|“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
-- Theodore Roosevelt
This month we look back at 2012 and consider the events that occurred most regularly in higher education (at least as we noted in this publication). We should note that this is not a scientific study nor do we believe we have reported everything that happened in our industry. However, we do believe we capture a good slice of the current events and occurrences each month in Case-in-Point. Part of proactively managing risk involves noticing emerging issues and trends, but also not losing sight of the ''common'' things that can happen in your area of responsibility.
By category here are our most common events:
Information Security & Technology
Fraud & Ethics Related Events
- Data Breach or Hack (from outside the organization)
- Accidental Data Disclosure (from an employee)
- Theft of a Device (laptop or smartphone)
Compliance and Legal Events
- Occupational Fraud
- Academic Fraud
- Conflicts of Interest
- Sexual Harassment/Assault Related Issues
- Free Speech Issues
- Discrimination Issues
- (Note: more than 70 other issues were noted in this category due to the vast number of compliance and legal pitfalls. Items ranged from NCAA issues to wrongful death suits.)
Campus Life and Safety Issues
- Violence and Crime Issues
- Student Health Issues (from bed bugs to viral outbreaks)
While the items listed above were the most common we saw in our categories, there are other less frequent items that may be emerging. Next month we will discuss what might be some emerging issues we noted in our analysis. In any case it's a good idea to think about what could be high risks for your area and think proactively in preventing problems.
On a side note, we began this publication in January 2009 sending Case-in-Point to 77 employees at Auburn University. As of January 2013 this edition will go out to 592 individuals in 29 different states and also Canada. Many of our subscribers distribute Case-in-Point to others at their institution and it is our hope this helps promote proactive risk management in higher education. We hope you find the information helpful and we always welcome your comments and suggestions.
M. Kevin Robinson, CIA, CFE, CCEP
Executive Director, Internal Auditing
Information Security & Technology Events
Jan 25, 2013: Officials at Cheyney University are urging students to check their credit reports after an inadvertent release of their personal data, including Social Security numbers. The university says an administrative email sent to all students on Thursday accidentally included a file with personal data including addresses and Social Security numbers of about 2,100 current and former students. (link)
Jan 20, 2013: A student has been expelled from Montreal's Dawson College after he discovered a flaw in the computer system used by most Quebec CEGEPs (General and Vocational Colleges), one which compromised the security of over 250,000 students' personal information. (link)
Jan 16, 2013: A Montclair State University student suspended for comments he made on YouTube and Facebook will get to return to class after the school's president overturned the punishment. (link)
Jan 15, 2013: The Washington University School of Medicine sent out a release yesterday that explained which patient data was affected in a data breach that occurred on Nov. 28 when a local surgeon traveling in Argentina lost a laptop containing about 1,100 patients' personal information. (link)
Jan 4, 2013: Some 3,500 people had their personal information exposed when hackers hit two servers of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The attack was discovered by UNC-Chapel Hill's information technology employees in May, yet potential victims were not informed until last week when they received letters from center director Dr. Shelley Earp. (link)
Dec. 26, 2012: The University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) recently acknowledged that approximately 4,000 patients' personal information may have been exposed when an unencrypted device was stolen from third-party vendor Omnicell.
