This policy governs both the reporting and investigation of allegations of suspected unlawful activities and the protection of whistleblowers from retaliation. It describes the procedures for investigating known or suspected illegal activities or violations of LAPU policy with respect to conflicts of interest, financial reporting, or management of LAPU resources, and addressing complaints of retaliation for raising such issues.
LAPU has a responsibility for the stewardship of LAPU resources and the public and private support that enables it to pursue its mission. The institution’s internal controls and operating procedures are intended to detect and to prevent or deter improper activities. However, intentional and unintentional violations of laws, regulations, policies, and procedures may occur and may constitute unlawful activities. LAPU has a responsibility to investigate and report to appropriate parties allegations of suspected improper activities, and to protect those employees who, in good faith, report these activities to the appropriate authority.
An employee may not: (1) retaliate against an employee or applicant for employment who has made a protected disclosure or who has refused to obey an illegal order, nor (2) directly or indirectly use or attempt to use the official authority or influence of their position for the purpose of interfering with the right of an applicant or an employee to make a protected disclosure to the institution. It is the intention of the institution to take whatever action may be needed to prevent and correct activities that violate this policy.
A. Filing a Report of Suspected Improper Activities
Any person may report allegations of suspected improper activities, including illegal behavior and/or violation of LAPU policy with respect to conflicts of interest, financial reporting, or management of institution resources. Knowledge or suspicion of improper activities may originate from academic personnel, staff or administrators carrying out their assigned duties, internal or external auditors, law enforcement, regulatory agencies, and customers, vendors, students, or other third parties. Allegations of suspected improper activities may also be reported anonymously. Allegations of suspected Improper Activities may be reported by calling the following Hotline: 626-334-2089. Allegations of suspected improper activities should be made in writing, so as to assure a clear understanding of the issues raised, but may be made orally. Such allegations should be reported promptly and directly to the Office of the General Counsel at Azusa Pacific University, who serves as LAPU’s general counsel. Such reports should be factual and contain as much specific information as possible. An employee can contact the Office of the General Counsel at:
Office of the General Counsel
Azusa Pacific University
Foothill Community Church, Building D
777 E. Alosta Ave.
Azusa, CA 91702
Normally, a report by an employee of allegations of a suspected Improper Activity should be made to the reporting employee’s immediate supervisor or other appropriate administrator or supervisor within the operating unit. However, where there is a potential conflict of interest or for other reasons, such reports may be made to another LAPU 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 institution. When the alleged Improper Activities involve the Chancellor/CEO, a Vice President, or the Academic Dean, such reports should be made to the Office of the General Counsel. All officials who receive such reports should immediately report them to the Office of the General Counsel, who will direct the investigation.
B. Protection from Retaliation
Any employee who believes they have been (1) subjected to or affected by retaliatory conduct for reporting suspected improper activities, or (2) for refusing to engage in activity that would result in a violation of law, should report such conduct to the Office of the General Counsel. Any employee who receives such a report, or who otherwise is aware of retaliatory conduct, is required to advise the Office of the General Counsel of any such report or knowledge of retaliatory conduct.
Investigating Reports of Improper Activities, including Reports of Retaliation:
Upon receipt of a report of any suspected improper activity, the Office of the General Counsel will promptly and directly contact the reporting party, if known. Where appropriate, internal complaints will be investigated promptly (if sufficient information has been provided to allow an investigation to be conducted) and with discretion, and all information obtained will be handled on a “need to know” basis. To the extent practicable, investigations of suspected Improper Activities will adhere to the following procedures: (1) potential witnesses will be identified and separately interviewed; (2) the identity of the reporting party will be disclosed only where necessary, if known; (3) all relevant documents will be gathered and preserved; (4) two interviewers will be present for all witness interviews; (5) all witnesses interviewed will be reminded of this Policy; and (6) the reporting party will be contacted periodically to ensure no retaliatory actions have been taken against them. Any employee who refuses to cooperate with any investigation or the foregoing procedures will be subject to disciplinary sanctions, including termination.
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.
C. Other Remedies and Appropriate Agencies
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 call the California State Attorney General Hotline at (800) 952-5225 or (916) 322-3360.