Ohio University President Reminds Employees Of Obligation To Report Criminal Activity

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In the wake of abuse scandals at Penn State and Syracuse, Ohio University's president is reminding employees of their legal obligation to report criminal activities on campus.

In an e-mail to faculty and staff, Roderick McDavis says the events in recent weeks on other campuses are tragic reminders that Ohio University employees must adhere to legal and ethical requirements in accordance with university policy and state and federal laws.

"Ohio law requires every person who knows that a felony has been or is being committed, to report it to law enforcement," says McDavis.

He also pointed out that teachers, school administrators, speech pathologists, psychologists, doctors and others are obligated under Ohio law to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

"We share a great responsibility to protect children and we must do everything we can to prevent and/or immediately report any abuse of a child," says McDavis.

At Penn State, former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged this month with sexual abuse of eight boys over a 15-year period.

He has denied the allegations, but prosecutors say others in positions of authority at the university knew about the abuse and did not properly report it to authorities.

At Syracuse, long-time assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine was fired over the weekend after being accused of molestation by three men.    

"In view of recent events at other institutions, the President felt this was a good time to remind members of the university community of their obligations to report crimes of which they have knowledge," says Presidential Chief of Staff Becky Watts. "Other universities in Ohio have sent similar notices."

"We place a high value on accountability and faculty, staff and students should feel comfortable reporting possible wrongdoing.  Concerns about violations of university rules or state or federal law can be reported to the EthicsPoint Hotline, the University Police Department, Internal Audit, the Office of Legal Affairs or any university supervisor," says Watts.

"Supervisors who receive such reports have an obligation to immediately pass them on to a university official in a position to act on them.  University Policy No. 03.006 prohibits retaliation against any faculty, staff or student who makes a good faith report of possible misconduct."