Fraud & Ethics Related Events
Jan 17, 2013: Tulane University, which late last year acknowledged having submitted inaccurate information about its M.B.A. program to U.S. News & World Report for rankings, has now issued more information about the fabricated data. The university said that "a single business school employee falsified data and submitted it" and that the "individual is no longer at the school." The university also said that it now believes that inaccurate data were submitted for the classes that entered the program from 2007 through 2011, and that U.S. News has been provided with details on the information submitted. (link) (link)
Jan. 11, 2013: South Carolina State University made several high-level "personnel changes" Friday, reportedly including the removal of the university's chief of police and chief of staff. President Dr. George Cooper's office issued a statement saying the changes were made following an internal investigation into "certain policies and practices of the university." (link)
Jan 9, 2013: A Texas Southern University DJ has been arrested in an alleged pledge-drive scam, a local TV watchdog reporter said late Wednesday. According to a tweet from Fox 26 reporter Isiah Carey late this afternoon, KTSU radio volunteer Michael Whitfield was arrested earlier in the day and could face up to 300 counts of credit card fraud for stealing radio-station donors' pledge sheets and opening credit cards in their names. (link)
Jan 6, 2013: Bev Kearney, who has led the University of Texas women's track and field team to six national championships since arriving in 1993, told the American-Statesman on Saturday that she has chosen to resign after being placed on paid leave in November. Kearney said her decision to resign was tied to an investigation that UT officials began this past fall. At that time, university officials received information that Kearney engaged in what she called a “consensual intimate relationship” with an “adult student-athlete” that began in July of 2002. (link)
Jan 4, 2013: Instances of student-aid fraud reported Wednesday at Alabama State University could go beyond the borders of the Montgomery-based college. A spokesman for ASU confirmed today the Alabama Bureau of Investigation is probing instances of student-aid fraud at the school, and said that university officials reported the fraud to the ABI when they discovered it in January 2012. (link)
Dec. 21, 2012: A prominent Bentley University accounting professor, in the midst of an internal investigation over the retraction of a scholarly article he coauthored, has resigned. (link)
Dec. 21, 2012: No-show classes and poorly managed independent studies within UNC-Chapel Hill's African and Afro-American studies department stretch back to 1997, former Gov. Jim Martin said in a report released Thursday.
The review found 216 courses with proven or potential problems, and included up to 560 suspected unauthorized grade changes. But the report did not find that athletics were at the heart of the misconduct.
Dec. 20, 2012: He was the kind of school administrator some college students might have considered themselves lucky to encounter, someone who was willing to raise grades issued by professors when the students' marks fell short of graduation requirements. But to make those changes, the administrator, Chris Koutsoutis, forged the signatures of professors and his superiors at Baruch College. He also made up reasons for the changes, most often saying that the student had finally turned in missing work. (link)
Dec. 19, 2012: State auditors have highlighted "significant oversight concerns" about a $440,000 TV production truck bought by a Dixie State College-run TV production agency that has seen one employee charged with fraud. (link)
Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events
Jan 31, 2013: A judge found N.C. Central University Dean Ontario Wooden guilty of assault on a female after a short trial Wednesday morning in Durham County District Court. (link)
Jan 29, 2013: An anti-abortion group is suing Oklahoma State University, saying university officials refused to allow them to distribute leaflets on campus. (link)
Jan 26, 2013: An appeal submitted by Dickinson State University over a fine slapped on the institution by the U.S. Department of Education last year has been rejected. The university announced Friday that it has agreed to pay a $32,500 penalty for not completing an enrollment data survey on time. (link)
Jan 25, 2013: A former Louisiana State University faculty member has filed suit against the School of Art, saying the school's director fired her after she blew the whistle on the unlawful collection and use of student course fees. Margaret Herster, in the suit filed Tuesday, also said school director Rod Parker denied her equal pay and advancement because she is a woman. (link)
Jan 22, 2013: Syracuse University is suing its insurance carrier claiming it's owed "millions of dollars" for expenses incurred in the investigation of former associate basketball coach Bernie Fine. The insurance carrier contends SU's entire position in the dispute is based " upon a demonstrably false predicate - that the investigation by state and federal law enforcement agencies of Bernie Fine were really criminal investigations of the University." (link)
Jan 22, 2013: The Clery Act is named after Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University freshman raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986. It requires universities to disclose all sexual assaults, murders, robberies, and other crimes on and around campus. Campuses must issue alerts, publish annual reports, and maintain a daily crime log. Although Penn State remains under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for failure to follow the Clery Act, the university has upgraded training for employees, standardized reporting across campuses and departments, and increased vigilance in monitoring compliance, officials say. (link)
