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Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy

Case in Point:
Lessons for the proactive manager

April 2019
Vol. 11 No. 04
"When a team takes ownership of its problems, the problem gets solved. It is true on the battlefield, it is true in business, and it is true in life."

-- Jocko Willink

This month we conclude our analysis of stories linked in Case in Point during 2018 with a focus on the Campus Life category. This category has a great deal of diversity as the types of issues that can arise on a college campus are left only to the imagination.

This wide range of story topics makes analysis a little more challenging than other categories. In evaluating the stories linked, we noticed that certain themes seemed to emerge; therefore, we present the top five themes from the Campus Life category for 2018.

  1. Crime/Violence
  2. Race Relations
  3. Free Speech
  4. Issues Regarding Sex
  5. Hazing

Stakeholders' expectations of institutions to provide a safe environment for those visiting and participating in campus programs has never been greater. As the father of an AU coed, it was particularly heart wrenching to read the story from Columbia, South Carolina where a college student was abducted and murdered by a man posing as her Uber driver. Since that tragic event, many institutions, including Auburn, have engaged in educational campaigns to increase ride share safety. Ride share safety is an example of risk that was unknown 5-10 years ago but is now a common issue that institutions should help educate their campus community about. Auburn University's Department of Campus Safety and Security's website has provided safety tips addressing this issue as well as others potentially impacting the campus community.

The themes involving race, speech, and sex issues are similar to broader national conversations occurring on these topics. You can be sure that any social trends or national conversations always find their way on campus for discussion. The key is to be aware of trends and issues and ready to respond as appropriate from an institutional perspective.

I frequently speak on the topic of emerging risks in higher education, and one of the points I make in those presentations is that the world has changed with respect to higher education. We are in a world where it truly does take everyone proactively managing risk, reporting issues, and finding solutions to the risks we face in higher education. Ensuring everyone knows where to report events they observe (or even seemingly minor concerns) so they can be evaluated and managed has never been more important than in today's world. We again invite you to review the events occurring across higher education with this proactive risk view.

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

Information Security & Technology Events

Apr 28: The University of Alaska is notifying potentially affected students and others after an investigation into a data privacy incident revealed unauthorized access to some UA email accounts. The breach took place over a year ago, but it wasn’t until Friday at 11 pm that the university made public the breach through third-party news release services such as PRWire.com. The problem dates to February 2018, when the university officials began receiving reports from people having problems accessing their university email accounts. (link)

Apr 25: Campus-wide network problems caused Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo to lose Wi-Fi Thursday, the last day of final exams. The university said in an afternoon tweet that specialists were working on a fix. It was not immediately clear what caused the problem. (link)

Apr 19: Cape Cod Community College has recovered more than 80 percent of the money stolen during a cyber-attack this past fall, according to an email dated Thursday from college president John Cox. An investigation by banking and government authorities helped the school cover $677,594 of the $807,130 stolen. In November, cyber criminals gained access to the college’s banking by using a combination of malware and sophisticated social engineering exploitation. (link)

Apr 19: A King County judge on Thursday approved a settlement in a class-action lawsuit against Washington State University over a potential data breach in April 2017. WSU and its insurers agreed to pay up to $5.26 million and provide potential victims an additional two years of free credit monitoring. The suit stemmed from a burglary at an Olympia storage facility in which someone stole a safe containing a hard drive, which in turn contained sensitive information on nearly 1.2 million people, including names, Social Security numbers and personal health records. (link)

Apr 16: The College of Saint Rose graduate who inserted a "USB Killer" device into dozens of school computers in February pleaded guilty Tuesday to causing more than $58,000 in damage to the computers, officials said. Vishwanath Akuthota, 27, admitted that on Feb. 14 he inserted a "USB Killer" device into 66 computers, as well as numerous computer monitors and computer-enhanced podiums owned by the College of St. Rose, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. (link)

Apr 02: A Georgia Tech database breach has exposed the personal information of up to 1.3 million current and former faculty members, students, staff and student applicants, according to school officials. Georgia Tech announced Tuesday that a central database was accessed by an unknown outside entity through a web application, though it is unclear exactly who was affected . The school, which typically has around 30,000 students enrolled, said it learned of the security breach in "late March." (link)

Fraud & Ethics Related Events

Apr 26: A Southern Illinois University professor has been charged with stealing property from SIU. 39-year-old Jeremy Davis of Carterville, Illinois is accused of stealing a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine and a Nano Drop machine from the university on July 1, 2018. (link)

Apr 25: The former director of auxiliary services at Connecticut College was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for using various embezzlement schemes to steal $173,000 while employed by the college. Michael Kmec, 40, of Marlborough had pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. (link)

