Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
Case In Point Newsletter Logo
Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
Volume 15 Number 05 | May 2023
Quotable .....
“ You can have all the right strategies in the world; if you don't have the right culture, you're dead. ”

-- Patrick Whitesell

In this month's newsletter, we conclude our evaluation of the Case in Point news stories from the previous year, focusing on the realm of Campus Life/Safety. Throughout the years, this category has consistently proven to be the most diverse, showcasing the vast imagination of those who reside, study, or visit our campuses. Unfortunately, not all this creativity is put to good use. This article aims to shed light on the most frequent topics that emerged within this category, while also acknowledging the plethora of other stories that encompassed a wide range of issues.

When analyzing the stories, it becomes evident that certain themes have dominated the campus life/safety landscape. The top five most frequently addressed topics last year were as follows:

  1. Free Speech Issues: Debates surrounding the boundaries and limitations of free speech have become a prominent aspect of campus life. The clash of differing opinions, controversies over invited speakers, and the balance between academic freedom and ensuring a respectful environment are common areas of concern.
  2. Race Related Issues: Discussions on race and ethnicity remained at the forefront of campus dialogue. Students and faculty engaged in conversations about diversity, inclusion, cultural sensitivity, and combating discrimination. Racial incidents, both overt and subtle, prompt calls for change and increased awareness.
  3. Sexual Allegations/Crime: Campus communities confronted the persisting issue of sexual assault and harassment. The importance of consent education, support for survivors, and efforts to create safer environments through policy changes and prevention initiatives must continue to be key focal points.
  4. Campus Shootings/Threats: The specter of campus violence loomed large as incidents of shootings and threats captured headlines. Campuses continue to grappled with improving security measures, emergency response protocols, and addressing the underlying factors that contribute to such acts of violence.
  5. General Campus Safety: Ensuring overall campus safety remained a paramount concern. From fire safety to infrastructure maintenance, institutions must work to create secure environments for students and staff. Safety education, risk assessment, and crisis management are integral components of this ongoing endeavor.

I've routinely said in presentations that the greatest risks we face are those issues or events that can impact the real (and perceived) safety of campus by students and parents. It is vital in today's world that we take actions to keep our communities safe and create a culture where people will speak up if they see things of concern.

There are many risk-related topics that deserve our attention in higher education. We again invite you to review the events noted over the past month with a view toward proactively managing risk. As always, 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

May 19: Data Breach: Each year, hundreds of institutions across the US and Canada ask their first-year, transfer, and older students to participate in a survey about their prior academic and co-curricular experiences. Some of the questions are designed to learn about the psychological well-being of the students. The Cybernews research team discovered that one of the institutions participating in the survey -- Indiana University -- failed to protect the BCSSE survey data. Our researchers stumbled upon two unprotected Azure Storage blogs with over 1.3 million exposed files. The documents, which the public shouldn't be able to access in the first place, contained confidential BCSSE data: student full names, card numbers, and their answers about academic background and performance. (link)

May 16: Cybersecurity: The Achilles heel of higher education might be its cybersecurity provisions, and a new survey reveals just how vulnerable high-ranking security officials feel in the face of an imminent threat. Specifically, 68% of surveyed education CISOs believe they are at risk of facing a material cyberattack within the next 12 months, and 61% said they would be "unprepared to cope," according to American enterprise security company Proofpoint and its latest report, "Voice of the CISO." Even more alarming is that more than half of CISOs in the education sector say their organization "is likely" to pay ransom to prevent and restore lost data. However, of all the sectors surveyed, education had the third-lowest rate of CISOs to believe this statement. For example, 73% of CISOs in retail say they are willing to pay a ransom. (link)

May 15: Data Breach: On April 28, 2023, Whitworth University filed a notice of data breach with the Attorney General of Maine after the school learned that a ransomware attack exposed confidential student information to unauthorized access. Based on the company's official filing, the incident resulted in an unauthorized party gaining access to students' first and last names, Social Security numbers, student identification numbers, dates of birth, passport numbers, and health information. News of the Whitworth University data breach is still fresh; however, what we know at this point comes from the company's filing with the Maine Attorney General. According to this source, on July 29, 2022, Whitworth University experienced a ransomware attack. (link)

