Lessons From Penn State
The recent scandal at Penn State has shocked all of us. The details of exactly what happened at Penn State remain to be worked out through investigation and in the courts, but the situation provides some important lessons for other Universities, including Georgetown. Among these are:
- The importance of an organizational culture that is concerned about those who may be vulnerable and prioritizes their protection.
- The importance of encouraging prompt reporting of behavior that is illegal or otherwise inappropriate and making it safe for those who make reports.
- The importance of ensuring that reports of illegal behavior received by an organization are acted upon and forwarded to law enforcement or other appropriate authorities when necessary.
Members of the Georgetown University Community are part of a culture in which mutual respect and care and the safety of individuals are core values. To further these shared values, we must remember our responsibility to act when we see behavior that is wrong and to report such behavior, either through regular channels (such as supervisors or an appropriate University office such as the Office of Compliance and Ethics) or through the Compliance Helpline. If we encounter a situation where a crime is being committed or someone is in danger, we should report promptly to the Department of Public Safety or directly to the Metropolitan Police Department by calling 911. The University's Whistleblower Protection Policy protects us from retaliation for making good faith reports.