Screenshot of the new ethics hotline website, where students can report anonymous integrity concerns.

May 9, 2016

Interim President Rawlings Highlights Anonymous Ethics Hotline

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Interim President Hunter Rawlings highlighted a confidential ethics hotline and urged the Cornell community to report any concerns of integrity in an email to the campus today.

The ethics system — operated by an independent company, EthicsPoint — will provide an anonymous platform for members of the Cornell community “as well as those outside it” to report “improper conduct or violations of Cornell University’s policies” using either the telephone line or the website, the email explained.

“Underlying everything we do — teaching, research, creative activity, public engagement, and day-to-day operations — this foundation is only as strong as our shared understanding of what constitutes ethical conduct.” Rawlings wrote in the email.

He emphasized that those who witness an infraction of Cornell’s ethical conduct have an “obligation to report the concern.”

This ethics standards, which include all units of the University, are outlined in the formal Standards of Ethical Conduct Policy, available online. Matters of integrity were defined as including “research, financial matters, environmental health and safety, athletics [and] regulatory compliance,” the email said.

The interim president clarified that the “hotline service does not replace or supersede existing reporting,” but can be of service to students who seek to maintain an anomymous status while addresing concerns.

“I hope and expect that few of us will ever need to use these services,” Rawlings said. “But I am pleased that Cornell has in place a system that faculty, staff, students, and others can use with full confidence that their concerns will be heard while their anonymity is preserved.”

There will no retaliatory action against those who report or inquire in good faith about potential breaches to the University’s policies, according to the University website.