May 11: Ransomware: Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) in West Brighton experienced a recent ransomware attack that has triggered an ongoing network outage at the hospital, an official said. The extent of the breach, which has crippled online services at the over-470 bed facility, is not currently clear. The hospital is now working to both ascertain which information may have been vulnerable and bring its systems back online. The attack is causing a trove of complications at the facility, said a staff member at the hospital who was granted anonymity to talk freely about the issue. Intermittent outages began on Friday, the employee said, before the outage fully took hold over the weekend. (link)

May 10: Ransomware: Gaston College is a victim of a ransomware attack that prompted the school to take critical systems offline for caution. A college spokesperson said the it discovered the security issue Feb. 22. The school provided alternative links for students and staff, so campus operations and classes could continue. Tom Blanchard is a cyber security expert as CEO of Charlotte-based Sterling Technology Solutions. "Essentially, it puts everything on lock down," Blanchard said. "So, they can't access their school system that may be where the students upload their homework and the teacher's chat access, it all gets shut down." (link)

May 10: Data Breach: Bristol Community College has disclosed a data breach that compromised more than 50,000 Social Security numbers, according to information received by the Maine Attorney General. The disclosure was made by the Massachusetts educator on May 10th, which sent a letter of notification to the 56,400 victims. Of these, only 277 reside in Maine. The state has unusually stringent reporting requirements from organizations hit by cyberattacks that affect its citizens. In the letter, the college said had it discovered "unauthorized access" to its network by suspected threat actors between December 14th and 23rd, although according to the Maine Attorney General this discovery was not made until April 10th. (link)

May 05: Data Breach Settlement: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) agreed to pay $375,000 to resolve claims it failed to protect students and employees from a 2022 data breach. The settlement benefits Savannah College students and employees whose personal information may have been compromised in the August 2022 data breach and who received a notice from Savannah College about the breach. The August 2022 data breach allegedly compromised sensitive personal information of students and employees, including Social Security numbers and birth dates. According to the data breach class action lawsuit, Savannah College could have prevented the breach with reasonable cybersecurity measures. (link)

May 03: Randsomware Attack: Hackers hijacked a Virginia university's emergency alerts system this week and, in what appears to be a first, used it to issue threats to students and faculty: The university must pay up or their files would be leaked online. In a series of messages sent over Bluefield University's RamAlert, which sends text messages and emails to students and faculty when there's a school emergency, hackers pushed university members to put pressure on the school's president. Bluefield University, a small, private university on the border of Virginia and West Virginia, is among the long and growing list of U.S. institutions hit by ransomware hackers, who break into computer systems to then encrypt or threaten to leak files if they are not paid. (link)

May 02: Cyberattack: Over the weekend, Wichita State University took proactive measures and disconnected several University systems to isolate an unauthorized attempt by a third party to access the University's systems, according to a statement of the school's website. Most of the University system access has been restored and there has been no indication that any of the University's secure data or information has been compromised. The University will continue to engage its security protocols in restoring full availability of all networks and systems, prioritizing student needs. (link)

May 01: Cyberattack: Montana State University provided MTN News with statement explaining the university's progress in recovering from a cyber attack experienced on Thursday: "Montana State University is moving into the identification and remediation phase of our recovery from the cyberattack experienced yesterday. Throughout the day we have been working in establishing multiple new domain controllers built from the ground up to try to prevent reinfection. Our University Information Technicians have applied sources of server hardening to give us a solid foundation that we will now be able to run tools to restore the system." Montana State University reported a cyber attack at the university around noon on Thursday, April 20, 2023. (link)

Section Divider Image

Fraud & Ethics Related Events

May 24: Student Loan Fraud: A Lakeland woman has been sentenced to federal prison for getting more than $94,000 worth of federally insured loans from the University of Memphis, federal prosecutors say. According to United States Attorney Kevin Ritz, between 2017 and 2021, the woman made false statements and submitted forged documents to U of M. The 56-year-old qualified for $94,299 in student loans, according to the U.S. Department of Education Office. She was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. She is also ordered to pay the United States Department of Education restitution. (link)

May 18: Occupational Fraud: A former Greenville Technical College bursar has been arrested and charged with embezzlement, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. According to an arrest warrant, the woman, 53, of Seneca, was working as the bursar for Greenville Technical College from April 1, 2022, to Sept. 20, 2022, when she was charged with safekeeping, transfer, and disbursement of the college funds for embezzling over $10,000. She admitted to embezzling the money to use it for everyday use within Greenville County, according to the warrant. (link)

