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The University of California Policy for Reporting and Investigating Allegations of Suspected Improper Governmental Activities (Whistleblower Policy), together with the University of California Policy for Protection of Whistleblowers from Retaliation and Guidelines for Reviewing Retaliation Complaints (Whistleblower Protection Policy), represents the University’s implementing policies for the California Whistleblower Protection Act (Government Code sections 8547-8547.12). The information or procedures described in UC Santa Barbara’s implementing procedure provides local guidance for implementing the University’s Whistleblower Policy at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). It is intended to supplement the University’s systemwide Whistleblower Policy and Whistleblower Protection Policy. If any provision contradicts the University’s systemwide Whistleblower Policy or the Whistleblower Protection Policy, the systemwide policy controls.
The rights and protections of people when making protected disclosures are covered by the (Whistleblower Protection Policy).
Any person may report allegations of suspected improper governmental activities, as defined in the University’s Whistleblower Policy. Reports are encouraged to be made in writing to assure a clear understanding of the issues raised, however they may be made orally. Such reports should be factual rather than speculative or conclusory, and contain as much specific information as possible to allow for proper assessment of the nature, extent and urgency of preliminary investigative procedures.
Whistleblower reports may be made anonymously. Anonymous whistleblowers must provide sufficient corroborating evidence to justify the commencement of an investigation. Because of the inability of investigators to interview anonymous whistleblowers, it may be more difficult to evaluate the allegations and, therefore, less likely to cause an investigation to be initiated.
Oral or written reports may be directed to any of the following:
Note:This service, operated independently of the University and the campus, assures anonymity, assigns a case number to each caller, and acts as an intermediary for the institution. Anonymous callers may receive information about the disposition of their report by making subsequent hotline inquiries using the assigned case number.
Note: Under the law, the State Auditor is prohibited from disclosing the identity of a whistleblower unless he or she obtains the whistleblower’s permission to do so, or when the disclosure is to a law enforcement agency that is conducting a criminal investigation.
When there is a potential conflict of interest or for other reasons, a reporting employee may contact a University official other than those listed in Section II.B., above. The University official should be one whom the reporting employee may reasonably expect to have 1) responsibility over the affected area or 2) the authority to review the alleged improper governmental activity on behalf of the University. If the alleged improper governmental activity involves the head of a campus investigative unit, such a report should be made to the LDO. In instances when the allegation involves the Chancellor or the LDO the report should be made to the Senior Vice President-Business and Finance in the UC Office of the President.
The University recommends that persons who are not University employees report allegations to the LDO. Alternately, such reports may be made to another University official whom the reporting person may reasonably expect to have 1) responsibility over the affected area or 2) the authority to review the alleged improper governmental activity on behalf of the University.
If an individual is unsure of whether or not to report, he or she may contact the Office of the Ombuds to discuss the matter confidentially. The Office of the Ombuds is not required to report the matter pursuant to this policy. Therefore, discussing an issue with the Office of the Ombuds does not constitute formal notice to the University. Office of the Ombuds, 1205-K Girvetz Hall, 893-3285.
In providing information, the whistleblower is not to conduct any investigative procedures or obtain evidence for which he or she does not have a right of access. Doing so may constitute a violation of law or University policy.Providing the following information regarding each allegation is most useful; however, answers to all these questions are not required to file a whistleblower report.
All employees, and especially academic or staff employees in supervisory or management roles, should be alert to any communications that may constitute reports of allegations of suspected improper governmental activity. An improper governmental activity is defined as:
Any activity undertaken by the University or by an employee that is undertaken in the performance of the employee’s official duties, whether or not that action is within the scope of his or her employment, and that (1) is in violation of any state or federal law or regulation, including, but not limited to, corruption, malfeasance, bribery, theft of University property, fraudulent claims, fraud, coercion, conversion, malicious prosecution, misuse of University property and facilities, or willful omission to perform duty, or (2) is economically wasteful, or involves gross misconduct, gross incompetence, or gross inefficiency.
Additional definitions are available in the University of California Policy for Reporting and Investigating Allegations of Suspected Improper Governmental Activities
Managers, administrators, and employees in supervisory roles shall report to the LDO as soon as possible any allegations of suspected improper governmental activities –whether received as a protected disclosure, reported by their subordinates in the ordinary course of performing their duties, or discovered in the course of performing their own duties – any allegation(s) that concern:
If an administrator, manager or supervisor is unsure about whether the report meets the criteria, please consult with the Whistleblower Coordinator at 893-4744.Managers, supervisors or other report recipients should create a written document of all oral reports of suspected improper governmental activities and forward it to the LDO as soon as possible. When receiving an anonymous report, the recipients should obtain as much specific and relevant information as possible during that initial contact.
The Chancellor has delegated responsibility for implementing the UC Whistleblower Policy at the campus level to the LDO. The LDO is responsible for ensuring that UCSB effectively responds to whistleblower reports, institutes procedures, and facilitates coordination and appropriate investigation of allegations of suspected improper governmental activities. If a whistleblower report gives rise to investigative responsibilities under more than one University policy, the LDO shall consult with other appropriate administrative offices to coordinate a review under this and related policies. Where there is a potential conflict of interest involving the LDO and a particular investigation, the Chancellor may delegate LDO responsibilities to another, as appropriate. The Whistleblower Coordinator shall staff the LDO.
The Chancellor or his designee shall appoint a Whistleblower Policy Oversight Committee to ensure coordination of the campus’ local implementing procedures and proper reporting of investigations. The LDO may appoint additional members and ad hoc members as necessary to address particular issues. The LDO chairs the committee and members include:
The Campus Investigation Workgroup provides coordination for investigative activities pursuant to the Whistleblower Policy. The Investigation Workgroup receives from the LDO all allegations of known or suspected improper governmental activities and determines whether an adequate basis exists for commencing an investigation. The Investigation Workgroup assesses the planned course of action, facilitates communications among appropriate parties and insures that investigations are conducted in a manner consistent with the UC Whistleblower Policy.
The LDO chairs the Investigation Workgroup. The membership includes the Director of Audit Services, Whistleblower Coordinator and representatives from any additional functional units that may have responsibility in a particular investigation (e.g., Campus Police, Human Resources, Academic Personnel Office, Controller, Director of Accounting Services, Office of Research, Sexual Harassment Complaint/Title IX Office). In addition, representatives with specialized expertise may be included on an ad hoc basis. All workgroup members and other assigned investigators must conduct investigations in a manner consistent with Section VI.D., of the UC Whistleblower Policy.
At the conclusion of an investigation, the investigator(s) shall provide a written report that includes an investigation summary and findings to the LDO as soon as possible.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation and subsequent findings, the LDO will communicate the investigation findings to the appropriate administrator or manager for action. The administrator or manager will inform the LDO of the appropriate action taken.
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UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara CA 93106 • (805) 893-8000
Last Modified April 5, 2012