In this edition’s Case Corner, we highlight several reports containing allegations of non-compliance that were investigated and substantiated, and where the university took appropriate action. One substantiated case involves retaliation and the actions that the university took in response. We selected these cases to share in response to weaknesses identified in the Culture Survey results – a decrease in employee’s belief that the university will investigate concerns reported and then take appropriate action AND that the university enforces its non-retaliation policy.
UCF 3-120 University Smoke Free Policy
An anonymous employee submitted a report to the UCF IntegrityLine stating that they witnessed an employee smoking while driving on campus, in a university vehicle. The reporter provided detailed information that allowed management to identify the employee and verify the violation to university policy. This employee was disciplined in response to the violation.
Improper Use of a Graduate Research Assistant
An anonymous employee submitted a report to the UCF IntegrityLine indicating that a professor was assigning tasks to an employee that were outside their job responsibilities. During the investigation it was identified that the employee in question, a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA), was asked to perform duties of a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and was also expected to do things outside the realm of Graduate Assistants in general. It was also identified that the GRA was listed as a Teaching Assistant for courses during the semester, even though they were hired as a GRA. When interviewing the professor, it was identified that there had been a longstanding misunderstanding in the unit regarding the assignments traditionally given to GTAs and GRAs. As a result of this investigation, the college corrected the GRA’s assignments and provided further education and clarification to the professor and unit on the appropriate work assignments for each student employee type. Had we not received this report, the improper use of GRAs and GTAs may have continued.
UCF Code of Conduct and UCF 2-700 Reporting Misconduct and Protection from Retaliation Policy
A student submitted concerns to the chair of a department regarding behaviors exhibited in the classroom by a faculty member that were described as bullying. As the college began to investigate the concerns the situation escalated and the faculty member publicly identified the student and accused them of misconduct. In collaboration with the college, University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk investigated the allegations and substantiated the violation of the Code of Conduct and the university’s policy prohibiting retaliation. As a result of the findings, the faculty member was terminated.