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Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy

Case in Point:
Lessons for the proactive manager

July 2017
Vol. 09 No. 07
“Be proactive not reactive, for an apparently insignificant issue ignored today can spawn tomorrow's catastrophe.”

-- Ken Poirot

Proactive (adjective) - serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one; anticipatory. (source: www.dictionary.com)

For over nine years we've published this newsletter at the end of each month with the intent to improve risk management at Auburn University (and throughout higher education). Specifically, we've called for you to become a proactive risk manager. For the next two months, we want to delve more into what we mean by the phrase ''proactive risk management.''

The Beginning: Objectives

We believe the first place to begin is by considering our objectives, those things we hope to help AU accomplish. In our industry, these will largely fall into broad categories of teaching, research, or outreach. Objectives come in various shapes and sizes, from those that are strategic to those that are transactional. Your specific role will determine which types of objectives you are responsible for helping AU accomplish.

  1. What is it we are trying to accomplish?
  2. What does success look like with respect to this objective?

The Next Step: Evaluation

After we consider our objectives, the second step in becoming a proactive risk manager is to evaluate what could prevent us from being successful. Sometimes risk assessment can sound complicated, but at its heart are a couple of very simple questions:

  1. What could prevent us from being successful in accomplishing our objectives?
  2. Of the things that could prevent us from being successful, which are the most likely to actually happen?

In August, we will continue our discussion with what happens next in proactive risk management. One way you can improve your risk evaluation is by looking at the stories listed below and thinking about whether similar issues could prevent success at AU. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

M. Kevin Robinson, CIA, CFE
Associate Vice President
Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy

Information Security & Technology Events

Jul 25, 2017: Information on about 2,300 patients at the University of Vermont Medical Center was accessible to hackers after two employees fell victim to a phishing scam in late May and early June, the hospital said. No patients' Social Security numbers or financial records were exposed, the hospital said in a statement Friday. But the compromised accounts contained "messages with patients' information, which may have included names, addresses, medical record numbers and clinical information, such as diagnosis, treatment, and medications." (link)

Jul 25, 2017: The University of Mississippi Medical Center has agreed to pay a $2,750,000 fine levied by the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights to settle several violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The breach goes back to March 21, 2013, when UMMC's privacy officer discovered a password-protected laptop was missing from UMMC's Medical Intensive Care Unit and notified OCR. (link)

Jul 20, 2017: Brigham Young University is warning several hundred present and former students about a data breach that may have compromised students' personal information. The data breach originally occurred on June 10 when a server at BYU was accessed by an unauthorized source. At the time of the breach it appeared that no personal information was compromised, but upon further review investigators found that the server accessed contained a file with the personal information of 800 former and current students. (link)

Jul 11, 2017: University of Iowa Health Care has notified 5,300 patients that a "limited set of data containing protected health information" was posted online for two years. Back in May 2015, the private health information -- including patient names, dates of admission, and medical record numbers -- was inadvertently saved in unencrypted files and posted online through an application development site that others could see, according to UIHC. (link)

Jul 06, 2017: UC Davis Health is notifying approximately 15,000 patients of a security breach after an employee fell prey to an email phishing scam. Despite the breach, the company says there is no indication that any personal or medical information was taken. As a precaution, UC Davis Health says it's providing credit and identity protection to people whose information was stored in the system. (link)

Fraud & Ethics Related Events

Jul 31, 2017: In June 2016, investigators at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens concluded that Azza El-Remessy, a faculty member who studied the impact of diabetes on the eye, had committed misconduct and recommended she be terminated. El-Remessy hired a lawyer to dispute the findings, but the following October she gave up her challenge after the university paid her $100,000 --essentially to leave. (link)

Jul 27, 2017: A woman accused of embezzling from Northwestern Michigan College has been arrested and charged. Michelle Schneider was arraigned Thursday on one charge of embezzlement agent of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000. According to court records, Schneider was a former employee of NMC in the Education Media Technologies department and was terminated on March 27, 2017 for misuse of her NMC issued credit card and embezzlement from NMC. (link)