May 18: Misuse of Funds: Top officials at New Jersey City University illicitly budgeted nearly $14 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to fix a financial crisis and when that backfired, allowed the school's president to resign with a $288,000 severance payment, a car, and a housing subsidy, according to a new state watchdog report. Investigators at the Office of the State Comptroller determined that former president Sue Henderson and other administrators hid their mismanagement from the board of trustees, who declared a financial emergency last June after a new CFO sounded the alarm. Acting State Comptroller Kevin Walsh called administrators' actions "remarkably irresponsible." (link)

May 11: Research Fraud: McMaster University has finally released the results of its investigation into allegations of data fraud by a behavior ecologist, finding that the once widely celebrated scientist did engage in "fabrication and falsification." The Canadian university announced the news in a statement today, after sharing it recently with co-authors on some of the scientist's now-retracted papers. McMaster told Science 2 years ago that its investigation, conducted by a Hearings Committee, was concluded, and that the researcher was leaving the school after a settlement. But to the frustration of the ecology community, it did not at the time publicly detail any findings about misconduct. It now says the committee found that the researcher "generally failed to meet the requirements expected of a tenured professor under the [university's Research Integrity Policy] when conducting research." (link)

May 11: Athletics Cheating: The Atlantic Cape Community College baseball coach resigned after 13 years leading the program on May 4, almost two weeks after the Buccaneers were found to have illegal communication devices in two of their players' batting helmets during an 11-4 loss to Rowan College Gloucester County on April 22. "After the situation with the game, he was suspended pending the outcome of the NJCAA Region 19 review, and at that time, we had asked for him to resign," Atlantic Cape Chief Marketing Officer Laura Batchelor said. Suspicions first arose for Rowan College during the first game of the three-game series on April 21. (link)

May 04: Academic Fraud: The University of New Brunswick has appointed three professors to investigate allegations of academic fraud against a former PhD student who is a high-profile ally of former U.S. president Donald Trump. The academic credentials of Republican politician Doug Mastriano were called into question last fall when several scholars came forward to allege his 2013 doctoral dissertation was plagued by errors, fabrications and omissions. At the time, the state senator in Pennsylvania was known for his role in the movement to overturn Trump's 2020 election defeat, and he later launched a failed bid to become the state's governor. (link)

May 05: Identity Fraud: A professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who admitted in an open letter on Monday that she had claimed to have Native American heritage when she did not, has drawn condemnation online. In a post dated May 1 on her personal website, an associate professor of anthropology and environmental sciences who has researched Indigenous environmental health and food sovereignty apologized for the "hurt, harm, and broken trust" she had caused. It echoes the claim by Elizabeth Warren, Democratic senator from Massachusetts, who for years said she had Native American ancestry, and raises fresh questions about ethnic misrepresentation in public life. (link)

May 04: Gambling: Alabama fired the head baseball coach on Thursday after a report of suspicious bets involving his team, with the school saying he violated "the standards, duties and responsibilities expected of university employees." No details were disclosed on why the coach was let go after five years on the job, but the firing came three days after a report warning of suspicious wagers prompted Ohio's top gambling regulator to bar licensed sportsbooks in the state from accepting bets on Alabama baseball games. Pennsylvania and New Jersey have since followed suit. (link)

May 02: Occupational Fraud: A longtime professor at Utah State University has been arrested for stealing thousands of dollars from the school. According to the arrest affidavit, Utah State Police began investigating the professor following an audit that showed he allegedly submitted travel forms to be "reimbursed money that was not owed to him." The auditors claimed they found a pattern of fraudulent activity going back to at least 2018 and involving more than $11,871. Police report that the professor, who has been employed by USU for almost 30 years, allegedly submitted mileage reimbursement forms, claiming that he drove his personal vehicle on school business trips. Auditors discovered at least 24 trips where he drove a USU vehicle but claimed to be driving his own car and requested compensation for the miles. (link)

May 02: Conflict of Interest: Chico State has ended a contract with a mental health counselor hired to help faculty and staff cope with allegations that a biology professor threatened to shoot campus colleagues after university officials learned from court filings that she was also treating that very professor. The counselor didn't disclose the apparent conflict of interest to university officials, according to documents and interviews. The counselor is "no longer active in our system and will not receive new referrals," campus spokesperson Andrew Staples told EdSource. (link)

