Frequently Asked Questions

What is compliance?

A systematic approach to governance designed to ensure the University meets its obligation under:

All applicable laws,
Best Practices and standards,
Contractual obligations, and
Institutional policies

In addition, compliance seeks to achieve accountability and transparency in all University operations.

What is a compliance program?

A Compliance Program is an enterprise-wide program to coordinate, manage and monitor internal and external risks associated with regulatory compliance. It builds on the existing university structures and improves the coordination, dissemination and communication of compliance information and identifies gaps in compliance. The program empowers individuals to report instances of noncompliance using a variety of measures: faculty oversight, compliance and safety staff periodic review, facilities personnel, students, and concerned individuals.

The foremost goal of the university’s Compliance Program is to maintain our reputation for integrity and high standards in the educational and business community. In today’s world of increasing government rules and regulations involving areas including but not limited to information security, human resources, safety, and environmental issues, it would be easy to violate a law or regulation and tarnish our reputation. The program helps protect the university from regulatory errors, omissions and failures by improving communication and information.

If an inadvertent violation does occur, the Compliance Program is also needed to protect the university from severe criminal and civil penalties. Courts and prosecutors must make their choice of prosecution, settlement and the size of fines based on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. While we expect and hope never to face a governmental civil or criminal suit, the existence of a Compliance Program shows the government that the university has taken its compliance responsibility seriously and has communicated this to the campus. The existence of a formal Compliance Program could possibly allow the courts to reduce the fines and penalties under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. 

The goal of the program changes our compliance paradigm from detect/correct to anticipate/ prevent.

Why is compliance important?

Accountability, integrity and ethical behavior are necessary companions to the University’s mission and the successful advancement of knowledge. The University is committed to ensuring that all employees are aware of and take steps to comply with relevant laws and University policies. When acting on behalf of the University, you are responsible for following the laws and policies that apply to your department/school/office, your position and your work-related activities.

What happens if the University does not comply with various rules and regulations?

Below are some of the possible actions that could be taken against the University for failure to comply with rules and regulations:

Civil and administrative fines and penalties
Criminal penalties and imprisonment
Suspension or debarment from government programs
Reputational harm through dissatisfaction among institutional stakeholders including students, employees, donors and others

Non-compliant behavior creates a considerable risk for the University. Failure to comply with established rules and regulations could detrimentally affect the entire University.   

How do I know the requirements for the programs for which I am responsible?

The Higher Education Compliance Alliance (HECA) has developed a matrix that provides a comprehensive listing of key federal laws and regulations governing colleges and universities. The matrix includes a brief summary of each law, applicable reporting deadlines, and links to additional resources. Users can sort by topic area or by date to plan for upcoming reporting requirements. Users can also filter by topic, to limit the matrix to certain topics of interest (i.e. athletics or human resources).

The compliance matrix can be accessed via the following website:  http://www.higheredcompliance.org/matrix/

Are there resources available for the tracking of these requirements?

Yes.  One available resource to track compliance items is the compliance database.  The database allows the recording of pertinent items that require reporting to various agencies.  The system allows for the recording of due dates.  E-mail reminders are submitted in an effort to ensure that items recorded are completed in a timely manner. 

The compliance database can be accessed via Georgia College website.

Are there instructions for the completion of items in the compliance database?

Yes.  The instructions for the compliance database can be accessed under the resources tab on the right-hand side of this webpage. 

What should I do if I know a violation or possible violation has occurred?

You should report a violation to your immediate supervisor.  In many cases, internal concerns can be resolved quicker when reported to a supervisor.  However, if an employee is concerned that reporting an issue to a supervisor might result in retaliatory treatment report a concern via the GC Ethics and Compliance Reporting Hotline.  Individuals can either call 1-877-516-3432 toll-free or complete the process online via the following website:  www.gcsu.alertline.com to report a violation. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Violations can also be reported to offices of Human Resources, Public Safety, Internal Audit, or Legal Affairs.

What information is necessary to use the online reporting system?

The reporting of a concern is simple:

First, the reporter must tell what has happened.  A series of questions will be asked regarding the concern.

Second, the reporter will be asked to provide contact information.  If the reporter wants to remain anonymous. 

How can I check the status on my concern when I use the online reporting system?

At the end of the call, you will be provided with a report number and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) as well as instructions for using the website to follow-up on your concern. 

Why does the University offer an anonymous reporting option?

An anonymous reporting option is a requirement of a United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines.  All anonymous reports will be investigated.