Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
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Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
Volume 14 Number 04 | April 2022
Quotable .....
“It is better to disappoint people with the truth than to appease them with a lie.”

-- Simon Sinek

This month we focus our attention on the Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events from 2021. As usual, this is the largest category of stories linked. Higher Education remains, and will certainly continue to remain, one of the most regulated industries around. The occasional talk of reducing the regulatory burden never pans out, and it seems that new regulations and expectations from regulators continue to expand.

Here were the top 5 most common types of stories in this category:

  1. Title IX
  2. Violence on Campus
  3. Harassment Related Stories
  4. NCAA Compliance
  5. Discrimination Litigation

The types of stories include a litany of various events such as: ADA, COVID-19/Vaccination Related, Employment Litigation, NCAA Athletes Rights, Transgender Athletes Rights, Free Speech, Academic Related Litigation, Tuition Reimbursement Litigation, Defamation, Admissions Scandal, Equal Pay Litigation, Foreign Influence, Privacy Issues, Contract Litigation, Child Pornography, Police Misconduct, Wrongful Death, Due Process Claims, False Claims Act, FOIA, Whistleblower Litigation, Export Control, Retaliation, Investment Litigation, and Wire Fraud, just to name a few.

While there is little we can do to reduce regulatory requirements, we can do a few things to protect our respective institutions and create a culture of compliance. Here are 3 things you should be doing to create a more compliant campus:

  1. Educate employees on the requirements that relate to their position.
  2. Promote a way employees can report problems they observe.
  3. Be consistent in handling compliance failures. Allowing some issues to slide because of the person involved can derail a compliance culture.

As always we invite you to review the issues happening across higher education with a view toward proactively managing risk, and we welcome your comments.

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

Apr 28: Ransomware: Austin Peay State University (APSU) confirmed yesterday that it had been a victim of a ransomware attack. The university, located in Clarksville, Tennessee advised students, staff, and faculty to disconnect their computers and devices from the university network immediately as a precaution. Subsequent tweets by APSU confirm that the attack is being contained and all employees are expected to report as usual. The whereabouts of the threat actors that hit APSU, and the details of the ransom demand are yet to be known. (link)

Apr 22: Ransomware: Schools and universities are facing an unprecedented level of ransomware attacks as incidents continue to severely impact the education sector. The warning comes from Jisc, a not-for-profit organisation that provides network and IT services to higher education and research institutions. Jisc's 'Cyber Impact 2022' report suggests there's an increased threat of ransomware attacks against education. The report suggests that one of the reasons universities have become such a common target for ransomware attacks is because of the pandemic-induced sudden shift to remote working for staff and students that inadvertently left institutions open to attack. (link)

Apr 14: Data Breach: Confidential student information in the Life Sciences department of Queen's University was disseminated via email on Apr. 7. The information included student GPAs, student names, student numbers, academic plans, and years of study as of Sept. 2021. Students' sexes and email addresses were also compromised. In an email obtained by The Journal sent to Life Sciences students following the incident, Katherine Rudder, Life Sciences program advisor, said she "inadvertently" attached an Excel class list file containing the compromised information to an email sent out to all fourth-year Life Sciences students. The subject of the email was a networking opportunity. (link)

Apr 14: Fake Phishing Email: Oregon Health & Science University sent its employees an email April 12 offering up to $7,500 in aid if they were struggling with their finances due to the pandemic. The email asked recipients to click a link. When clicked, the link routed them to a page that said no financial assistance was being offered. The email, sent by OHSU administrators, was a fake phishing email that the health care giant used to gauge how gullible its employees were to cybersecurity scams, which have become a serious threat to large employers as ransomware hackers develop more sophisticated techniques for breaking into their information systems. (link)

Apr 09: Data Breach: Hackers have targeted Florida International University, officials said. University officials on Saturday notified students and staff that a ransomware group got a hold of sensitive data. Officials said they are investigating. In the message sent by the university, officials wrote, "There is no indication thus far that sensitive information has been compromised." (link)

Apr 07: Ransomware: North Carolina A&T State University, the largest historically black college in the US, University was recently struck by a ransomware Group called ALPHV, sending university staff into a scramble to restore services last month. The breach occurred the week of March 7 while students and faculty were on spring break. Systems taken down by the intrusion included wireless connections, Blackboard instruction, single sign-on websites, VPN, Jabber, Qualtrics, Banner Document Management, and Chrome River, many of which remained down when the student newspaper published its story two weeks ago. The report came a day after North Carolina A&T appeared on a darknet site that ALPHV uses to name and shame victims in an attempt to persuade them to pay a hefty ransom. (link)

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Fraud & Ethics Related Events

