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Timely Reporting of Information

March 4, 2013

To:        University Community
From:     Joel Seligman
Subject:  Timely Reporting of Information

The University of Rochester is a large and complex organization that generally does very well reporting important information to senior administrators on a timely basis.  On a few recent occasions, we could have done better.  In October 2012, in the aftermath of the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State, I appointed a Provost’s Committee and asked Peter Lennie to serve as its chair.  I charged the committee to make recommendations about how we can strengthen and expedite University internal communications to the president and other senior leaders as appropriate.

Today I am releasing the committee’s report.  I want to express my gratitude to Peter Lennie as well as the members of the committee:  Raffaella Borasi, Rich Feldman, Steve Goldstein, Mike Goonan, Doug Lowry, Chuck Murphy, Lamar Murphy, Gail Norris, Ron Paprocki, Kathy Rideout, Peter Robinson, Mark Taubman, and Mark Zupan.

I ask your help in sharing this memo, which highlights key principles, and the attached report to help ensure that important information is properly transmitted on a timely basis.  Thank you for your assistance with this important matter.


  •  You should report to your supervisor or an appropriate senior administrator:
    • Information about a danger to persons or property.
    • Information about conduct that violates a law or regulation or significant University policy (such as our Code of Conduct or our Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment).
    • Information about conduct that has a adverse impact on the work environment or the operations of the University.
    • Information about misuse of University property or information.
    • Information that could lead to a potential government or private legal action against the University.
    • Information that might be reported in the press.
    • Information that could have an adverse financial impact on the University or any of its academic or operating divisions.
    • Information that is materially different from that reported to the Board of Trustees or in public statements of the University.
  • IF IN DOUBT – REPORT.  If you are in doubt about the importance of information, always report the information to your supervisor or another appropriate manager.
  • In making judgment calls about reporting important information, put yourself in a supervisor’s shoes and ask yourself whether the information is something that she/he would want to know.
  • The general rule should be to report the information to your supervisor if possible, even if the information does not directly involve your work area.  Your supervisor can help ensure that information gets to the right person.
  • You should treat the information you report with appropriate confidentiality. You should not share sensitive information with University personnel, or others outside the University, who are not in a position to deal with the matter.