May 01: Theft: An Arkansas woman has pleaded not guilty to charges she stole body parts from medical school cadavers and sold them through Facebook for $11,000. According to court documents, the woman worked for a company that offered commercial cremation services. One of their clients was an anatomy lab at the University of Arkansas, which used donated cadavers for medical education and research. A spokesperson for the University of Arkansas Medical School told NPR that the school is appalled that anyone would desecrate medical donations for their own gain. The school and the cremation company knew nothing of the sales until they were contacted by the FBI last summer, she said. (link)

May 01: Student Union Fraud: The undergraduate student union at Toronto Metropolitan University has launched a lawsuit against five former union executives, alleging fraud and financial mismanagement that it claims has resulted in major financial losses and a huge hit to its already-damaged reputation. The statement of claim said the alleged mismanagement has significantly affected the union's reputation, which was already marred by an alleged $250,000 financial mismanagement scandal in 2019. The university had terminated its operating agreement with the student union in 2020 in response to those earlier allegations, saying it "lost confidence" in the organization's ability to represent students. That decision was later reversed following a legal challenge. (link)

May 01: Spending & Travel: In the wake of the resignation of the Athletics Director, Illinois State University said it planned a "full financial audit" of the Athletics department. ISU's interim president said he hoped it could answer this question: Was a costly donor trip in 2021 a one-off or part of a larger problem? ISU's top leaders may already have a partial answer to that question, WGLT has learned. An audit of Athletics was completed less than a year ago, finding two-dozen problem areas -- including prohibited or questionable purchases, a risky approach to travel, and sloppy or delayed record-keeping that would make it harder to detect issues. (link)

May 01: Occupational Fraud: A former University of Tennessee employee and alumni is facing wire fraud charges after he allegedly deposited $70,000 in donations for the university into his own account, according to court documents. The employee joined the College of Law at UT on August 1, 2020 to lead the fundraising efforts according to an article on UT's website. The article named him as the Senior Director of Advancement for the College of Law and said that he had a bachelors degree in communication and masters degree in public administration from UT. The article added that he worked in "alumni and development roles" at the university between 2007 and 2012. (link)

Section Divider Image

Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events

May 30: Discrimination Lawsuit: Two former Augustana University music professors, Lisa Grevlos and Paul Nesheim, are suing AU, alleging a breach of contract, retaliation and both age- and sex-based discrimination. In their lawsuit, filed Friday, they allege the AU School of Music Dean and an associate music professor headed a smear campaign against the two while stripping them of their titles and job duties, and ultimately terminating them, according to the lawsuit. Grevlos and Nesheim are seeking recourse for the loss of their positions, damages to their reputation, emotional distress and violations of their civil rights, according to the lawsuit. They are demanding an award of damages of $75,000 or more and demanding a trial by jury. (link)

May 30: Title IX Regulation: The U.S. Department of Education has delayed releasing the final versions of its two Title IX regulatory proposals until October. Initially, the two final rules were expected this month, but the Education Department said in an online post Friday it was still reviewing hundreds of thousands of public comments on the proposals. Title IX is the federal law banning sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools. The two draft rules outline when colleges would need to investigate reports of sexual violence and prohibit blanket bans on transgender athletes participating on teams aligned with their gender identities. (link)

May 30: Athletics Legislation: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday signed legislation that will ban transgender women from playing on female sports teams in college, becoming the latest state to place restrictions on transgender athletes. The legislation expands the state's existing 2021 ban on transgender athletes on K-12 sports teams to include college teams. Students assigned one sex at birth would be prohibited from playing under a different gender identity, even after undergoing hormone treatment. The bill is part of a wave of restrictions on transgender people being pushed in conservative states. At least 20 states have now imposed restrictions on transgender athletes at the K-12 or collegiate level, or both. (link)

May 29: DEI Legislation: Just a day before the Texas legislative session ended, state lawmakers approved a ban on offices and programs that promote diversity, equity and inclusion at publicly funded colleges and universities. On Sunday, both chambers approved Senate Bill 17, which was sponsored by Brandon Creighton, a Republican state senator. "The days of political oaths, compelled speech, and racial profiling in university hiring are behind us," Mr. Creighton said in statement. Democratic leaders, college educators and students warned that the bans could have wide repercussions including on the ability to attract and retain students from diverse backgrounds and on the chances of winning research and programming grants. (link)

