Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
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Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
Volume 13 Number 03 | March 2021
Quotable .....
“Fraud really thrives in moments of great social change and transition.”

-- Maria Konnikova

This month our review of stories from 2020 focuses on the Fraud/Ethics category. Like all categories last year, the pandemic brought slight twists and turns to risks that we may not have ever anticipated. Even with these turns, it is important to remember that the number one factor that contributes to fraud being able to occur is the lack of internal controls, regardless of the mode of operation. We periodically write about controls and will return to this topic in a later month due to its importance.

When we dive into the types of stories in this category, we see the following breakdown in order of frequency:

  1. Wire Fraud
  2. Theft (generally property stolen from either employees or external parties)
  3. Embezzlement (from employees)
  4. Academic Fraud
  5. Tie – Foreign Conflicts of Interest & Research Misconduct

In a related note, in recent conversations with numerous peers across USA, the vast majority reported substantial increases in the number of reports that came in on anonymous reporting hotlines during the pandemic. I've yet to see any research as to why this was or if it was true for other industries, but for whatever reasons, the reports increased at many institutions. I would make the argument that employees reporting suspected ethical lapses or fraud is a positive thing since all employees play a role in protecting institutional resources and reputations.

We again invite you to review the stories across higher education from the prior month with a view toward proactively managing them and avoiding the headlines. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

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

Mar 24: Data Breach: Mott Community College announced Wednesday that it has identified and addressed a data security breach. Through an investigation, Mott Community College determined that an unauthorized person obtained access to its systems between November 27 and January 9, and transferred files maintained on one of its systems outside of its network. The college discovered Jan. 23 that the files that were acquired by the unauthorized person may have included information relating to its self-insured dental plan, according to Wednesday, March 24 news release. (link)

Mar 23: Ransomware/Data Breach: A ransomware group has leaked data allegedly stolen from the University of Colorado on the dark web. In February, CU announced it was investigating a cyberattack believed to be the largest in the university's history. The attack targeted a vulnerability in the File Transfer Appliance from Accellion, a third-party vendor. Accellion says the hack impacted fewer than 100 clients, with 25 suffering significant data theft. Officials said personal information of CU Boulder and CU Denver students, along with prospective students, and employees may have been accessed. (link)

Mar 19: Cyberattack: Maricopa Community Colleges reported on Friday evening that it will extend the spring semester by a week and resume class instruction for all modalities on March 29, after its internet technology systems had been down since Tuesday, affecting coursework for thousands of students. As of Friday afternoon, the school system has continued to cite "emergency maintenance" in communications to students about its internet technology system issues. In an email sent to The Republic on Friday, Dasi Danzig, a district spokesperson, said the shutdown was a result of "unauthorized, suspicious" activity in their network, which appears to be "the early stages of a cyberattack." (link)

Mar 15: Privacy Lawsuit: Online exam proctoring companies like ProctorU "have seen a significant uptick in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused institutions to move exams online. This has led to significant privacy implications for students"; specifically, three students filed a class-action complaint on Friday in the Central District of Illinois against ProctorU for alleged biometric violations, particularly after a data breach. According to the complaint, ProctorU "develops, owns, and operates an eponymous online proctoring software service that collects biometric information," in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). (link)

Mar 15: Cyberattack: A Birmingham college has closed all its campuses to students for a week following a "major" ransomware cyber attack that disabled its core IT systems. The eight sites of South and City College Birmingham will be shut and revert to online teaching from today while computer forensic specialists work to fix the problem. The college has since confirmed to FE Week the attack on Saturday involved data "on a number of servers and workstations connected to our domain" being encrypted by ransomware, while "a volume of data has been extracted from our servers". (link)

Mar 07: Cyberattack: Officials at the University of Texas at El Paso say an unauthorized and potentially malicious intrusion was identified in its digital network on Friday. The university turned off all campus systems leading to campus-wide issues into the weekend. UTEP released a statement on Sunday night saying staff is working to bring back online services like Blackboard so they can be available on Monday morning. (link)

