Compliance and Integrity Overview

What is compliance?
Compliance means abiding by applicable laws, regulations, and policies.  In a university setting, compliance is less about regulating individual behavior than it is about understanding applicable regulatory requirements that apply to university activities as an institution and ensuring that we meet them.  Because Ohio State engages in such a broad range of activities, the number and scope of applicable requirements is vast.  That makes understanding them and complying with them a challenging, university-wide endeavor.

What is integrity?
Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances.  It means upholding the values of the university; behaving in an ethical manner; performing all duties with professionalism, accountability, competence, and honesty; focusing on solutions rather than fault and blame; and acting with initiative.  When members of the university community operate with integrity, it generates trust, enhances communication, improves the university’s culture, and supports the university's mission. 

Who is responsible for compliance at The Ohio State University?
Compliance functions at Ohio State are integrated into the activities that take place across our campuses every day.  Compliance officers work within many units, either individually or as part of multi-person teams.  The Office of Compliance and Integrity coordinates these activities, working with leaders throughout the university to identify and fulfill legal and policy responsibilities.  Integrity results when leaders identify and resolve issues, and when all members of the university act ethically.  Ultimately therefore, successful compliance and integrity depend on the individual commitment of every university community member.  

What role does a university compliance and integrity office serve?
The Ohio State University operates in an increasingly complex regulatory environment, which requires us to sharpen our focus on accountability and ensure compliance with our legal and ethical responsibilities. Outside regulators and funding sources increasingly require that the university have an imbedded system in place to ensure that Ohio State understands its requirements and works to meet them.  The creation of the Office of University Compliance and Integrity demonstrates the university's commitment to meeting our legal and regulatory responsibilities, and fostering a culture that promotes ethical conduct.

What are the benefits of a university compliance office?
A university compliance and integrity office:

  • Fosters a university culture that does not tolerate illegal or unethical behavior and prompts faculty and staff to consider the potentially adverse consequences of unethical conduct;
  • Solves problems by improving collaboration, and communication;
  • Reduces the risks of non-compliance, while increasing the likelihood of early detection and correction;
  • Provides a source of best practices and assistance for the entire university community.

What are compliance and integrity issues?
Compliance issues can be related to activities, situations, and transactions that could potentially violate federal, state, or local laws and regulations, or violate The Ohio State University’s policies, procedures, and rules.  Examples include violations of regulations associated with research, conflicts of interest, environmental concerns, information security, fire safety, etc.

How do I know if there is a compliance or integrity issue?
Please use the guiding questions below to help you identify compliance or integrity issues.  If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then there is probably a compliance or integrity issue:

  • Are these actions legal?
  • Do these actions comply with university policy?
  • Do these actions seem fair and honest?

If I think there is a compliance or integrity issue, what should I do first?

  1. Identify Concern.
    If you have observed potentially illegal or unethical behavior, you may first wish to review related policies for guidance.
  2. Discuss Concern with Supervisor.
    Contact your supervisor for guidance about your concern.  If you are uncomfortable with this approach, see Step 3.
  3. Discuss Concern with HR, Legal, or Compliance.
    Report your concern directly to the Office of Human Resources, the Office of Legal Affairs, or the Office of University Compliance and Integrity.  If you are still uncomfortable, wish to remain anonymous, or have not received an adequate response, see Step 4.
  4. Submit a Report to the Anonymous Hotline.
    Please follow link below to learn about the options for submitting this report online or via telephone.
    www.ohio-state.ethicspoint.com