May 23: Professor Behavior: A New York City college has fired an adjunct professor who was recorded on video berating abortion opponents on campus earlier this month and who on Tuesday reportedly threatened a journalist with a machete. A Hunter College spokesperson confirmed the art professor was fired after the May 2 incident in which she is seen on video calling the abortion opponents' information display "propaganda" and shoving some of the materials off the students' table. A video of the May 2 confrontation with the students was posted on the Instagram page of Students For Life of America, a national group that opposes abortion. In the video, the woman uses profanities as she berates the students at their information display. She tells the people at the table that they are "triggering" her students. (link)

May 21: Sexual Harassment: Cal State Fullerton officials failed to investigate reports that their school president allegedly inappropriately touched students, according to the LA Times. The first report was made in August 2019. One student said that the CSUF President hugged and kissed her on the forehead. She went on to say that the encounter made her feel very uncomfortable. Another report in 2021 stated that the President forcibly touched and hugged a female student, despite her objections. A third student said that the school president rubbed her arm and touched her back without her consent. The campus official in charge of enforcing sexual harassment policy at the school made the determination that the conduct did not violate university policy. (link)

May 19: DEI Lawsuit: Former professor at the University of Toronto J.D. Haltigan filed a lawsuit Wednesday against UC Santa Cruz officials over the school's requirement for jobseekers to include a diversity, equity and inclusion statement, commonly called a DEI statement, in their employment application, claiming it violates the First Amendment. While searching for jobs earlier this year, Haltigan came upon an opening he felt he was qualified for at UCSC. After reviewing the university's requirement to include a diversity, equity and inclusion statement with the job application, Haltigan wrote about it on an online blog with the viewpoint that DEI statement requirements for academic job applicants have, "contributed to creating a corrosive and hostile environment that is intolerant of viewpoint diversity and is anathema to high-quality research and teaching." (link)

May 18: College Athletes Labor Complaint: In the most significant step toward college athlete unionization to date, the National Labor Relations Board on Thursday filed an unfair labor practice complaint against USC, the Pac-12 and the NCAA asking that athletes at the school be classified as employees. A November hearing has been set before an administrative law judge in a case that could take years to decide. The charge calls for the parties to "cease and desist from misclassifying the players as non-employee 'student-athletes.'" It further asks that those athletes be reclassified as "employees" in "handbooks and rules." The complaint comes after a February 2022 complaint from the National College Players Association (NCPA), which filed an unfair labor practice charge. A formal complaint means the NLRB has investigated the charge but failed in negotiations to settle it. (link)

May 19: Domestic Battery: A former Purdue University professor pleaded guilty to domestic battery in the presence of a child. The professor, who has a Ph.D. in school psychology, was accused of domestic violence against his wife and a 10-year-old boy in their West Lafayette home. Investigators with the Tippecanoe Sheriff's Department told 13News that then-48-year-old man angrily confronted his wife when she came home around 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 10, 2021. He wanted to know where she had been. The boy was allegedly locked inside a dog crate while the man broke the wooden leg off a chair and hit his wife repeatedly across her arms, according to police. She suffered welts and bruising. His faculty profile, which has since been deleted, listed the man as a clinical assistant professor in educational psychology. All that Purdue said at the time of his arrest was that he was on indefinite paid administrative leave. (link)

May 16: Battery: A former North Idaho College (NIC) assistant professor has been arrested for battery and malicious injury of property. NIC Board Member Todd Banducci was the target of the incident, according to the college's spokesperson. According to NIC, the assistant professor reportedly went to Banducci's office, walked past reception and verbally threatened him. That's before he then reportedly threw a bucket of liquid over Banducci, his desk, computer and other office equipment. Banducci stopped the professor and with the help of others, held him until Coeur d'Alene Police arrived. Tensions are running high at NIC. The school's accreditation is in jeopardy and the board has been at the center of several different controversies. (link)

May 16: Sexual Assault Settlement: The rape of an Allegheny College student in her dorm room in 2019 led to an arrest and a lawsuit. The arrest ended with a state prison sentence of up to 40 years in 2022 for the Meadville resident who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman at gunpoint. The woman sued Allegheny for negligence and other claims, and the lawsuit has ended with a settlement. The deal ends nearly three years of litigation in U.S. District Court in Erie. The plaintiff sued in July 2020, claiming inadequate security measures allowed her attacker to get into her room at Ravine-Narvik Hall on Allegheny's campus in Meadville during the early morning of Dec. 10, 2019. Allegheny denied the claims. (link)