Apr 28: Academic Fraud: Rates of cheating in online examinations have hit a record high, according to proctoring data that show one in 14 students was caught breaking the rules last year. A global analysis of data on three million tests that used the ProctorU proctoring platform found that "confirmed breaches" of test regulations--incidents where there was clear evidence of misconduct--were recorded in 6.6 percent of all cases. This is nearly 14 times higher than the 0.5 percent misconduct rate detected in the 15 months prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which triggered the widespread adoption of online assessments and, with this, a surge in the use of online proctoring services such as ProctorU. (link)

Apr 20: Occupational Fraud: A former Stanford University employee and her brother were sentenced to federal prison terms this week for their roles in a scheme in which hundreds of laptop computers were ordered on behalf of the university but sold for private gain -- thefts that cost the institution millions of dollars over several years. The woman, 38, who worked at Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California said in a statement on Monday. (link)

Apr 15: Online Fraud: Ozarks Technical Community College announced Friday that it was robbed of $900,000 through an online fraud. OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon said the incident was discovered last week and immediately reported to the Springfield Police Department, which notified federal authorities. Higdon said the suspect, or suspects apparently impersonated one of its vendors online and successfully "directed payments from the college into a fraudulent account." (link)

Apr 15: Theft: The DeLand Police Department has asked for the public’s help as it attempts to identify a man officers say stole two musical instruments from Stetson University earlier this week. At 5:48 p.m. Tuesday, a man wearing a blue dress shirt was recorded on surveillance video entering McMahan Hall with nothing in his hands, police said. Two minutes later, the man exited the building carrying a Holton Soloist French horn and a Besson euphonium with an estimated collective value of $7,000, police said. (link)

Apr 14: Rankings Fraud: Rutgers Business School manipulated its job placement data for graduate students in a bid to get a higher ranking from U.S. News and World Report and other publications, according to a class action lawsuit. The practice, according to the lawsuit, essentially defrauded prospective students by convincing them the tuition they spent for a master's of business administration degree would pay off with a high-paying job after they graduated. (link)

Apr 08: Admissions Scandal: A federal jury found a former water polo coach at the University of Southern California guilty on Friday of taking thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for designating high school applicants as recruits so they would be favored in the college admissions process. The defendant has been the only coach to stand trial rather than take a guilty plea in the federal investigation known as Operation Varsity Blues, in which wealthy parents paid bribes to have their children admitted to elite schools. (link)

Apr 08: Misappropriation/Corruption: The former chancellor of the San Mateo County Community College District has been charged with tax evasion, misappropriation of public funds and perjury, according to prosecutors. The charges are the culmination of a years-long criminal investigation into alleged corruption at the college district. According to prosecutors, the chancellor fraudulently reported a $10,000 charitable donation to the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation Fire Relief Fund on his 2017 state income tax return. The gift was actually made by the San Mateo County College District Foundation, prosecutors said. (link)

Apr 07: Wire Fraud: A federal jury has convicted University of Kansas chemistry professor of four counts of wire fraud, in a closely watched case involving his ties to a Chinese university. The tenured professor was the first defendant among about two dozen academics charged under a since-disbanded Trump-era program known as the China Initiative. Thursday's verdict followed a two-week-long trial that drew the attention of civil rights activists, who claimed the initiative unfairly targeted Chinese Americans. (link)

Apr 01: Occupational Fraud: A former law school facilities director at the University of Texas pleaded guilty Thursday to a second-degree felony after being accused of stealing more than $1.2 million from the university, according to KXAN. Authorities alleged that the man, who worked for UT from 2007 to 2017, had fraudulently used procurement cards, contracts, invoices and money from his employment at UT to pay himself and other businesses. The thefts occurred between January 2013 and August 2017, according to court records. (link)

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Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events

Apr 27: Sexual Assault Lawsuit: At a time when Liberty University is already under scrutiny for its handling of reports of sexual assaults, a former student has come forward alleging that the school failed to investigate her claim of rape -- and retaliated against her for reporting it. The lawsuit claims that the school has a pattern of weaponizing the student code of conduct against victims of sexual assault by leading them to fear that reporting an incident will get them in trouble for violating campus rules. (link)

Apr 27: Race Discrimination: Central Michigan University is being investigated by the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights over an allegation that the university was discriminating based on race when it eliminated the men’s track team. CMU Athletic Director Michael Alford announced the discontinuation of the track team back in May 2020. In 2020, Alford said 36 student-athletes would be affected by the change. (link)

Apr 22: Sexual Assault Lawsuit: A former Spring Hill College student who accuses a fellow student of raping her has filed a federal lawsuit against him and the college. Audrey Cox, who since has withdrawn from the college and currently lives in Hickman County, Tenn., was a student and basketball player in March of last year when she accused a fellow student and soccer player of raping her in her dorm room in March of last year. The allegations drew widespread attention, in part because Cox chose to come forward publicly. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. (link)