Jul 25, 2017: A Virginia woman accused of taking hospital patients' information has pleaded guilty to identity theft. Forty-one-year-old Angela Roberts of Stephenson, Virginia, entered the plea Monday in federal court in Martinsburg. According to her indictment, Roberts obtained names, Social Security and driver's license numbers and other sensitive information from the patient database of her employer, WVU Medicine University Healthcare in Martinsburg. (link)

Jul 21, 2017: The investigations into money mismanagement continue at the University of New Mexico. This, after the LGBTQ Director was fired last month, accused of taking trips that never got approved, paying for lunches on the university's dime, then lying about it all. Alma Rosa Silva-Banuelos worked with the university's LGBTQ Resource Center since 2010. She was promoted as the center's program specialist in 2012. (link)

Jul 19, 2017: Texas A&M's outgoing Provost and Executive Vice President Karan Watson has been removed from her position after an internal audit found significant conflict of interest issues tied to business dealings her spouse had with the university, according to documents obtained by The Eagle. The investigation is likely to trigger sweeping changes throughout A&M System universities and agencies by prohibiting spouses and close family members of senior administrators from doing business with the System. (link)

Jul 18, 2017: Prosecutors say a project manager at the University of South Carolina funneled $420,000 worth of grant money to himself over seven years. The state grand jury indicted 48-year-old Blake Langland on five counts relating to public corruption in an indictment made public Tuesday. The indictment says Langland works at the university's Electrical Engineering Department. (link)

Jul 14, 2017: A Lawrence man has been charged with burglary and theft after allegedly stealing $13,000 worth of items from a lab at the University of Kansas. Matthew C. Reynard, 37, was charged Tuesday in Douglas County District Court with one count of burglary and two counts of theft, all felonies. Reynard is accused of taking a veterinary camera, a camera control unit, syringes and hypodermic needles belonging to KU from Malott Hall on June 24, according to the charges. (link)

Jul 11, 2017: A supervisor in the accounts payable department at Hamline University accused of orchestrating an elaborate fraud scheme admitted to the conduct in court this week. Teresa Garin, 51, of St. Paul pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of felony-level theft by swindle, court records say. Garin stole more than $150,000 from the school by creating fake vendor accounts and cashing checks issued by the university into her personal bank account, according to criminal complaints. (link)

Jul 07, 2017: A Houston Community College trustee faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to bribery, federal prosecutors said Friday. At Christopher W. Oliver's plea hearing, it was revealed in open court that he had met with another person on several occasions at restaurants and coffee shops in Houston. Oliver admitted accepting cash in exchange for promises to use his position to help another person secure contracts with HCC, the news release said. (link)

Jul 06, 2017: A longtime employee of Southeast Community College's Milford campus was fired last November after it was discovered she stole more than $20,000 from the college. On Thursday, Stephany A. Canning, 58, was charged with one count of felony theft of more than $5,000 in Seward County Court following an investigation involving the Nebraska State Patrol. (link)

Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events

Jul 31, 2017: A Wright State University education professor resigned in May amid a four-month university investigation into accusations that he raped one student and sexually harassed other students. The university's Office of Equity and Inclusion launched the investigation of Jason Fruth, 37, on Feb. 19 after a graduate student filed a complaint claiming she had been raped by the professor, WSU investigative records obtained by the Dayton Daily News show. (link)

Jul 30, 2017: The girlfriend of former USC kicker Matt Boermeester said Sunday that the Title IX investigation that led to his removal from the school's football team was "horrible and unjust" to her and Boermeester. Zoe Katz, 22, a senior, said in a two-page statement her attorney emailed to The Times that Boermeester "has been falsely accused of conduct involving me." Katz confirmed that the statement was hers. Her attorney, Kerry L. Steigerwalt, said that USC alleged that Boermeester shoved Katz outside her home. (link)

Jul 26, 2017: A lawyer for Bret Weinstein has filed paperwork indicating that the professor plans to sue The Evergreen State College in Olympia. Joe Shaeffer with MacDonald Hoague & Bayless in Seattle filed a tort claim on July 5 with the state Department of Enterprise Services Office of Risk Management, according to documents obtained by The Olympian. The narrative states that college officials didn't take steps to alleviate "the racially hostile and retaliatory work environment and make the campus safe" for Weinstein and others. (link)

