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April 1, 2004 • Volume 12 Number 14

BC 'Business Ethics Hotline' Now Available

Boston College has established a confidential "Business Ethics Hotline" that University employees and students may use to report suspected fraud or ethical misconduct.

By dialing the hotline, ext.2-3194, members of the BC community may convey their concerns about suspected abuses anonymously to the Internal Audit Department, which will investigate complaints.

Director of Internal Audit Pamela Jerskey said, "Sound business practice requires that Boston College employees and students assume responsibility for safeguarding and preserving the assets and resources of the University, particularly those for which he or she is responsible.

"In accordance with the University Professional Standards and Business Conduct Policy, each University employee is expected to report any instance of suspected ethical misconduct to the Internal Audit Department."

Jerskey compared the reporting of fraudulent activities at BC to similar procedures in the corporate sector and public companies, which were the target of the Sarbanes-Oxley Public Company and Investor Protection Act of 2002. While the tenets of Sarbanes-Oxley, including increased oversight of accounting practices and tougher penalties for executives committing fraud, do not apply to higher education institutions, "the issues that are covered are universal," said Jerskey.

"The fundamental best practices of corporate governance, auditor independence, and a sound internal control structure have been adopted by Boston College. Internal controls are designed to provide reasonable assurance that operations are effective and efficient, financial reporting is reliable, and Boston College complies with laws and regulations.

"Additionally, Boston College has issued policies and procedures designed to provide guidance to employees concerning employee code of conduct and business ethical issues. These policies and procedures should be thoroughly reviewed to ensure an understanding of the code of conduct required of Boston College employees."

Jerskey said the hotline should not be used to report technology abuses, such as abusive e-mail or voice-mail or unauthorized use of a University password. These matters should be referred to the Information Technology division's Computer Policy and Security group [www.bc.edu/offices/its/support/policysecurity/].

More information on Internal Audit and the Business Ethics Hotline is available on-line. -Sean Smith

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