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Internal Auditing

Case in Point:
Lessons for the pro-active manager

November 2011
Vol. 3 No. 11
Quotable...
''Responsibility walks hand in hand with capacity and power.''

-- Josiah Gilbert Holland
1819-1881, American Author

Over the past month, higher education has been rocked by the report from Penn State University that multiple columnists have called, ''the biggest scandal in the history of college athletics and possibly higher education.'' By now, I'm sure you have read the allegations of child molestation against a former football coach and the apparent inaction by personnel within the chain of command when these issues were discovered. It is highly likely the issues raised will result in substantial litigation costs for Penn State. This case has already resulted in tarnishing the formerly pristine reputation of the institution and will take years to repair. Certainly these costs will pale in comparison to the human toll on those who were (allegedly) victimized in this incident. We could spend considerable time discussing this case and the actions which should have occurred. Instead, I would like to focus this column on one aspect of this disturbing event that you may not have considered that could potentially have an impact on your role: Clery Act Compliance.

A November 9, 2011 press release from the Department of Education begins:

The U.S. Department of Education will launch an investigation into whether Penn State University failed to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act) in regard to allegations of sex offenses on campus by a former school official. Former Penn State Defensive Coach Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing several young boys over several years, including incidents on campus.

Under the Clery Act, colleges and universities are required to disclose the number of criminal offenses on campus that are reported each year. In addition, in certain cases, the institution must issue a timely warning if a reported crime represents a threat to the campus community. The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for Clery Act compliance.

The Clery Act, in part, requires colleges to keep track of and disclose to the public the number of crimes reported on campus. One unique aspect of this act is that this reporting requirement extends beyond members of the law enforcement community to ''officials of an institution who have significant responsibility for student and campus activities.'' Individuals with responsibility for student and campus activities are considered ''campus security authorities'' (CSA).

Some examples of individuals who meet the criteria for being campus security authorities may include:

  • A dean of students who oversees student housing, a student center or student extracurricular activities.
  • A director of athletics, a team coach or a faculty advisor to a student group.
  • A student resident advisor, assistant or student who monitors access to dormitories.
  • A coordinator of Greek affairs.

Failure to comply with the provisions of the Clery Act can result in civil fines and even the loss of certain federal funds. As we consider the events at Penn State, let us also become more familiar with our own responsibilities under the Clery Act . For a good summary of the Clery Act, review the following article.

Once again, as you review the cases listed below from across higher education, consider the risks in your own area of responsibility. Managing a risk is much simpler and less costly than managing a crisis.

M. Kevin Robinson, CIA, CFE, CCEP
Executive Director, Internal Auditing


Information Security Related Events

Nov. 30, 2011: Officials at The College of New Jersey this week reported an unintentional data breach in the On-Campus Student Employment System, an in-house system designed to store information about students applying for on-campus jobs. (link)

Nov. 29, 2011: Although most people tend to think of printers as dumb boxes sitting by your desk, a new study from Columbia University researchers has found that they may be surprisingly vulnerable to sophisticated hacking attacks. (link)

Nov. 29, 2011: UC Riverside is reporting that campus cash registers at food services locations were compromised by a cyberhacker. Although the problem was discovered and repaired last week, hackers may have gained access to 5,000 individual card numbers. (link)

Nov. 17, 2011: The Georgia Institute of Technology has stripped, at least for now, more than 10 years of class work from its collaborative-learning Web sites, known as Swikis. Following a student's complaint to the university that his name was listed on the Web site of a public course, Georgia Tech officials decided on Monday to remove all Swikis other than ones from the current semester, said Mark Guzdial, a professor in the School of Interactive Computing, who is a co-creator of the Swikis. (link)

Nov. 15, 2011: Virginia Commonwealth University has put together a video laying out the details of a potential security vulnerability that struck the campus last month to inform those who may have been affected during the data breach. The breach involved nearly 176,567 current and former students, staff, and faculty members, according to the university's Technology Services organization. (link)

Nov. 14, 2011: After a Santa Clara University undergraduate tweeted that he had unexpectedly been questioned by FBI agents, the school itself acknowledged that it has asked the feds to investigate how an intruder electronically altered a few dozen grades. (link)

