Frequently Asked Questions


What is compliance?

Compliance at Northeastern generally refers to the university’s adherence to both external legal and regulatory requirements (such as federal laws and state environmental regulations), and internal policies and procedures (such as our Code of Ethical Conduct and Policy on the Responsible Conduct of Research).   Northeastern’s Compliance Program is the management and operational structure the university has put in place to support and foster compliance across the university.


Who is responsible for compliance?

Compliance with laws, regulations and university policies is everybody’s responsibility.  There are areas throughout the university with specific expertise in and responsibility for compliance, such as the Treasurer’s office, Environmental Health & Safety, Athletics, OIDI, and others.   The Compliance Department coordinates and supports compliance efforts across the university, through training, communications, monitoring and assessment, and regular reporting on compliance performance.


What are the components of the University’s Compliance Program?

The university’s compliance program is designed to foster a culture of compliance and to provide an effective framework for deterring and detecting wrongdoing.  The key components of the program are::

  • Oversight by senior leadership;
  • Due diligence in delegating substantial discretionary authority;
  • Effective training and communication throughout the university community, including written policies and procedures;
  • Monitoring and reporting suspected wrongdoing or violations, including a system to report concerns anonymously without fear of reprisal;
  • Consistent enforcement of compliance standards, including disciplinary mechanisms; and,
  • Reasonable steps to respond to violations and prevent further similar offenses.


How do I find out what laws or policies I have to comply with?

The university aims to make information about key compliance areas easily accessible.  Good starting points are the Code of Ethical Conduct; Professional Standards and Business Conduct Policies; and the faculty and student handbooks.  Links to these and other core compliance policies are available here. The Compliance Department offers, coordinates or assists with training in many areas, including the monthly Compliance Colloquium series. Faculty and staff should also review “The Compliance Corner” in the quarterly newsletter from the Office of General Counsel.   If you do not see what you need on this website, or have questions on any area of compliance, please contact us.


How do I report a compliance concern?

You should not hesitate to bring concerns about compliance to your supervisor, unit or department head, or faculty advisor, or to the senior manager or executive with oversight of the relevant area, for example, the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, or the relevant Dean or Vice Provost.   You may also contact the Compliance Department, the University Ombuds, the Vice President of Audit and Advisory Services, or the Director of Risk Services.  The University encourages all members of the community to raise concerns and to report suspected wrongful conduct through these established channels.   Alternatively, the University also has a mechanism in place for anonymous and confidential reporting of concerns: a compliance hotline that is managed by an outside company.   To learn more about the hotline or to anonymously report a concern, click here.

The university will not tolerate retaliation against anyone who makes a good faith report of suspected or actual wrongdoing.