“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”
-- Margaret J. Wheatley
It is hard to believe this issue marks the completion of our seventh year of publishing Case in Point. The end of the year is a good time for reflection and as I think back on these past seven years of attempting to monitor higher education risks, there are a couple items that particularly stand out.
First, social media has dramatically changed our world. While social media was around seven years ago, it has a much more substantial impact today than when we began this publication in 2006. Pew Research Center states that in 2005 only 7% of American adults used social media, whereas today that number is a whopping 65%. Sites such as Yik Yak (2013), Snapchat (2011), and Instagram (2010) did not exist when we began publishing Case in Point. These new social media platforms (and others like them) bring both individual and institutional risks that we must consider as we navigate risk in higher education.
News stories are now frequently broken by Twitter users rather than traditional media outlets. Bloggers and message boards are even sometimes cited as sources by traditional media with little accountability as to the truth of their reports. We now live in a world where everyone is a reporter. As such, the need for proactive risk management is more important than ever.
Another change that has been very impactful is the growth of the compliance burden for our industry. It is unlikely any substantial regulatory relief will occur within higher education; therefore, it is important that we assess our compliance related risks and work toward appropriate mitigation. As you will note from our departmental name change we have been formally charged with helping facilitate this process here at Auburn.
We hope you have benefitted from Case in Point during 2015 and that you have a wonderful holiday season. We once again invite you to evaluate the world of higher education risk and consider ways you may proactively help manage risk and prevent crisis.
M. Kevin Robinson, CIA, CFE
Associate Vice President
Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy
Information Security & Technology Events
Dec 07, 2015: UCHealth in northern Colorado is notifying approximately 800 patients that an employee inappropriately accessed their electronic medical record information. Letters to these patients have already been mailed, and affected patients will receive the letters over the coming days. (link)
Fraud & Ethics Related Events
Dec 16, 2015: Florida Atlantic University announced Wednesday it was taking steps to remove controversial communications Prof. James Tracy after his repeated claims that the shooting that left 26 people dead in Newtown, Conn., was a hoax. Tracy reportedly was harassing Lenny and Veronique Pozner, claiming their slain son, Noah, never existed, according to the couple. (link)
Dec 09, 2015: The University of Louisville placed two top officials on leave Wednesday - the day after The Courier-Journal reported they were under investigation by the FBI. In an email Wednesday to colleagues, President James Ramsey announced that Dr. David Dunn, executive vice president for health affairs, and Priscilla Hancock, the university's chief information officer, will be on leave effective immediately. Citing sources, the CJ reported that U of L police and the FBI are investigating whether they and a former employee, Dr. Russell Bessette, used federal money for non-university purposes. (link)
Dec 08, 2015: A Greenpeace undercover investigation has exposed how fossil fuel companies can secretly pay academics at leading American universities to write research that sows doubt about climate science and promotes the companies' commercial interests. Posing as representatives of oil and coal companies, reporters from Greenpeace UK asked academics from Princeton and Penn State to write papers promoting the benefits of CO2 and the use of coal in developing countries. The professors agreed to write the reports and said they did not need to disclose the source of the funding. (link)
Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events
Dec 16, 2015: Arkansas volleyball coach Robert Pulliza resigned from his position Wednesday a week after allegations of verbal abuse of his players. The university and athletic department received a letter from anonymous parents of players a week ago calling for Pulliza's removal. The letter alleged Pulliza engaged in "emotional abuse" and threatened physical abuse of his players. The university spent the last week investigating the allegations. (link)
Dec 14, 2015: University of Washington Medicine has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle charges stemming from a breach of data of 90,000 patients. The November 2013 breach potentially exposed the data after a UW Medicine employee downloaded a malicious email attachment, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services news release. (link)
Dec 11, 2015: The Clemson Tigers, with a 13-0 record and the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff, are perched atop the college football world. Their dream season has produced priceless exposure for the university and a multimillion-dollar playoff payout for the Atlantic Coast Conference, of which Clemson is a member.