Nov. 13, 2011: Private information on the more than 19,000 students enrolled at UTPA was available online for two months due to human error, according to an email sent today from the Office of Information Security. (link)

Nov. 11, 2011: A security incident has resulted in unauthorized access to a Virginia Commonwealth University computer server containing files with personal information on current and former VCU and VCU Health System faculty, staff, students and affiliates. (link)

Nov. 4, 2011: Comments on SIUC's Facebook page have been disabled after a flurry of activity on its wall Wednesday, leaving some students wondering about the freedom of their speech. ''It's really insulting,'' said Monica Brennan, a junior from St. Charles studying hospitality and tourism. (link)


Misappropriation/Fraud/Ethics Events

Nov. 30, 2011: The former business manager of the University of Louisville athletic ticket office was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury Monday on a charge of stealing $100,406 from the U of L Athletic Association. (link)

Nov. 22, 2011: An undercover investigation by the Government Accountability Office has found evidence of lax academic standards in some online for-profit programs. The probe, which is described in a report made public Tuesday, found that staff at six of the 12 colleges that enrolled the investigators tolerated plagiarism or awarded credit for incomplete or shoddy work. (link)

Nov. 22, 2011: At least 20 current or former high school students from an affluent New York suburb of high achievers have been charged in a widening college entrance exam cheating scandal that has raised questions not only about test security but about the pressures to score well. (link)

Nov. 10, 2011: A major money bust at Antelope Valley College: A former worker in the school's accounting office has been charged with embezzling $500,000. Much of that money was raised by student organizations (link)

Nov. 10, 2011: A former pharmacy technician at The Ohio State University Medical Center pleaded guilty to lesser charges after she was charged with felony drug possession. Police said that Gruenler Hay waited until after hours to access hospital pharmacies and take drugs meant for patients. (link)

Nov. 9, 2011: The Citadel has denied a Freedom of Information request for details of a 2007 complaint against accused molester Louis ''Skip'' ReVille, saying law enforcement has asked the school to stay quiet about the incident. But Mount Pleasant police Capt. Stan Gragg said his department didn't tell The Citadel to sit on the information. ''We can't,'' he said. ''We have no jurisdiction over them.'' (link)

Nov. 9, 2011: A George Washington University medical school professor has resigned after students complained that she never taught a required class and assigned all her students an ''A'' grade. Students who will get their money back, but they'll still get to keep the academic credit, an administrator reported on Wednesday.(link)

Nov. 8, 2011: Iona College recently completed an internal investigation by outside legal counsel, with assistance from an independent auditing firm, into irregularities in student performance data reported to external agencies. The audit confirmed that inaccurate data-related to incoming freshman acceptance rates, SAT scores, graduation rates, and alumni who give annually-was reported to external agencies. Reported SAT scores for incoming freshmen were overstated on average 6.5% over actual scores. (link)

Nov. 8, 2011: A Catholic nun with a gambling habit was sentenced on Tuesday to community service and repayment of less than half of the $850,000 she embezzled from Iona College, where she worked as vice president of finance. (link)

Nov. 7, 2011: The University of Illinois today issued a final report upon the conclusion of its investigation into inaccurate class profile data shared by the College of Law. The report concluded that the intentional inaccuracies were limited to six of the 10 years reviewed, that a single individual was solely responsible for these inaccuracies, and that the college lacked adequate controls to prevent, deter and detect such actions (link)

Nov. 3, 2011: It's now known that Diederik Stapel, the Dutch social psychologist who was suspended by Tilburg University in September, faked dozens of studies and managed not to get caught for years despite his outrageous fabrications. But how, exactly, did he do it? (link)


Compliance/Regulatory Events

Nov. 30, 2011: A employee at Virginia Commonwealth University was found guilty Tuesday of a sex-based crime involving a minor. (link)

Nov. 29, 2011: Two dozen protesters sued UC Berkeley leaders Tuesday over police beatings during Nov. 9 Occupy Cal demonstrations. (link)

Nov. 28, 2011: A prominent University of Georgia researcher must schedule visits to his own office and can no longer make personnel decisions affecting members of his research team after he was found in violation of UGA's harassment policy. (link)

