Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
Case In Point Newsletter Logo
Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
Volume 15 Number 03 | March 2023
Quotable .....
“ Ethics are more important than laws ”

-- Wynton Marsalis

This month we continue our review of the events of 2022 with a focus on the Fraud & Ethics Category. This category has historically been dominated by occupational fraud – situations where employees use their position to commit misappropriation. Occupational fraud still led the way last year, but we continue to see a great deal more diversity in this category than in many prior years.

  1. Occupational Fraud
  2. Foreign Conflict of Interest
  3. Research Misconduct
  4. Rankings Fraud
  5. Academic Related Fraud

A few quick comments on each of the top 5:

Occupational Fraud

When someone commits occupational fraud, the person typically has financial pressures which lead them to rationalize bad decisions to use their employers’ resources. Earlier this month CNBC had this headline, “Credit Card Debt is at an All-Time High, Putting Households Near ‘Breaking Point,’ Study Shows.” (3/9/23) The households referenced in the story work in all industries including higher education. To protect yourself and your institution, ensure strong controls are in place wherever funds come in and out of the institution.

Foreign Conflict of Interest

Disclosure and transparency are the keys to managing this risk that will not go away due to federal requirements.

Research Misconduct

Like the prior topic, this issue isn’t going away, and the federal requirements and scrutiny are only likely to increase in the coming years. Artificial intelligence is providing new tools to find conduct that may previously have gone unnoticed.

Rankings Fraud

What you report to outside groups does matter. We’ve had a story in the past year where a university administrator was sentenced to prison (and I believe is currently incarcerated) from this type of scheme. A simple solution exists, just be honest.

Academic Related Fraud

This category includes cheating and plagiarism. New technologies such as ChatGPT will pose challenges that higher education will need to address in the coming years.

As always, there are a multitude of risks facing our industry, and we again invite you to review this month's events with a view toward proactively managing risk in your sphere of influence. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

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

Information Security & Technology Events

Mar 28: Data Breach: On March 20, 2023, Oklahoma City University ("OCU") filed a notice of data breach with the Attorney General of Montana after learning that a cyberattack compromised the security of current and former students and employees, as well as others whose personal information was stored on the university’s systems. Based on the university’s official filing, the incident resulted in an unauthorized party gaining access to consumers’ names, addresses, Social Security numbers, driver’s license and state ID numbers, and passport numbers. After confirming that consumer data was leaked, OCU began sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals who were impacted by the recent data security incident. (link)

Mar 26: Cyberattack: Two days after the University of New Orleans announced a campuswide internet shutdown in response to a possible threat to their cyber security system, students and staff are expressing frustration over a lack of answers. On Friday, the university announced that it and four other colleges -- River Parishes Community College, Southern University at Shreveport, LSU Agricultural Center and Nunez Community College -- would be working "diligently to restore network services soon." (link)

Mar 23: Ransomware Attack: An apparent ransomware attack forced the majority of Shoreline Community College students and staff to transition to remote work this week and prompted local and federal investigations. The disruption began on Monday. Although Shoreline’s campus -- including the Parent Child Center -- remains open, the college’s website was down as of Thursday evening, and Wi-Fi on campus was inaccessible. Classes and exams are being held in person when possible and the campus payroll system has not been affected. The college has bought mobile hot spots to help alleviate the inconvenience, but there are not enough for everyone. (link)

Mar 20: Data Breach: OU Health announced that it is alerting people in the wake of a possible security breach. OU Health said it learned that an employee's laptop that contained their e-mails was stolen on December 26, 2022. Following a subsequent investigation, OU Health said it discovered that data potentially accessed and acquired by the unauthorized party may have contained protected health information, including names along with one or more of the following: Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, dates of birth, medical record numbers, account numbers, provider names, dates of service, diagnoses, treatment information, and/or health insurance information. (link)

Mar 16: Cyberattack: Lansing Community College is closed until Monday as officials work through what they call an "ongoing cybersecurity incident." Students and employees are asked to not log into the college’s computer system, go to campus or visit any of the school’s satellite locations until Monday. In addition, all school activities and sporting events are cancelled the rest of this week. Officials say they do not have evidence that any employee or student information was compromised, but admit they don’t know the full scope of the cybersecurity issue yet. (link)

Mar 14: Data Breach: On March 9, 2023, Merced College filed a notice of data breach with the Attorney General of California after learning that a malware attack resulted in confidential student information being exposed to an unauthorized party. Based on the company’s official filing, the incident resulted in an unauthorized party gaining access to consumers’ names, addresses and other Personally Identifying Information. After confirming that consumer data was leaked, Merced College began sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals who were impacted by the recent data security incident. (link)