From Our Advertisers Now, a group with strong ties to the university wants to make sure the next wave of players is paid for its efforts. And the group's members think they can do it without breaking N.C.A.A. rules. (link)
Dec 11, 2015: The city of Corvallis has filed charges against an Oregon State University fraternity following a drunken toga party last week. The local chapter of Phi Delta Theta faces 39 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors and 39 counts of hosting a party for minors, the Corvallis Gazette-Times reports. A police report says two women who attended the party were taken to a hospital because they drank too much. (link)
Dec 08, 2015: Six people have been charged in connection with the abduction of two New York college students. But the details surrounding the incident, which ended when a SWAT team stormed a home near the school, remain unclear. Rochester police announced the charges late Monday night. Lydell Strickland, 26, Dennis Perez, 23, and Leah Gigliotti, 20, all of Rochester, and Samantha Hughes, 19, of Pittsford, were charged with first-degree kidnapping. Inalia Rolldan, 19, and Ruth Lora, 19, both of Rochester, were charged with second-degree kidnapping. It was not immediately clear if they had attorneys. (link)
Dec 07, 2015: Niagara University placed its dean of students on administrative leave Monday and hired a Buffalo law firm to conduct an independent investigation of her response to a rape allegation against an unidentified member of the university's men's basketball team. The dean, Marjean C. "Carrie" McLaughlin, was called out over the weekend by third-year social work student Sarah Joslin, who late Friday posted an online petition on the change.org website, accusing McLaughlin of taking the player's side after a female student allegedly reported to her that she had been raped on campus by a basketball player. (link)
Dec 07, 2015: Steve Sarkisian sued the University of Southern California on Monday, alleging the school breached the football coach's contract and discriminated against him on the basis of a disability when it fired him this fall. Sarkisian's attorneys also alleged wrongful termination and invasion of privacy in the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Court. Sarkisian contends he is owed at least $12.6 million left on his USC contract, along with other damages for "extreme mental anguish." (link)
Dec 06, 2015: The Supreme Court revisits affirmative action in college admissions Wednesday, the latest racially focused case to go before a court that has pared back government programs intended to benefit minorities. Two years ago, the court passed up a chance to undo affirmative action at the University of Texas, instead asking a lower court to decide whether the Austin campus adequately justified classifying individual applicants by race. Now the case is back at the high court. (link)
Dec 04, 2015: For the second time this fall, a St. Louis Circuit Court jury has found that Harris-Stowe State University discriminated against an employee based on ethnicity. A jury has awarded Shereen Abdel Kader, a former professor in Harris-Stowe's College of Education, $2.5 million over complaints that the school didn't renew her contract because of her national origin. Kader is a Caucasian of Egyptian origin and an Arab Muslim. (link)
Dec 01, 2015: A New Jersey woman has been charged with making fake threats against black students at Kean University last month.Kayla-Simone McKelvey, 24, of Union Township faces one count of creating a false public alarm. The Union County prosecutor's office says McKelvey participated in a Nov. 17 rally on racial issues at Kean and then went to a computer station in a campus library and posted anonymous threats on Twitter against black students. (link)
Nov 30, 2015: A 21-year-old college student has been arrested for threatening to "execute aproximately (sic) 16 white male students and or staff" at the University of Chicago, and then "any number of white policemen," to avenge the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. (link)
Nov 30, 2015: Western Washington University Police have arrested a student in connection with a threat posted on the online social media platform Yik Yak. The arrest comes less than a week after WWU President Bruce Shepard canceled classes for one day due to racially charged social media posts and threats. (link)
Campus Life & Safety Events
Dec 16, 2015: Airbnb has more than 2 million listings, including 1,400 castles. At least a handful of them are rooms listed inside of student housing. Renting out a dorm bed is unlikely to produce a windfall of cash, but with tuition costs having risen by 46% between 2001 and 2012, it's understandable that some students are looking for extra income. According to his campus's website, Eduardo's tiny twin bed in his tiny square room costs him almost $9,000 per school year. (link)