Jul 25, 2017: A U.S. judge on Monday ordered Apple Inc to pay $506 million for infringing on a patent owned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's patent licensing arm, more than doubling the damages initially imposed on Apple by a jury. U.S. District Judge William Conley in Madison added $272 million to a $234 million jury verdict the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation won against Apple in October 2015. (link)

Jul 24, 2017: A hearing for a lawsuit in which NIU is being sued for a temporary restraining order by the former College of Law dean is scheduled for Sept. 1. Eric Dannenmaier, former College of Law dean, sought a temporary restraining order against NIU to block officials from releasing information regarding an investigation into complaints of sexual harassment made against Dannenmaier by two former employees. (link)

Jul 20, 2017: A former Catholic University student is suing the university, claiming the administration was biased in favor of his female accuser in a sexual assault case. The student, identified in the complaint as John Doe, says the university violated Title IX, the law that prohibits gender discrimination at federally funded institutions, by showing favor to the woman who charged him with sexual assault (identified in the court filing as Jane Doe). (link)

Jul 20, 2017: A one-minute call made from the University-issued phone of Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze to a number associated with a female escort service was raised as a potential issue in the back-and-forth between the university's legal counsel and the attorney for former Rebels football coach Houston Nutt, according to records and correspondence obtained by USA TODAY Sports. Ole Miss announced Thursday evening that Freeze had resigned, hours after the school said it would provide a written statement to USA TODAY Sports regarding the phone call. (link)

Jul 17, 2017: In USC's lecture halls, labs and executive offices, Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito was a towering figure. The dean of the Keck School of Medicine was a renowned eye surgeon whose skill in the operating room was matched by a gift for attracting money and talent to the university. There was another side to the Harvard-educated physician. During his tenure as dean, Puliafito kept company with a circle of criminals and drug users who said he used methamphetamine and other drugs with them, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. (link)

Jul 17, 2017: Columbia University has settled a lawsuit filed by a student over its handling of a sexual assault allegation. A university investigation in 2013 found Paul Nungesser, an international student from Germany, not responsible of sexual misconduct stemming from allegations by fellow sophomore Emma Sulkowicz. CNN does not usually name individuals in sexual assault cases, but in this instance, both parties have spoken publicly about their experience. (link)

Jul 14, 2017: Here's a sentence I never expected to type, and one you probably never thought you'd read, but former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman has filed a lawsuit against Ohio State. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Spielman's lawsuit is over a marketing program that has been using the images of Ohio State athletes without their permission, and without paying them for it. He's filing the lawsuit on behalf of himself as well as current and former Ohio State players. (link)

Jul 14, 2017: A fairly simple, straightforward investigation has turned into a full-on scandal at Ole Miss. One notice of allegations turned into two. There was a NFL Draft night fiasco featuring a gas mask. Coach Hugh Freeze has been charged with violating the NCAA's coaching responsibility bylaw. (link)

Jul 13, 2017: Columbia University has settled a Title IX lawsuit filed by a former male student whose case attracted national attention after a young woman protested against the administration's handling of her sexual assault allegations by carrying a mattress around campus. A lawyer representing Columbia graduate Paul Nungesser issued a statement announcing a settlement in the case that dated to 2015. The lawsuit stemmed from what Nungesser described as gender discrimination on the part of the university after Emma Sulkowicz became known as the "mattress girl," in what she called an artistic rendering of her dismay with the administration's handling of her allegations. (link)

Jul 12, 2017: The letters have come in to her office by the hundreds, heartfelt missives from college students, mostly men, who had been accused of rape or sexual assault. Some had lost scholarships. Some had been expelled. A mother stumbled upon her son trying to take his own life, recalled Candice E. Jackson, the top civil rights official at the Department of Education. (link)

Jul 10, 2017: Participants in two Brown University 403(b) plans have sued the Providence, R.I.-based university, alleging the plans' managers breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA by paying "unreasonable and excessive fees" for investments and administrative services and offering too many duplicative investment choices. (link)

Jul 08, 2017: After a protracted 16-month investigation, officials at Howard University in Washington, D.C. found a law professor guilty of sexual harassment because he presented students with an exam question about a hypothetical person who was molested while undergoing a Brazilian wax job. Administrators at Howard University School of Law labeled the professor, Reginald L. Robinson, as a sexual harasser in May, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Higher Education (FIRE), a civil rights organization. (link)