Mar 05: Privacy Lawsuit: DePaul University has become the latest Illinois university targeted under the state's biometrics privacy law over online monitoring of students taking exams. On March 3, attorney Brian K. Murphy, of the firm of Murray Murphy Moul & Basil, of Columbus, Ohio, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against DePaul. The lawsuit claims the university violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), in the way it required students to take exams online. (link)

Mar 02: Cyberattack: Millersville University confirmed that on Sunday, February 28 they received an external attack on their network. The external attack on the university's network caused in-person and virtual classes to be canceled on Monday and Tuesday. (link)

Mar 01: Cyberattack: One of the world's top biology labs--one whose renowned professors have been researching how to counter the Covid-19 pandemic--has been hacked. Oxford University confirmed on Thursday it had detected and isolated an incident at the Division of Structural Biology (known as "Strubi") after Forbes disclosed that hackers were showing off access to a number of systems. These included machines used to prepare biochemical samples, though the university said it couldn't comment further on the scale of the breach. It has contacted the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), a branch of the British intelligence agency GCHQ, which will now investigate the attack. (link)

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Fraud & Ethics Related Events

Mar 31: Occupational Fraud: Prosecutors in Idaho have charged the former University of Idaho associate director of alumni relations with multiple felonies after he was accused of allegedly spending more than $2,700 in unauthorized transactions on his university purchase card. Tim Helmke, 49, of Moscow was charged with one count of misuse of public money by a public employee and two counts of forgery relating to purchases made between 2019 and 2020, The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported. A probable cause affidavit said Helmke spent $2,768.34 at a Moscow Bear Boosters auction, Moscow Chamber of Commerce auction and Best Western Plus University Inn trivia night, as well as on theater tickets and books. (link)

Mar 31: Embezzlement: A former director of Southern University's "Human Jukebox" marching band was sentenced to 13 months in federal prison and ordered to pay back more than $78,000 in restitution to the school, an attorney representing the man confirmed to WAFB. Attorney Karl Bernard confirmed his client, Nathan Haymer, was sentenced in federal court in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, March 30. The ordered restitution is in addition to the $34,081 Haymer paid the university after his employment was terminated. (link)

Mar 25: Occupational Fraud: A former high-level employee at the university of Pittsburgh is accused of stealing and selling 13,000 pieces of the school's supply of coronavirus personal protective equipment online. He's accused of making nearly $19,000 off the stolen PPE. Christopher Casamento was federally indicted for allegedly stealing more than 13,000 pieces of personal protective equipment from Pitt and selling them on his e-bay account at the beginning of the pandemic. (link)

Mar 25: Visa Fraud: A Georgia Tech professor has been charged by federal officials with visa and wire fraud charges. Investigators say 73-year-old Gee-Kung Chang abused the J-1 Visa program in order to arrange for Chinese nationals to come and work in the U.S. According to information presented in court, Chang worked with 53-year-old Jianjun Yu, who was a research director at a partially state-owned Chinese telecommunications and IT company in New Jersey to allegedly bring Chinese nationals to the U.S. to conduct research for the company. (link)

Mar 23: Occupational Fraud: Former Stanford employee Patricia Castaneda and her brother, Eric Castaneda, were charged with stealing over 800 laptops from the School of Humanities and Sciences on Feb. 8. During her time at Stanford, Patricia Castaneda was tasked with ordering laptops for staff and faculty at the School of Humanities and Sciences, according to court documents. She allegedly abused her position to purchase laptops to sell to an individual she met on Craigslist. Patricia Castaneda stole over $4 million worth of laptops from the University, while her brother is charged with thefts of up to $2.3 million, DOJ documents state. (link)

Mar 12: Tax Fraud: A Georgia man was sentenced to 24 months in prison last week for a 2015 tax fraud refund scheme in which he used information from dozens of University of Iowa employees. Edoghogho Collins Oloton, 33, of Sandy Springs, Georgia, was sentenced for conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with a scheme to obtain federal tax refunds by fraud using university employees' information, according to a news release earlier this week. (link)

