This Is Auburn Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy
Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy

Our Mission

The mission of the Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy is to assist the University in fulfilling its vision of being a preeminent comprehensive land-grant university. Our office provides services in three distinct yet related disciplines - audit, compliance, and privacy - in support of Auburn University's three-pronged mission of teaching, research, and service.

The Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy functions in partnership with University leadership to:

  • improve the internal control system and culture;
  • improve and enhance the management of operational, financial, compliance, strategic and reputational risks;
  • enhance governance processes;
  • ensure strong stewardship and management accountability at all levels of the University.

Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager

Our monthly newsletter compiles relevant higher education risk-related stories from around the nation.

June 2019

Last month we discussed one of the hottest topics in higher education - conflicts of interest. This month I want to turn our discussion to another hot topic, the concept of fiduciary responsibility.

Nationally there has been, and almost certainly will continue to be, much discussion regarding the cost of higher education. With this discussion comes questions about how institutions are using the funds that are entrusted to them. With those questions being raised, I think it's important to remember the importance of fiduciary responsibility.

A fiduciary is a person who holds an ethical relationship of trust with one or more other parties. As a public institution of higher education our relationship of trust is with stakeholders such as taxpayers, students, alumni, donors, and many others. While the law and regulatory requirements serve as a floor for the appropriateness of expenditures, I believe fiduciary responsibility calls us to a higher standard. Just because something is legal does not mean that it is prudent. Viewing the use of funds through the lens of fiduciary responsibility can help ensure you avoid many problems.

Two ideas can help when using a ''fiduciary lens'' with respect to the use of funds:

  1. The newspaper test: How would this transaction look if reported in the newspaper?
  2. The independent advisor: Ask someone independent of the transaction if they believe it's a prudent use of funds.

In today's world -- particularly with social media -- the scrutiny that institutions face regarding how funds are used is only likely to increase. That is something to keep in mind as you carry out the business of higher education. We again invite you to review the various events that occurred throughout our industry over the past month with a view toward proactive risk management.

Read this month's issue of Case In Point

Case In Point Archives

Anonymous Reporting Hotline

Auburn University uses the EthicsPoint anonymous Reporting System to enhance communication and empower individuals to promote safety, security, and ethical behavior. Use this anonymous, confidential system to report situations, events or actions by individuals or groups that you believe unethical or otherwise inappropriate. Frivolous or unfounded reports do not help foster a positive workplace. This hotline service does not replace our existing reporting methods for reporting fraud, waste, abuse or other potentially illegal activities. The University continues to encourage stakeholders to report concerns or suspected violations to their supervisor or other campus entities as appropriate.

If you are uncertain if a situation violates University policy, is illegal or constitutes harassment or discrimination, you may use EthicsPoint to obtain clarification. We would much rather have you ask questions than let potential problems go unchecked. However, EthicsPoint should not be used for immediate threats to life or property. If the situation presents an immediate threat to life or property call emergency -- 911

Last Updated: July 12, 2019