Apr 23: A former University of Southern California assistant women's soccer coach has agreed to plead guilty to engaging in a racketeering scheme in which she accepted bribes to help wealthy parents get their children into the school as part of the largest college admissions scandal in U.S. history. Laura Janke, who worked at USC until 2014, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiring to commit racketeering, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court in Boston on Tuesday. (link)

Apr 21: Two former employees have been arrested after allegedly stealing $20,000 in electronics from Franklin Pierce University in Goodyear. Goodyear police report that on April 10 about 4 a.m. a custodian at Franklin Pierce University near 145th Avenue and Van Buren Street saw a man and woman leaving a building carrying a box. They soon discovered "a large number of computers were stolen from the University." Some of the stolen items included 14 computers, thumb drives, cash, checks and a briefcase containing medical records. (link)

Apr 17: Arizona State University inappropriately spent more than $1 million in research grant funds on things like scholarships, equipment and travel, a federal audit published Tuesday found. The audit of National Science Foundation grant funds analyzed multiple grants the university received over two years. If the audit’s findings hold up through the NSF's resolution process, the university may have to repay more than $1 million to the federal agency. (link)

Apr 17: A former associate registrar at Delaware State University has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to change the registration status of hundreds of out-of-state students so they could pay cheaper in-state tuition at the historically black university. Prosecutors say that between 2013 and 2017, Crystal Martin accepted bribes from a DSU graduate who lives in New Jersey in exchange for agreeing to change the registration status of hundreds of out-of-state students, using forged residency documents prepared by the unidentified coconspirator. (link)

Apr 12: The former Reedley College employee who investigators believe was stealing equipment from the chemistry department and selling it on eBay will spend no time in jail. Instead, Jason Meyers received probation for four years. He will also have to repay $15,000 in restitution to Reedley College. On eBay, Meyers operated under the name gamingkid2012. Investigators say he used his chemistry tech job to steal and sell various science-related items. (link)

Apr 08: The former men’s tennis coach at the University of Texas has agreed to plead guilty in the sweeping college admissions bribery scandal. Federal authorities said Monday that Michael Center will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Center was accused of accepting nearly $100,000 to help a non-tennis playing applicant get admitted as a recruit. Once enrolled, the student never played. (link)

Apr 02: A Central Illinois woman is accused of embezzling more than $161,000 in cash from sales at Bone Student Center at Illinois State University. Debbie White, 58, of Benson, was arrested at 9:08 a.m. Monday after officers, watching a live camera feed set up to watch her actions, found her stuffing cash from receipts at the student center into envelopes and then into her clothing. (link)

Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events

Apr 26: New College of Florida is being accused of discriminating against student applicants who mention mental health struggles in their application essay. The school’s admissions office requires students who disclose a mental health issue in their application essay to be subjected to a second review, even if the student’s scores meet the criteria for automatic acceptance. According to the results of an internal investigation by the university obtained by the Herald-Tribune, essay readers in the admissions office "red flag" these essays and send the application to a review committee to decide if the student should be accepted. (link)

Apr 19: MD Anderson Cancer Center is ousting three scientists in connection with concerns China is trying to steal U.S. scientific research, the first such publicly disclosed punishments since federal officials directed some institutions to investigate specific professors in violation of granting agency policies. MD Anderson took the actions after receiving e-mails last year from the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s largest public funder of biomedical research, describing conflicts of interest or unreported foreign income by five faculty members. The agency, which has been assisted by the FBI, gave the cancer center 30 days to respond. (link)

Apr 19: A Clemson student who would have graduated in May will not be getting a degree but will receive a $100,000 settlement from the university following a multi-year fight over the handling of a sexual misconduct case. On March 27, United States District Judge Donald C. Coggins Jr. upheld a settlement agreement between the university and the unnamed student, referred to as John Doe in court documents. (link)

Apr 18: Cal Poly did not monitor its book scholarship program to ensure the administration of stipends followed NCAA rules, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The university provided 265 student-athletes in 18 sports an $800 stipend that was not equal to the actual cost of course-related books purchased, contrary to NCAA rules. (link)

Apr 16: A Southern Illinois University employee was charged with one count of child pornography in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Pejman Kamkarian, a university IT specialist, was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of possessing child pornography involving "an image of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor and a minor who had not attained 12 years of age." (link)

Apr 14: Four students at the University of Texas contend in a lawsuit that they were unjustly disciplined by the university after participating in fraternity-directed activities.The 34-page lawsuit, filed last week in federal court, doesn’t say exactly what conduct prompted school officials to place the unnamed male undergraduates on disciplinary probation and require them to participate in an academic integrity tutorial. (link)

Apr 12: A University of Toledo counselor accused of improperly disclosing a student’s personal health information has been fired. University officials on Dec. 18, 2018, notified Mychail Scheramic that his employment would be terminated at close of business March 18. Dallon Higgs, a student in UT’s physician assistant program, last month sued the university, Mr. Scheramic, and his wife, physician assistant program chairman Dr. Linda Speer, who remains employed at UT. (link)