Apr 21: Age & Sex Discrimination Lawsuit: Deborah Wilkins, WKU’s former general counsel and Title IX coordinator, sued the university on Thursday, alleging age and sex discrimination and a concerted effort to damage her career and reputation. Filled on April 21 by Bowling Green attorney Matthew Baker in the Warren Circuit Court, the suit alleges Wilkins experienced discrimination on the basis of age and gender, retaliation for participation in protected activity, tortious interference with a contractual relationship, breach of contract and fraud. The lawsuit includes 13 counts, ranging from breach of contract to "intentional infliction of emotional distress." (link)

Apr 21: Retaliation Lawsuit: Seventeen female varsity athletes who sued San Diego State University (SDSU) for depriving women of equal athletic financial aid in February charged the school today with denying women athletes equal treatment and benefits, too--and retaliating against them for trying to make SDSU comply with Title IX. Their Amended Complaint, filed in federal court in San Diego, seeks court orders requiring the school to treat its female and male student-athletes equally and prohibiting SDSU from retaliating against its female athletes in the future. It seeks damages from SDSU for retaliating against its women athletes. And it continues to seek over $1.2 million for the equal athletic financial aid the women athletes were deprived of in the last two years, the additional money they are illegally being denied this year, and a court order requiring SDSU to provide equal athletic financial aid in the future. (link)

Apr 19: Tenure Law: Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill that makes it harder for faculty at state universities to retain tenure, framing the legislation as another way that he and the Legislature are working to prevent educators from bringing their political views into the classroom. In a wide-ranging news conference at The Villages that took swings at Twitter and alleged that textbook publishers were peddling hidden agendas, DeSantis criticized what he called "lifetime appointments" for university professors. (link)

Apr 19: NCAA Violations: Ohio State will vacate several Big Ten championships in women’s basketball because of NCAA violations in the program. The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions released its findings Tuesday on a case involving three programs at Ohio State: fencing, women’s golf, and women’s basketball. The violations occurred between 2015 and 2019 and as a result, Ohio State’s athletic department has been placed on four years probation and fined $5,000. (link)

Apr 15: Child Sex Sentencing: A former University of Michigan violin professor has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to transporting a girl across states lines for sex. The indictment in October 2020 and arrest in Ann Arbor came two years after the university placed the longtime professor on paid leave after former students accused him of sexual misconduct while he taught them in the 1970s and 1980s in Nebraska and North Carolina. (link)

Apr 13: Retaliation Settlement: The California State University system paid $600,000 in January to a former top Sonoma State University administrator to resolve a dispute related to staff complaints of sexual harassment involving the SSU President’s husband, records obtained by The Press Democrat reveal. The seven-page settlement and the claim that triggered it show former provost Lisa Vollendorf accused the President of retaliation for reporting sexual harassment complaints by several female Sonoma State employees against her husband, a prominent education lobbyist. (link)

Apr 11: Migrant Tuition Ruling: A federal judge has barred officials at University of North Texas from charging out-of-state residents higher tuition than immigrants in the country illegally who under Texas law can pay in-state rates, saying the requirement is unconstitutional. Friday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Sean Jordan in Sherman marked a victory for a conservative youth organization that sued last year over the requirement and has the potential to impact other public universities in Texas. (link)

Apr 06: Title IX Policy: A small public university in southwest Virginia has become the nation's second school to adopt the most comprehensive serious misconduct policy in college sports. University of Virginia's College at Wise on Tuesday formally adopted the Tracy Rule, which requires thorough background checks for athletes and bans those found responsible in a Title IX hearing or court for sexual or violent offenses from playing on varsity sports teams. The NCAA in April 2020 announced a new policy requiring NCAA athletes to annually disclose to their schools any allegations of sexual violence against them that resulted in an investigation, discipline through a Title IX proceeding or a criminal conviction. (link)

Apr 04: Libel Judgment: An Ohio appeals court has upheld a $25 million judgment for a business that successfully claimed it was libeled by Oberlin College in the aftermath of a shoplifting incident that roiled the historic liberal arts school and music conservatory's campus outside Cleveland. The 9th District Court of Appeals in Akron on Thursday rejected all of Oberlin College's claims and upheld a judge's ruling that attorneys for the owners of Gibson's Bakery and Food Mart should receive $6.3 million in legal fees from the school. (link)

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Campus Life & Safety Events

Apr 27: A University of California, Berkeley student has been charged with threatening to shoot university staff members in an incident last week that led to an hourslong campus-wide lockdown, court documents obtained Wednesday showed. The student was charged Monday with two counts of felony criminal threats after he allegedly sent an email to several university staff members saying that two of them would be shot if he didn’t get the help he needed, according to charging documents from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. (link)