Dec 14, 2015: A 19-year-old student was assaulted and robbed as a gun was pointed at his head north of Dinkytown late at night by three men in what is the third recent armed holdup of University of Minnesota students in recent weeks. Police said no arrests have been made, and they are looking into whether the crimes are related. (link)
Dec 11, 2015: Portland State University students protesting the school's stance on racial issues shouted down trustees Thursday, prompting them to reconvene by phone as demonstrators occupied their meeting room. Some of the approximately 50 activists welcomed a statement Wednesday by Portland State President Wim Wiewel that the university would create new campus gathering places and staff support for Asian and Pacific Islander students and for African Americans. (link)
Dec 10, 2015: An armed man who triggered a lockdown when he drove onto the campus of Arkansas State University with propane tanks was arrested, police and local media reported Thursday. The man had a shotgun strapped to his back and propane tanks "ready to blow," police told The Jonesboro Sun. Officers surrounded him within 30 minutes. (link)
Dec 10, 2015: After University of Texas officials said a gun rights demonstration planned for this weekend could be considered criminal trespass, the organizers said the demonstration would likely be staged on Guadalupe Street, adjacent to campus. "We will move forward with the event on the adjacent public land using UT as the backdrop," said Murdoch Pizgatti, a founder of the gun rights groups Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com. (link)
Dec 10, 2015: In the wake of a series of mass shootings around the country, one university is beefing up security by arming campus police with semi-automatic rifles. Northeastern University, in the heart of Boston, has announced a controversial plan to arm campus officers, despite opposition from city law enforcement officials. The rifles will be deployed in campus police vehicles during high-level threats, the university said. (link)
Dec 08, 2015: The University of Tennessee removed a Web post about "inclusive holiday celebrations" Tuesday after it had drawn the ire of state lawmakers and the Tennessee Republican Party, which accused the college of trying to "eliminate Christianity" from campus parties. The post, which came from the Knoxville campus' Office of Diversity and Inclusion, included several recommendations to "ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise," including the suggestion not to participate in "Secret Santa" or "Dreidel" at holiday parties. (link)
Dec 08, 2015: Students at Lebanon Valley College in Annville have called on administrators to make policy changes that benefit "marginalized groups" on campus, including minorities, the disabled, gay and transgender. They have also demanded administrators rename "Lynch Memorial Hall," citing the word's racial connotations, by either removing it or adding the first name of the former college president for whom it is named. (link)
Dec 06, 2015: University of Houston President Renu Khator said Sunday she was "very shocked, disappointed and literally outraged" by the actions of security workers after Saturday's American Athletic Conference championship game at TDECU Stadium. Several videos posted on social media sites show security personnel with Contemporary Services Corp., which provides security services for UH athletics, punching and tackling fans as they ran onto the field to celebrate the Cougars' 24-13 victory over Temple. (link)
Dec 03, 2015: Sports fans soon may feel a bit like airline travelers at University of Arizona home sporting events. Clear plastic bags are the new mode of carry for fans entering UA athletic venues, a change officials say is required for public safety in light of "recent international events." (link)
Other News & Events
Dec 09, 2015: When it comes to graduation rates, some colleges are finding that small campaigns can lead to big improvements. Only 59 percent of the students who enrolled at a four-year institution in 2007 graduated with a degree by 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Education's national six-year graduation rate. There are many reasons why the remaining 41 percent didn't. A sliver of that population, however, is being held back by much less insurmountable problems, such as a small financial hold or a single missing course. A handful of colleges making an effort to solve one particular problem -- getting students who are eligible to but for some reason don't apply for graduation -- are seeing a measurable jump in their graduation rates. (link)
Dec 07, 2015: The president of the University of Maryland is recommending that Byrd Stadium be renamed, saying the segregationist legacy of the long-honored alumnus and former college leader does not align with the university's mission. Wallace Loh announced to the U-Md. campus community Monday afternoon that he believes the new name should be Maryland Stadium. (link)
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