Policy Prohibiting Illegal, Dishonest, or Fraudulent Conduct

Villanova University is committed to upholding the highest standards of honest behavior, ethical conduct and fiduciary responsibility with respect to University funds, resources and property. The University also expects members of the University community to comply with all state, local and federal statutes, rules and regulations when conducting University business.

To that end, the University prohibits and does not tolerate illegal, dishonest or fraudulent conduct of any nature. "Illegal, dishonest or fraudulent conduct", within the meaning of this policy, includes:

  • Forgery or improper alteration of University documents or records
  • Unauthorized alteration, manipulation or transfer of computer files or records
  • Fraudulent, dishonest or intentionally misleading financial reporting
  • Offering or accepting a bribe, unlawful rebate, or kickback
  • Research or other academic fraud
  • Unauthorized disclosure of confidential or proprietary information of the University
  • Unauthorized disclosure of student educational records or private personnel or medical information of an employee or student
  • Destruction of University property, records or other assets, if the person knew the destruction to be unauthorized or acted with reckless disregard as to whether or not the destruction was authorized
  • Theft of University information, property, records or assets
  • Misappropriation or misuse of University resources, including but not limited to funds, supplies or other property
  • Improperly authorizing, claiming or receiving payment of University funds for goods not received, for services not performed, or for non-University-related matters
  • Improperly authorizing, claiming or receiving reimbursement from the University for moneys not expended, or for moneys expended for non-University-related matters
  • Improperly authorizing or receiving compensation for hours not worked
  • Intentional violation of (or noncompliance with) an applicable state, local, or federal statute, rule, or regulation
  • Creating or permitting unsafe work conditions or work practices at the University
  • Other illegal, dishonest or fraudulent conduct with respect to University funds, resources or property, whether similar or dissimilar to those previously listed

All members of the University community, including all of those who do business with the University, are expected to uphold this policy. Violation of this policy will result in appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment*, expulsion from academic courses or (in the case of outside contractors) severance of the relationship with the University.

(* Nothing in this policy obviates the University's responsibility to follow the Dismissal and Suspension Procedure for Faculty and/or the terms of the faculty member's employment agreement, if any, with respect to an alleged violation of this policy which, if substantiated would warrant a faculty member's suspension or dismissal from the University).

Complaint Procedure

The University encourages any person who believes that an incident of illegal, dishonest or fraudulent conduct has been committed to report the incident immediately. To assist in the investigation, the University requests that a complaint be made in writing with a detailed description of the facts giving rise to the complaint, the names of any individuals involved, including any witnesses, and copies of any documents that support or relate to the complaint. While the University urges the submission of a written complaint, an oral complaint will ordinarily be sufficient to initiate the procedures set forth under this policy.

In the case of a complaint by a University employee, the complaint may be made to the employee's supervisor, manager, the Human Resources department or the Dean of the employee's school or college. If for any reason the person making the complaint does not feel comfortable directly reporting the incident to any of the individuals above, the complaint may be reported directly to the Vice President overseeing the person accused of wrongdoing or the affected area ("Vice President"). In the case of a complaint by a student, the complaint may be made to the Dean of the student's school or college or the Dean of Students. In any case where a Vice President is accused of wrongdoing, the President or his designee shall replace the Vice President throughout this policy.

Any supervisor or manager who receives a complaint of illegal, dishonest or fraudulent conduct, or observes or is otherwise aware of an incident of illegal, dishonest or fraudulent conduct, is required to promptly inform his or her supervisor or the Vice President. Knowingly withholding any such information is considered a serious breach of responsibility and will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination from employment.

Investigation and Corrective Action

Where a University policy already exists to address a complaint of illegal, dishonest or fraudulent conduct, e.g., the Misconduct in Science Policy, the Dismissal and Suspension Procedure for Faculty, the Academic Integrity Code or the Code of Student Conduct, the procedures outlined in that policy shall be followed. In the event more than one policy may apply, the University shall determine the appropriate policy to follow. In the absence of a specific University policy to address the reported complaint, the Vice President shall designate the appropriate person or persons who are responsible for investigating the complaint. The investigation will be conducted in a thorough, prompt and professional manner. The individual who raised the complaint will have the opportunity to present information to the investigator before the investigation is concluded. The individual who is accused will also be given the opportunity to present information to the investigator and to respond to evidence that supports the complaint before the investigation is concluded. The results of the investigation will be provided to the Vice President who has authority over the individual accused of wrongdoing and to other University officials who have a legitimate business reason to be apprised of the results of the investigation. The results of the investigation may also be provided to the Audit Sub-Committee of the University's Board of Trustees.

The Vice President will be responsible for determining the corrective action (if any) imposed based upon the results of the investigation.

For employees, the corrective action may range from verbal warnings up to and including termination of employment.

If the individual whose actions are investigated under this policy is a faculty member, and the suspension or termination of that faculty member's appointment is considered, the University's applicable policies as set forth in the Faculty Handbook and/or the terms of the individual's employment agreement, if any, will be followed. A copy of the investigation report will be provided to the Dean of the faculty members' school or college and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

For students, the corrective action will be imposed in a manner consistent with the University's Code of Student Conduct or other applicable rules, and can include dismissal from the University.

For individuals who are not students or employees of the University, corrective action within the reasonable control of the University, and as appropriate in the University's judgment under the circumstances, will be initiated.

In determining the corrective action (if any) taken, the Vice President shall consider the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature of the offense and the employee's performance history.

The individual who raised the complaint will be advised of the results of the investigation. Similarly, the individual who is accused in the complaint will be advised of the results of the investigation.

Retaliation Prohibited

The University prohibits and does not tolerate retaliation against any individual who files a complaint of illegal, dishonest or fraudulent conduct; is involved as a witness or participant in the complaint or investigation process; or refuses to engage in illegal, dishonest or fraudulent conduct. Engaging in such retaliation can result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University. An individual who files a complaint that the individual knows or believes to be false may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the University.

The University encourages any person who believes he or she has been subject to retaliation, or observes or is otherwise aware of an incident of retaliation in violation of this policy, to report the incident promptly pursuant to the complaint procedure identified above. The investigation and corrective action procedures set forth above will similarly apply in the case of a complaint of retaliation in violation of this policy. If retaliation is found to have occurred, the University will take corrective action, as warranted.

Approved and adopted May 21, 2009