Apr 11: A high-level University of Kentucky researcher is under investigation by UK’s Office of Research Integrity, officials confirmed. Xianglin Shi was the subject of an October story in the publication Retraction Watch, which noted that Shi had retracted three papers from the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The article cited "image duplication" in papers published between 2014 and 2017. Retraction Watch co-founder Adam Marcus said it appeared that Shi took images from previously conducted experiments and spliced them into images for different studies. (link)

Apr 10: Race will no longer be factored into admissions at Texas Tech University's medical school following an agreement with the Trump administration, potentially previewing how other complaints over affirmative action are handled under Education Secretary Betsy Devos. The resolution resolves a complaint filed in 2004 against Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. (link)

Apr 09: The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating the University of Louisville for possible disability-related discrimination. University spokesman John Karman confirmed that the Office for Civil Rights has launched a case, which specifically concerns website and online course accessibility. (link)

Apr 09: A Portland State University professor recognized last year as one of Oregon’s top scientists is on paid administrative leave amid child pornography charges. Niles E. Lehman, a chemistry professor who has been employed by the college since 2001, was arrested in February after he was indicted on charges of first- and second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse. (link)

Apr 06: A lawsuit alleging Washington State University violated federal law and failed to protect an African-American student from a hostile campus environment in 2015 was dismissed from federal court last week. According to the complaint, Dominique Stewart, who is black and was an 18-year-old WSU freshman at the time, was attending a social event at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house Feb. 21, 2015, when she was allegedly called a racial slur -- the n-word -- and told to "get the (expletive) away from me," by a fraternity member. (link)

Apr 05: U.S. District Judge Colin Bruce has denied an emergency request to grant a University of Illinois MBA degree to a former student accused of sexual assault. The student filed a federal lawsuit last month arguing his due-process rights had been violated during the UI's investigation and said he faces termination at his job in Boston if he doesn't have his degree by April 15. (link)

Apr 05: A judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by former University of Louisville football player Kemari Averett against the university. Averett said in his lawsuit that his constitutional rights were violated during a student-conduct hearing into a rape allegation made against him. Averett was dismissed from school. A grand jury declined to indict Averett. The woman who brought forth the allegations against Averett has counter-sued. (link)

Apr 02: Conservative political commentator Paris Dennard claims Arizona State University intentionally released an investigation into misconduct to damage his reputation, and he wants $9.9 million to settle the dispute with the school. The release of a 2014 report into alleged sexual comments in the workplace led to lost wages and future opportunities for Dennard, according to a notice of claim filed in February. (link)

Apr 02: A Michigan State University engineering professor exploited his students and forced them to work long hours for little to no pay at his personal company, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. MSU officials have known about the issue since at least 2011, but did not take action to monitor the students working for Professor Parviz Soroushian, a lawsuit filed March 22 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan alleges. (link)

Apr 02: A former Rutgers medical school professor facing 160 criminal charges, including recording women in a bathroom, has filed a lawsuit, claiming he was framed by the school and colleagues after speaking out against potential fraud and the school’s pivot to a more profitable business model. Dr. James Goydos and his wife, Dr. Maria Martins, allege he was "falsely implicated for the misdeeds of another" in a lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday. (link)

Apr 01: Two University of California employees filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles, alleging union dues were illegally deducted from their paychecks despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that public workers are not required to pay fees to the unions representing them, it was announced Thursday. (link)

Apr 01: A former University of Oklahoma dean alleges in a lawsuit that the university president, provost and board of regents violated her First Amendment rights. Suzette Grillot, who served as the dean of the College of International Studies as well as vice provost of International Programs, alleges her public comments and criticisms of the university caused her to lose her position as dean, funding for programs she was involved with and emotional harm from a "toxic" work environment. (link)

Apr 01: A federal lawsuit asserts that a University of Louisville professor was effectively fired after making transphobic comments as an expert witness and panelist. The suit, filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of Allan Josephson, asserts that UofL officials discriminated against Josephson for his "conservative" stances, breaching his First Amendment rights. (link)

Apr 01: With his signature Friday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert gave final approval to a bill that looks to improve the response of campus police on cases of sexual assault and relationship violence. The measure was spurred by the shooting death of University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey, who was killed outside her dorm last fall by a man she briefly dated. It focuses on training school officers to recognize the warning signs that experts say were missed in her case. And it requires the state’s public colleges to develop detailed safety plans letting students know who to contact in an emergency. (link)

