Protected by Anonymity; Rowan’s “Whistle Blower” Policy

The Rowan has an anonymous tip line that lets victims report incidents without revealing their identity. - Staff Writer / Beth Cimaglia

Early last week, a Rowan Announcer went out from President Ali A. Houshmand about the anonymous tip line. The anonymous tip line is there for students and members of the university’s community to report incidents such as misconduct. 

According to Houshmand in the announcer, the hotline has been used 29 times since the beginning of the academic year. It has been used for privacy violations, discrimination, and sexual harassment, among other things. 

The tipline is entirely anonymous in order to serve individuals who may feel uncomfortable talking with their professors or advisors, who are recommended as a first point of contact. 

Ray Braeunig, Rowan’s Chief Compliance Officer, said that “the information will be documented confidentially and relayed to the appropriate Rowan Officer setting up a channel through which the student or employee can engage in further anonymous communication or be advised how the University has responded to the report.”

Anonymity can be a good option for students or anyone who is hesitant to report.

Emily Salcedo, a sophomore psychology major, thinks reporting anonymously is important. 

“It is really important. It makes people feel more comfortable,” she said. “I don’t mind if people know it’s me if there ever were a situation, but I can see why other people would be uncomfortable with it.”

Marysa McCue, a sophomore education major, said “It definitely makes it easier. If you see something you don’t feel ashamed to like, call anyone out or report it, or you won’t feel like it will come back to you.” 

As for herself, for security reasons and to protect her name, McCue said. “I feel like I would be a little more open to doing it (reporting an incident) anonymously if I trusted someone or trusted a professor. I wouldn’t mind them knowing it came from me.”

According to Braeunig, the policy is a requirement of Rowan’s Compliance Program. It is derived from New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act entitled; “Whistleblower Act.” 

“Of course, if the anonymous person wants to speak directly with the officer, they will have the option to do that as well,” Braeunig said. “This is important because if a policy, rule or law is broken this may be the best way to discover the problem.”

Students are protected by the Whistleblower policy at Rowan University as well as the Whistleblower Act in the State of New Jersey to report anonymously. Students are encouraged to speak up and say something if an incident occurs. 

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