The University of Alabama is committed to the highest ethical standards and compliance with the law, and the university-wide Compliance Program is key to this commitment. The role of the Office of Compliance, Ethics, and Regulatory Affairs (CERA) is to support the Compliance Program by working with key compliance areas and individuals throughout the university to facilitate collaboration, raise awareness, provide guidance, and address compliance concerns.

Compliance at UA is a campus-wide commitment, requiring the contributions of many, to achieve the common goal of conducting our activities with the highest level of integrity and in accordance with the law.


How does compliance apply to me?

Compliance means abiding by applicable laws, regulations, and policies. In a university setting, compliance is less about regulating individual behavior than it is about understanding applicable regulatory requirements that apply to university activities as an institution and ensuring that we meet them. Because The University of Alabama engages in such a broad range of activities, the number and scope of applicable requirements is vast. That makes understanding them and complying with them a challenging, university-wide endeavor.

Who is responsible for compliance at The University of Alabama?

Compliance functions at UA are integrated into the activities that take place across our campus every day. Compliance officers work within many units, either individually or as part of multi-person teams. The Office of Compliance, Ethics, and Regulatory Affairs coordinates these activities, working with leaders throughout the university to identify and fulfill legal and policy responsibilities. Ultimately therefore, the success of the compliance program depends on the individual commitment of every university community member.

What role does a university compliance office serve?

The University of Alabama operates in an increasingly complex regulatory environment, which requires us to sharpen our focus on accountability and ensure compliance with our legal and ethical responsibilities. Outside regulators and funding sources increasingly require that the university have an embedded system in place to ensure that UA understands its requirements and works to meet them. The creation of the Office of Compliance, Ethics, and Regulatory Affairs demonstrates the university’s commitment to meeting our legal and regulatory responsibilities, and fostering a culture that promotes ethical conduct. CERA seeks to apply a forward-thinking, proactive approach to assessing and mitigating institutional compliance risks.

What are the benefits of a university compliance office?

A university compliance, ethics, and regulatory affairs office:

  • Fosters a university culture that does not tolerate illegal or unethical behavior and prompts faculty and staff to consider the potentially adverse consequences of unethical conduct;
  • Solves problems by improving collaboration, and communication;
  • Reduces the risks of non-compliance, while increasing the likelihood of early detection and correction;
  • Provides a source of best practices and assistance for the entire university community.

What are compliance issues?

Compliance issues can be related to activities, situations, and transactions that could potentially violate federal, state, or local laws and regulations, or violate The University of Alabama’s policies, procedures, and rules. Examples include violations of regulations associated with research, conflicts of interest, environmental concerns, information security, fire safety, etc.

How do I know if there is a compliance or ethics issue?

Please use the guiding questions below to help you identify compliance or ethics issues. If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then there is probably a compliance or ethics issue:

  • Are these actions legal?
  • Do these actions comply with university policy?
  • Do these actions seem fair and honest?

If I think there is a compliance or ethics issue, what should I do first?

  1. Identify Concern. If you have observed potentially illegal or unethical behavior, you may first wish to review related policies for guidance.
  2. Discuss Concern with Supervisor. Contact your supervisor, department chairperson, or Dean’s office for guidance about your concern. If you are uncomfortable with this approach, see Step 3.
  3. Discuss Concern with HR, Legal, or Compliance. Report your concern directly to the Office of Human Resources, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Counsel, or the Office of Compliance, Ethics, and Regulatory Affairs. If you are still uncomfortable, wish to remain anonymous, or have not received an adequate response, see Step 4.
  4. Submit a Report to the Anonymous Hotline.