Mar 13: Data Breach Lawsuit: Class-action lawyers at Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, P.C., today filed the first lawsuit against the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) seeking justice on behalf of the cancer patients whose nude, medical-record photos appeared on the internet following a "preventable" and "seriously damaging" data breach, according to the filing. Negligence, breach of contract and privacy are among the claims asserted, all linked to the incident, acknowledged in early February by LVNH after it allegedly prioritized money over patient privacy and refused to pay the hackers to keep the pictures private. (link)

Mar 13: Privacy: The University of Colorado Anschutz Police Department this month is pleased to launch a new program that it believes will help deter ongoing motor vehicle theft trends. Police have partnered with Flock Safety to install license plate-reading cameras (LPRs) at all entrances to campus to identify license plates of stolen vehicles and/or those associated with outstanding criminal warrants. When the camera identifies a match with law enforcement databases, it sends an immediate notice to CU Anschutz Police’s dispatch center, so officers can respond to the area. (link)

Mar 07: Data Breach Lawsuit: Mercyhurst University faces a proposed class action that alleges a months-long data breach last year was caused by the private Pennsylvania school’s failure to implement adequate cybersecurity measures. The 31-page case says that LockBit, a well-known cybercriminal group, infiltrated the Catholic university’s computer networks between January 16 and May 15, 2022, exposing the names, Social Security numbers and financial account details of "at least thousands" of employees and current and former students. The suit claims Mercyhurst University paid a ransom to prevent LockBit from publishing the stolen information on May 22 of last year and then waited until November 8 to notify victims of the incident. (link)

Mar 02: Network Issues: The D’Youville University community has been without Wi-Fi and network services for nearly a month, and students and staff are voicing their frustrations with the school’s handling of the situation. According to the faculty union president and several students, the outage has not only affected DYU’s Wi-Fi, but also its student portal, called Self-Service, and the school’s learning management system, Canvas. The loss of access has created hardships for students, affecting their ability to access coursework and even pay rent because tuition refunds have been delayed. (link)

Mar 05: Cyberattack: Northern Essex Community College campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence will be closed Monday due to what is believed to be a cyberattack. College officials were working over the weekend to resolve the problem and said they hoped to reopen as safely and as quickly as possible. As of Sunday afternoon, the college’s website was down. Melissa Bouse, director of public relations, said the college recently became aware of a network interruption issue affecting its computer systems. (link)

Mar 06: Data Breach: West Virginia University last week informed its campus of a data breach involving patient information, and while patients’ medical records were not exposed, the file names of the medical records were accessed by external parties, a university press release said. The data was inadvertently shared publicly on a website that was used by software developers as a code repository, West Virginia University Chief Information Officer Brice Knotts told EdScoop in an email. He declined to name the website used, but according to the university notice, the website was "set up in December 2021." According to the notice, the university was informed of the breach on Nov. 25 and it "deleted from public view" all information by Nov. 28. (link)

Mar 02: Cyberattack: Two universities in Tennessee and Louisiana are struggling with cyberattacks that have crippled campus services and left students scrambling to find alternative tools. Tennessee State University -- a public historically black land-grant university in Nashville -- notified its more than 8,000 students on Wednesday that its IT systems were brought down by a ransomware attack. The attack on Tennessee State was preceded by another cyberattack on Monday affecting Southeastern Louisiana University, which initially reported network issues five days ago. (link)

Mar 01: Cyberattack: Louisiana cyber security teams are working with state police to bring the computer network at Southeastern Louisiana University back online. Friday afternoon, the school took down the system after noticing some sort of "network incident." "Late last week our technology staff determined there was a possible incident in the system," SLU spokesman Mike Revault said. "At this point, our email system is partially up, everything, those other things that went down are still down." Internet service on campus, the Southeastern website and online class system were still offline as of Tuesday afternoon. (link)

Section Divider Image

Fraud & Ethics Related Events

Mar 28: Theft: A student at LSU is in trouble after he was caught stealing from the school's football stadium. The student was arrested last week after breaking into Tiger Stadium and stealing $1,500 worth of beer. The student, a 19-year-old, and several of his friends were seen with several cases around 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. This isn't the first time that a student thought he was being clever by breaking into the stadium. (link)

Mar 28: Financial Issues: The University of Hartford has hired an independent advisory firm to recommend ways to shore up its financial position, after failing to meet the debt service coverage ratio required for over $100 million in bonds used for campus improvements and other purposes. The violation of the debt service ratio -- a key measure of an organization's ability to repay loans -- came to light in January, after the school discovered an accounting error in financial disclosure forms it provided to investors ahead of a separate $25.5 million bond offering last summer. (link)