Mar 10: Theft: Two students at the Middle Tennessee State University have been indicted in stealing $114,000 from the university. An investigation conducted by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation determined that the students, Mohamed Gure and Mohamed Osman, stole a total of $114,145 from the university between Nov. 2017 and Nov. 2020. Officials say the students' primary scheme was to submit false and fabricated invoices to misappropriate Student Activity Fee money. (link)

Mar 09: Visa/Admissions Fraud: The second of two defendants accused of using bogus transcripts and ghostwritten essays to help foreigners gain admission to U.S. colleges, allowing the applicants to fraudulently obtain student visas, has surrendered to federal authorities, prosecutors said. Yi Chen, 33, of Monrovia pleaded not guilty Monday to charges in a 21-count grand jury indictment that alleges conspiracy, visa fraud and aggravated identity theft, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement. His co-defendant, Yixin Li, 28, of San Gabriel surrendered March 2 and also pleaded not guilty. The two Southern California men are accused in a scheme to get foreigners into colleges, which allowed them to fraudulently get visas to enter or remain in the United States, prosecutors said. (link)

Mar 02: Occupational Fraud: It is a huge loss: $307,000 missing from parking machines managed by UAB Transportation. That's money the public and workers pay to park in university owned decks and lots. The theft was revealed publicly in documents from the State Examiners of Public Accounts released this month with financial information dating back to 2017. UAB told ABC3340 News it fired two employees. One was charged and ordered to pay restitution of $750. To date only about $300 has been recovered. The theft was uncovered in an internal audit. (link)

Mar 02: Research Security: A U.S. national security commission is recommending that American universities take steps to prevent sensitive technology from being stolen by the Chinese military, a sign of growing concerns over the security of academic research. The fresh recommendations come as the United States pushes ahead with the prosecution of at least five Chinese researchers arrested last year in various cities across the United States on charges of visa fraud for not disclosing ties to the Chinese military. (link)

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Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events

Mar 26: Mishandled Sexual Harassment Allegations: A 74-year-old woman told state lawmakers Friday that she spoke directly to LSU football coach Ed Orgeron about sexual harassment she said she endured in 2017 from one of his star players, adding he did nothing to reprimand the running back. Gloria Scott, a security worker at the Superdome in New Orleans, said then-LSU player Derrius Guice walked up to her with his friends at an event and told her: "I like having sex with older women like you" and "I want your body," among other vulgarities while rubbing his body. Her testimony came at the second hearing called by female state lawmakers who are following up on an independent report that determined LSU for years mishandled its response to student allegations of rape, domestic violence and assault, in some instances ignoring the claims entirely. (link)

Mar 27: Transgender Athletes Law: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed into law a controversial bill requiring students to prove their sex at birth in order to participate in middle and high school sports. The bill, which Lee signed on Friday, makes Tennessee the third state this month to adopt legislation aimed at restricting transgender girls from playing female sports. The new law in Tennessee requires students beyond the fourth grade to show legal documents demonstrating their assigned sex at the time of their birth in order to participate in school athletics. The law only allows students to participate in sports with other students with the same biological sex designated at birth. (link)

Mar 25: Sex Abuse Settlement: USC has agreed to pay more than $1.1 billion to former patients of campus gynecologist George Tyndall, the largest sex abuse payout in higher education history. The huge sum was revealed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court as lawyers for a final group of 710 women suing the university told a judge they had settled their claims for $852 million. USC previously agreed to pay thousands of other alumnae and students $215 million in a 2018 federal class-action settlement. A group of about 50 other cases were settled for an amount that has not been made public. The sole full-time gynecologist at the student health clinic from 1989 until 2016, Tyndall was accused of preying on a generation of USC women. (link)

Mar 24: Title IX Lawsuit: Eleven women are involved in a lawsuit against Eastern Michigan University that alleges the university turned a blind eye to reports of sexual assault. The lawsuit was filed in federal court and alleges that the school turned a blind eye or was indifferent to report of rape. The women said many of the assaults happened at two fraternities, Alpha Sigma Phi and Delta Tau Delta. Three of the men named in the lawsuit have been previously charged with sexually assaulting several women. (link)

