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New tool for Whistleblower Policy Enacted

Eastern’s Administration and Human Resources recently released a new employee-reporting tool that allows faculty and staff to ‘whistleblow’ in good faith.

What exactly is ‘whistleblowing,’ and how is it important for Eastern’s community of administration, faculty, staff and students? A whistleblower is someone who exposes alleged misconduct, dishonest activity or illegal happenings in an organization. Examples of such misconduct include violation of laws, rules or regulations that are a direct threat to public interest, especially fraud, corruption and health/safety violations. Universities, both private and public, fit this whistleblowing criterion. Usually, whistleblowers face reprisal for their actions, especially if they have not followed proper procedure for reporting misconduct.

As employees of Eastern University, our faculty, staff and administration are protected by the university’s Whistleblowing policy. Originally released in 2010, the policy has recently undergone minor changes to its employee-reporting tool, which meant updating the existing policy. Though these changes are supported by the Board of Trustees, they have yet to be officially approved by the Board. If a faculty member wished to report misconduct, they are to use the new employee-reporting tool that protects them from reprisals or victimizations following their report.

Eastern’s Human Resources department comments on the policy’s overarching purpose: “Eastern University is committed to maintaining an environment of respect and trust consistent with its Christian principles and to safeguard and protect all of the University’s resources. In addition, the University is committed to complying with all laws and regulations applicable.” The employee-reporting tool follows this commitment, hoping “to provide an avenue for employees to raise concerns [along with] reassurance that they will be protected from reprisals or victimization for whistleblowing in good faith.” As always, employees performing their duties in accordance with the university’s policies and procedures drive this policy.

To note, the anti-discriminatory Title IX law protects whistleblowers from backlash of reporting sex discrimination on this campus. As per “Title IX at Eastern University,” individuals “who make good faith complaints about sexual discrimination [are protected] from retaliation by individuals or by institutions.” Though there is currently no whistleblower-reporting tool for students, any reports made to the university about misconduct can be taken to Student Development, Resident Directors, Resident Assistants, or a trusted faculty/staff member.

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