May 16: Discrimination Lawsuit: Caden Cox made history in 2021 during his time as a student athlete at Hocking College as the first known player with Down syndrome to play in and score during a college football game. Two years later, the 23-year-old is suing his alma mater for alleged discrimination, assault and harassment he faced as a student, the lawsuit says -- and when the behavior was reported to school administrators, he was retaliated against, he says. Cox was both a student athlete and an employee at the student recreation center at the two-year public school in Nelsonville, Ohio, when his supervisor consistently made abusive, derogatory and inappropriate comments to Cox in the form of derogatory slurs about people with Down Syndrome, the suit says. The man would also degrade Cox's abilities, berate and yell at him often and in front of other co-workers, according to the lawsuit. (link)

May 15: Child Pornography: A former New Hampshire college volunteer basketball coach pleaded guilty Monday to producing and possessing child pornography. The man appeared in federal court in Concord. A plea agreement with prosecutors filed with the court last week says in exchange for pleading guilty to the charges, five others would be dismissed regarding the distribution and transportation of child pornography, and enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity. The man was a volunteer assistant basketball coach for the men's program at Colby-Sawyer College in New London. His status was rescinded immediately after he was charged in February 2022. The college said no complaints were filed against him during his time there. (link)

May 15: DEI Legislation: Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday banning state funding for diversity, equity and inclusion programs at Florida's public universities, staging the event at New College of Florida, which the governor has transformed into a conservative higher education experiment. A New College board revamped by DeSantis abolished the school's DEI office, and the college's interim president recently fired the diversity dean, a precursor to what other Florida universities could experience under SB 266, which was a centerpiece of DeSantis' aggressive legislative agenda this year. (link)

May 15: Sexual Assault: A University of Mississippi Medical Center doctor charged in connection with sexually abusing a patient has been granted a $300,000 bond. The 59-year-old doctor's license has been temporarily suspended and he has been summoned by the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure to a hearing to determine whether he will retain his medical license. The alleged incidents occurred on or about February 27, 2023. According to Hinds County Court records, the doctor sexually abused a patient at UMMC "while [he] was an employee of University of Mississippi Medical Center." (link)

May 12: Assault/Harassment Lawsuit: Each of the women claimed they were sexually assaulted or harassed while attending the Christian school in Chili. On Friday, News10NBC talked to their attorney and obtained a copy of the federal court papers filed earlier this week. Besides the university, a retired dean of students and a former male student were also named in the lawsuit. Levy is representing five women who attended Roberts Wesleyan University and claimed that they were sexually assaulted or harassed by male students. "Three of the plaintiffs all were assaulted by the same former student," said Levy. "He's also named in the lawsuits, and one of the plaintiffs was verbally harassed and then stalked by another Roberts student." (link)

May 11: Fiduciary Misconduct Lawsuit: A class action complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont this week against fiduciaries of the University of Vermont Medical Center 403(b) plan. UVM Medical Center employee Tyler Baker alleges two counts of fiduciary misconduct--breach of the fiduciary duty of prudence and failure to monitor fiduciaries--under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The plaintiff claims the retirement plan fiduciaries are liable for failing to disclose the amounts of indirect compensation Fidelity received for recordkeeping and administrative services, causing the plan to pay excessive recordkeeping fees, according to the complaint. (link)

May 10: Wrongful Death Lawsuit: The father of Devin Willock has filed a lawsuit against the University of Georgia Athletic Association, claiming the school's athletic department should be held liable for the January car crash that killed the former Bulldogs offensive lineman and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Gwinnett County, Georgia, also names former Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter, LeCroy's estate and Athens strip club Toppers International Showbar, where the group had assembled before the crash, as defendants. Attorneys representing Willock's father, Dave, notified the university's board of regents last month that they planned to seek $2 million in damages for Willock's wrongful death. (link)

May 09: Title IX Lawsuit: The University of North Carolina is urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit from an expelled student. The student claims UNC Chapel Hill botched an investigation of sexual assault claims against him in 2021. Both the university and a group of individual defendants led by Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz filed motions Monday in U.S. District Court seeking the dismissal. The university also filed paperwork agreeing with the plaintiff's request to proceed with the case anonymously. Court documents identify the student as Jacob Doe. Four accusers in the case are each identified as Jane Roe. Other witnesses are named with pseudonyms as well. Doe's suit claims UNC violated Title IX, as well as his civil rights under a federal law known as §1983. He also claims "breach of contract, negligent hiring, tortious interference with contract, and violation of North Carolina's Constitution." (link)