Jul 07, 2017: Members of the improv comedy group knew the unspoken arrangement: Go along with the persistent sexual advances from the USF instructor who led their club and get special treatment. Now a University of South Florida Title IX investigation has concluded that, under school policy, former adjunct Nicholas Riggs sexually assaulted one student and sexually harassed at least one other, abusing his position to coerce them. One student called him a "puppet master." (link)

Jul 06, 2017: Baylor University has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit with a former student who accused the nation's largest Baptist school of fostering a "hunting ground for sexual predators" and mishandling her alleged attack in 2015. A settlement notice was filed in federal court in Waco, Texas on Thursday. No details were released, but the agreement marks Baylor's first settlement to resolve a cascade of lawsuits over the past 18 months by women who said they were attacked and had their cases ignored or bungled by the university for years. (link)

Jul 05, 2017: Two siblings who graduated from the University of Florida say the state short-changed them on their education. Alexis S. Geffin, UF 2017, has teamed up with her brother, Ryan J. Geffin, UF 2016, in a lawsuit to claim they did not receive the intended benefits of more than $1 billion in private donations to Florida colleges and universities. Alexis is a sports reporter in Wausau, Wisconsin, while her brother pursued graduate studies at UF. (link)

Jul 05, 2017: Duke University is facing yet another lawsuit that alleges it mishandled a rape case. Filed originally in state court and moved to federal court just before the Independence Day holiday, the new case alleges that a graduate student faced harassment and retaliation from university officials after telling them she'd been raped by the live-in boyfriend of a Duke Women's Center counselor who works with victims of gender violence. (link)

Jul 05, 2017: Michigan State University dismissed three former football players from the university for their violations of the school's relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy, records show. The former players -- Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance -- are also facing criminal charges in connection to a reported campus sexual assault from January. A hearing is set for September. (link)

Jul 05, 2017: When summer break ends, Frederick County campuses will be stocked with a new type of school supply: naloxone, the overdose reversal medication. A new state law, which went into effect on Saturday, requires all public schools and institutes of higher education to begin stocking the drug -- more commonly known by its prescription name, Narcan -- and training staff on how to administer it. (link)

Jul 04, 2017: Again and again, college financial aid offices would frustrate Jan Wagner and Michele Waxman Johnson. As executives of Central Scholarship, a nonprofit in Owings Mills that provides scholarships and interest-free loans to Maryland students, they would award a student money and a university would reduce that student's financial aid by the same amount. (link)

Jul 02, 2017: In-house investigators at Duke University believe a former lab tech falsified or fabricated data that went into 29 medical research reports, lawyers for the university say in their answer to a federal whistleblower lawsuit against it. Duke's admissions concern the work of Erin Potts-Kant, and a probe it began in 2013 when she was implicated in an otherwise-unrelated embezzlement. The lawsuit, from former lab analyst Joseph Thomas, contends Duke and some of its professors used the phony data to fraudulently obtain federal research grants. He also alleges they ignored warning signs about Potts-Kants' work, and tried to cover up the fraud. (link)

Jul 01, 2017: The University of Florida is under federal Title IX investigation for its handling of a December 2015 sexual assault accusation against star receiver Antonio Callaway, the complainant's attorney confirmed. The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is looking into a complaint filed by Callaway's accuser, her attorney John Clune said Friday. (link)

Campus Life & Safety Events

Jul 27, 2017: Does Congress have a place in the free speech campus debate? The House of Representatives subcommittee on intergovernmental affairs sought to find out in their hearing on the "Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses." The key issue is whether, in an effort to preserve free speech, college campuses could fall into an area where their actions would inhibit it. (link)

Jul 27, 2017: After years of increasing rates of binge drinking, alcohol-impaired driving, and alcohol-related mortality among emerging adults ages 18 to 24, the numbers are finally starting to come down among college students in that age group, according to a study in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. However, those same numbers are on the rise in young adults of the same age who are not in college. (link)

Jul 26, 2017: At around 3:40 a.m. on Tuesday, a student at Kennesaw State University in Georgia was loading up his car in the parking lot of an on-campus residence hall when he was robbed at gunpoint by two thieves. They left with his wallet -- and his handgun. (link)