Mar 22: Financial Mismanagement: Kentucky's state auditor sent a scathing report on Kentucky State University to state and federal prosecutors to determine whether criminal charges could be brought against former school officials accused of widespread financial mismanagement. The special examination was sent to the Kentucky's Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Kentucky, said State Auditor Mike Harmon during a press conference on Wednesday. "Our examination contains 20 findings noting multiple issues, which include poor to nonexistent record keeping, little to no financial oversight, high level of staff turnover and questionable expenditures," Harmon said. (link)

Mar 22: Embezzlement: New information has been shared concerning a Mississippi State University professor charged with embezzlement in Oktibbeha County. An MSU police arrest report released Wednesday revealed that the director of choral activities is accused of sending $39,000 in scholarship money to his spouse, who was not eligible to receive it. That happened from 2018 to 2022, according to the report. The university said an internal audit uncovered the fraud. (link)

Mar 17: Ethics: Minnesota State College Southeast President Marsha Danielson has received a reprimand and paid more than $5,000 in restitution after an investigation found she violated system procedures. An investigation by the system's internal auditors found that Danielson had inappropriately used college-owned cars for trips between campuses and her home. The system said she didn't qualify for that because she received an $833 per month transportation and communication allowance as part of her contract. Anderson said the system required her to pay $4,921.62 in reimbursement, a figure it based on an estimated 86 round trips at 97.4 miles each. (link)

Mar 15: Perjury: A Stanford University employee has been arrested after allegedly lying to police about being raped on the school’s campus last year, according to a statement from the County of Santa Clara Office of the District Attorney. The 25-year-old, of Santa Clara was arrested on Wednesday, and will be arraigned at a later date. She has been charged with two counts of felony perjury for falsely certifying documents and two misdemeanor charges of inducing false testimony. She could face jail time if convicted. (link)

Mar 15: Cultural Identity Fraud: The president of a Canadian university has apologized and is taking a leave of absence after allegations that she falsely claimed to be Indigenous, in the latest high-profile case of apparent cultural identity fraud. The incident is the latest in a string of events involving prominent figures who have been accused of overstating their claims to an Indigenous identity, prompting fresh debate about who can make such claims -- and whether embellishments and falsehoods should be treated as fraud. (link)

Mar 09: Scientific Misconduct: If Ranga Dias of the University of Rochester, New York, and his team have observed room-temperature (294 K), near-ambient pressure superconductivity, their discovery could rank among the greatest scientific advances of the 21st century. Such a breakthrough would mark a significant step toward a future where room-temperature superconductors transform the power grid, computer processors, and diagnostic tools in medicine. But for the past three years, the Rochester team--and Dias in particular--has been shrouded in allegations of scientific misconduct after other researchers raised questions about their 2020 claim of room-temperature superconductivity. (link)

Mar 06: Plagiarism: The Los Angeles Times reports that it found at least 95 separate passages in Agus’ book that appeared almost word for word in other publications that can be found on the internet. The excerpts are not credited in Agus’ book. Agus is a USC oncologist who serves as a regular contributor for CBS News. His book was set to go on sale March 7. Simon & Schuster has announced that it will cease distribution of The Book of Animal Secrets by Dr. David B. Agus amid allegations of plagiarism. (link)

Mar 05: Animal Research: A researcher using laboratory mice at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro has had his research privileges terminated after allegations surfaced that the rodents were not being cared for properly. Concerns about the mouse colony, used as part of a federally funded cancer study, were first reported by a staff member in 2021 and only brought to light last week in a written complaint to New Mexico Tech President Stephen Wells from Michael A. Budkie, executive director of the animal rights organization Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, or SAEN. (link)

Mar 03: Identity Fraud: The University of Saskatchewan has launched a website it hopes will help ensure that only genuine Indigenous people will benefit from jobs and funding set aside for them. The site is a portal, enabling First Nations, Métis, Inuit and international Indigenous peoples applying for Indigenous-specific jobs, scholarships or funding to upload proof they belong to an Indigenous community. It also provides a verification process for those without documentation. The website is the latest step in a long process that began in late 2021, shortly after CBC published a story that showed high-profile Prof. Carrie Bourassa, who had claimed to be Métis, Anishnabe and Tlingit, was of entirely European ancestry. Following an internal investigation, Bourassa resigned from the U of S. (link)

