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Liberty University Whistleblower Policy

Policy Information

Policy Information

Issuing Office

The Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of Liberty University (together with its colleges, schools, affiliates, divisions, and subsidiaries, the “University”).


Affected Parties

All members of the University community, including trustees, officers, employees, students, volunteers, alumni, suppliers, and contractors (“Covered Persons”).


Policy

The University is committed to leadership and actions that are above reproach, accountable, and demonstrate good stewardship. Community members are expected to exercise good faith in all transactions touching upon their duties to the University. Accordingly, all members of the University community are encouraged, acting in Good Faith (defined below) and without fear of retaliation, to report suspected Wrongful Conduct (defined below) in the manner provided in this policy.

For purposes of this policy, “Good Faith” means an actual and reasonable belief that Wrongful Conduct has or may have occurred. A report is not in Good Faith if it is made maliciously, with knowledge that the report is false, with reckless disregard for the truth of the report, or with willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the allegation.

For purposes of this policy, “Wrongful Conduct” includes:

  • Violation of applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations, including, but not limited to, corruption, malfeasance, bribery, theft, fraudulent claims, fraud or conversion;
  • Improper accounting, improper financial reporting, and internal fraud;
  • A material or repeated failure to comply with a written and published University policy, including the Liberty University Board of Trustees Policy on Conflicts of Interest and Commitment for Senior Officers and Executives, the Liberty University Board of Trustees Policy on Conflicts of Interest for Trustees, or other policies that require investigation or resolution of complaints or that require compliance with financial controls;
  • A failure to comply with a University policy that has a mandatory reporting requirement (e.g., Liberty University Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Employee Mandatory Reporting Requirements for Child Abuse and Neglect in the Employee Handbook);
  • Use of University property, resources, or authority for personal gain for oneself, personal gain for others, or other non-University related purpose except as provided under University policy;
  • Authorizing or receiving compensation for services not received or services not performed, including authorizing or receiving compensation for hours not worked;
  • Authorizing or requesting reimbursement for expenses not incurred;
  • Gross mismanagement, including acts or omissions that constitute or create a substantial risk of significant adverse impact on the mission of the University;
  • Gross waste of funds, including use of funds significantly out of proportion to objective benefit, even given reasonable exercise of legitimate discretion;
  • Abuse of authority, including arbitrary decisions for personal gain, to injure others, and/or to benefit Family Members or Close Personal Relationships (each as defined in the Liberty University Board of Trustees Policy on Anti-Nepotism for Senior Officers and Executives);
  • Acts or omissions that constitute or create a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; and
  • Unauthorized invasion, alteration, manipulation or destruction of records and computer files, or forgery of documents.

The items listed above are not intended to limit the reporting of particular matters, and matters not specifically listed above may still be reported. However, this policy is not intended to be a substitute for the University’s processes for addressing complaints under the University’s applicable human resources policies, for reporting problems with colleagues, co-workers, supervisors, or students, for filing complaints of discrimination or harassment, for requesting accommodations or medical exceptions, for student requests for refunds, for student complaints and appeals regarding grades or other student-related academic issues, for health and safety complaints, for NCAA rule violations and for Title IX concerns and violations, all of which should be handled in accordance with the University’s other policies, including as set forth in current employee and faculty handbooks and student conduct codes. Those polices are designed to provide individuals with certain procedural protections appropriate to the nature of such complaints.

This policy is not intended to apply to reports of concern over how a faculty or staff member is performing his/her job duties where the conduct in question does not rise to the level of Wrongful Conduct. Covered Persons who are concerned about the conduct of a University faculty or staff member that does not rise to the level of Wrongful Conduct (e.g., concern about the style or manner in which the faculty or staff member is performing his/her job duties) are encouraged to discuss these concerns with the person whose conduct is the subject of concern. If a Covered Person does not feel comfortable talking directly with the faculty or staff member whose conduct is the subject of concern, the concerned party is encouraged to talk with the faculty or staff member’s supervisor or another senior administrator.


Reporting

General Reporting

Any Covered Person may report allegations of Wrongful Conduct. Reports should contain as much specific factual information as possible to allow for proper assessment of the allegation, but the person reporting the information should generally avoid speculation and should not take on the role of an investigator or seek evidence to which they do not have a right of access. In addition, all reports should contain sufficient information to support the commencement of an investigation. For example, to the extent possible, reports should include the names of individuals suspected of violations, the relevant facts of the violations, how the reporting person became aware of the violations, who may be harmed or affected by the violations and any corroborating information or evidence (e.g., notes, pictures, text or chat messages, e-mails, etc.).