Jan 18, 2013: A bait bike program designed to diminish bicycle thefts has been instituted by the Tulane University Police Department. GPS tracking devices have been installed on several bikes that will be locked to bike racks -- alongside non-baited bikes -- on Tulane's Uptown and downtown campuses. (link)
Jan 16, 2013: Continually provide both hot and cold gluten-free and allergen-free options in dining hall food lines. Allow students to pre-order allergen-free meals. Provide a dedicated space in the main dining hall to store and prepare gluten-free and allergen-free foods and to avoid cross-contamination. Those are just a few of the amended policies and practices thatLesley University (Mass.) has agreed to in a settlement reached under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by public accommodations, including colleges and universities, in their full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, and facilities. (link)
Jan 15, 2013: The former media director for Syracuse University's athletic department pleaded not guilty Tuesday, Jan. 15, to charges he secretly videotaped male athletes in the locker room. Roger Springfield was arraigned in Onondaga County Court on four counts of unlawful surveillance. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court Jan. 22 for a pretrial hearing. (link)
Jan 11, 2013: Two years after one of its students died after a fraternity drinking ritual, Cornell University has withdrawn its recognition of another fraternity after a pledging episode in which prospective members were said to have been served alcohol and stripped naked. (link)
Jan 11, 2013: East Carolina University and Cisco Systems are tangled up in a court battle over which one of them has the right to turn an existential statement into a dull marketing slogan. (link)
Jan 10, 2013: The University of Wisconsin System made $15.4 million in overpayments for health insurance premiums - including $8 million for 924 employees who had been terminated - and miscalculated retirement contributions that resulted in overpayments of another $17.5 million to the state retirement system, according to a financial audit for fiscal 2011-'12 released Thursday by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau.(link)
Jan 9, 2013: The family of an Ohio State freshman who lost a leg after being run over by a dump truck in September has filed negligence lawsuits against the university and several contractors. James Daniel Hughes, a chemical-engineering major from South Point, along the Ohio River, was riding his bike to class on Sept. 5 when he was hit by a dump truck near the entrance to a construction site along Woodruff Avenue. (link)
Jan 3, 2013: An Ohio State ski trip ended in four arrests and several citations on Dec. 14, after the bus driver transporting over 200 students to Aspen smelled pot and called the police. The authorities searched the bus with K-9 units and found marijuana, LSD, psychedelic mushrooms and about $12,000 in cash. The student-run and operated Ohio State University Ski and Snowboard Club sponsored the trip, according to OSU's student paper, the Lantern. (link)
Jan 2, 2013: The board that oversees Oklahoma State University has hired an outside attorney to assist with a review of the school's response to reports of sexual assaults, education leaders announced Wednesday. (link)
Jan 1, 2013: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will sue the NCAA over the sanctions imposed on Penn State resulting from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. (link)
Dec. 28, 2012: A former Louisville player has sued the school and coach Charlie Strong and says he was coerced into covering up a beating in the locker room by a pair of teammates. Former Cardinals defensive lineman Patrick Grant of Sunrise, Fla., alleges that two teammates attacked him Oct. 24, 2010, in the locker room at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and, according to the lawsuit, beat him "so badly that he required immediate, urgent care and nearly lost his left eye." (link)
Dec. 26, 2012: Aubrey Ireland had so much going for her. A senior in the prestigious College-Conservatory of Music, she had supportive parents who wanted her to excel in her music and acting career, so much so that they paid her tuition to University of Cincinnati even though she was offered full scholarships to other schools. That relationship, though, devolved to the point where the 21-year-old senior sought and won, in an unusual court case, a stalking order against her parents. (link)
Dec. 26, 2012: A jury today found in favor of Carnegie Mellon University in a patent case with billion-dollar financial implications. The jury in U.S. District Court found that Santa Clara, Calif.-based Marvell Technology Group and Marvell Semiconductor Inc. infringed on patents built on the work of CMU professor Jose Moura and then-student Alek Kavcic. The technology they developed increased the accuracy with which hard-disk drive circuits read data from high-speed magnetic disks. (link)
Dec. 19, 2012: Moody's Investors Service just dumped a load of coal into the Christmas stockings of Illinois's public universities. The bond-rating agency announced on Tuesday that it was considering downgrading the credit rating of the eight institutions because of the state's poor fiscal situation and the universities' reliance on state funds.
