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A new hotline and Web link will allow people to report possible fraud or shaky ethics by University of Wisconsin System employees. The hotline, approved by the UW Board of Regents in December, recently went live.

UW System will pay $35,000 a year to a Georgia company, The Network Inc., for the next five years to field calls and Web submissions about possible violations.

“Big or small, we want to know about it,” UW System president Ray Cross said in an online announcement. “We want to make it easy for you to do the right thing and to let somebody know.”

It comes in addition to a fraud hotline run by the Legislative Audit Bureau that was created by state law in 2007 and has been operating since April 2008 as a sounding board for tips about fraud or abuse at any state agency.

In the first six years of its existence, the state’s fraud hotline received 21 tips related to alleged misconduct by University of Wisconsin employees, according to documents obtained by the State Journal under the open records law. Eleven tips came in regarding Wisconsin Technical College System employees. In 2011-2012 — the most recent available data — 112 total tips came in through the state hotline. Thirty-eight were unfounded. Forty-six were resolved. Twenty-eight were still under review when the audit bureau’s most recent report was released.

The idea for a UW-specific hotline came from new System chief audit executive Lori Stortz, said spokeswoman Heather La Roi. Fraud hotlines have become more common at universities and can be an effective tool in identifying not just financial shenanigans but also ethics abuses and wasteful spending, said Allan Bachman, education manager for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and formerly internal audit director at a private college in Boston.

UW-Madison cuts 434 jobs; 70 are layoffs

An updated tally of jobs lost at UW-Madison due to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed historic $300 million cut to the UW System stands at 434, according to figures released by the university. Of them, 84 percent will come from open jobs that won’t be filled.

The remaining 16 percent — or 70 jobs — will be cut via layoffs. The School of Medicine and Public Health will lose 17 current employees, highest among any unit on campus. The College of Engineering is next, at 11.

The College of Letters and Sciences, by far the biggest department on campus, will lose the most jobs overall, at 92. All of those cuts will come by not filling vacancies. Facilities is next at 56, also entirely through vacancies. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is next at 55 total jobs, four of them layoffs.

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