Mar 23: Sexual Misconduct Mishandling: Oregon State University's Board of Trustees on Tuesday unanimously accepted President F. King Alexander's offer to resign amid a cascade of outrage stemming from his role in Louisiana State University's sexual misconduct scandal. Alexander's resignation is effective April 1, but he will be on administrative leave until then. Alexander was president of LSU from 2013 to 2019 during a time when the school systemically mishandled reports of sexual misconduct by students and by head football coach Les Miles, according to a report by law firm Husch Blackwell that was publicly released this month by LSU. (link)

Mar 22: Tuition Refund Lawsuit: Three students have filed class-action lawsuits against Oregon's two largest colleges claiming they were charged full-price for online classes of poorer quality than traditional in-person classes. When the University of Oregon and Oregon State University shut down their campuses due to the pandemic, they did not offer to refund any or all of students' tuition bills. The plaintiff students allege their colleges breached their contract with them. (link)

Mar 19: Admissions Scandal: A former UCLA men's soccer coach was sentenced to eight months in prison Friday for taking $200,000 in bribes to get students admitted as athletic recruits, prosecutors said. The sentence for Jorge Salcedo is one of the longest yet handed down in the sprawling college admissions cheating case uncovered in an FBI probe dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues." Salcedo, 48, pleaded guilty in July to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering. (link)

Mar 19: Unlawful Surveillance: A former Marist College men's volleyball coach, who was arrested in July and accused of possession child pornography, was arrested again on Tuesday and accused of recording 10 victims at Marist for sexual gratification. Roughly eight months after his initial arrest, in which he was charged with one count of second-degree unlawful surveillance and one count of second-degree possession of an obscene sexual performance by a child, both felonies, he was charged with 14 counts of second-degree unlawful surveillance. As head coach of the club men's volleyball team, Kelly was a part-time employee of the school. (link)

Mar 16: Title IX: Clemson is facing legal pressure from two separate groups of its own athletes who claim that the university's athletic department is discriminating against both male and female athletes in different ways. An attorney representing a group of female athletes sent a letter Monday to Clemson President Jim Clements saying that if the school does not make plans to provide more financial aid for its female athletes, they intend to file a class action lawsuit. Last week, a different attorney representing a group of male track athletes from the school sent a letter to Clements saying that they intend to file a lawsuit if the school doesn't reverse course on its plan to discontinue the cross country and track and field programs after this school year. (link)

Mar 11: Tuition Reimbursement Lawsuits: A federal judge has dismissed most of the claims in lawsuits brought by students at several Rhode Island universities alleging they were entitled to tuition reimbursement when the schools switched to remote learning last spring. U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell Jr. wrote in the decision dated March 4 that there was "no plausible reading" in student handbooks or any other university materials that offered a contractual promise for in-person education. The universities had the right to alter the way they delivered their academic offerings, he wrote. (link)

Mar 10: Henrique Faria left his job as a lawyer in Brazil to study advanced tax law at Berkeley. Although he finished the program with high honors in 2018, he ended up broke, jobless and deported. He is now suing over his ordeal -- but faces an uphill battle because the university is claiming it is legally immune for the admitted bungle that triggered his nightmare. The school gave Faria the wrong deadline to file his immigration paperwork. Under the rules, the university, as Faria's sponsor, had sole access to the data in his file and was responsible for notifying him of that date. (link)

Mar 10: Sexual Assault: A 57-year-old university professor in Thunder Bay has been charged with sexual assault involving a student. Thunder Bay police on Wednesday said Han Chen was arrested for two alleged incidents that took place in late January, with an investigation starting days later. Police alleged the victim had been seeking academic assistance from Chen. Chen has been charged with two counts of sexual assault. He has been released with conditions and is due to appear in court on March 30. (link)

Mar 08: Discrimination Lawsuit: A lawsuit filed on behalf of a former Auburn employee last week alleges that a former Auburn football player had a grade changed during the Fall 2019 semester that allowed him to remain eligible for the team's appearance in the Outback Bowl that season. The claim is part of a discrimination lawsuit filed in district court last week on behalf of Travis Thomas Sr., a former director of academic support services in Auburn's athletics department who was fired March 1. (link)