Apr 25: Water Cooler Tampering: Eyewitness News has learned a police report has been filed with the Lindsborg Police Department regarding an incident involving allegations of water cooler tampering during a baseball game at Bethany College. On Monday, Kansas Wesleyan Athletic Director Steve Wilson told the Associated Press a foreign substance was discovered in the cooler his team was using during a doubleheader against Bethany on Sunday. The allegations are that someone may have mixed paint thinner in a water cooler during Sunday’s game. (link)

Apr 25: Vandalism: Queens University of Charlotte officials found antisemitic drawings over the last few days in residence halls on its campus, the school said on Monday. One swastika was found drawn on a common space whiteboard. Two others were written in chalk on the doors of student homes, university spokesperson Keith Pierce said. The university has added officers and enlisted the help of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police for perimeter and building security checks for the next several days as the investigation into the drawings continues, Pierce said. (link)

Apr 22: Free Speech Ruling: Amid national battles about speech on college campuses, a federal appeals court Thursday ruled that a University of Central Florida policy targeting "discriminatory harassment" likely violates the First Amendment. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district judge’s rejection of a preliminary injunction against the discriminatory-harassment policy and ordered the lower court to also consider the constitutionality of another UCF policy. The 38-page opinion backed arguments by the group Speech First, which has represented students at universities in various parts of the country. Judge Kevin Newsom wrote that the UCF policy "objectively chills speech because its operation would cause a reasonable student to fear expressing potentially unpopular beliefs." (link)

Apr 22: Hazing: Three Norwich University students are facing criminal charges and others are being ticketed for hazing after an investigation into allegations of branding and waterboarding involving the women’s rugby team at the private military college, Northfield police said Friday. One 22-year-old female student is charged with simple assault and another is charged with reckless endangerment in the March 20 incident. Another student, 21, is charged with both simple assault and reckless endangerment, according to the police department. (link)

Apr 21: Sexual Assault: A contract employee who works at the Texas Athletics Nutritional Center has been accused of sexually assaulting a student worker, according to a court document released Thursday. A search warrant filed April 21 said an assault happened at the center, which is located at the North Endzone of the UT football stadium. The warrant was for a DNA sample from the suspect. According to the warrant, the sexual assault happened on March 31. The victim, a UT student, accused an employee of the assault. KXAN is not naming the employee, because that person has not been formally charged. (link)

Apr 15: Online Fraud: Ozarks Technical Community College announced Friday that it was robbed of $900,000 through an online fraud. OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon said the incident was discovered last week and immediately reported to the Springfield Police Department, which notified federal authorities. Higdon said the suspect, or suspects apparently impersonated one of its vendors online and successfully "directed payments from the college into a fraudulent account." (link)

Apr 14: UV Eye Damage: When SUNY Geneseo history professor Kathy Mapes returned to campus at the start of the spring semester on Jan. 27, she noticed something strange mounted to the back wall in her Welles Hall classroom. She thought it looked like a space heater. "It seemed hot and it looked very blue to me," Mapes recalled, "almost like blue lights flickering, and I thought that was odd. Why would they put a space heater on the wall?" She didn't think much more about it and got ready to teach class. But that night, Mapes woke up at 1 a.m. with a burning pain in her eyes. One of them did some online research and came to the conclusion that their eye problems were caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation -- UVC light -- used to target airborne pathogens. (link)

Apr 17: Free Speech Settlement: A Shawnee State University professor has settled for $400,000 in a lawsuit against his employer, arguing it was within his First Amendment rights to refuse using the preferred pronouns of a student who identifies as female. Nicholas Meriwether, a Shawnee philosophy professor, was issued a written rebuke after a 2018 Title IX investigation into the situation, prompting the lawsuit, which was originally dismissed in February 2020, when a lower district court found there were no "broader societal concerns,"but revived by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. (link)

Apr 12: Hazing Law: Gov. Glenn Youngkin has signed into law two identical bills that require college students to undergo hazing prevention laws, a year after the death of Virginia Commonwealth University freshman. Named for Adam Oakes, "Adam's Law" passed unanimously in the Senate and received 98 of 100 votes in the House. Oakes died of alcohol poisoning in 2021 following a fraternity initiation, and Oakes' family championed the bills. Under the law, colleges will be required to provide student organizations with in-person education on hazing, alcohol intoxication and their school's policies. Chapter advisors will be required to undergo training, too. (link)

Apr 11: Prank Lawsuit: USC is suing two YouTubers for allegedly causing "terror and disruption" after barging into classrooms to film prank videos for their channels. Two men, who are not USC students, staged three "classroom takeover incidents" in the university’s Mark Taper Hall of Humanities, court documents say. A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order banning the pair from the University Park campus and other school buildings. In the most recent incident, on March 29, the men interrupted a lecture on the Holocaust while pretending to be "a member of the Russian Mafia" and Hugo Boss, a known manufacturer of Nazi uniforms during World War II, according to court documents. (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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