“The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.”
-- John Locke
I never imagined when we began Case-in-Point: Lessons for the Proactive Manager (CIP) that ten years later we'd be writing to a vastly different and much larger audience each month. Because we've experienced substantial growth over the past few years, I thought this month might be a good time to look back and discuss why we continue this newsletter.
We had every intention of CIP only being distributed to the Auburn University community with the goal of improving how risks are managed at our institution. Because of this, we've never advertised this newsletter, and our growth from 77 AU leaders to around 1,600 national and international higher education stakeholders has been completely organic. We have readers in the USA from coast to coast and even international institutions in Canada, Hong Kong, and Australia. Honestly, we think that's pretty cool. We appreciate your interest in what we create here, and we are happy for you to share and/or redistribute this at your campus as long as Auburn University gets mentioned as the source.
Our goal has always been very simple: we believe it's cheaper to proactively manage risk than to react and remediate crises from risk management failures. We provide an overview that allows you to scan the news events occurring throughout our industry each month and ask yourself, ''How can I prevent this from happening here?'' If you realize you have a similar high risk exposure at your institution from this review, you can do something to proactively reduce the risk. What that ''something'' is will depend on the risk, your role, and many other factors; however, doing nothing is a dangerous thing in the world in which we now operate.
Our larger goal is to help develop risk-intelligent institutions. We should note that we are not anti-risk. Risk is always going to be with us in life, but we can consider risk and be wise in the actions we take. This is important because any money we spend on remediation, settlements, and investigations is money we aren't spending on education, research, and outreach.
We have recently made some changes to how we distribute CIP, and you may have noticed you can now add yourself to the distribution list. Feel free to invite your colleagues who may be interested in this publication. We will continue to distribute CIP on the last business day of each month (which for us is December 19th due to the holidays this month), but we have plans to enhance our communication.
We now have a Twitter account and invite you to follow us @AUOACP. We won't bombard you with tweets, but may link an important story we see between monthly publications or include suggestions on risk management, internal controls, or compliance. We are also in the early discussions about a CIP podcast where we would discuss important risk and compliance topics in more depth. We want you to know we are thinking of ways to improve our interactions with you and help our industry become more risk intelligent.
We thank you for being a part of CIP and again invite you to review the events from higher education over the prior month with a view toward proactively managing risk. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and look forward to a great 2019. 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
Dec 18: For a brief time, an unauthorized user remotely accessed an email account of an employee at University of Vermont Health Network, Elizabethtown Community Hospital that contained some personal information, including Social Security numbers. While no evidence has been found that individual information was viewed, ECH said in a news release, the hospital is notifying about 32,000 potentially affected people and providing information on steps they can take to protect themselves against potential fraud or identity theft. "The 1,200 individuals whose Social Security numbers were included in the email account will be offered free credit and identity theft monitoring services," the release said. (link)
Dec 12: Dozens of students were shocked to learn that they were suspended from SF State last week when an email appearing to be from California State University's chancellor gave them the bad news. But when they clicked on a link in the email, the truth was revealed -- they had just been hacked. Another fake email claimed that students need to "re-validate" their email storage, and that their account was unable to receive new emails until they clicked the link. Information Technology Services claims 25 students clicked the link and had their account access revoked as a result. (link)
Dec 09: A Massachusetts community college is beefing up its cybersecurity after hackers stole $800,000 through an infected email. Cape Cod Community College President John Cox tells the Cape Cod Times the email appeared to come from another college and the person who clicked on it didn't have any suspicions at first. College IT officials ran a diagnostics test and found an infected virus. The virus was quarantined too late. Cox says the malware targeted the college's financial transactions and nine fraudulent transactions were made. (link)
Dec 04: The College of Saint Rose is among the most recent targets of a series of lawsuits filed against colleges and other organizations related to their websites. The plaintiffs say the legal actions represent a growing movement to make online portals more accessible to the disabled -- in this case, the blind or visually impaired. Attorneys for the defendants categorize them as nuisance suits. New York City resident Jason Camacho is the listed plaintiff on 47 other suits, all filed in November, against colleges and schools nationwide. (link)
Fraud & Ethics Related Events
Dec 14: University of Illinois trustees voted Friday to immediately fire a tenured associate professor of cell and developmental biology who admitted that he falsified research in grant applications. There was little discussion about the firing of Fei Wang, 52, of Champaign, an associate professor in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. The board found that Wang had been "grossly neglectful" in his duties and "can no longer be relied upon to perform (his) university duties and functions in a manner consonant with professional standards of competence and responsibility." (link)
Dec 06: A former Iowa community college dean has been arrested after an audit found she spent thousands of dollars in public funds for her wedding, personal travel and other purchases. Police in Creston arrested Beth Kulow, the former dean of students at Southwestern Community College, on Monday on three counts of second-degree theft and falsifying public records. She allegedly embezzled $15,000 between 2015 and 2018 and submitted an altered email to cover her tracks when questioned. (link)
Dec 04: A former business director at Washington University in St. Louis has pleaded guilty to embezzling about $300,000. Federal prosecutors on Tuesday announced the plea by 38-year-old Barbara Skudrzyk of Rock Hill. She admitted to three counts of mail fraud for embezzling money over a period of more than eight years. (link)
Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events
Dec 13: The Los Angeles Community College District has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a Pierce College student against the school over student free speech rights, it was announced Thursday. In the March 2017 lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles federal court, plaintiff Kevin Shaw alleged that the community college in Woodland Hills violated his civil rights when he was barred from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution because he wasn't in the school's "free speech" zone -- an outdoor area roughly the size of three parking spaces -- and because he hadn't applied in advance to use it. (link)
Dec 10: The University of Kentucky has settled a lawsuit filed by a former public health dentist who said he was fired from the school for publicly criticizing Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's plan to overhaul the state's Medicaid program. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the settlement calls for longtime professor Raynor Mullins to get $620,000 and to be able to return to the university. School officials did not admit that College of Dentistry Dean Stephanos Kyrkanides shut out Mullins from his work. (link)
Dec 05: The NCAA committee on infractions placed Oregon's athletic department on two years' probation on Wednesday for violations in its men's and women's basketball, football and women's track and field programs. Additionally, the NCAA ruled that Oregon women's basketball coach Kelly Graves failed to monitor his staff and promote an atmosphere of compliance and suspended him for two games this season. (link)
Dec 01: A $20 million class-action lawsuit has been filed by a UA chemistry professor against the Arizona Board of Regents, alleging a pattern of sex discrimination that she said resulted in her being paid less than male colleagues at the school's College of Science. The complaint alleges that compared to men, the University of Arizona underpays female faculty by tens of thousands of dollars per year, does not adequately promote women and denies equal access to work resources. It also claims the school retaliates against women who complain about discrimination. (link)
Campus Life & Safety Events
Dec 18: Beverly Kopper will resign as UW-Whitewater chancellor effective Dec. 31 after allegations that her husband sexually harassed female staff members sparked calls for her ouster this past fall. The University of Wisconsin System will continue to pay Kopper her $242,760 annual salary during an eight-month paid leave, and she can then return to a faculty position at a reduced salary, according to records obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal. (link)
Dec 15: Confusion and chaos, that's what students and their families say it was like as they snapped photos outside graduation at Bloomsburg University. Investigators say a bomb threat interrupted the ceremony. Police took the president of the university off the stage. Campus officials say the threat was called into the Columbia County 911 center but a sweep of the building didn't turn up anything dangerous. (link)
Dec 11: A student accused of racist and homophobic vandalism and graffiti at Western Washington University was expelled from the school. Shayne Robert Merwin, 20, also faces charges of second-degree burglary and malicious harassment in connection with the case. On Nov. 18, students at WWU reported racist graffiti at Nash Residence Hall. Authorities say a University police officer spoke with a man who said he overheard Merwin talking about finding an electronic key and using a marker to deface property with racial slurs and threats of sexual violence. (link)
Dec 10: A University of Idaho football player is being investigated for an on-campus rape. Kyree Curington bonded out of the Latah County Jail following his first court appearance Monday morning. Investigators arrested Curington Saturday in connection to a reported rape in the university's Wallace dormitory. (link)
Dec 07: Dozens of faculty and graduate students at UNC Chapel Hill are threatening to withhold student grades and exam scores. It's part of a protest over the university's proposal to build a new, $5.3 million facility to house the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam. University administrators met with a large group of faculty and teaching assistants this morning. They outlined possible legal ramifications, including student lawsuits. Withholding grades could also cause issues for students graduating later this month. (link)
Dec 06: The University of Tennessee Police Department has arrested three students in connection with vandalism at Clement Hall, which flooded part of the building and led to an evacuation early Sunday. The flooding caused an estimated $2 million in damage to the dorm, an amount that is expected to grow, according to arrest warrants. (link)
Dec 05: A professor at Oklahoma State University is now out of jail on bond. Hugh Crethar is accused of stalking a former graduate student. The university has since suspended the 53-year-old. According to court documents, Crethar, who worked in Willard Hall, allegedly harassed the former student. Court papers detail the allegations. They said Crethar made multiple lewd comments, proposals and suggestions to the former student between March and November of 2016. (link)
Dec 03: About 100 students were evacuated from residence halls at Wheaton College Sunday morning after fires were intentionally set in two dorm bathrooms, authorities said. The students were evacuated from McIntire Hall around 6 a.m., multiple news outlets reported. No injuries were reported. Investigators said the fires were intentionally set in second- and third-floor bathrooms. (link)
Dec 01: A Florida Atlantic University student is accused of making a social media threat to kill one of his professors because of an early morning exam, police said. Rafael Decomas, 20, of Riviera Beach, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail Wednesday night by FAU police on a charge of intimidation -- send written threat to kill, court records show. When questioned by police, Decomas said he was angry that his Data Structure professor had scheduled the course's final exam for 7 a.m. (link)
Dec 01: An 18-year-old Drake University student is responsible for four of five racist notes found in residence halls and now faces criminal charges, school officials said. The student admitted to writing one of the notes, officials said. She also reported receiving at least one of the notes, officials said. The student responsible for four of the notes faces harassment charges, said Sgt. Paul Parizek, Des Moines police spokesman. News of the notes created a climate of fear on Drake's campus and prompted a rally decrying racism and promoting unity. (link)
If you have any suggestions, questions or feedback, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
If you have any suggestions for items to include in future newsletters, please e-mail Robert Gottesman at email@example.com.
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