free of material misstatement by those who prepared the statements; adherence to the Code of Business and Fiduciary Conduct adopted earlier this year by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa; and the publishing of a Resource Handbook for Business and Fiduciary Conduct.
An internal university committee made up of employees representing numerous university units, along with the Faculty Senate, Staff Council and Ombudsperson, developed the new regulations and policies. They were also developed jointly with officials from Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, which are implementing the same regulations and similar policies at those institutions.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.
MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, firstname.lastname@example.org.