POL - 01.04.4 Misuse of State Property Policy

Board of Trustees
Responsible Office:
Legal Affairs
Office of Legal Affairs, 919-530-6105, [email protected]
Effective Date: June 27, 2018

1.    Purpose 

The purpose of this policy is to inform the campus community of the requirements set by law and the expectations for employees with regards to reporting on the misuse of state property.  This policy establishes protocol for reporting incidents of alleged misuse of state property, the investigation process, and guidelines for corrective actions if necessary.  Employees who report an alleged misuse of state property will be protected from unwarranted retaliation.

2.    Scope 

North Carolina General Statute §143B-920 requires that department heads report possible violations of criminal statutes involving misuse of state property to the State Bureau of Investigation (“SBI”) in good faith if an employee receives any kind of information or evidence of any criminal activity. Retaliation against individuals who report incidents involving an alleged misuse of state property is prohibited. All University employees are required to comply with the provisions of this policy. 

3.    Misuse of Property 

3.1    Misuse of State Property Defined 

Misuse of state property is the illegal or prohibited use of state assets. Misuse of state property may include arson, loss, damage, theft, embezzlement, and any unauthorized use of state-owned property or other real property, as well as any financial liability to the University resulting from the misuse.  An illustrative, but not exhaustive, list of university property is as follows: purchasing cards, tools, supplies, computers, tablets, telephones, music, film and art equipment, athletic and exercise equipment, research equipment, copiers, vehicles, office space and buildings.

3.1.2    Employee 

Employee means an individual who is employed by North Carolina Central University, including faculty, staff, student employees, or any individual who represents or acts on behalf of the University.

3.1.3    Misuse of State Property Prohibited University employees are strictly prohibited from misusing state property.   Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. The University’s technological network, both wired and wireless, is the property of the State of North Carolina.  Illicit activities conducted over this media is subject to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.  

4. Safeguarding of University Assets 

4.1 Each Department Head is responsible for safeguarding all assets purchased for his or her department, regardless of the source of funding for those assets. This accountability includes taking adequate precautions to ensure that arson, damage, theft, embezzlement, or misuse of any University-owned personal property, buildings, or other real property is prevented. Additionally, Department Heads are responsible for compliance with University policies and procedures for inventory verification; disposal of damaged, obsolete, or surplus equipment; reporting of lost or stolen equipment; compliance with all federal and state laws, and guidelines for federally funded equipment.  Departments have custody of their assets and should maintain their own inventory of assets costing more than $5,000.  The Capital Assets Office separately maintains the complete listing of University capital assets (i.e. assets costing $5,000 or more with a useful life of greater than one year). The Capital Assets Office will contact Department Heads as to the disposition of any capital assets not located during the annual inventory. 

4.2 Additionally, Department Heads are required to maintain control and an inventory of equipment not included in the provisions of this policy (i.e., computers, data projectors, and other easily pilferable equipment items costing less than $5,000). Departments may maintain their own databases or spreadsheets of assets to track equipment locations, serial numbers, and other pertinent information. Additionally, computers that access or store sensitive information must be tracked by the department. For assistance in setting up departmental inventory processes, please contact the Capital Assets Officer. Each department is also subject to internal and external audit verifications on a sample of fixed assets.  

4.3 Department Heads with a large amount of and/or sophisticated equipment may appoint a property liaison to assist with the security and control of that equipment. A property liaison must assist the Capital Assets Office in tagging, identifying, and locating equipment during periodic inventory and in general controlling departmental equipment. Department Heads shall ensure that property liaisons understand this policy and are trained in the control of University property prior to their appointment.

5.    Reporting     

5.1 Any University employee who receives information or actual evidence of actual or attempted arson, damage, theft, embezzlement, or misuse of any University-owned personal property, buildings, or other real property, shall as soon as possible, but no later than three (3) days, report such information or evidence to their immediate supervisor. The immediate supervisor shall report the information or evidence to the University Police Department (“University Police”), the Department of Internal Audit (“Internal Audit”) and to the Capital Assets Office (pursuant to NCCU REG 30.01.4). The immediate supervisor, University Police and/or Internal Audit must in turn report the matter to the Office of Legal Affairs as soon as possible. Crimes in progress are to be reported to University Police immediately. Accidental damage to property is to be reported by the supervisor using SBI-78 Form to the Office of Legal Affairs. Damage caused to a State Motor Pool vehicle from an automobile accident is to be reported directly to the NCCU’s Motor Fleet Coordinator.

5.2 The Chancellor delegates to the General Counsel the function of reporting information or evidence of misuse of state property to the SBI, after appropriate consultation with Internal Audit and University Police, as further discussed in Section 6.2 below.

5.2.1 The report should include as much details about the incident as possible (names, dates, order of events, act in question, etc.). If the report is submitted anonymously, the report should be detailed enough to warrant a proper investigation. Any false reports may result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to, dismissal. 

5.3 In accordance with North Carolina law, employees who submit reports involving an alleged misuse of state property, in good faith, are afforded protection from any retaliation by the University or its community members. Any suspected retaliation should be reported in the form of a complaint to the Department of Human Resources, EEO and Employee Relations Unit. The University is dedicated to ensuring that the members of the University community are not negatively affected for their commitment to the well-being of the institution and its members at large. 

6. Investigations

6.1 The University Police Department is responsible for the investigation of all crimes that occur pertaining to or on university property. University Police will consult with and seek assistance from Internal Audit as needed but particularly in relation to matters of fraud and embezzlement. Employees are required to cooperate with any investigation. The assistance of the SBI, local law enforcement or the State Auditor in reviewing or investigating the allegations may be requested in particular cases.

6.2 The results of University Police and/or Internal Audit reviews of alleged misuse and investigations will be reported to the General Counsel. In consultation with the Director of Internal Audit and the Chief of Police, the General Counsel will determine whether or not it is appropriate to notify the SBI of any misuse within ten (10) days of being notified of the possible misuse. 

7. Notification

7.1 If the General Counsel determines that notification to the SBI is appropriate, the General Counsel will send written notification to the SBI (“SBI Notification”). Copies of each SBI Notification shall be sent to University Police, Internal Audit and the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance.

7.2 If the allegations of misuse involve an identified department or employee, copies of the SBI Notification will also be sent to the appropriate Executive Officer to which the unit reports, and the Chief Human Resources Officer. The supervisor of the unit in which the suspected misuse is alleged to have occurred also may be notified, as appropriate. Each Executive Officer and unit supervisor will consult with the designees of the General Counsel, University Police, Internal Audit and Human Resources, as appropriate, to address resolution of personnel and other issues relating to the reported allegations. For personnel matters, the relevant disciplinary procedures will be followed based on the category of employee.

7.3 If the allegations involve a student, a copy of the SBI Notification will also be sent to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for handling in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.

7.4 The Director of Internal Audit and the Chief of Police may make other reports to state or local government units as are otherwise necessary and appropriate for the performance of their respective professional responsibilities. The General Counsel and/or the Director of Internal Audit shall inform the Chancellor of all significant misuse matters.

7.5 A decision to file criminal charges will be determined at the conclusion of an investigation by the Chief of Police and the district attorney’s office.