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Internal Auditing

Case in Point:
Lessons for the pro-active manager

April 2012
Vol. 4 No. 4
Quotable...
''Contemplating any business act, an employee should ask whether he/she would be willing to see it immediately described by an informed and critical reporter on the front page of the local paper, there to be read by his/her spouse, children, and friends''

-- Warren E. Buffet

There has been substantial media attention focused on the spending of the General Services Administration (GSA) in the past few weeks with scandalous photos and video clips surfacing on the internet and network news programs. From trips with little apparent business purpose to extravagant conferences, there is growing pressure for Congressional intervention into how the GSA spends its budget. While this specific scandal involves a federal agency, it does serve as a reminder for all of us entrusted with public funds that how we use those funds matters to the taxpayers and public.

Fiduciary responsibility is one of the most important obligations we are entrusted with as an institution. Public scrutiny is at an all-time high and events like the GSA scandal will no doubt raise the bar of scrutiny from our own constituents and the media. Ensuring we are spending funds in a way that passes the test from an appearance standpoint has never been more important. Budgets are tight and most likely will be for the foreseeable future.

Thinking about the purpose and ethics of how we spend our money is certainly a valuable use of time. We again suggest you review the events happening across our industry and consider the unique risks facing your area of responsibility.

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


Information Security & Technology Events

Apr. 30, 2012: For 15 days in late 2009, Internet users in 36 countries, including China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan, viewed sensitive information about U.S. weapons technology that was supposed to be for American eyes only. (link)

Apr. 30, 2012: About 14,000 students, former students and faculty at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin had personal information placed on a web server that was not secure. The files placed on the web included names and Social Security numbers. (link)

Apr. 26, 2012: A security breach at the College at Brockport has forced campus officials to ban the use of debit or credit cards at dining halls, but has the damage already been done? Students are on edge after campus officials send out an alert warning of potential hackers. Since the discovery, officials are now implementing rules to protect others from credit card fraud, but that isn't easing any fears on campus. (link)

Apr. 24, 2012: In a challenge to the prevailing belief that Apple computers are immune to the sort of cyberattacks that plague Windows-based machines, research firm Sophos has released a study claiming that one in five Macs have malware. The study found that 20% of Macs were carrying one or more instances of Windows malware.(link)

Apr. 21, 2012: A Columbia University Information Technology programmer inadvertently and erroneously saved a file on a University web server that could be accessed from outside Columbia. Unfortunately, that file contained personal information of some individuals who received direct deposit reimbursement from Columbia. (link)

Apr. 21, 2012: The FBI is warning that hundreds of thousands of people could lose their Internet connections come July, unless they take steps to diagnose and disinfect their computers. (link)

Apr. 17, 2012: An email sent Thursday evening by the Virginia Military Institute administration to the president of the school's graduating class included something it should not have -- a spreadsheet revealing the grade point averages of every member of the school's senior class.(link)

Apr. 13, 2012: Case Western Reserve University officials have told 600 alumni that a thief could have their Social Security numbers after two laptop computers were stolen two months ago. (link)

Apr. 12, 2012: Housatonic Community College says a security breach has exposed about 87,000 records of confidential faculty, staff and student data to potential misuse. (link)

Apr. 11, 2012: A data breach discovered in mid-March at the University of Tampa has pushed the Florida institution to enlist credit reporting agency Experian to monitor the credit records of those affected. The breach encompassed 6,818 students who were enrolled for the fall 2011 semester by July 12, 2011.(link)

Apr. 9, 2012: Mac users can no longer be blithely indifferent about the risks of viruses and cyber attacks, warn computer security experts. A widespread virus called Flashback or Flashfake has hit hundreds of thousands of Apple computers worldwide -- including an estimated 100,000 in Canada -- and is widely considered to be just the first of many malicious attacks that will continue to ensnare Mac users. (link)

Apr. 4, 2012: There are data breaches, and then there are data dummies. The people at Baylor Law seem to be in the latter category. Nobody was trying to steal the personal information of the admitted students at Baylor Law. But a screw-up by someone at the school resulted in all of the personal information of the admitted class getting transmitted to everybody else in the admitted class. (link)

Apr. 3, 2012: The University of Ottawa is considering a proposal which would give its professors the power to ban laptops and other electronic devices in the classroom. Professors say everything from texting to time on Facebook is allowing their students to do everything but learn. (link)


Fraud & Ethics Related Events

Apr. 27, 2012: The vice dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania resigned Thursday, one day after he was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into his false claim to have a doctoral degree. (link)

