This Is Auburn Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy
Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager

This month we continue our review of last year's stories with a focus on the Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Category. As we have stated in prior years, this is a category that has grown substantially over the past five plus years. While there are periodic discussions about reducing the regulatory burden on higher education, few reductions actually materialize.

This is a difficult category to assess due to the wide range of issues we see each month and the multiple regulatory issues often present in a single story. From our assessment, here are the top six most frequent topics in 2019:

  1. Title IX
  2. Discrimination Litigation (age, sex, race, and others)
  3. Sexual Assault/Violence on Campus (Non-Title IX litigation)
  4. Employment Litigation
  5. NCAA Compliance
  6. Academic Related Litigation (regarding discipline, admissions, plagiarism, and others)

After looking at the 2019 stories, we think that these hot topics will continue to make headlines in higher education:

  1. Title IX - Changes announced by the Department of Education go into effect August 14, 2020, as of this writing. This is a quick timeline for change in the compliance world. Title IX will certainly draw a major amount of attention and resources across higher education in the coming year.
  2. NCAA Student Athlete Rights - Discussions regarding the use of name, likeness, and image (NIL) and other rights of student athletes will continue. How will compliance look in this new world? This will be an ongoing challenge in college athletics.
  3. Mistreatment/Bullying/Feeling Issues - The world seems to have changed dramatically during 2020, and we noticed several stories regarding the issues mentioned here. Students are open to voicing concerns more than ever on campuses, and administrators will have address these concerns head on in the age of social media. The ubiquity of social media has raised the stakes for higher education institutions.
  4. Foreign Influences on Higher Education - This issue has been at the forefront recently, and is worth our attention in 2020 and beyond. Foreign influences, actual or perceived, will affect both research and enrollment, particularly at research institutions.
  5. Open Records Litigation - The demand for transparency will likely grow in the coming years. We noted more stories involving open records requests than we can recall in previous years. If we had to guess, the expectation of transparency is here to stay.

Many other topics could emerge as serious issues, so pay close attention to this category each month. We again invite you to consider the wide range of other risks facing higher education with a view toward proactive risk management. As always, we welcome your comments or suggestions.

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Last Updated: January 22, 2020