Office of Internal Audit

What is Internal Auditing?
Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve the university's operations.

Office of Internal Audit —A Basic Overview (PDF)

The Goal of Internal Audit
Western's Office of Internal Audit's primary goal is to help the university accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.
Read the complete Office of Internal Audit charter (PDF)

Code of Ethics
The Office of the State Controller of North Carolina has adopted a Code of Ethics. The Code establishes the standard for the minimum levels of expected behavior and is also intended to serve as a guide for making ethical decisions.
Read the Code of Ethics

Risk Assessment

The chief audit executive is responsible for developing a risk-based plan. The chief audit executive takes into account the organization's risk management framework, including using risk appetite levels set by management for the different activities or parts of the organization. If a framework does not exist, the chief audit executive uses his/her own judgment of risks after consideration of input from senior management and the board. The chief audit executive must review and adjust the plan, as necessary, in response to changes in the organization's business, risks, operations, programs, systems, and controls.

Reporting Potential Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Improper governmental conduct includes alleged fraud, misappropriation, mismanagement or waste of state resources. It also includes alleged violations of state or federal law, rule or regulation in administering state or federal programs, and substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety.  There are two ways to report fraud, waste, and abuse.  It can be reported through Western Carolina University’s Office of Internal Audit or through the North Carolina’s Office of the State Auditor’s Hotline.

The Office of Internal Audit investigates allegations of improper governmental conduct by University employees within our statutory authority.

Fraud, Waste, or Abuse Hotline

Persons who report fraud may choose to remain anonymous by utilizing our online form.

Persons not concerned with remaining anonymous may call, fax, or write the Chief Audit Officer.
Call: 1-828-227-2549
Write: Office of Internal Audit
Attention: Internal Audit
350 H.F. Robinson Building
Cullowhee, NC 28723

Anyone wishing to report potential fraud, waste and abuse may also do so through the North Carolina Office of the State Auditor. The State Auditor operates a toll-free telephone Hotline established by the NC General Assembly, which allows citizens, and employees to report potential fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement within state government (1-800-730-TIPS). Tips can also be reported  It also provides an electronic link to an anonymous hotline form. See the provided link:


North Carolina Statute 126.84 addresses the state’s stance regarding Fraud, Waste and Abuse.  It is as follows:

Article 14-Protection for Reporting Improper Government Activities:
§ 126-84.Statement of Policy:
It is the policy of this State that State employees shall be encouraged to report verbally or in writing to their supervisor, department head, or other appropriate authority, evidence of activity by a State agency or State employee constituting:
     1)       A violation of State or federal law, rule or regulation;
     2)       Fraud;
     3)       Misappropriation of State resources;
     4)       Substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety; or
     5)       Gross mismanagement, a gross waste of monies, or gross abuse of authority.

Further, it is the policy of this State that State employees be free of intimidation or harassment when reporting to public bodies about matters of public concern, including offering testimony to or testifying before appropriate legislative panels.

What Is Considered To Be Fraud, Waste, Or Abuse?

The intentional deception perpetrated by an individual or individuals, or an organization or organizations, either internal or external to state government, which could result in a tangible or intangible benefit to themselves, others, or the State or could cause detriment to others or the State.  Fraud includes a false representation of a matter of fact, whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading statements, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, which deceives and is intended to deceive.

The intentional or unintentional, thoughtless or careless expenditure, consumption, mismanagement, use, or squandering of State resources to the detriment or potential detriment of the State.  Waste also includes incurring unnecessary costs as a result of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems, or controls.

Excessive or improper use of a thing, or to employ something in a manner contrary to the natural or legal rules for its use.  Intentional destruction, diversion, manipulation, misapplication, maltreatment, or misuse of State resources.  Extravagant or excessive use as to abuse one’s position or authority.  Abuse can occur in financial or non-financial settings.

Examples of Fraud, Waste and Abuse are:

  • Personal use of State-owned vehicles
  • Personal use of state telephones, including long distance personal calls
  • Personal use of state owned supplies or equipment
  • Violations of state procurement policy
  • Excessive or unnecessary purchases
  • Falsification of official documents (timesheets, leave reports, travel vouchers, etc.)
  • Contract fraud
  • Conducting personal business on state time
  • Inappropriate expenditures
  • Embezzlement

The State Auditor operates a toll-free telephone Hotline established by the NC General Assembly, which allows citizens, and employees to report potential fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement within state government (1-800-730-TIPS). 

Western Carolina University employee’s can also report potential fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement to Western Carolina’s Chief Audit Officer, Lisa Gaetano,  Internal Audit takes all such reports seriously, whether referred to them by the State Auditor or internally, via an employee.  Internal Audit strives to maintain confidentiality of the complainant at all times.


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