Campus Life & Safety Events

Apr 29: Three members of Kappa Alpha PSI fraternity at Virginia State University (VSU) were arrested Sunday and charged in connection to a fraternity hazing incident. Deonte Barkley, of Petersburg, George Feggins, of Petersburg, and Michael Snipes, of Philadelphia, were charged with hazing-related crimes, according to Petersburg Police and school officials. In addition to the arrests, VSU suspended the Alpha Phi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (link)

Apr 26: A measles quarantine has been ordered at two public universities in Los Angeles in an effort to try to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease. The order was announced by public health officials Thursday at the University of California, Los Angeles and California State University, Los Angeles for students, faculty and staff who were exposed to a confirmed case of measles and who cannot prove that they have been vaccinated against measles. (link)

Apr 20: A man was killed by a light rail train early Saturday morning in Minneapolis on the University of Minnesota campus. Metro Transit police say the man was standing on the platform as the METRO Green Line train was leaving Stadium Village station at about 1:20 a.m. He fell off the platform and was pulled under the train. (link)

Apr 18: While the US grapples with a measles outbreak unlike any we've seen in decades, Indiana University has a different problem on its hands: mumps. At least 16 cases have been reported at the Bloomington campus since February 12, IU spokesman Chuck Carney said Thursday. Nine of those cases have been linked to a single fraternity -- the patients were either members of the fraternity, or had visited the fraternity house. (link)

Apr 17: A university student in upstate New York died Wednesday following suspected hazing that has led to an indefinite suspension of fraternity and sorority activities. University at Buffalo freshman Sebastian Serafin-Bazan, 18, had been hospitalized since early Friday after the suspected hazing at an off-campus house. (link)

Apr 14: It was forbidden. But the group of friends sneaked into Fordham University’s most recognizable building in the dead of night anyway early Sunday. They clambered up the steep staircase of the granite bell tower that overlooks Fordham’s Rose Hill campus to take in the view of the Bronx under moonlight, sending a Snapchat video from the top. Then something went horribly wrong. (link)

Apr 12: An 18-year-old Florida State University student was arrested Thursday on charges he sold drugs out of his dorm room. Harrison Harding faces more than 40 narcotics charges following a sting operation conducted by the Florida State University Police Department. About a month ago, a "cooperating source" told campus police Harding was dealing drugs out of his Deviney Hall dorm room on Woodward Avenue. (link)

Apr 10: Ten Duke employees were injured in an explosion Wednesday morning in downtown Durham, which killed one person and injured more than a dozen. An update Thursday afternoon brought the number of Duke employees who were injured in the blast to 10. After a two-inch gas line was hit near Brightleaf Square shortly after 10:00 a.m., the resulting blast caused a nearby building's partial collapse, initially sending 17 people to area hospitals. (link)

Apr 10: Arizona State University police say a woman was sexually assaulted on the Tempe campus Tuesday night. Police say the incident happened around 7:20 p.m. at the PE West building. The victim was reportedly approached by an unknown man while she was walking, forced into a nearby bathroom and sexually assaulted. Officers were called to the scene, but were unable to locate the suspect. (link)

Apr 09: A California State University campus police officer regularly took time to sleep, lie down and not work while on duty for two years, according to a state audit released Tuesday. The employee’s naps wasted some $20,000 in taxpayer money. Executives at the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and the former State Board of Equalization allowed 25 managers and supervisors to report inaccurate leave time. (link)

Apr 03: A 23-year-old Surrey man allegedly set three incendiary devices in a building at Langara College on Monday following a dispute with one or more people at the south Vancouver college, Postmedia has learned. Nasradin Abdusamad Ali is also believed to have sent taunting electronic messages to the college Monday afternoon after two of the devices detonated and the entire campus was evacuated. (link)

Apr 02: Two students at the University of Arizona are facing criminal charges after protesting the appearance of United States Customs and Border Protection officers at an event last month on campus, an official said Tuesday. Denisse Moreno Melchor, 20, and Mariel Alexandra Bustamante, 22, were charged on Monday with interfering with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution, a misdemeanor, said Chris W. Sigurdson, a university spokesman. Ms. Moreno Melchor was also charged with making threats and intimidation, he said. (link)

Apr 02: A 25-year-old man was arrested on Saturday in connection with the death of a University of South Carolina student, who went missing after a night out with her roommates in Columbia, South Carolina, and was found dead in a rural area, police said. The 21-year-old "summoned" an Uber ride during the early morning hours and was waiting for the ride to come, police said. Samantha Josephson was seen on video mistakenly getting into the car -- a black four-door Chevy Impala -- "thinking it was an Uber," police said. (link)

Apr 01: A University of Hartford student is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Hartford Monday on two counts of attempted murder after police say he stabbed two fellow students while the three men rehearsed a scene from the movie "The Butterfly Effect." The men were rehearsing a scene from the movie as part of a school project, Hartford police Lt. Paul Cicero said. (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.

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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