Apr. 26, 2012: An educator who has taught about fraud was fired Wednesday as an instructor with the Minnesota School of Business after being sentenced to prison for concocting a scheme through his previous job in the mortgage industry that cost banks millions of dollars. (link)

Apr. 18, 2012: An investigation has found that Claremont McKenna College's former vice president for admission and financial aid acted alone in exaggerating freshmen SAT scores and other statistics, which boosted the school's national rankings, according to a report released Tuesday. The probe, conducted by the O'Melveny & Myers law firm for the college, reported that no individual student's record was altered -- only aggregate scores and other data were changed. It also showed that not only were test scores manipulated, as was previously announced, but that class ranking statistics and other information also appeared to have been altered in ways to make the college look better than it was. (link)

Apr. 13, 2012: Former Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino tried to sidestep University of Arkansas guidelines to quickly hire his mistress, Jessica Dorrell, as the team's player development coordinator, according to documents obtained by SI.com. The documents show that Petrino sought a waiver to circumvent a university affirmative action policy requiring that the job be posted for at least 30 days before interviews could commence. Dorrell's first interview was scheduled even before the waiver was granted by the university's Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance. (link)

Apr. 10, 2012: A University of Oregon janitor arrested Monday is accused of stealing more than $10,000 of video games, iPads and other electronics from campus buildings since 2009, authorities said. (link)

Apr. 6, 2012: A former instructor at The Evergreen State College who owes the state a $119,578 penalty for ethical violations is nowhere to be found, according to the state Attorney General's Office. Gilbert retired from his faculty position in 2009 after the college auditor reported that Gilbert had not accounted for at least $50,000 in student payments he had accepted between 2003 and 2008 for a study-abroad program to Chile. (link)

Apr. 5, 2012: The University of Wisconin School of Medicine disciplined 20 doctors, including fining 11 faculty members up to $4,000, for handing out sick notes to demonstrators at last year's labor protests, newly released records show. (link)

Apr. 1, 2012: In the past three years, cash-strapped California State University has paid $9 million to settle and defend seven cases of retaliation against campus whistle-blowers. (link)


Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events

Apr. 30, 2012: An arrest has been made in last week's attack on a Tennessee State University police officer knocked unconscious from a hit from behind while working a fraternity and sorority event on campus. (link)

Apr. 23, 2012: UW-Madison has agreed to change the wording on a scholarship letter after at least one student complained that it led her to believe she would receive thousands of dollars more than she did. (link)

Apr. 23, 2012: A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision -- which opens the door for university students to seek a legal remedy if the post-secondary institutions don't provide appropriate resources -- highlights the economic crunch many Canadian universities are facing, according to the Canadian Federation of Students. (link)

Apr. 23, 2012: After several months of discussion about how Vanderbilt University's nondiscrimination policy might affect groups applying to be registered student organizations for the 2012-13 academic year, the registration process ended earlier this week. More than 400 student groups have agreed to comply with the nondiscrimination policy and will be recognized as registered student organizations. (link)

Apr. 21, 2012: A closed- door encounter between two college acquaintances. Both have been drinking. One says she was raped; the other insists it was consensual. There are no other witnesses. It's a common scenario in college sexual assault cases, and a potential nightmare to resolve. But under the 40-year-old federal gender equity law Title IX -- and guidance handed down last year by the Obama administration on how to apply it -- colleges can't just turn such cases over to criminal prosecutors, who often won't touch them anyway. Instead, they must investigate, and in campus proceedings do their best to balance the accused's due process rights with the civil right of the victim to a safe education. (link)

Apr. 21, 2012: The University of Texas has agreed to pay a law firm nearly $1 million to defend its undergraduate admissions program before the U.S. Supreme Court. (link)

Apr. 23, 2012: Typically, colleges enjoy wide leeway in responding to student misconduct, whether that means using a disciplinary board to enforce their own rules or simply punting the matter to law enforcement. But as Title IX is now interpreted - and would be reinforced under a new version of the Violence Against Women Act awaiting a Senate vote - colleges must respond if a sexual assault is reported, even if prosecutors refuse to get involved. Moreover, they face often precise instructions from the government for conducting their investigations and proceedings, and even the standard of proof to use. (link)

Apr. 19, 2012: A recent review by the state auditor's office found significant deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting at the University of Iowa with respect to donated land and liability for the school's early retirement programs. (link)

Apr. 17, 2012: Boulder leaders expressed concerns Tuesday night about the University of Colorado's plans to close the campus and ticket non-students for trespassing in an effort to shut down the 4/20 marijuana smoke-out, but they still adopted a resolution in support of the school. (link)

