Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
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Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
Volume 13 Number 08 | August 2021
Quotable .....
“Lessons in life will be repeated until they are learned.”

-- Frank Sonnenberg

Case in Point has grown to include readers from the entire continental United States and seven other countries. Because we are continually adding new readers, I like to periodically go back to the basics of why we publish this newsletter and offer suggestions for how you can make the most of it each month.

The primary purpose of our publication is to help higher education be successful in its mission: to change lives and improve the world through education, research, and outreach of various types. We believe this is a noble mission and one worth helping others succeed in fulfilling.

We acknowledge that there are a lot of things that can get in the way of achieving this mission, and we call these things risks. Each month we list stories that are often, if not usually, risk management failures. We think this provides an educational opportunity that we can learn from and hopefully use to prevent similar failures at our respective institutions.

  1. Scan the headlines and stories from the entire newsletter, not just the area or topics for which you are responsible. If you see an interesting story, forward the newsletter to your colleague who you believe owns that specific risk and let them know you thought the story might be of interest. Developing a risk-intelligent institution takes each of us working together to help educate and inform each other. Who knows? Perhaps you will share information with a colleague that will help prevent your institution from becoming a headline.
  2. Read the articles that detail any specific risks or topical areas that apply to you. Think honestly about your own operations and whether you have proactive processes, procedures, or activities in place that reduce the risk to a level that you can live with.
  3. Talk to your employees who are responsible for managing any specific area of risk that catches your eye in the newsletter. Don't make the assumption that they are aware of what is happening at other institutions. In conversation, send the message that proactive action is important to you and your institution. You may learn that the proactive actions you think are occurring have not made it to those doing the daily work.

Next month we will talk about proactive risk management and offer our suggestions on how it can become part of your operational philosophy. We invite you to review this month's events in higher education through the lens noted above. As always, we welcome your comments or suggestions.

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

Aug 23: Data Breach: Personal information from California State University, Chico, students who requested a religious exemption from the COVID vaccine has been posted online after an apparent data breach. The requests from about 130 students were dumped on an anonymous Internet message board, documenting approved and denied requests from CSU Chico students between June 7 and Aug. 10. A commenter on the site linked to an Excel spreadsheet with detailed explanations from students who had asked to be exempted from receiving the vaccine in order to attend the college. Student names and phone numbers were included in many of the entries. (link)

Aug 17: Data Breach: The Indiana Department of Health announced Tuesday it is notifying nearly 750,000 Hoosiers that data from the state's COVID-19 online contact tracing survey was improperly accessed back in July. The data included name, address, email, gender, ethnicity and race, and date of birth. "We believe the risk to Hoosiers whose information was accessed is low. We do not collect Social Security information as a part of our contact tracing program, and no medical information was obtained," said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. "We will provide appropriate protections for anyone impacted." (link)

Aug 17: Data Breach: Centennial College was informed last month by its provider of emergency medical insurance for international students that an unauthorized third party illegally accessed its computer network, resulting in a breach of client data. The breach was reported by International Insurance on July 22. (link)

Aug 16: Data Breach: A data breach at a New York university has potentially exposed the personal information of nearly 47,000 individuals. The Research Foundation for the State University of New York (SUNY) announced it detected unauthorized access to its networks earlier this year. The incident was discovered on July 14, and reportedly involved Social Security numbers. A total of more than 46,700 individuals are said to be impacted by the data breach, although it's not stated whether these people are employees, donors, or others who might be linked to the organizations. (link)

Aug 09: Privacy/Research: U.S. lawmakers pressed Facebook Inc on Monday on why it disabled the accounts of researchers studying political ads on the social media platform, saying it was "imperative" that experts be allowed to look into "harmful activity ... proliferating on its platforms." Facebook said on Tuesday it had cut off the personal accounts and access of a group of New York University researchers, citing concerns about other users' privacy. Facebook has said that the research violated rules to protect the privacy of the social media company's users. (link)

Aug 05: Data Breach: A data breach at the University of Kentucky exposed the email addresses of more than 355,000 students and teachers nationwide. The database that was breached did not contain any financial, health or social security information, according to a news release. It was part of the Digital Driver's License database that is used by schools and colleges in Kentucky and other states. Kentucky students have taken civic courses through the program in recent years. (link)

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Fraud & Ethics Related Events