Section Divider Image

Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events

Mar 30: Contract Lawsuit: A court confrontation over contract disputes is brewing between Eastern Michigan University and the private operator of its campus parking. Provident Group-EMU Properties, an Arizona-based limited liability corporation, took over the operation of the Ypsilanti university’s parking structures in 2018. EMU issued a notice of default toward its partner, also known as Provident EMU, earlier in March for failing to repair and reopen a campus parking structure. Provident EMU has sued EMU twice in the last two weeks in both federal and Michigan court. EMU officials said they are planning to file counterclaims. (link)

Mar 30: Sexual Assault: A Lakehead University professor has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges for two alleged incidents involving a student in January 2021. Crown attorney Danielle Wood called the complainant to testify on Wednesday. There is a publication ban in place protecting her identity. The complainant told the court that she was a student in January 2021 working on completing her thesis. According to the complainant, the first incident involving the professor occurred on Jan. 28, 2021 when in her office on the Lakehead University campus. As he was helping her analyze data on her computer, he placed a hand on her leg and back, before moving his hand under her shirt and touching her skin. (link)

Mar 29: Sexual Abuse: A Cayuga County man and former Wells College Campus Safety Sergeant was arrested by New York State Police after he allegedly sexually assaulted a teenager for the last four years. State Police Investigators found that the man allegedly engaged in sexual contact with a 16-year-old and sexually assaulted that juvenile for the last four years. (link)

Mar 27: Abuse Charges: A Huntington County grand jury has indicted a former women's track coach accused of imposing a cult-like atmosphere that resulted in the emotional, physical and sexual abuse of student athletes at Huntington University. The ex-coach was charged with felony sexual battery and misdemeanor battery, according to true bills filed on Monday. He is accused of touching a victim who was compelled to submit by force or imminent threat, and knowingly and intentionally touching the victim in a rude or angry manner. A federal lawsuit was filed Sept. 30 on behalf of two former runners, Hannah Stoffel and Emma Wilson, alleging criminal battery by the coach and negligence by his wife and an assistant coach; another assistant coach; Huntington University, and other school officials. HU was also accused of Title IX violations. (link)

Mar 26: Wrongful Death Claim: The family of slain University of Arizona professor Dr. Thomas Meixner has filed a notice of a $9 million claim against the Arizona Board of Regents. The family claims that UA’s "pass-the-buck response to repeated violent threats" led to Meixner’s murder. Meixner was killed on campus by alleged shooter Murad Dervish last October. Meixner, along with a student and other faculty, were subject to over a year’s worth of alleged harassment and threats by Dervish. Reports of these threats were sent to university departments like the Office of General Counsel and the University of Arizona Police Department. But Meixners’ attorneys claim "the university’s utter failure to do even the bare minimum, to ensure safety on its campus, resulted" in the department head’s death. (link)

Mar 24: First Amendment Lawsuit: On Monday, West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler unilaterally canceled a student group’s charity drag show fundraising for LGBTQ+ suicide prevention. Wendler said he was canceling the show because of his personal religious beliefs and because drag shows are "derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny." Represented by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, student group Spectrum WT and two of its student leaders sued Wendler and other Texas A∓M University System officials this morning for shutting down the group’s event. (link)

Mar 23: Discrimination Lawsuit: A former adjunct professor is suing Western Michigan University, alleging his right to free speech and religion were violated when his contract was not renewed with the school. Daniel Mattson alleges his rights under the First and 14th Amendments were violated by employees at WMU, in a lawsuit filed March 20 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The lawsuit names Dean of College of Fine Arts Daniel Guyette and School of Music professor and former director Keith Kothman as defendants. The current School of Music Director and WMU president are also named as defendants, but their names are not included in the lawsuit. (link)

Mar 23: Sexual Abuse: An Abilene Christian University professor has been accused of sexually abusing his adoptive children, including at least one incident that happened on campus. Court documents state that in March 2023, a child came forward to police and said she and her sister were sexually assaulted by their adoptive father, and their brother may have been harmed as well. During a Child Protective Services investigation, the documents state one of the sisters reported the professor had engaged her in sexual activity multiple times, "and that one of those times was in his office at ACU". On the Abilene Christian University’s website, the professor is listed as an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. (link)

Mar 21: Breach of Contract: Service workers represented by Teamsters Local 320 at the University of Minnesota (UMN) are set to hold a press conference on Wednesday at Pioneer Hall regarding the University’s alleged breach of contract, according to a news release from the union. Teamsters said they negotiated a contract in November 2022 that ensured dining workers received 12 months of employment, compared to the previous nine-month contracts that Teamsters say left employees financially struggling for the remaining three months of the year. (link)