Reports of Wrongful Conduct in accordance with this policy should be made to the University’s Internal Auditor. Reports of Wrongful Conduct in accordance with this policy that relate to the University Internal Auditor should be made to the University’s General Counsel.

The Internal Auditor and Office of Internal Audit can be reached at:

Liberty University
Attn: Internal Auditor
1971 University Blvd. Suite 2618
Lynchburg, VA 24515
whistleblower@liberty.edu

For reports involving the Internal Auditor, the General Counsel can be reached at:

Liberty University
Attn: General Counsel
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA 24515.
legalaffairs@liberty.edu

Anonymous Reporting

Covered Persons making reports may also choose to use any of the methods below to report any Wrongful Conduct anonymously:

  • in writing to Liberty University, Attn: Internal Auditor, 1971 University Blvd. Suite 2618, Lynchburg, VA 24515; or
  • by accessing the independent third party reporting service, Convercent, at Convercent.com/report and submitting a report.

The website is managed by an outside, independent service provider. Covered Persons submitting reports are able to submit a report on an anonymous and confidential basis and are not required to divulge their name. Covered Persons submitting anonymous reports should understand that the anonymity of reports may make it more difficult to proceed with a full investigation.
Reports submitted through the website are provided to the Internal Auditor, and a copy is provided to the University General Counsel.

Confidentiality

Where a report is made anonymously or in confidence, the University will maintain the privacy of the reporting person to the extent practical within the limitations of law and the need to conduct a competent investigation. It is also possible that from time-to-time the identity of reporting persons might become known for reasons beyond the control of the investigators or University administrators. Reporting persons may be interviewed by an investigator to the extent that the University determines it is appropriate. The obligation or expectation of anonymity does not apply in the instance of a self-disclosure. The identity of the subject of an investigation will ordinarily be maintained in confidence subject to the same limitations.

No Retaliation

Covered Persons shall not be subject to retaliation for making a report in Good Faith about potential or actual Wrongful Conduct by others, or participating in an investigation in Good Faith, whether the report is specifically under this policy or otherwise. Covered Persons also shall not be subject to retaliation for reporting Wrongful Conduct to any governmental body or law-enforcement official, for participating in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry at the request of a governmental body or law-enforcement official, or for providing information to or testifying before a governmental body or law-enforcement official conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry into any alleged violation of federal or state law or regulation by the University. Any Covered Person who believes that he/she is being retaliated against in violation of this policy should immediately report the retaliation, which can be done in the same manner as reporting a claim of Wrongful Conduct provided above, including to the University’s Internal Auditor.
Members of the University community may not directly or indirectly use or attempt to use the official authority or influence of their positions or offices for the purpose of interfering with the right of a Covered Person to make a report under this policy.

False Allegations

Protection from retaliation is not intended to protect Covered Persons who make reports under this policy maliciously or in bad faith or know or have reason to know that such a report is false or materially inaccurate from being subject to disciplinary action, including in the case of employees, reprimand, suspension, demotion, or under appropriate circumstances, termination, and in the case of students, referral under the applicable student conduct code.


Policy Rationale

The University is committed to leadership and actions that are above reproach, accountable, and demonstrate good stewardship. Individuals must not be subject to retaliation for Good Faith reporting of Wrongful Conduct.


Procedures

The Internal Auditor, in consultation with the University’s General Counsel, is charged with adopting specific procedures to receive and assess reports under this policy and to investigate such reports in accordance with appropriate processes and procedures, including communicating with the person who brought forward the report and concluding the investigation in a timely fashion. The procedures will provide that no individual who is alleged to have participated in Wrongful Conduct will be involved in directing or conducting the investigation of such allegation. The Internal Auditor will regularly report to the Audit Committee of the Board on the adoption of procedures pursuant to this policy. At each regular meeting of the Audit Committee, the Internal Auditor will report on the receipt and resolution of reports under this policy.

All reports received by the Internal Auditor that relate to alleged Wrongful Conduct of the President, General Counsel, Chief Financial Officer or Internal Auditor, or that relate to accounting, internal control or auditing matters, must be promptly disclosed to the Chair of the Audit Committee of the Board, who will bring the matter to the Audit Committee for direction on the process for investigating and addressing such reports.

University employees who have questions about the application of this policy to a particular situation should seek advice from the Internal Auditor or the General Counsel. Nothing in this policy is intended to limit the application of any other policy of the University. Questions about the interactions of multiple policies should be directed to the General Counsel.


Sanctions

Covered Persons who violate this policy, including by engaging in retaliation, will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.


Exceptions

None


Revision History

Approved as of November 5, 2021





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