Florida International University has contracted with Convercent to provide a confidential Internet and telephone based reporting tool to give University faculty, staff and students an anonymous and confidential way to address misconduct in the workplace or classroom setting due to mismanagement of funds, fraud, abuse or other violations of law or University policy.
What is Convercent?
The University’s Ethical Panther line is provided by Convercent, a commercial service provider chosen for its quality and experience in servicing numerous institutions of higher education throughout the United States.
The Ethical Panther line allows members of the University Community to raise compliance concerns without having to disclose their name or even their department.
How do I file a Report?
You may access the Ethical Panther line at http://www.convercent.com/report/ or by calling 1-844-312-5358 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year).
When you call Convercent, you will be greeted by a professionally trained call center staff person. You will be asked to provide the same information that you would provide if you were using the online report form.
The interviewer will type your responses into the system and use that to generate an electronic report. These electronic reports have the same security and confidentiality protections as a report that you would enter directly online.
This Ethical Panther line is not maintained on the University’s systems and is not maintained by University employees. Reports can be filed anonymously and the reports are held securely and confidentially on an external system.
Can anybody file a report?
Yes, but you are expected to act in “good faith” when making a report. This means that you are expected to provide information you know or suspect is true. Providing a report based on information you know is false can be hurtful to individuals who have not done anything wrong. Therefore, purposefully filing a false or malicious report can constitute grounds for disciplinary action.
Does Convercent replace existing mechanisms at Florida International University to raise compliance related questions or concerns?
No. Employees should know that direct discussion with one’s supervisor is usually the most effective way to raise a compliance concern. The University also maintains a Compliance Directory available here that lists those individuals with significant compliance responsibilities over diverse subject matter areas. These individuals are also available to listen to and address compliance concerns. Employees can also raise their compliance concerns directly to the Office of Internal Audit, the Office of the General Counsel, or the Office of University Compliance & Integrity.
Can’t my supervisor help me with a problem?
Typically, the best place to raise a concern or ask a question is within your own college or department through supervisory or department channels.
Many areas of the University have also identified a specific person to handle questions or reports about something you think may be wrong. You may also be able to raise your concerns with specific University offices established to handle certain types of issues. Please refer to the University Compliance Directory for point persons with compliance responsibilities over diverse subject matter areas. You may access the University Compliance Directory here.
Is this Ethical Panther line really anonymous?
Yes. The Ethical Panther line is designed to protect the reporter’s anonymity. An Internet portal never identifies a visitor by screen name and the Convercent system strips away Internet addresses so that anonymity is totally maintained.
Plus, Convercent is contractually committed not to pursue a reporter’s identity.
However, you should ensure that the body of the report does not reveal your identity by accident, for example, “from my desk next to John Murray…” or “In my 7 years, 3 months and 4 days with this department…”.
If you are the only individual who could possibly know the reported facts, there may be an unintended disclosure of your identity. The University will honor and protect your request for confidentiality to the extent possible as it fulfills its obligations in responding to the report.
Please note that Florida International University is subject to the State of Florida public records law. While we can protect any documents or identifying information you have provided while the investigation is ongoing, once the investigation closes, we may need to turn over certain documents or identifying information in response to a public records request. Both Florida International University, as well as Convercent, will protect the confidentiality of the information we receive from you to the maximum extent permissible under applicable law.
For more information on the Ethical Panther line, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).