Aug 27: Academic Fraud: As college moved online in the COVID-19 crisis, many universities are reporting increases, sometimes dramatic ones, in academic misconduct. At Virginia Commonwealth University, reports of academic misconduct soared during the 2020-21 school year, to 1,077 -- more than three times the previous year's number. At the University of Georgia, cases more than doubled; from 228 in the fall of 2019 to more than 600 last fall. And, at The Ohio State University, reported incidents of cheating were up more than 50% over the year before. (link)

Aug 21: Academic Fraud: Eighteen midshipmen have been expelled or resigned from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., after an investigation concluded they cheated on a remote physics exam in December 2020, according to school officials. On that month, 653 midshipmen took the final exam for General Physics I through the online platform in order to limit in-person contact during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a statement from the academy released Friday. Officials said students, who were mostly sophomores, were given written and verbal instructions prohibiting them from using any "outside sources to complete the exam, including other websites." (link)

Aug 12: Occupational Fraud: An accounting manager formerly employed by the University of South Florida's University Medical Services Association has accepted a plea agreement on a felony charge of embezzling millions from the university. The manager hatched a plan to use UMSA credit cards to buy things without permission, for his own benefit and stole millions of dollars. Documents show that starting in June 2014, he planned to and then did obtain more than $12 million through the scheme, according to the documents detailing the charge. (link)

Aug 09: Financial Controls: State auditors found Roanoke-Chowan Community College issued more than $10.3 million in checks with invalid signatures between August 2019 and August 2020, putting the school at increased risk of fraud. A report released Friday by the Office of State Auditor Beth Wood said the college didn't have proper policies and procedures in place to detect that the checks bore signatures of former employees. The school issued 2,644 checks during the examination period containing digital signatures of the former college president and controller, even though they were no longer employed by Roanoke-Chowan. (link)

Aug 05: Bribery: One math lesson a professor taught at Baltimore City Community College was, according to prosecutors, pretty simple: $150 for a C; $250 for a B; and $500 for an A. And in some courses, an A could go for as little as $300. Over the course of seven months last year, the professor solicited bribes from 112 students, and received 10 payments from nine students, totaling $2,815, the Maryland attorney general, Brian E. Frosh, said in a statement on Thursday. In another scheme, the professor sold online access codes that enabled students to view instructional material and complete assignments, prosecutors said. From 2013 to 2020, he sold 694 access codes for about $90 each. (link)

Aug 02: Espionage: The Justice Department is taking another shot at prosecuting a former University of Tennessee professor whose career and reputation were ruined by a false spy claim leveled by the previous administration. A jury earlier this year deadlocked on the issue of the professor's guilt, delivering the first public blow to the Trump administration's highly-touted "China Initiative" -- a campaign to expose Chinese spies operating in America that instead targeted Chinese academics working in American universities. (link)

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Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events

Aug 26: Retaliation Verdict: Arizona State University retaliated against a Black professor for stating his opinions on diversity and criticizing hiring during a job interview -- and the school owes him a hefty payment because of it, a jury has found. A federal jury awarded professor Nicholas Alozie $357,000 on Aug. 16 after a trial in U.S. District Court on claims he brought five years ago about how he was passed over for a dean position. The jury unanimously decided in favor of Alozie on his claim of unlawful retaliation. (link)

Aug 23: Negligence Lawsuit: The family of a college student is suing the University of the Cumberlands for his death following a wrestling practice last year. Grant Brace, a 20-year-old junior from Louisville, Tenn., died Aug. 31, 2020, from heat stroke, according to the lawsuit filed Monday, which was the college's first day of classes. The lawsuit alleges Brace's death "was tragic and entirely avoidable." The lawsuit alleged Countryman and Sinkovics created a culture that resulted in harm to numerous student-athletes and Brace's death, and that University of the Cumberlands administration turned a blind-eye. (link)

Aug 20: NCAA Violations: The Texas A&M men's basketball program violated multiple NCAA rules, according to an agreement released by the Division I Committee on Infractions. The university, a men's basketball assistant coach, the men's basketball head coach and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that the program violated multiple NCAA recruiting rules. Specifically, the head coach had impermissible contact with a prospect during an evaluation period. The assistant coach violated NCAA rules when he observed a prospect participating in an open gym during an unofficial visit and later conducted two 45-minute tryouts with that prospect, during which he provided coaching instruction. (link)

Aug 18: NCAA Violations: The NCAA is investigating Nebraska and head coach Scott Frost for alleged "improper use of analysts and consultants during practices and games," according to the Action Network's Brett McMurphy. The allegations against Nebraska and Frost date back 12 months, McMurphy reports. The program reportedly improperly used analysts and consultants during special team drills during Nebraska practices, where Jonathan Rutledge worked with players despite not being one of the team's 10 full-time assistants. (link)

