Students encouraged to use EthicsPoint for crime reporting

Gary Leverton

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Screenshot 2014-10-06 21.58.32The university is continuing efforts to increase student eyewitness reports of campus crime and misconduct with its branch of the third-party reporting website, EthicsPoint.

“We selected EthicsPoint because they specialized more with higher education,” said Ruth Shock, the director of the Internal Audit Department.  “After talking to other universities who had previous experiences with the site and surveying our other choices, Marquette decided this was the best option.”

The site allows any university-affiliated person to anonymously report suspected activities of crime and misconduct to a third-party vendor. This is done by submitting the report online or calling the toll-free number posted on the site. Once submitted, the reporter receives a unique report key code that can be used in five to six business days to access the report and follow its progress, while also allowing investigation feedback, questions and status.

There were 20 campus-related reports of suspected crime and misconduct in the 2013-’14 academic school year, six of which were confirmed as students or student-related matters. In 2014-’15 there have been 25 campus-related reports of suspected crime and misconduct, with nine of them being confirmed as students or student-related matters.

Some other universities set up their own internal reporting line in hopes of keeping the site’s anonymity a priority. Marquette took a different approach.

“We were concerned that if the university directly received the reports, students would question whether the site was really anonymous,” Shock said. “A third-party allows the university to get these reports while keeping the anonymous aspect of it.”

Marquette initially partnered with EthicsPoint in 2006 to report financial misconduct anonymously. The site now receives reports on a variety of crime and misconduct, including academic integrity and ethics, athletics, human resource and personnel issues, information technology and medical, risk and safety matters and other financial crimes. The partnership cost $1,500 in 2006 and an annual fee of around $6,000 to keep it running.

The Department of Public Safety set up their own Tipform site in 2012, allowing students to anonymously report misconduct and crime directly to DPS. This site is still running and was set up to provide another resource for students.

University spokesman Andrew Brodzeller, said he thinks students will feel more compelled to report crime if they do so anonymously.

“Sometimes there are circumstances where someone may be more comfortable reporting anonymously,”  Brodzeller said in an email. “EthicsPoint, as an outside vendor, allows individuals to report incidents through a confidential hotline and secure computer servers. It can be used for many types of concerns.”

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