Nov. 28, 2011: A professor at the University of Utah pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he viewed child pornography on his laptop during a flight from Salt Lake City to Boston. Prosecutors say his laptop was purchased with grant money. (link)

Nov. 28, 2011: Bernie Fine was fired Sunday by Syracuse University after a 10-year-old voice recording of his wife emerged in which she acknowledges alleged sexual abuse and a third man accused the assistant basketball coach of molesting him nine years ago. (link)

Nov. 28, 2011: An attorney for a former Florida A&M University (FAMU) band director, fired amidst claims a student's death was linked to hazing, said in a letter released to the media Sunday that his client may seek legal action against the school if he is not reinstated. (link)

Nov. 25, 2011: The father of a Cornell University freshman who committed suicide by jumping from a high bridge spanning a gorge is suing the college for $180 million in damages. (link)

Nov. 23, 2011: The Mississippi state auditor's office and the state's higher-education board want to know whether the University of Southern Mississippi violated state law when it purchased 700 tablet computers last summer and gave them to students. The university paid Blackboard $432,000 for the Samsung Galaxy tablets and related services, according to the Hattiesburg American, which reported the investigation yesterday.(link)

Nov. 23, 2011: The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska and employees of UNK for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against students with disabilities. This lawsuit arose as a result of a complaint filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by a student enrolled at UNK who sought to live with an emotional assistance dog that had been prescribed. (link)

Nov. 22, 2011: The University of Oklahoma is paying $75,000 to a professor and giving him one year to find a new job after his research was suspended for violating protocols and experimenting on students. Health and exercise science professor Chad Kerksick's tenure-track position was not renewed and was placed on a leave of absence after students accused him of unethical research practices, according to documents obtained by The Daily. (link)

Nov. 20, 2011: Protesters sitting on the ground supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement on the campus of the University of California, Davis took a face full of pepper spray at close range from an officer in riot gear in an incident that was captured on cellphone video and spread virally across the Internet Saturday. (link)

Nov. 16, 2011: As student protests inspired by Occupy Wall Street have expanded rapidly in recent weeks, Berkeley and some other public universities have struggled to devise an effective response. All protests require colleges to maintain a difficult balance between encouraging free speech, keeping the campus safe, and managing public perception. But some colleges' responses to attempts by protesters to set up permanent encampments have been particularly fraught with difficulties. (link)

Nov. 14, 2011: UC Davis scientists conducted experiments from the 1950s to the 1980s to study the possible effects of radiation from nuclear fallout. Today, UC Davis faces the prospect of a costly and prolonged cleanup at the federal Superfund site -- a remnant of Cold War America and a legacy of the university's past. (link)

Nov. 11, 2011: Point Park University has agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it improperly administered federal student aid, a school spokeswoman said Thursday. (link)

Nov. 11, 2011: The U.S. Department of Education confirmed Thursday that it is reviewing how Marquette University handled two separate cases of alleged sexual assault involving athletes last February and in October 2010. The review falls under the federal Clery Act. That is the same act that prompted federal authorities to launch an investigation of the alleged sexual abuse scandal involving a former Penn State University football coach that has prompted the firings of head football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier. (link)

Nov. 10, 2011: The Student Press Law Center, a nonprofit advocate for the First Amendment rights of the student media, joined College Broadcasters, Inc., in urging the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday to strike down the Federal Communications Commission's policy of fining broadcasters for ''fleeting expletives,'' saying that the policy is forcing student broadcasters to censor themselves unnecessarily. (link)

Nov. 8, 2011: The child sex-assault scandal at Pennsylvania State University brings with it a mix of crises that seldom hit an institution all at once. Each new element of the story, which has played out since sex-abuse charges were filed against a former Penn State football coach on Friday, raises broader questions about the moral responsibilities of administrators, the legal risks of granting former employees continued access to a campus, and the challenges of repairing the image of an institution that has been dealt a hefty public-relations blow. (link) The Chronicle of Higher Education has a page devoted to coverage of the Penn State scandal (link)