Aug 17: Failure to Report Misconduct: Penn State's longtime fencing coach has been suspended for three years by the nonprofit that monitors abuse in Olympic sports, after a complaint by a North Carolina coach that he suppressed her sexual-misconduct complaint against one of his assistants. The action against th coach was handed down Monday by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a Denver-based nonprofit that had been launched in 2017 to identify and reduce misconduct in Olympic sports. SafeSport's disciplinary database states that the coach's misconduct includes failure to report, abuse of process, and retaliation. (link)

Aug 16: Injury/Negligence Lawsuit: Seton Hall University has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by former star basketball player Myles Powell over a knee injury Powell claims was misdiagnosed by team staff and led to his not being drafted by any NBA teams. In his lawsuit filed last month that seeks unspecified damages, Powell claimed the failure of the South Orange, New Jersey-based school, coach Kevin Willard and staffer Tony Testa to correctly diagnose a knee injury led to physical and financial damage. Powell was Seton Hall's third all-time leading scorer and was the Big East Conference player of the year in 2019-20. (link)

Aug 13: Sexual Abuse: A former massage therapist for the athletic department at the University of Kansas has been found guilty of sexually abusing three student soccer players and two others. The massage therapist was convicted Thursday on all eight charges raised against him, including three counts of indecent liberties with a child under the age of 14. He'd been accused of fondling a girl, a family friend, on three separate occasions between 2013 and 2015, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. She was either 9 or 10 years old when the incidents occurred. He was additionally found guilty on five charges of of sexual battery for fondling four women while giving them a massage for athletic-related issues between 2016 and 2019. Three of the women were players on the University of Kansas soccer team, while the fourth woman was a university student who was a client at his office. (link)

Aug 13: Negligence Lawsuit: The family of a University of Florida graduate student who died by suicide has filed a legal complaint seeking unspecified financial damages against the school for neglecting to intervene in what it said was mistreatment by a former professor. The statement of claim filed by the family of Huixiang Chen with the Florida Department of Financial Services is a legal maneuver that is a precursor to a civil lawsuit against a state government agency. Chen, 30, hanged himself in a university lab in June 2019 and left behind notes accusing his tenured professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Tao Li, 49, of abusive behavior and academic misconduct. (link)

Aug 11: Discrimination Lawsuit Settlement: A former track and field coach has settled his racial discrimination lawsuit against the university for $1.1 million, his attorney said. Brittany Mehl of Cornerstone Law Firm in Kansas City represented Carjay Lyles in the suit he filed in 2018 against the University of Missouri System Board of Curators, head track and field coach Brett Halter and former associate athletic director for compliance Mitzi Clayton. Clayton now works as the MU director of community relations and NCAA certification. Lyles worked for MU from 2013 to July 2017, when he left because of "intolerable working conditions," according to the lawsuit. (link)

Aug 11: NCAA Violations: A Division I Committee on Infractions hearing panel could not conclude that Baylor violated NCAA rules when it failed to report allegations of and address sexual and interpersonal violence committed on its campus. However, the panel did find other violations occurred between 2011 and 2016: impermissible benefits were provided to a football student-athlete who was not reported for failing to meet an academic performance plan following an academic violation and the university operated a predominantly female student-host program that did not align with NCAA recruiting rules. Additionally, a former assistant director of football operations did not meet his obligation to cooperate and violated ethical conduct rules when he did not participate in the investigation. (link)

Aug 10: ADA/Title III: The Justice Department and U.S Attorney's Office for the District of Rhode Island today announced a settlement agreement with Brown University to ensure that students with mental health disabilities have equal access to educational programs. The agreement resolves the department's findings that Brown University violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not allowing students who took medical leave for mental health reasons to return to school even though they were ready to return to campus life. The settlement agreement protects the rights of students with mental health disabilities to have equal access to Brown's educational programs. (link)

Aug 09: Title IX Class Action: Brown University has systematically and repeatedly failed to protect women from rape and other sexual misconduct, according to a federal class action lawsuit filed recently by four current and former female students. The suit, which was filed last Friday in Providence federal court, alleges the Ivy League school in Rhode Island actively prevented the reporting of incidents of sexual violence and perpetuated a "culture of silence" on campus. (link)

Aug 06: Discrimination Lawsuit: Details emerged Friday in a lawsuit filed by three former administrators and one current faculty member accusing the University of Montana of sex-based discrimination. The Missoulian reported the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday alleges the university fostered a toxic environment where women were discriminated and retaliated against. The complainants described in court filings treatment from the university that amounted to a "good ‘ol boys' club" and specifically pointed to university President Seth Bodnar, who they say created a campus where women were questioned and belittled. (link)