Apr. 11, 2012: The pepper spraying of student protesters at the University of California at Davis in November, an incident that provoked international outrage, constituted an unjustifiable use of force in an operation that was bungled by failures of leadership and communication at nearly every level, an investigative report issued on Wednesday asserts. (link) Apr. 18, 2012: Annette M. Spicuzza, the embattled UC Davis police chief who came under fire in last week's report on what led to the Nov. 18 pepper spray incident on campus, has decided to retire, according to an email statement received by The Bee today. (link)

Apr. 10, 2012: After recommendations from its commissioned investigation into the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State announced Monday the hiring of a compliance coordinator to oversee mandatory crime reporting. (link)

Apr. 10, 2012: As students described it, Redstone Lofts was not just a residence hall under construction. It was also a place to hold drinking parties. That was the picture that emerged in court papers filed Tuesday upon the arraignment of three University of Vermont sophomores accused of breaking into Redstone Lofts last week. An early-morning vandalism spree April 3 caused an estimated $50,000 damage to the building. (link)

Apr. 8, 2012: ''We have intelligence and cases indicating that U.S. universities are indeed a target of foreign intelligence services,'' Frank Figliuzzi, Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director for counterintelligence, said in a February interview in the bureau's Washington headquarters. (link)

Apr. 6, 2012: Chicago State University on Friday announced the withdrawal of a controversial policy that required faculty and staff members to get official approval for interviews with journalists and communications on social media. (link)

Apr. 4, 2012: A federal audit has found that Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a small Roman Catholic institution in Indiana, improperly received $42-million in Title IV student-aid funds from 2005 to 2010, and should return all of it. (link)

Apr. 4, 2012: The parents of the Florida A&M University drum major who died during a hazing incident are pleading with Florida authorities to either charge someone or close the case. (link)

Apr. 4, 2012: Mountain State University, its former president and the board of trustees are being sued by twelve nursing students for fraud and breach of contract. (link)

Apr. 2, 2012: A former University of Louisville nursing student who was dismissed for writing comments about patients on her MySpace page cannot collect damages as a result of being expelled, because she waived her free-speech rights when she signed an honor code that included a confidentiality agreement, a federal judge ruled Monday. (link)

Apr. 2, 2012: A student is suing a Michigan university for the right to keep a guinea pig on campus for emotional support. (link)

Mar. 30, 2012: An administrative judge for the U.S. Department of Education, issued a decision late Thursday that vindicated Virginia Tech, overturning the agency's findings in 2010 against the university. In December of that year, the department determined that Virginia Tech had violated the federal campus-crime-reporting law known as the Clery Act for not sending an earlier, clearer warning of the first fatal shootings--and for not following its own policy for issuing such warnings.(link)

Mar. 30, 2012: University athletic administrators face a tricky situation when it comes to their players' activity on social media, balancing issues of privacy while trying to guard against the possibility that an errant posting on Twitter or Facebook could result in trouble for an athlete or the athletic department. (link)

 


Campus Life & Safety Events

Apr. 30, 2012: The armed robbery that resulted in a five-hour lockdown Sunday at the University of South Alabama stemmed from a student's attempt to buy marijuana from two men, USA Police Chief Zeke Aull said today. (link)

Apr. 25, 2012: Drinking and drug use on or near college campuses affect the safety of the students who partake of alcohol and drugs as well as those with whom they interact, a student panel said. (link)

Apr. 24, 2012: An Arkansas Tech student was hospitalized after being injured in an alleged hazing incident. (link)

Apr. 24, 2012: A Murray State University student charged with alleged possession of bomb-making materials in his dorm room pleaded guilty to amended charges Monday morning in Calloway Circuit Court. (link)

Apr. 23, 2012: A block party Saturday night near Kent State University resulted in 33 arrests after police from several departments were called to break up a crowd that threw bricks at bottles at officers and others, according to Kent city police. (link)

Apr. 21, 2012: A senior at a Roman Catholic college in Massachusetts who has written letters of support to a Norwegian mass murder suspect will not be on campus ''for the foreseeable future,'' according to school officials. (link)

Apr. 18, 2012: A dormitory for female students at Alabama A&M University has been without hot water for almost seven weeks, and the same students endured the warmest March in more than 100 years without air conditioning. (link)

Apr. 17, 2012: College students who get significant financial support from parents might graduate faster, but they party more, work less and have a weaker vision of their future than their less-subsidized peers.(link)

Apr. 16, 2012: St. Louis Community College is dealing with the aftermath of a massive brawl -- filmed and spread online -- that not only disturbed those who saw it but led to an outpouring of racial comments on various websites. (link)

