Stanford Ethics and Compliance Helpline is ready – and eager – to help

Tony Duong, program manager of Stanford’s Ethics and Compliance Program, is ready to answer questions and address concerns of the Stanford community to the Ethics and Compliance Helpline, including issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last few months, Stanford’s Ethics and Compliance Helpline, a campus resource for reporting and investigating ethical and legal breaches, has received various COVID-19 related reports, including employment concerns, misinformation, and research, classroom and workplace safety issues. Tony Duong, manager of the Ethics and Compliance Program, and other members of the team have been fielding those inquiries, as well as responding to general ethics and compliance concerns reported on the Helpline.

Tony Duong, program manager of Stanford’s Ethics and Compliance Program. (Image credit: Courtesy Tony Duong)

In a recent conversation with Stanford Report, Duong answered questions about the Helpline.


What is the Ethics and Compliance Helpline?

Stanford’s Ethics and Compliance Helpline is a resource for the Stanford Community that enables individuals to reach out with questions or concerns related to the University’s Code of Conduct, Stanford policies, and other laws and regulations. Anyone can connect with the Stanford Ethics and Compliance team via phone at (650) 721-2667, by email at or through a web form. If you don’t reach us immediately, know that we will get back to you quickly, generally within one business day. If you don’t feel comfortable providing your name, you may make an anonymous report through the web form. If you do so, please provide as much specific information as possible about what happened and who was involved, or provide an anonymized method of contact so we can follow up with you if we need more information in order to proceed.


What is the purpose of the Helpline?

We want to encourage people to reach out to us when they want to do the right thing, but are unsure whom to contact, what rules apply to their situation or how to best proceed. We can also address concerns people may have about the actions of others. Sometimes, doing the right thing is simply speaking up or asking questions when something doesn’t seem right or when something makes you feel uneasy.

If you don’t know whom to call with questions or concerns, please reach out to us: we’ll help you get to the right person and the right office. To read more about the Ethics and Compliance Helpline, you can visit


What happens when someone reaches out to the Helpline?

We review the information provided and will follow up if we need additional information to proceed.

The next steps will depend on what the question or concern is and what population it involves – faculty, staff, students, postdoctoral scholars, etc. We will work with subject matter experts throughout campus to review or investigate the concern.

All told, there are more than a dozen University offices devoted to helping everyone in the Stanford community uphold our high standards of ethical, professional and legal conduct. These include people in Stanford Athletics, the Office of the Dean of Research and University Human Resources.

Depending on the case, we will work with the office investigating the complaint to make sure the process is moving along and to provide input if needed. We will follow the case until the matter is resolved.


What kinds of topics and issues can people call the Helpline about?

We are ready to handle any questions or concerns you may have. You can call about issues related to the Code of Conduct, which covers a variety of topics such as: conflicts of interest, workplace misconduct, respect for others, theft or fraud, accounting irregularities, misuse of University resources, as well as violations of law, contract or Stanford University policy. Regardless of the issue, you can reach out to us. If we are not the correct office, we will make sure your question or concern gets to the right place.


What is Stanford’s Code of Conduct and how can it help?

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The Code of Conduct is the guidebook for ethical, professional and legal standards of behavior at Stanford. You will find a one-page summary of the Code of Conduct here and the entire online document here. The Code of Conduct sets forth the University’s values:

integrity, diversity, respect, freedom of inquiry and expression, trust, honesty and fairness. When there is no specific law, rule or policy on point, Stanford’s values serve as a basis for our daily and long-term actions and decisions and should be incorporated into our education, research, health care and business practices.

If you have questions about acting in a way that is consistent with Stanford’s values, find someone to talk to. It could be the staff of the Helpline, your manager, or another campus office or helpline. If you see something that may be damaging to Stanford’s culture or violates its values, please speak up. Stanford policy prohibits retaliation against anyone who raises an issue in good faith. Everyone plays a role in maintaining a culture that promotes the university’s excellence in research, education and service.


Why is the Ethics and Compliance Helpline important?

The Helpline is a great tool to assist Stanford in identifying and addressing problems throughout the university. It is a mechanism for community members – faculty, staff, students, the public – to engage in our community’s well-being.

For example, in March we began getting calls about COVID-19 concerns, which alerted us to issues that needed to be addressed.

Because we are a decentralized campus, it is beneficial to have one helpline that can field questions or concerns and refer to appropriate offices around campus as needed. This is true now more than ever. Due to the fluid nature of the pandemic and the challenges in responding appropriately, there are frequent changes to rules and expectations. These changes can cause significant apprehension, particularly when we are beginning to transition back to campus. If you are unclear on what you should be doing or are concerned about something you see or hear, you can reach out to our Helpline. We will work with the appropriate entities on campus to investigate and address your concerns.

To find out more about the Ethics and Compliance Helpline, visit the website here.