Aug 01: Defamation Lawsuit: A Fairfield University professor is suing a student who complained to school administrators that he had gotten an unfair grade. Sharlene McEvoy, a business law professor, is also suing Fairfield University claiming officials there defamed her after they determined the student was right. The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court, seeks an order prohibiting school officials from altering the grade she gave the student and unspecified money damages. (link)

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Campus Life & Safety Events

Aug 17: Fines for Unvaccinated: In an email sent Monday to about 600 students who have not provided proof of COVID-19 vaccination to the school, Quinnipiac University threatened hefty fines and loss of privileges for anyone who is not fully immunized by Sept. 14. According to the email, fines will start at $100 a week and increase from there, maxing out at $2,275 over the course of the fall semester. Additionally, unvaccinated students must undergo weekly testing or face an additional $100 weekly fine. They will also lose access to the Quinnipiac network and to campus Wi-Fi. (link)

Aug 15: Construction Delays: Clark Atlanta University's president has issued an apology for not being able to provide housing for several hundred students. Nearly 500 students showed up to move into their dormitories this weekend, only to find that there was no room available. President George T. French, Jr. said that renovations to about 20% of the university's dorms are behind schedule, leaving 464 students without housing. French said the university will put students up in nearby hotels until the work on the dorms is finished. (link)

Aug 13: Campus Building/Health Hazard: While all colleges remain focused on trying to stop the spread of COVID and the Delta Variant, East Carolina University has another deadly health concern. Faculty members want to know if a campus building that dates back to 1970 is contributing to the cancer deaths of their colleagues. "Faculty in this building are very concerned about the severe illnesses that have happened here," History Professor Dr. Karin Zipf told WRAL Investigates. She serves as president of ECU's chapter of the American Association of University Professors and has worked in the Brewster building for 20 years. Since 2011, she's lost five fellow educators, including four just since 2018, who all had offices in the A-Wing of the building. They all died from pancreatic cancer, a rare and aggressive disease. (link)

Aug 11: Fees for Being Unvaccinated: A West Virginia college will charge unvaccinated students a "Covid fee" when they return to campus, while administrators at an Alabama school said students who have not been vaccinated will have to foot the bill for weekly testing. West Virginia Wesleyan College announced the nonrefundable $750 fee in a Covid-19 update on its website. The private liberal arts college, with roughly 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students, does not have a vaccine mandate, but encourages students and staff to get the shots prior to the start of the fall semester. (link)

Aug 11: Arson: A college professor suspected in a series of arson fires in remote forested areas of Northern California near the massive Dixie Fire has been charged in connection with one of the blazes in Lassen County and was ordered ordered Wednesday at the Sacramento County Main Jail. The professor, 47, is believed to have worked at a number of colleges in California, including Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University, where he was listed as a lecturer in criminal justice studies specializing in criminal justice, cults and deviant behavior. (link)

Aug 09: Gambling: Federal prosecutors say a massive international gambling ring based around Chicago reached into the campus of Illinois State University, where a key player in the ring allegedly "ran a significant bookmaking operation." Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Kinney insisted in a court memo Monday that the defendant deserves to spend time behind bars, pointing in part to his alleged venture at Illinois State. The prosecutor also wrote that the defendant brought a "deep-pockets" gambler and a police officer into the gambling ring. (link)

Aug 04: Religious Groups Lawsuit Ruling: In a unanimous decision, the federal court for the 8th Circuit held that administrators at the University of Iowa are violating the First Amendment by removing Christian, Muslim, and Sikh student organizations for choosing student leaders who share the group's mission and values. The court's ruling of InterVarsity v. University of Iowa follows a series of recent decisions that uphold the First Amendment's free exercise clause and specifically rejects skewed applications of anti-discrimination policies based on a leader's viewpoints. (link)

Aug 03: Harassment Lawsuit: Last winter, students at California Lutheran University received a message from their president with disturbing news. "Two racist incidents involving social-media posts by Cal Lutheran students occurred in the last week," the email from Chris Kimball said. "Blackface and the N-word evoke white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and remind us that a violent, racist past is still with us today." Kimball didn't offer much detail about the incidents in question. But a lawsuit filed last week by 24 members of the women's softball team and three coaches alleges that it was well-known on campus that the message was about them. (link)

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If you have any suggestions, questions or feedback, please e-mail Kevin Robinson at or Robert Gottesman at 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.

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