Mar 21: False Claims Act: The University of Iowa has agreed to training and payment of $16,444 to the United States to resolve allegations that UI, through its academic medical center in Iowa City, Iowa, submitted claims for payment to the Medicare program for x-ray interpretations by resident physicians where an attending physician’s review of the residents’ interpretations did not satisfy government payment requirements. (link)

Mar 20: Title IX Lawsuit: Seven additional women are now suing Loyola University Chicago for allegedly mismanaging student sexual assault complaints since at least 2011. In a lawsuit initially filed in November under the Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act, three women said the school "systemically mishandled and underreported student complaints of sexual misconduct" and "maintained a de facto policy" to "suppress reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment," reports The Chicago Sun-Times. (link)

Mar 15: Discrimination Lawsuit: Highland Community College in Kansas was hit with a lawsuit by a former assistant coach for the school’s football team who alleges he was fired for reporting racial discrimination. Enoch Smith alleges that he observed "ongoing acts of racial discrimination and harassment by HCC football coaches and administrators directed at Black student-athletes, employees, and others," according to the complaint filed Tuesday in the US District Court for the District of Kansas. Smith voiced his concerns to the coaching staff and athletic director, "who dismissed them," the complaint alleges. (link)

Mar 15: Wrongful Death Settlement: The University of the Cumberlands will pay $14 million to settle a lawsuit following the death of wrestler and Blount County native Grant Brace in 2020. The settlement announced Wednesday between the Kentucky university and Brace’s family includes monetary payments exceeding $14 million. The university will also engage in a heat-illness training program and promote the Brace family’s efforts to raise awareness of heat-related injuries. Brace died on Aug. 31, 2020 hours after on-campus workouts. The lawsuit filed the following year alleged the university, athletic director and coaches were negligent and failed to provide Brace with medical aid that could have prevented his death. (link)

Mar 11: Wrongful Death Settlement: The parents of Maxwell "Max" Gruver -- the Louisiana State University student who died in a 2017 hazing incident -- prevailed in their wrongful death lawsuit and were awarded $6.1 million by a jury in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this week, the family’s attorney, Jonathan Fazzola, told CNN. Max died on September 14, 2017, after an alcohol-related hazing ritual while pledging Phi Delta Theta, CNN has previously reported. He was 18. His death led Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to sign into law a set of anti-hazing measures in 2018 that made hazing a felony. (link)

Mar 10: Title IX Lawsuit: A former Westminster College women’s soccer player has filed a federal lawsuit against the college and its soccer coach alleging sexual discrimination and retaliation. A former goalkeeper for the Westminster College women's soccer team is suing the school and head coach Tony LeBlanc alleging she was subjected to "wildly inappropriate sexual harassment" as part of a hazing ritual when she was a freshman, and then was retaliated against for reporting it. The Title IX claim was filed in federal court on Tuesday. Westminster College issued a short prepared statement in response. (link)

Mar 10: Discrimination & Retaliation: In a divided opinion, a federal appeals court on Thursday reinstated the retaliation charge filed by a University of Wisconsin employee who was terminated shortly after he complained about a supervisor’s alleged racist comment. Brian Xiong, who is Hmong and speaks English as a second language, joined the University of Wisconsin as its affirmative action director in October 2018, according to the ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in Brian Xiong v. Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. (link)

Mar 09: Settlement Payment: The University of Iowa athletics department will repay $2 million to the state to cover the costs of a recent legal settlement over racial discrimination in the university's football program. The $4.2 million settlement was announced Monday between 12 Black former football players and the university. As part of the agreement, it was negotiated that the Iowa athletics department would pay $2.175 million of the costs, with the state paying the remaining $2 million. The agreement drew immediate criticism, with State Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat, saying he did not support using taxpayer funds for the deal unless Iowa athletics director Gary Barta was ousted. (link)

Mar 08: Price Fixing Lawsuit: A pair of basketball players from Brown allege in a federal lawsuit that the Ivy League’s policy of not offering athletic scholarships amounts to a price-fixing agreement that denies athletes proper financial aid and payment for their services. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Connecticut by attorneys representing Grace Kirk, a member of Brown’s women’s team, and Tamenang Choh, who played for the men’s team from 2017 through 2022. They are seeking class-action status to represent all current and former athletes at the eight Ivy League schools dating back to those recruited since March 2019. The suit argues Ivy League schools illegally conspired to limit financial aid and not compensate athletes for their services. (link)

