OPINION: EthicsPoint: A great resource for USF community

EthicsPoint is a third party hotline for anonymous reports, and is an excellent resource that should be taken advantage of. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

EthicsPoint is a third party hotline that has been partnering with USF for 11 years to give students, staff and other members of the community the opportunity to anonymously report violations of university policies and regulations. 

This hotline helps keep the university accountable and ethical. It is important that more people are aware of it and feel safe reporting misconduct, such as fraud, discrimination and misuse of funds, without having to worry about backlash.

EthicsPoint is extremely user-friendly and filing a report is simple. This hotline gives people a voice. Anyone is able to file a report, and all of them are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. 

The EthicsPoint landing page can easily be accessed through a link on the USF website under Compliance and Ethics. EthicsPoint makes reporting violations and misconduct a much less intimidating process.

As reported by the 2020 Annual Report from the USF Office of Compliance and Ethics, EthicsPoint addressed 102 reports in 2020. Of these reports, 87% were closed and only 13% were still in progress by the end of 2020. All reports, regardless of the claim, are treated as legitimate and the issue is resolved quickly and efficiently.

It is important for people to report misconduct as soon as possible, USF Chief Compliance Officer Caroline Fultz-Carver said in a Jan. 28 interview with The Oracle. 

“I would rather someone let us know so we can do something than it become a bigger problem years down the road,” she said.

Fraud, discrimination and other issues reported through EthicsPoint affect the lives of real people. When members of the USF community hesitate to report, they may go unnoticed until they grow into a much larger and more harmful problem. 

Often, people are hesitant to report misconduct because they are worried about anonymity. Fultz-Carver explained that once a report is filed, there is no way to know who filed it. The identity of the filer is not attached to the report at all.

Once the report is closed, it becomes public record, but remains anonymous because the filer’s identity was never attached to it. 

“Having EthicsPoint is one of the great tools we have,” said Fultz-Carver. “It helps to ensure USF has a compliant, ethical environment.”

It is important for members of the USF community to have a safe and anonymous way to report violations of USF policies and EthicsPoint provides just that.