Apr. 16, 2012: Five years ago today, Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people, including himself, and wounded 25 more at Virginia Tech, shocking the nation and spurring colleges to re-evaluate their safety procedures and mental health programs. It was the deadliest shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history, let alone on a college campus. One of the most notable trends to emerge in the shooting's aftermath is that of Behavioral Intervention Teams. (link)

Apr. 16, 2012: More than half of 15 residence assistants and one Resource Center assistant in Hayden residence hall at New York University were terminated last Thursday as a result of a violation of contract. A Hayden RA, who was uninvolved in the incident and commented on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the RAs in question had been present at a "party" a few weeks ago. Alcohol and underage students were present. (link)

Apr. 11, 2012: Police sought criminal complaints Tuesday against 14 suspects accused of beating and binding five Boston University students and then covering them in hot sauce and honey as part of a fraternity hazing scheme. (link)

Apr. 11, 2012: Police at Northwest Vista College say a student was kidnapped and robbed at knifepoint while walking to his car Tuesday afternoon. (link)

Apr. 10, 2012: Dozens of bomb threats at the University of Pittsburgh since mid-February have disrupted classes and dormitory life and prompted some students to find housing off campus just weeks before the semester ends. (link) Update: Apr. 14, 2012: Bomb threats have spread to other schools in the Pittsburgh area, leading officials at the Community College of Allegheny County to put in new security measures, reports The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Threats were also received at The Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind in Pittsburgh, Point Park University and California University of Pennsylvania. (link) Update: Apr. 23, 2012: After months of bomb threats at the University of Pittsburgh, an anonymous group that calls itself the Threateners has claimed responsibility for the most recent e-mail threats and announced to the school's student-run newspaper that it will stop sending them. (link)

Apr. 7, 2012: Santa Monica College reversed course Friday, canceling a two-tier fee program that had sparked student protests, opposition from the state's community colleges chancellor and national debate about the mission of public institutions.(link)

Apr. 4, 2012: Huntsville Fire & Rescue Chief Mike Sublett says he believes an incident a week ago when Alabama A&M University students threw water balloons and used water guns on firefighters answering a false alarm was probably a prank that got out of hand. (link)

Apr. 4, 2012: The University of Maine has levied a five-year suspension against Sigma Nu fraternity after repeated violations of the student conduct code, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Robert Dana announced Wednesday afternoon. Dana said the fraternity's most recent violation involved underage drinking and occurred March 18 at the fraternity house on Munson Road. (link)

Apr. 4, 2012: Prosecutors on Tuesday filed seven additional charges against the teen who police say threatened to go on a shooting rampage at the University of Maryland, College Park last month. (link)

Apr. 4, 2012: The dozens of student protesters who were pepper-sprayed by police at a California community college weren't just angry about not getting into a meeting of school trustees. They were fuming about a new Santa Monica College plan that would let students who did not get into a needed, high-demand course take the class anyway, but only if they paid hundreds of dollars more. (link)

Apr. 3, 2012: Authorities say that within one hour Monday, a 43-year-old former student named One L. Goh walked into Oikos University in Oakland, California and began a shooting rampage that left seven people dead and three wounded, trapping some in the building and forcing others to flee for their lives. (link)



Other News & Events

Apr. 26, 2012: It is a tiny school, with an enrollment the size of a modest elementary school. There is no campus, just a small office building. Its 400 part-time students are invisible here, attending classes at off-site facilities across the country. Yet the National Graduate School of Quality Management awarded its president, Robert J. Gee, $732,891 in compensation two years ago. (link)

Apr. 22, 2012: The University of Montevallo argues that a study that ranked them near the bottom of the return students receive on their education investments is flawed. (link)

Apr. 18, 2012: With prospective students on campus last week for tours of Christopher Newport University, a story in the student newspaper about a suspected meth lab in a residence hall wasn't the sort of publicity some administrators wanted. So they ordered the removal of The Captain's Log, which had a front-page story last Wednesday recounting the evacuation of Wilson Hall on March 30. (link)

Apr. 16, 2012: A decades-old scholarship fund that redistributes tuition money collected from all public university students is for the first time drawing scrutiny from outraged legislators. The University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa have responded to sharp questioning from Republican lawmakers with a pledge to disclose that about 20 percent of every student's tuition bill pays for scholarships based on need and academics. (link)

Apr. 3, 2012: While state spending on higher education increased by $10.5 billion in absolute terms from 1990 to 2010, in relative terms, state funding for higher education declined. Real funding per public full-time equivalent student dropped by 26.1 percent from 1990-1991 to 2009-2010. (link)

Mar. 30, 2012: In a prepared statement released this morning, Alabama A&M University President Andrew Hugine distanced the school from the April 10 visit to campus by Minister Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam. (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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