The university is dedicated to the highest standards of integrity and the President and the Board of Trustees have demonstrated their sincerity by establishing the office of Ethics Ombudsperson. It is important that every person, whether internal or external to the university, knows that every effort is being made to address any concerns that involve a real or perceived breech of ethical behavior.
As stated in the Ethics Ombudsperson Policy, the Ombudsperson is not a “morality policeman” or an “ethics compliance officer” but rather someone ready to confidentially investigate any perceived or real ethical problems. Every individual or group expressing a concern or making an accusation first should carefully read the Ethics Ombudsperson Policy statement which can be found on the university web page. The university has provided many channels for handling grievances and these should be used when appropriate. The procedures for entering grievances and appeals into these systems are found in the various handbooks available to students, staff and faculty. It would be appropriate to bring any situation to the Ombudsperson that is truly a breach of ethical behavior and not something that should be handled through other channels.
Concerns may be submitted in writing and should be signed. Individuals bringing matters to the attention of the Ethics Ombudsperson in this manner can be assured that their identity will be held in strict confidence.
Regular reports will be made to the President and to the Board of Trustees concerning the overall integrity of the university in its dealings with internal and external constituencies.
Section 3.08 Ethics Ombudsperson
The Ethics Ombudsperson receives, investigates and resolves questions and allegations of potential lapses in institutional ethics and integrity. Integrity is frequently questioned when perceptions are based on incomplete or inaccurate information. A perception of ethical lapse, whether true or not, can do significant damage to the reputation of the University and/or an Employee.
The Ethics Ombudsperson is not an alternative to existing channels of communication, dispute resolution, or employment frustration. Thus, matters of ethical failure for which there are existing channels or procedures for resolution should be handled through those processes. In such cases, the Ethics Ombudsperson will refer the complainant to the office of General Counsel for confidential assistance in direction for internal resolution of the complaint.
A. The Ethics Ombudsperson will not:
- Resolve differences of opinion or personal disagreements.
- Be responsible for resolving grade or other academic disputes.
- Hear and resolve general disputes among faculty, staff, parents, and/or students.
- Hear or resolve grievances related to interpretations of OC policy or employment matters.
- Be an arbiter of religious interpretation or other religious disputes.
B. The Ethics Ombudsperson will:
- Assign a control number for tracking to every complaint received in writing.
- Make the initial determination whether a matter threatens the ethical standing or reputation of the University, its top-administration, or its Board of Trustees.
- Make the initial determination if the matter is an employment matter or an ethical matter, and whether to direct the complainant to proper internal channels for internal resolution.
- Conduct independent investigations into alleged University violations of ethics or violations of law.
- Make recommendations to appropriate authorities for resolution of legitimate misconduct.
- Immediately inform the General Counsel of the existence and nature of each and every complaint.
- Immediately report to the Oklahoma Christian University Police and Title IX Coordinator, all allegations of employee on student, employee on employee, student on student, or student on employee, sexual assault or sexual violence.
- Communicate final disposition of a matter to the person who reported a potential ethics violation; and,
- Provide reports on ethical issues to the General Counsel, President and the Purpose Committee of the Board of Trustees, annually.
- On all matters involving the President, the Ombudsperson shall promptly report to the General Counsel and the Chair of the Purpose Committee of the Board of Trustees.
Except for matters which should be handled using existing processes, anyone who believes that the University, or any employee of the University acting in his or her official capacity, has acted in a manner inconsistent with the highest ethical standards may, without recourse and without disclosure (except as necessary to resolve or investigate the matter), report such actions or inactions to the Ethics Ombudsperson. All such reports must be in writing and signed, and should provide sufficient detail such that the Ethics Ombudsperson can identify those involved, understand the alleged violation, investigate the alleged lapse, and know whether the reporting party wishes to remain anonymous to others. The identity of the reporter of an ethical lapse shall be kept in strict confidence.
The Ethics Ombudsperson can be reached by e-mail at: ethics.Ombudsperson@oc.edu