As Pitt prepared for the 2020-21 academic year, many mechanisms were in put in place to protect the health and well-being of every member of the Pitt community, including the COVID Concern Connection.
The success of that service, a campus-wide tool for the Pitt community to ask questions or report behavioral or medical issues related to COVID-19, led to a reassessment of other reporting structures on campus.
In particular, Laurel Gift, assistant vice chancellor for the Office of Compliance, Investigation and Ethics, was asked to evaluate the usefulness of the AlertLine, the University’s 24/7 reporting service.
Using the Pitt Concern Connection
Text 412-903-3456, call 800-468-5768 or complete an online form. Reporting parties may convey their concerns anonymously or provide their contact details with their report.
“After speaking with a number of stakeholders, what I found was that some people didn’t know what AlertLine was or that it even existed,” recalled Gift. “And if they did know about it, they weren’t sure if it was for students or staff, or if it was just for reporting fraud, waste and abuse complaints. Based upon that alone, I knew we needed to make a change.”
In response to that feedback, Gift issued a request for proposals for software that could track a variety of complaints and compliance issues. Ultimately, Concervent, a compliance software company based in Denver, Colorado, won the bid. The chosen system was then launched as the COVID Concern Connection.
According to Gift, the new system was well received as her office saw a significant increase in the number of COVID-related cases being reported by students, faculty, staff and members of the community. As Gift learned more about the new software, she realized its full case management capabilities and saw an opportunity to streamline campus-wide reporting.
“Because of our positive experience with the COVID Concern Connection, we decided to expand the offerings of this vendor and rebrand it to a new and improved reporting service we are calling the Pitt Concern Connection,” said Gift.
The new Pitt Concern Connection, an all-in-one reporting system scheduled to launch May 17, will be used by students, faculty, staff and even community members to report issues ranging from environmental compliance to student conduct and everything in between (Title IX and Civil Rights issues can still be reported using the Make A Report feature on the OEDI website.)
The reporting service can be accessed by texting 412-903-3456, calling 800-468-5768 or completing an online form. Reporting parties may convey their concerns anonymously or provide their contact details with their report. Complaints are then routed to the responsible department for a case manager to evaluate and respond. Every incident reported will receive a unique case number, which can be used to follow up on the complaint.
According to Gift, who works closely with the Office of University Counsel, the new system could help the University identify patterns and systems that are either working or not working. It will also create an awareness of problem areas that may require closer attention by University officials or need additional resources.
Geovette Washington, senior vice chancellor and chief legal officer said, “The Pitt Concern Connection will provide a central, easy to find resource for Pitt community members to share their concerns about things happening on our campuses. This resource will also provide the University with a reliable outlet for communicating details, as well as a dependable team to monitor and ensure timely response.”
When asked why the new system was being rolled out at the end of the semester as students were preparing to leave the Pitt campuses, Gift indicated that sufficient time was needed to roll out a new system and work out any kinks before AlertLine goes away this coming June.
She also noted that an additional education campaign is schedule for the fall to teach as many members of the Pitt community as possible about the new system.
Gift concluded, “We just want to let the Pitt community know we want to hear from them because we care.”