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Chief Compliance Officer

Western Carolina University's Office of Compliance supports our common goal of conducting university business with integrity and in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations. All faculty and staff are responsible for maintaining compliance with the regulations that govern our institution. The Office of Compliance assists by providing resources and training and by encouraging staff and faculty to report violations openly.

Report an Issue

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Chief Compliance Officer Kelly Tornow by email at or by phone at 828.227.7116. Together we can achieve a level of compliance that guarantees an increasingly prosperous future for everyone at WCU.

Compliance means meeting the requirements of the law on a basic level.  That is, we must ensure that our policies and practices are conducted in accordance with statutory guidelines at the State and Federal level where applicable.

The Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”) provides centralized oversight of compliance issues.  The CCO investigates issues relating to potential violations of regulations and provides assistance and advice to departments who identify compliance issues.  The CCO works with the heads of various departments to ensure adequate compliance.

Institutions of higher education have historically enjoyed a great deal of autonomy.  Just a few decades ago, colleges and universities were essentially unregulated entities.  However, with changing regulatory attitudes and the acceptance of millions of dollars of government funding, institutions of higher education are increasingly regulated by state and federal statutes.  The ever-changing nature of the regulatory landscape poses a unique challenge to the administration: how can a multifaceted institution such as WCU monitor the complexities and nuances of such regulations?  The answer is in a federated system of governance, where department heads are empowered by the CCO with the information they need to maintain and exceed compliance.

The CCO carries out the WCU Compliance Plan through the careful monitoring of University procedures in conjunction with the applicable statutory framework(s).  The CCO identifies areas where compliance is at issue and works with the department representatives to solve any identified problems.  Further, the CCO advises department heads regarding regulatory issues they face.  The CCO reports directly to the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees’ Finance and Audit Committee. 

The CCO can be contacted directly be telephone at 828.227.7116 or by email at  Further, compliance issues may be reported anonymously using the University Compliance Confidential Reporting System (“UCCRS”). 

The University Compliance Confidential Reporting System (“UCCRS”) allows faculty, staff and students the opportunity to report compliance issues directly to the CCO.  This may be done by completing a simple online form.  Those wishing to submit a report may choose to remain completely anonymous by so indicating on the subject form.  Each item submitted will receive the full attention of the CCO and appropriate University personnel.  Investigations into compliance issues initiated in this way will be conducted with the utmost care so as not to reveal the identity of the reporting personnel should he or she desire.  Further, the UCCRS is not designed to be punitive in nature.  Rather, reports submitted through the UCCRS are intended to simply provide awareness of potential compliance issues so they may be remedied without harm to the institution or embarrassment.

Maintaining university-wide compliance decreases the risk that an adverse event will occur.  Many regulations are designed to prevent adverse occurrences and following such regulations works to minimize the risk of a costly adverse event taking place.  Also, by staying in compliance, there is a decreased need for centralized oversight of each respective department’s activities.  This allows the people most qualified to detect and correct compliance issues – those who work within the departments – to have the autonomy to correct problems before they rise to a level requiring centralized decision making.  The CCO believes strongly that the best compliance resources are the members of our institution and that they are best capable of correcting their procedures.

If you have a question, you can always contact the compliance office or your direct supervisor.  It may help to ask yourself the following questions:  Does the act seem fair and honest?  Are the policies of the University being followed?  Would I be embarrassed if the act was published on the front page of a national newspaper?

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