Mar 06: Labor Lawsuit: In a press release published Monday on their website, the Graduate Employees’ Organization announced they have filed unfair labor practice charges against the University of Michigan. GEO is claiming that the University has failed to bargain in good faith during their ongoing contract negotiations. GEO is also alleging that the University has failed to provide information on benefits and workplace safety during negotiations, which employers are legally obligated to do under Michigan State Law. (link)

Mar 06: Wrongful Termination Settlement: A respected UConn liver disease researcher has won a $1.4 million settlement after an arbitrator found the university wrongly fired her for allegedly failing to disclose financial connections to China. The settlement, quietly paid to Professor Li Wang last year, marked the second time in a year that UConn was forced to spend big money after a termination was reversed. (link)

Mar 06: Discrimination Settlement: The University of Iowa has agreed to pay $4.175 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by 13 African American student-athletes who accused the university’s football coaches of racism and bullying. The settlement announced Monday comes in a case originally filed in state court in November 2020 but subsequently moved to federal court in Des Moines. It accused the Iowa head football coach of ignoring or enabling race discrimination against Black players by other coaches, including the coach’s son, an assistant coach, who allegedly called one plaintiff "dumbass Black player" in front of the team and coaching staff during an open football practice. (link)

Mar 04: Whistleblower Lawsuit: The former administrator who oversaw New Mexico State University's compliance with discrimination laws filed a lawsuit claiming the university retaliated against her for doing her job. Laura Castille, who held the title of Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Equality and Title IX Coordinator until October 2022, filed a lawsuit in the Third Judicial District Court on Feb. 7. Castille accused NMSU's top leadership of gross mismanagement, abuse of authority and violation of university policy and said NMSU violated her civil rights under the state's Whistleblower Protection Act. (link)

Mar 01: Child Pornography: A University of Scranton professor is "suspended indefinitely" after police charged him this week with 100 counts of child pornography possession. The man worked as an adjunct professor in the university's history department. University spokesman Stan Zygmunt confirmed the professor's suspension on Friday. The professor collected about 100 pornographic images of children, including those of toddlers performing sex acts, according to the Lackawanna County district attorney's office. (link)

Mar 01: NCAA Compliance: Six members of the Simon Fraser University swim team who were set to race at the NCAA Division II championships in Indianapolis next week are now ineligible after SFU was deemed non-compliant with a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) participation bylaw. According to the NCAA, SFU did not meet the bylaw minimum for swimming that requires member schools to compete in at least eight sanctioned contests with a minimum of 11 athletes. The bylaw was relaxed in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but NCAA Division II members voted to reinstate its full requirement for this season. (link)

Mar 01: Religious Freedom Rule: The Biden administration is preparing to revoke a Trump-era religious protection for university students, calling the rule "unduly burdensome." The Department of Education announced Tuesday that it is proposing to rescind the religious freedom section of the 2019 executive order "Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities," which requires federal departments to ensure that colleges receiving federal grants "promote free inquiry" consistent with the First Amendment. If the Education Department revokes the rule, the agency will delegate cases of religious discrimination by universities to the courts, rather than threaten to pull grants from the institutions of higher education. (link)

Mar 01: Title IX Lawsuit: Bullying and "anti-male bias" stemming from an unproven sexual assault allegation drove a first-year merchant marine cadet to take his own life, his father has claimed in a lawsuit. In the wrongful death suit against California State Maritime University, Rick Bagnall alleges that biased proceedings against his son Camren led "to the untimely death, by suicide, of a blameless young man." The lawsuit names the female cadet who accused Bagnall and officials at the public school in Vallejo as defendants. (link)

Section Divider Image

Campus Life & Safety Events

Mar 27: Campus Threat: North Carolina Central University campus police arrested a student Monday in connection to threats made on social media against the school. North Carolina Central University canceled its evening classes Monday due to the threat. The university's police department received at a call at 3:50 p.m. Monday about a report of the social media post indicating a threat to campus. Police determined the threat was not credible. (link)

Mar 27: Free Speech: Wayne State University has suspended a professor who allegedly posted on social media that people would be justified in killing those with whom they have disagreements, according to a note to the university from President Roy Wilson. The university became aware of the post Monday morning, Wilson said in his email. The professor, whose identity was not revealed, works in the university's English department. A university spokeswoman declined further comment. (link)

Mar 22: Free Speech: Stanford Law School will not discipline students who disrupted a campus speech by a conservative federal judge earlier this month, but an official who appeared to intervene on the protesters' behalf is now on leave, the law school's dean said Wednesday. In a 10-page public letter, dean Jenny Martinez detailed the school's response to the March 9 protest of 5th U.S. Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, a 2018 appointee of former President Donald Trump. The letter said Stanford Law administrators did not enforce the school’s speech policy, which prohibits shutting down speakers through heckling. (link)