Nov. 3, 2011: The Ivy Tech Community College instructor who died Wednesday after falling from a training tower was wearing a safety harness. Craig Porter, 37, was in the midst of teaching a student about safety and climbing when for an unknown reason he fell from about 65 feet to the ground on the Lafayette campus. (link)

Nov. 3, 2011: Many colleges and universities blatantly ignore a federal requirement to disclose Pell Grant students' graduation rates, and many institutions loosely follow other disclosure laws, giving prospective students confusing and often meaningless information. (link)

Nov. 2, 2011: Larry Barton, a professor of risk management at American College in Pennsylvania, said University of Idaho officials should have overruled Katy Benoit when she asked them not to report her allegation that her professor and former romantic partner Ernesto Bustamante threatened her with a gun three times. (link)


Other News & Events

Nov. 29, 2011: College football's win-now-or-else manner of doing business appears to be gaining steam as the 2011 regular season reaches its conclusion. Three coaches fired after last weekend's games had been on the job two years, a development that leaves some observers wondering about fairness and finances. (link)

Nov. 21, 2011: The Congressional supercommittee charged with cutting $1.2-trillion from the federal budget conceded defeat Monday, after its members reached an impasse over taxes and entitlement spending. The panel's failure to produce a deficit-reduction plan triggers across-the-board cuts of roughly $1-trillion in discretionary spending over nine years, starting in the 2013 fiscal year. Unless Congress finds a way around the process, the Education Department's budget will be slashed by $3.54-billion in 2013, according to the Committee for Education Funding, an advocacy group. (link)

Nov. 21, 2011: The child-molestation scandal at Pennsylvania State University isn't just affecting the institution's reputation, but is scaring away donors and alumni, who are either delaying contributing to Penn State or aren't planning to give to their alma mater at all. (link)

Nov. 19, 2011: From videotaped lectures to podcasts, universities are rushing to embrace the digital revolution. Yet even as some schools invite the public to view course material online, they're starting to grapple with how to keep classroom discussions out of the wrong hands (link)

Nov. 18, 2011: Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna have died in a plane crash along with two others, just 10 months after the school commemorated the 10th anniversary of a crash that killed 10 men associated with the men's program. (link)

Nov. 16, 2011: An armed man who was shot dead by a police officer on Tuesday at the University of California at Berkeley's business school was an undergraduate student, a campus spokesman said on Wednesday. (link)

Nov. 14, 2011: A sorority at the University of Southern Mississippi has placed six of its members on probation for dressing in blackface to depict the Huxtable family from "The Cosby Show" and attending a 1980s-themed costume party last week off campus. (link)

Nov. 12, 2011: Sacramento State professor George Parrott walked out of his Psychology 101 lab class Thursday morning because his students didn't bring any snacks. Instead, he says, he went to breakfast with his teaching assistant.(link) (link)

Nov. 11, 2011: Moody's Investors Service put Pennsylvania State University "on review" for a possible downgrade of its credit rating on Friday, saying that over the next several months the rating agency will assess the potential scope of "reputational and financial" damage to the university from its child sex-abuse scandal. (link)

Nov. 10, 2011: All suicides are tragedies. But at MIT, where five undergraduates killed themselves between 1998 and 2001, the issue is especially fraught - and the tight-knit community is struggling to understand why it has suddenly lost two young students in two months.(link)

Nov. 9, 2011: A standoff at Campbell University ended peacefully Wednesday after a student who had slipped out of handcuffs and locked himself in his home surrendered to sheriff's deputies following a three-hour lockdown of the campus. (link)

Nov. 1, 2011: The '' freshman 15'' myth is a bit bloated, according to a national study led by an Ohio State University researcher. (link)


If you have any suggestions, questions or feedback, please e-mail me at robinmk@auburn.edu. We hope you find this information useful and would appreciate hearing your thoughts. Feel free to forward this email to your direct reports, colleagues, employees or others who might find it of value. Back issues of this newsletter are available on our web site at http://www.auburn.edu/audit.

If you have any suggestions for items to include in future newsletters, please e-mail Robert Gottesman at gotterw@auburn.edu.

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Department of Internal Auditing
Auburn University
304 Samford Hall
M. Kevin Robinson, Exec. Director
robinmk@auburn.edu
334.844.4389

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