OttawaU’s "solution in search of a problem"

Editorial says new anonymous tip line will create a toxic workplace for faculty

An editorial in The Ottawa Citizen has taken aim at a local university’s new anonymous tip line.

Last week, the University of Ottawa announced the launch of a new security reporting tool, called ClearView Connects, that will allow employees to anonymously report theft, fraud, vandalism and unethical behaviour, either over the phone or on the Internet.

“It is the duty of each employee to immediately report any incidents of wrong-doing related to University activities,” said a spokesperson for the school. She said the technology was just part of “good governance.”

But the editorial staff at the Citizen disagree.

“The University of Ottawa says it does not have a problem with employee misconduct, yet has created an anonymous tip line for staff to report on one another. Sounds like a classic case of a solution in search of a problem,” reads the article. “Tip lines can be abused to settle personal scores or to make life miserable for unpopular colleagues whose crime is simply that they rub people the wrong way.”

The editorial also highlights the recent furor over Queen’s University’s failed dialogue facilitator program, which intended to catch racist, homophobic, and other kinds of offensive language, after allegations that the program constituted an invasion of students’ privacy.

“The University of Ottawa tip line is different from the eccentric Queen’s proposal, but the effect on the campus community could be similar. This is an idea that would have been best left on the drawing board.”