Campus Life & Safety Events
Jan 30, 2013: Boston University President Robert A. Brown said Wednesday that the university and area officials must re-evaluate their safety procedures after a BU research assistant was stabbed and robbed the night before. (link)
Jan 22, 2013: A Troy University faculty art show at Heritage Hall Museum was canceled when board members deemed some of the images submitted by one of the artists to be offensive. (link)
Jan 22, 2013: With memories painfully fresh and nerves still raw after the Connecticut elementary school massacre, the nation suddenly turned its attention to a community college campus in suburban Houston on Tuesday afternoon, fearful that another violent incident was shredding any lingering notion of safety in the classroom. (link)
Jan 15, 2013: An undergraduate at all-female Salem College is asking to remain on campus after undergoing an operation in February to complete his transition to a man, a college alumnae says, and college officials are looking at whether to create a policy on transgender students. (link)
Jan 14, 2013: Much discussion about higher education assumes that the children of wealthy parents have all the advantages, and they certainly have many. But a new study reveals an area where they may be at a disadvantage. The study found that the more money (in total and as a share of total college costs) that parents provide for higher education, the lower the grades their children earn. (link)
Jan 3, 2012: Despite stated label risks of possible fatal heart attack, stroke or organ failure, college football players across the country are still being given injections of a powerful painkiller on game days so they can play while injured, an ABC News investigation has found. The drug, a generic version of Toradol, is recommended for the short-term treatment of post-operative pain in hospitals but has increasingly been used in college and professional sports, and its use is not monitored by the NCAA, the governing body of college sports. (link)
Dec. 20, 2012: At Notre Dame and Alabama, the teams that will soon compete for the national championship, players don't automatically miss games for testing positive for steroids. At Alabama, coaches have wide discretion. Notre Dame's student-athlete handbook says a player who fails a test can return to the field once the steroids are out of his system. There are schools with tough policies. The University of North Carolina kicks players off the team after a single positive test for steroids. Auburn's student-athlete handbook calls for a half-season suspension for any athlete caught using performance-enhancing drugs. (link)
Dec. 20, 2012: Carnegie Mellon University police alerted Pittsburgh police two weeks ago to watch for a man who threatened the school‘s president, fearing he could be en route to the city in a vehicle bearing Massachusetts plates. The threat against Jared Cohon prompted a 24-hour police presence near his university-owned Squirrel Hill home more than a week ago. Cohon could not be reached for comment. (link)
Dec. 19, 2012: Reported sexual assaults at the nation's three military academies jumped by 23 percent overall this year, but the data signaled a continued reluctance by victims to seek criminal investigations.
Other News & Events
Jan 8, 2013: The 2012 Survey of Online Learning reveals that the number of students taking at least one online course has now surpassed 6.7 million. Higher education adoption of Massive Open Online Courses remains low, with most institutions still on the sidelines. "The rate of growth in online enrollments remains extremely robust," said study co-author Jeff Seaman, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group. "This is somewhat surprising given that overall higher education enrollments actually declined during this period." (link)
Jan 9, 2013: The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) issued their first policy brief for this year, honing in on what higher education agendas will garner the most interest and momentum in education policy in 2013. The AASCU identified that the prevailing theme for state higher education policy will be improvement in the performance of states' public higher education systems and institutions aimed at boosting measures of college affordability, student success, and productivity. (link)
Jan 5, 2013: A Widener University dean who is also a Franciscan priest resigned in July after school officials learned he had been accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy in the 1980s. (link)
Jan 4, 2013: As universities across Alabama fight to grow enrollment in the face of reduced state funding, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education reports headcounts fell slightly last semester. Overall, enrollment in the fall of 2012 was down at nine of 14 four-year public universities tracked by ACHE, with enrollment gains at the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham offsetting much of the decline statewide. (link)
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