Dixie State University students and staff can air grievances without feeling like they’re just whistling “Dixie.”
The Silent Whistleblower Hotline provides students and staff a chance to report concerns on campus and remain anonymous. The hotline can help everyone demand a greater amount of accountability at DSU.
Michael Pinegar, the business services internal audit director, facilitates the hotline and receives complaints after the reports go through the third party, NAVEX Global. Pinegar said those who utilize the hotline choose the information they wish to disclose, but using the Silent Whistleblower Hotline works better in certain specific situations than others.
“[It’s] for if there are any types of unethical situations, if you’re aware of something illegal going on, or somebody misusing funds,” he said.
Pinegar said the hotline is geared more toward staff than students. However, since he became involved with the program more than two years ago, students have received help.
“[Students can use the hotline] for any type of sexual harassment, especially if that’s coming from a faculty member or staff [member] on campus then by all means go ahead and use Silent Whistleblower Hotline,” he said.
Before calling the hotline, students should gather all facts and make sure their situations are of a serious nature, Pinegar said. In the past, students have used the hotline to highlight disagreements with professors and, more recently, people smoking on campus. Pinegar said those issues should be taken up with DSU deans.
Along with benefiting from the Silent Whistleblower Hotline, students and staff can utilize the ombuds office, which provides both confidentiality and neutrality.
Ami Comeford, an English associate professor and ombud, said when people consult the ombuds office, ombuds will provide a wide range of assistance — from teaching visitors how to solve problems in non-confrontational ways to listening to frustrations without the worry of lash back.
“We don’t take sides; we don’t advocate,” she said. “If someone comes to our office, we are not going to automatically advocate for that person’s position against someone else. What we do is look at the fair ways we can resolve it.”
Comeford said students should act quickly when they consider taking concerns up with ombuds. The informal nature of the office allows ombuds and visitors to approach incidents in numerous ways.
With the choice of three different ombuds, visitors should expect an avenue to voice grievances in a comfortable fashion, Comeford said. The office’s location, in Browning Building Room 209, is situated in a mellow part of campus, she said, so students and staff members’ visits will be more confidential.
Pinegar said programs like the Silent Whistleblower Hotline and ombuds office have assisted students and staff in greater ways as their presences on campus have grown.
“The last couple of years we have finally established a better rapport with faculty, staff and students as far as the internal audit office goes and kind of showing we can keep things private and confidential,“ he said.
Pinegar said before calling the Silent Whistleblower Hotline, students should make sure conflict can’t be solved in an informal way. DSU’s policy and procedures manual states that “whenever possible, complaints should be resolved informally by the faculty member, work supervisor, department chair, program director, or dean.” To view the complaint procedures in their entirety, visit “Policies and Procedures” under “Human Resources” on DSU’s website.
Information in regards to both the Silent Whistleblower Hotline and ombuds office can be found on DSU’s website. The “Report a Concern” tab on the main page goes to the Whistleblower Hotline information, and dixie.edu/ombuds provides more information about the ombuds office.