Mar 22: Robbery: A 19-year-old man has been arrested in connection to an armed robbery that reportedly happened in an Indiana Tech dorm room, according to the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) and court documents. And according to investigators, he may have helped set up the robbery while inside the dorm room. That night, an Indiana Tech student had returned to her dorm room and went inside when two suspects grabbed the closing door, pulled out handguns and forced their way into the student’s dorm room, according to court documents. (link)

Mar 21: Mental Health: University of Houston President Renu Khator issued a series of tweets Monday evening following the university's second apparent student suicide in a month's time. In her messages, Khator confirmed the deceased individual discovered earlier in the day at Agnes Arnold Hall was a student and stated the university would be taking additional steps to address mental health on campus. Khator's remarks follow a wave of anger that emerged Monday in response to the university's initial statement regarding its latest on-campus death. (link)

Mar 21: Sexual Assault: The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police arrested a man after he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman on a sidewalk on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln city campus last Wednesday. According to the arrest affidavit, the victim was walking southbound on 17th Street south of Vine Street near The Courtyards the morning of March 15 when she was approached by the 31-year-old man. UNLPD said the victim reported the man crossed 17th Street, walked towards her without saying anything, reached around the victim and grabbed her left buttocks. The victim said he never said anything to her and continued walking afterwards. (link)

Mar 19: Shooting: Prosecutors in Ohio say a suspect is facing charges after a college baseball player visiting from Michigan was shot multiple times following a game. The shooting happened around 7 p.m. Friday on the campus of Muskingum University, which is about 70 miles east of Columbus, Ohio. The victim plays baseball for Olivet College out of Michigan. He was treated for non-life threatening injuries at a hospital and reportedly released. Olivet College says after its win on the field, one of its players went back to the dugout to get a personal item. The school says soon after, there was "an incident" involving an unknown individual with a firearm." (link)

Mar 17: Assault: Ohio University announced Friday that the wrestling coaching staff has been placed on administrative leave after allegations of students being physically assaulted during a practice. The Ohio University Police Department is looking into allegations that two student athletes were physically assaulted during a practice. (link)

Mar 13: Free Speech: Amy Wax, a law professor, has said publicly that "on average, Blacks have lower cognitive ability than whites," that the country is "better off with fewer Asians" as long as they tend to vote for Democrats, and that non-Western people feel a "tremendous amount of resentment and shame." At the University of Pennsylvania, where she has tenure, she invited a white nationalist to speak to her class. And a Black law student who had attended UPenn and Yale said that the professor told her she "had only become a double Ivy ‘because of affirmative action,’" according to the administration. All of which poses a conundrum for the University of Pennsylvania: Should it fire Amy Wax? (link)

Mar 13: Sexual Assault: A freshman University of St. Thomas track athlete was served alcohol at an initiation party thrown by older team members and was sexually assaulted later that night at an off-campus gathering where her alleged attacker and men's track team members lived, read a criminal complaint filed Monday. On March 7, 2022, police met with the woman who reported that she blacked out two days earlier and awoke to find a man raping her at the house where he and St. Thomas track athletes lived. (link)

Mar 13: Threat: A former University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student threatened students, staff members and professors at the university, telling some of them via email before he traveled to the U.S. last week that he planned to kill their children, according to court documents. Federal agents arrested the student on Friday night at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and he is being temporarily held without bond, The Detroit News reported. He's scheduled for a Tuesday detention hearing. (link)

Mar 12: Racial Issues: The black director of diversity, equity and inclusion at a California college was fired after being denied tenure when a board member accused her of disrespecting Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza. Dr. Tabia Lee began working at De Anza College, located just outside of San Jose, in August 2021. Since then, she has objected being forced to join a 'socialist network' and had to fight to bring a 'Jewish inclusion' event to the school, according Inside Higher Ed. In addition, Lee said that she earned the ire of the school's woke student body and management after asking for definitions of terms such as anti-racism, her refusal to use terms such as 'Latinx' and 'Filipinx' and wondering why the letter B in 'Black' was being capitalized but not the W in 'White.' (link)

Mar 10: Hazing: On Jan. 21, hours after the Harvard women’s ice hockey team fell 3-1 to Union College, Crimson coach Katey Stone walked into the Boynton Lounge, a hospitality suite within The Bright-Landry Hockey Center. It was the night of the HH Dinner, the marquee event of alumni weekend, and the room was filled with Stone’s former and current players, athletic department officials and others. But amidst the socializing and revelry was an undercurrent of unease. Stone and many others at the dinner knew that the Boston Globe was about to publish an exposé about the program. Days earlier, current players and some alumni received an email from Stone notifying them of a coming article that would accuse her of fostering "a culture that has emotionally damaged many of the girls I have recruited." (link)