Mar 08: Free Speech Court Ruling: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled against Georgia Gwinnett College in a legal dispute that raised long-standing complaints, particularly from conservatives and religious organizations, that colleges often find ways to discourage or prohibit them from sharing their viewpoints on campus. The court ruled 8-1 that former student Chike Uzuegbunam can seek nominal damages even though the college has since made changes it believes makes it easier for any group to hold an event on its campus. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion. (link)

Mar 05: NCAA Allegations: Arizona has released the Notice of Allegations it received from the NCAA last fall, which includes five Level I violations. The school released the notice Friday after a judge this week ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by ESPN. The charges include a lack of institutional control by the men's basketball and swimming programs, and unethical behavior by assistant basketball coach Emanuel Richardson for accepting $20,000 in bribes. (link)

Mar 06: Confucius Institutes: The Senate on Thursday approved by unanimous consent -- without a roll-call vote -- a bill that would increase oversight on Confucius Institutes, China-funded cultural centers that operate on university campuses. According to Human Rights Watch, Confucius Institutes "are Chinese government-funded outposts that offer Chinese language and culture classes." However, some politicians, particularly Republicans, have accused them of spreading propaganda. (link)

Mar 03: Title IX Lawsuit: A lawsuit filed Feb. 28 alleges that several people, including Tamiko Strickman, director of the University of Michigan's Office of Institutional Equity, mishandled a sexual misconduct case at the University of Nebraska. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, states Strickman served as an investigator and deputy Title IX coordinator at Nebraska during the time a doctoral student -- referred to as Jane Doe in the suit -- reported sexual harassment by one of her professors. (link)

Mar 03: Title IX Lawsuit: A former University of Nebraska-Lincoln student is suing the school for failing to stop a retaliation campaign against her after she reported being sexually assaulted and harassed by a member of the faculty. The lawsuit alleges UNL violated the student's Title IX rights by depriving her of a right to education and a right to free speech by telling her financial support for her was in jeopardy if she continued pushing for an investigation, and denied her right to due process and equal protection. (link)

Mar 02: Child Molestation: A University of Georgia employee was arrested Monday on two counts of child molestation, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Obadiah John Lindsey, 26, remained Tuesday in the Athens-Clarke County Jail without bond. During the investigation, agents learned Lindsey is a maintenance worker with the grounds and facilities department at UGA. The university had not released the status of Lindsey's employment as of Tuesday afternoon. (link)

Mar 02: Breach of Contract: The former director of athletic training services and head football trainer at Penn State has sued the university claiming it breached a promise to renew his employment agreement. Henry T. Bream III, who now lives in Florida, contends in a suit filed Monday in U.S. Middle District Court he was told in May 2017 by senior associate athletic director Charmelle Green his contract would be renewed at the existing terms. A new agreement was never executed and on Feb. 6, 2018, Green notified him he had been relieved of all his duties except as head trainer for the football program and his salary would be $135,000. (link)

Mar 01: Abuse & Misconduct: The University of Florida has placed on paid leave a tenured engineering professor who was accused by his Chinese graduate student of academic misconduct and abusive personal behavior before the student killed himself on campus. Tao Li, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was placed on leave Feb. 15, according to a letter in his personnel file obtained under Florida's public records law. Li was accused of behaving abusively while supervising the academic work of Huixiang Chen, 30, who died by suicide in June 2019. He was also accused of pressuring Chen to submit false data in a research paper submitted under both their names and presented at a prestigious academic conference. (link)

Mar 01: Export Violations: Princeton University has agreed to pay a fine for 37 export violations related to controlled strains and recombinant animal pathogens sent to foreign research facilities in 15 countries, including China and the UK. The university has settled with the US Commerce Department for $54,000 (£38,128), and it has also agreed to conduct external and internal audits of its compliance with regulations, the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced earlier this month. As the various strains and recombinants of animal pathogens were classified and controlled for chemical and biological weapons reasons, and valued at approximately $27,000 in total, an export licence was required to transfer them outside the US. However, Princeton failed to seek or obtain such a licence, according to BIS. (link)

