Whistleblower Policy

Responsible Executive

Vice President, Finance and Administration

Review Cycle

June 2025, 3 years


Labor Law §740, Civil Service Law §75-b  

Purpose and Scope

Tompkins Cortland Community College (“College” or “TC3”) is committed to lawful and ethical behavior and expects members of the College community (which includes, but is not limited to students, faculty, staff, Trustees, volunteers, etc.) to act in accordance with all College policies as well as all applicable laws, rules, and regulations. The purpose of this policy is to deter and detect fraud or other irregular activity by encouraging all individuals to report good faith concerns regarding such activities at the College. The policy establishes a confidential channel of communication by which individuals may report activity that they reasonably believe to be fraudulent or otherwise irregular.  


Good Faith Disclosure - Disclosure of fraudulent, dishonest, or unlawful conduct to an immediate supervisor, the Vice President of Finance and Administration or via the Fraud Hotline email TC3Fraud@tompkinscortland.edu, made with an honest belief in the truth of the allegations contained in the disclosure. The allegations contained in the disclosure do not have to ultimately be proven to be true to demonstrate good faith.

Fraudulent or Irregular Activity - Activities that (1) involve a misappropriation of assets (i.e. theft) or obtaining an unauthorized benefit; (2) are in violation of or non-compliant with any TC3 policy, or New York State or federal laws or regulations; or (3) are an indication of gross misconduct or incompetency; or (4) are an unethical, improper, or dishonest act.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A violation of a law, rule or regulation which violation creates and presents a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety;
  • Theft of any TC3 property, resources or assets, including, but not limited to, money, tangible property, trade secrets or intellectual property;
  • Misappropriation, misapplication, destruction, removal, or concealment of TC3 property;
  • Unlawful use of computer systems, including hacking and software piracy;
  • Unauthorized disclosure of confidential or proprietary information;
  • Unauthorized disclosure of student educational records, personal information, or medical information;
  • Authorizing or receiving compensation for hours not worked or covered by appropriate and available leave;
  • Fraudulent or otherwise deceptive financial reporting;
  • Violation of any law, regulation, rule, policy, etc.
  • Credit card and travel expense fraud;
  • Use of staff to perform personal errands, services, or tasks;
  • Forgery or unauthorized alteration or falsification of documents;
  • False claims by students, employees, vendors, or others associated with TC3;
  • Bribery, kickbacks, bid rigging, and conflicts of interest;
  • Improper records destruction;
  • Concealment of any of the above.

Retaliation - Any adverse action taken by TC3 or any individual doing work for or on behalf of TC3, in response to a Whistleblower’s good faith disclosure of fraudulent or dishonest conduct or in response to any employee’s good faith participation in an investigation under this policy. Retaliation may include an action affecting compensation, appointment, promotion, transfer, assignment, reassignment, reinstatement or evaluation of performance.

Whistleblower - A whistleblower is an individual who reports an activity that they reasonably believe to be fraudulent or irregular, as defined herein, by the means specified in this policy. The whistleblower is not responsible for investigating the reported activity or for determining fault or corrective measures; appropriate management officials are charged with these responsibilities.

Policy Oversight/Implementation

The College President has designated the Vice President of Finance and Administration (VPFA), or person acting in that capacity, as the individual to whom suspected or detected fraud and irregularities must be reported, and who is responsible for the implementation of this policy and administration of the procedures herein.

Process for Reporting Fraud and Irregularities

Individuals with knowledge of fraudulent or irregular activity by a TC3 employee or member or officer of the Board of Trustees must report as set forth below. Individuals who know or reasonably should know that fraudulent or irregular activity has occurred or is occurring but who fail to report may be considered an accessory to the fraud or irregular activity. Note that a TC3 student or employee who knowingly files a false report, or who reasonably should know that the report is false, may be subject to discipline, including termination or expulsion. Every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality of the reporter throughout the investigation to the extent permitted by law; however, it cannot be guaranteed.

Individuals wishing to report fraudulent or dishonest activity may pursue any or all of the following options:

  • Email (TC3Fraud@tompkinscortland.edu); or 
  • report to the VPFA; or
  • employees may report suspected illegal or dishonest activity to their supervisor and their supervisor must report it to the VPFA.

Individuals have the option of either providing contact information or reporting the information anonymously. Providing contact information will enable the reviewer to contact the individual to clarify the information being provided. In some instances, anonymity may limit the amount of investigation the College can conduct. At a minimum, reports should include key information such as: (i) a description of the incident; (ii) individual(s) involved; and (iii) financial loss, if any.

When requested, TC3 will make every effort to handle all information received confidentially, to the extent permitted by law. However, a whistleblower’s identity may have to be disclosed to conduct a thorough investigation, to comply with the law, or to provide accused individuals their legal rights of defense.

Activities Covered Under Other Policies and Processes

Individual employee grievances and complaints concerning terms and conditions of employment will continue to be reviewed in accordance with applicable academic and human resources policies and collective bargaining agreements.

Complaints regarding unlawful harassment and discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy or related conditions, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran or marital status or other protected characteristic should be reported to the designated compliance officer and handled in accordance with the applicable complaint procedures




Created upon adoption of resolution above 

Policy Reference Code