Mar 09: Sexual Battery: Florida State University’s Police Department is currently investigating a sexual battery following a woman's allegation of being grabbed by an unknown man in a bathroom stall on campus Sunday afternoon. A report -- which was filed Wednesday -- states that the sexual battery occurred 2 p.m. Sunday in FSU’s Student Union building, where the woman was attending an event. The student told police she was pulled into a stall by the man after entering a women's bathroom. The accused individual is described as a college-aged, 5’10’’ white man with straight dark hair, weighing 190 pounds, according to the report. He was last seen wearing a polo shirt and a COVID-style face covering. (link)

Mar 07: Plane Crash: Polk State College is mourning the loss of student pilot Zachary Mace and Sunrise Aviation flight instructor Faith Baker after a plane crash Tuesday afternoon over Lake Hartridge in Winter Haven. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office identified two small airplanes as a Cherokee fixed-wing plane operated by Sunrise Aviation on behalf of Polk State, and a Piper J3 Cub Seaplane operated by Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base. (link)

Mar 07: Free Speech: Artist Lydia Nobles was caught by surprise last week when she received word artwork she’d been asked to contribute to a Lewiston show about women’s health was being rejected days before the exhibit was set to open. The New York-based conceptual artist is asking for her work to be displayed in the "Unconditional Care" exhibition that opened Friday at Lewis-Clark State College’s Center for Arts & History after school officials removed it from the lineup citing Idaho’s No Public Funds for Abortion Act. (link)

Mar 07: Voyeurism: A Central Connecticut State University student is accused of watching other students shower on campus. On January 17, CCSU police said two women on the school’s swim team noticed 25-year-old male student watch them shower. He is a CCSU student who lives on campus. According to a campus police arrest warrant, one of the women noticed the man peeking through a small door opening. She made eye contact with him, screamed and immediately told her coach. The man is now being charged with voyeurism and criminal trespassing. (link)

Mar 07: Sexual Assault: A Jackson State University student was charged with raping two of his classmates. The 22-year-old also has an active warrant from Atlanta for a felony rape charge. Jackson Police said on Friday, March 3, at 2:21 P.M. the man was arrested for two counts of rape. Police said the rapes happened in the 2800 block of Robinson Street on Tuesday, February 14, and February 26. WLBT said that during Monday’s proceeding, a detective said that they believe drugs could have been used to keep the victims from resisting. (link)

Mar 07: Campus Police: Four people were arrested after a physical altercation Monday at the University of South Florida during a protest against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal to ban diversity programs at state universities. Protesters say officers with the University Police Department used excessive force while the department said in a statement that students started the clash. About 25 members of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society, a campus activist group, were protesting the governor’s stances against diversity, equity and inclusion departments shortly after 12:30 p.m. Monday. The group marched from the Marshall Student Center to the Patel Center for Global Solutions, chanting that they demanded a meeting with USF President Rhea Law to ask what she was doing to protect marginalized students. (link)

Mar 03: Threat: A 24-year-old former University of the South student remains in Franklin County Jail on a $100,000 bond after being charged with threatening mass violence at the school, according to Sheriff’s Office reports. The charges stem from a 10:15 a.m. incident on Feb. 25 at the university’s Tennessee Williams Center where a man had threatened bystanders and two student firemen with racial slurs, used a slingshot to shoot a visiting rugby team member with a rock and told several individuals they would "die and meet God on the field today," according to Sewanee police reports. (link)

Mar 01: Campus Carry: West Virginia’s governor signed a bill Wednesday allowing people with concealed carry permits to take firearms onto public college and university campuses. The law will take effect in July 2024. Similar legislation has passed in 11 other states. (link)

Section Divider Image


Mar 15: Racial Issues: Until this year, the University of Kentucky’s William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology had never returned any of the more than 4,500 Native American human remains in its collections. That is about to change. Weeks after ProPublica published the "Repatriation Project," the university told federal officials that 138 ancestral remains in its collection could be repatriated to three Shawnee tribes in Oklahoma and Missouri. The university also announced it will commit nearly $900,000 over the next three years and hire three more staff members to work on repatriations. (link)

Section Divider Image

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.

Back to top

© Redistribution of this newsletter, with or without modification, is permitted provided Auburn University Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy is listed as the source.