Empowering Ethical Reporting: Navigating Concerns at the University of Alaska

February 9, 2024

Hypothetical scenario: Imagine that Liam is a dedicated staff member at the University of Alaska. One day at work, he observes a coworker mishandling university resources. Surprised, Liam refrains from saying anything at the moment. However, he realizes he cannot turn a blind eye to the issue. The prospect of potential repercussions—such as losing his job or being labeled as “a snitch”—weighs heavily on him. Unfortunately, his supervisor does not foster an open-door policy, and reporting to other university leadership feels awkward and uncomfortable.

If you find yourself in a situation like this, first and foremost, consider reaching out to your supervisor. If that isn’t feasible, you may want to direct your concerns to university leadership. Additionally, thankfully, UA actively promotes reporting, and offers an alternative resource—the UA Confidential Hotline (or call toll-free 855-251-5719), the university’s online reporting tool. It serves as a confidential platform for raising concerns related to risks that could impact UA’s financial health, safety, or reputation. Anonymity is an option when reporting via the hotline. Liam, wanting to maintain anonymity, decides to utilize the hotline. 

Like Liam, you too are encouraged to report suspected violations without fear of retaliation. The university explicitly prohibits retaliation in all forms, emphasizing mutual respect and ethical conduct. Reporting violations at UA isn’t merely encouraged—it’s essential for upholding ethical standards and compliance with regulations.

All employees have the right to raise concerns that could span from violations of the law to dangers to public health or safety, and even instances of mismanagement of university assets or abuse of authority. Importantly, employees are protected from retaliation under Alaska Statutes when reporting matters of public concern, provided they act in good faith and believe the information to be of public interest.

Whistleblower protection laws add another layer of support, reinforcing the importance of reporting violations without fear of retaliation. These laws shield employees who disclose information about legal violations or fraud from adverse employment actions as a result of their reporting. By providing legal safeguards, whistleblowers like Liam are encouraged to speak up, ultimately safeguarding the university’s integrity and reputation. 

Please keep our campuses safe. You have multiple rights and options for reporting concerns, and we encourage you to do so.