Jul 19, 2017: Two robberies occurred early Wednesday morning, according to a University of Minnesota timely warning. The first happened at approximately 4:15 a.m. at the bus stop near Jones Hall on Pleasant Street where a University student was approached by two suspects and was threatened at knifepoint for his valuables. (link)

Jul 19, 2017: Nicholas Lutz, the UCF student who got into trouble after posting a "graded" letter written by his ex-girlfriend on Twitter that went viral, had his disciplinary sanctions "revoked," according to a public statement released by his attorney. Lutz came into the national spotlight after tweeting photos of a letter written by his ex-girlfriend, which he edited in red ink and "graded" it with a D-minus. UCF suspended Lutz for violating UCF policy on students who break local, state, and federal law, following a cyberbullying complaint filed by the ex-girlfriend to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. (link)

Jul 17, 2017: Claremont McKenna College (CMC) issued sanctions to seven CMC students who blockaded a speech by conservative pundit Heather Mac Donald at CMC's Athenaeum, the college announced in a press release on July 17. Three of the students involved were suspended for one year, two were suspended for one semester and two were placed on conduct probation. The college identified these students by examining video and photographic evidence available of the protest against Ms. Mac Donald's speech. (link)

Jul 13, 2017: Columbus State University police say not only has the suspect committed fraud on campus but across the city. Stephen Michael Carson has on a green shirt and black shorts. University police say Carson is known for targeting wallets and purses. CSU police say Carson has no connection with Columbus State University and he was only on campus to commit crime. (link)

Jul 13, 2017: UCLA received a bomb threat on Wednesday evening and, as a precaution, ordered residents evacuated from campus housing at about 10:10 p.m. Many of the residents who were affected gathered safely in Drake Stadium while emergency responders checked campus facilities. No suspicious device was found. At 12:20 a.m. on Thursday, residents were allowed to return to all residence halls at UCLA. (link)

Jul 09, 2017: In the fall of 2015, a grassy quadrangle at the center of the University of Missouri became known nationwide as the command center of an escalating protest. Students complaining of official inaction in the face of racial bigotry joined forces with a graduate student on a hunger strike. Within weeks, with the aid of the football team, they had forced the university system president and the campus chancellor to resign. It was a moment of triumph for the protesting students. But it has been a disaster for the university. (link)

Jul 06, 2017: The University of Mississippi announced today plans to add plaques to various sites on its Oxford campus and rename one building, all with the goal of offering more history and "putting the past into context." University officials announced the recommendations it will be implementing from the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on History and Context. (link)

Jul 06, 2017: Auburn University and the University of Georgia have made a list of the 100 safest colleges in the nation. Also making the list compiled for 2017 by the National Council For Home Safety and Security was Georgia Southern University. Auburn was ranked No. 52, Georgia Southern No. 82 and the University of Georgia No. 100. (link)

Jul 05, 2017: A conservative nonprofit student group at Macomb Community College said the institution's policy of requiring permission for public speech violates their First Amendment rights. The Turning Point USA chapter is challenging the college's "Policy on Expressive Activity" in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Detroit, according to Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the organization. (link)

Jul 04, 2017: The University of Dayton class of 2017 -- the first to enroll under the university's innovative fixed net-price tuition plan -- graduated at a higher rate and with less debt compared to the previous year, the college reported. The record four-year graduation rate of 67 percent is about 8 percent higher than the class of 2016 and well above the university's previous high of 62 percent, set in 2013, officials said. (link)

Jul 01, 2017: Federal authorities have arrested and charged a 28-year-old man with kidnapping Yingying Zhang, a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois who disappeared three weeks ago and now is presumed dead. Brendt Christensen, a former Ph.D. candidate who had studied physics at the university, was arrested late Friday, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. (link)

Other News & Events

Jul 16, 2017: An American student from Princeton University was arrested in Iran and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges he was spying for the United States, an Iranian judiciary official said on Sunday, an action bound to aggravate relations between the two countries. The arrest and sentencing of the American, Xiyue Wang, a graduate student in history, was announced months after he had vanished in Iran, where he was doing research for a doctoral thesis. (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 https://www.auburn.edu/administration/oacp.

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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Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy
Auburn University
304 Samford Hall
M. Kevin Robinson, Assoc. VP

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