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Campus Life & Safety Events

Mar 31: Weapons: A former Lamar University employee with two loaded AK-47 rifles and five handguns in his truck was arrested on the campus Monday night on weapons and driving while intoxicated charges. Mark Edward Smith, 63, who is accused of driving while intoxicated, unlawfully carrying a firearm and resisting arrest, was arrested by Lamar University Police officers. Smith was an HVAC controls mechanic at the university from May 2016 until last week, a Lamar spokesperson told 12News on Tuesday. Smith was terminated due to "a personnel matter" on March 22, 2021, according to Lamar University's human resources department. (link)

Mar 26: Tree Theft: Police who were stumped by the theft of a rare pine tree in November from the University of Wisconsin Arboretum said Friday that they have cracked the case. UW-Madison police said three 19-year-old university students stole the tree as part of a "pledge" activity for the former Chi Phi fraternity, which hasn't been recognized as an official student organization since 2015. Police said they acted on a tip, and that the three admitted to purchasing a chainsaw, renting a U-Haul and stealing the 25-foot Algonquin Pillar Swiss Mountain pine. The stolen tree was about 30 yards (30 meters) from a street that runs through the arboretum, which is a popular spot for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and nature lovers. (link)

Mar 27: Free Speech: It was the first day of the spring semester at Shawnee State University, and a student in Nicholas Meriwether's political philosophy class hung back to have a word with the professor. During the lecture, Meriwether had called the student "sir" when she raised her hand. That was incorrect, she told him. She identified as a woman, she said, and asked him to address her accordingly. The 2018 incident at the small public university in Ohio set off a months-long investigation by school officials, who concluded that Meriwether had created a "hostile environment" and issued a written warning saying he could be fired or suspended without pay for violating campus nondiscrimination policy. (link)

Mar 25: Hazing: A troubled University of Iowa fraternity that's been on some form of probation or sanction since 2017 again has had its disciplinary stint extended -- now through the end of 2022 -- after campus investigators this month determined it hazed new members and violated alcohol and property rules. Pi Kappa Alpha -- known as PIKE and as one of the campus' largest fraternities, reporting 92 total members and nearly 20 new -- this semester committed a range of offenses involving social events with alcohol and without COVID-19 precautions; new member servitude; and lack of supervision, according to UI findings. (link)

Mar 23: Free Speech: Dr. Bandy Lee, a psychiatrist who has been outspoken in calling former President Donald Trump a danger to the country, has sued Yale University after she was not reappointed. Her federal lawsuit claims breach of contract, lack of good faith and wrongful termination and states she was fired for her public statements about Trump and his "inner circle," including attorney Alan Dershowitz. (link)

Mar 20: Hazing: The University of Central Oklahoma has suspended its cheerleading team after investigating claims of hazing. UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar sent an email Saturday morning to the UCO community outlining the alleged incident and the university's response. According to the email, UCO was notified of the alleged incident and began investigating. As a result, the university decided to suspend the cheer team immediately through the end of the school year. The team also may not participate in national competitions for two years. (link)

Mar 16: Students Abroad: Nine students, including six Americans, who attend New York University in Shanghai were detained by Chinese police in two separate incidents on the same night last week, university personnel and U.S. officials told The Washington Post. Two of the U.S. students were apprehended at a bar, according to a student and university faculty. One of them, a young man, was kicked in the head by authorities and the other, a woman, sustained bruising as police in plainclothes attempted to apprehend her, the student said. It is unclear whether the students were arrested as part of China's increasingly aggressive anti-drug enforcement policies or targeted for political reasons amid worsening relations with the United States. (link)

Mar 09: Sexual Assault: University student has been charged with raping a fellow student in her dorm room. James Patrick Withouse, 20, was charged Friday with second-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, second-degree sodomy and sexual abuse. According to a probable cause statement in the case, a woman recently came forward to report Withouse had raped her on Feb. 28. The woman allegedly told police she invited Withouse over to her dorm to watch a movie with her, but Withouse then forced himself on her and sexually assaulted her despite her telling him "no." (link)

