As reflected in recent headlines, high-ranking leaders of a public university and nonprofit charitable organization are now under the microscope for failure to adequately address allegations of specific misconduct. The CEO of the charity resigned after 28 years. Two executives at the school were charged with perjury. The university president and the beloved head coach of the football team were fired. The campus erupted in riots upon news of the coach’s firing.
In the wake of events, one principle seems clear: these organizations suffered a lack of leadership in the area of compliance. It is not enough to have whistleblower policies on paper - executives of academic institutions, nonprofits and for profit organizations bear equal responsibility for fostering a culture of compliance. This means that a process for actually “following up” on investigative leads is an important piece of the whistleblower policy.
Truly effective whistleblower and investigative policies can reduce the risk of harm to individual victims and prevent monetary damages and reputational harm. Why should this be personally important to managers of nonprofits and other organizations?
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