Mar 09: Hazing: Three members of a college baseball team in South Carolina were arrested on hazing charges, the Florence County Sheriff's Office said Monday. The Francis Marion University baseball players were accused of hitting and injuring younger teammates as part of an initiation, the sheriff's office said in a news release. On Saturday, David Tyler Mangum and Jon-Mitchell Carter, both 21, and 22-year-old Noah Hunter Jones were charged with hazing, jail records show. (link)

Mar 08: Hazing: An attorney who is speaking on behalf of the family of BGSU sophomore Stone Foltz says that Stone Foltz has passed away. The student was being kept alive while they worked with doctors to donate his organs in the wake of an alleged alcohol-fueled fraternity hazing incident on Thursday that left him in critical condition. The national fraternity on Saturday described Thursday's activities as an "alleged incident of alcohol-related hazing at an off-campus event." (link)

Mar 07: Racial Issues: Three professors at the University of South Alabama have been placed on leave after racially insensitive Halloween photos surfaced of them, the university said. USA President Tony Waldrop made the announcement Friday. The pictures were taken at an on-campus Halloween party in 2014, according to a petition created by USA students, multiple news agencies reported. Then-Dean of the Mitchell College of Business and current finance professor Bob Wood was dressed in a Confederate soldier's uniform, while professors Alex Sharland and Teresa Weldy posed with a whip and noose. (link)

Mar 03: COVID Testing Policies: The University of Michigan is banning 375 students who haven't taken required coronavirus tests from entering nonresidential buildings on campus, the school announced Wednesday morning. The undergraduate students had their Mcards, which they scan to enter buildings, deactivated and received emails Tuesday telling them of the move, after what the university said was multiple attempts to reach them. This means the students can't go into buildings housing classes, laboratories or even social activities. (link)

Mar 02: Free Speech: An organization specializing in defending the rights of students and employees at American universities is suing the president of Haskell University on behalf of a reporter and editor-in-chief of the school's newspaper. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, filed a federal lawsuit against Haskell President Dr. Ronald Graham, who issued a "directive" forbidding routine newsgathering and shorting funding for the student newspaper by over $10,000 without explanation. Jared Nally, a Haskell student and editor-in-chief of the school's newspaper, the Indian Leader, says he was "silenced" for 90 days under Graham's directive. (link)

Mar 02: Greek Life/Student Death: Virginia Commonwealth University has suspended a fraternity and announced a review of all Greek life after a student was found dead at an off-campus house on Saturday. The VCU chapter of the Delta Chi fraternity was also suspended by the national Delta Chi organization. The suspensions follow the death of VCU student Adam Oakes. Statements from the university, the national fraternity and the Richmond police did not mention any cause of death, although police are investigating. (link)

Mar 01: Racial Issues: Just weeks after Kansas State University opened its new Multicultural Student Center this semester, someone scribbled hateful messages about Black History Month on a discussion board inside. Now students say the college continuously fails to protect students. Hate messages, including "Why do you celebrate Black History Month?" "What history?" and "Because it's a joke," were written across a whiteboard Feb. 26 inside the the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center. (link)

Mar 01: Free Speech: Thomas Brennan, a Ferris State University professor who was placed on leave after allegedly tweeting racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs, has been terminated by the university. Brennan came under fire in November for posts on his Twitter account involving conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and for allegedly using racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic language. He said many of the things he tweeted were "horrible" but he was exercising his free speech rights. (link)

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Mar 22: Withheld Transcripts & Degrees: Gabriel Toro choked up behind his mask as he described the lengths it took him to complete his bachelor's degree at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Toro, who is 23, is one of 97,145 students, graduates and former students who can't obtain their transcripts because they owe money to Massachusetts' public colleges and universities, according to data obtained by The Hechinger Report and GBH News. Nationwide, 6.6 million students can't obtain their transcripts from public and private colleges and universities for having unpaid bills as low as $25 or less, the higher education consulting firm Ithaka S+R estimates. (link)

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