May 09: NCAA Compliance: A former Kentucky State president directed athletics department staff to improperly certify the eligibility of a former football student-athlete so he could compete for an additional season, according to an agreement released by the Division II Committee on Infractions. As a result, that student-athlete competed while ineligible, and the school lacked institutional control over its eligibility certification process. The NCAA enforcement staff, the university and the former president agreed that the violations occurred after the school determined that a football student-athlete had exhausted his eligibility after 10 full semesters of collegiate enrollment. (link)

May 08: Title IX: After a woman stabbed a man on campus early this year, claiming he threatened her life, Cedarville University has been grappling with concern on campus about broader issues of sexual harassment and violence. In February, a female student at Cedarville -- a Baptist school in Ohio -- was arrested after she stabbed a male student. According to local news reports, she met the student on campus to apologize to him, because she intended to report incidents to the university that involved him. (link)

May 08: NCAA Compliance/Gambling: The University of Iowa announced Monday that 26 athletes across five sports (baseball, football, men's basketball, men's track and field, wrestling) and one full-time employee of the athletic department are suspected of wagering on sports in violation of NCAA rules. In addition, Iowa State acknowledged that some 15 of its athletes across three sports (football, wrestling and track and field) also are suspected of violating gambling rules. Iowa said it "has received information about 111 individuals," although only 26 are current athletes. The school said the "vast majority" are students who are on staff, former athletes or those with no connection to the athletic department. (link)

May 08: Labor Lawsuit: The Graduate Employees of Northeastern University -- UAW (GENU-UAW) have filed an unfair labor practice charge (ULP) with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging illegal retaliation and attempts to intimidate graduate worker union organizers, highlighting the university's continued acts of disrespect and coercion. Graduate worker union organizers have reported police showing up in their workplace to interrogate them about their participation in a union action, a clear violation of their rights to participate in a union free of retaliation and intimidation. The charge includes a request for an order against the University to stop abusing their police power. (link)

May 02: Soliciting a Prostitute: The Former Vernon College softball coach resigned from his coaching job at Bushland ISD after he was arrested Friday evening in Lubbock during a prostitution sting, according to police and jail records. The man, who had been head coach of the Lady Falcons for the past year, was arrested Friday evening in the 2300 block of Broadway in Lubbock. He is charged with soliciting a prostitute. Under tougher laws to combat human trafficking, the punishment for a first-time offense is up to two years in a state jail facility and up to a $4,000 fine. (link)

May 01: Discrimination Lawsuit: Two women who say they were unjustly demoted from their high-ranking administrative positions at Central State University are now suing the university. Ieesha Ramsey, formerly Central State's executive director of the Undergraduate Student Success Center, and Lena Fields-Arnold, formerly Central State's executive director of public relations, both say they were unfairly demoted and retaliated against because they were outspoken Black women. Cincinnati law firm Taft, Stettinius and Hollister investigated Central State president Jack Thomas' actions against five women who worked at the university and who accused him of mistreating employees. The law firm issued a report in February criticizing Thomas' "leadership style" as "rude, belittling and bullying," but not rising to the level of discrimination or harassment. (link)

May 01: Discrimination Lawsuit: A professor who alleges he was fired for teaching about racial justice has filed a federal civil rights complaint against Palm Beach Atlantic University. Sam Joeckel says his termination by the institution amounts to unlawful discrimination and a violation of his academic freedom. An attorney for Joeckel says the professor has filed a formal complaint of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming that PBA terminated his contract on the basis of race, in violation of federal civil rights laws that bar workplace discrimination. (link)

May 01: Sexual Assault Lawsuit: A man who says he was sexually assaulted by former Halifax professor Wayne John Hankey in 1982 has filed a civil lawsuit against the professor's estate, the University of King's College, Dalhousie University and an Anglican diocese. The man, whom CBC News is not naming because he was previously a complainant in a criminal case against Hankey, alleges he was a student in the Foundation Year Program at King's in autumn 1982 when he attended his first tutoring and mentoring session with the professor at a residence on campus. The lawsuit, filed through Wagners Law Firm, claims general damages for pain and suffering, as well as special, aggravated and punitive damages and legal costs. (link)

May 01: Domestic Violence: The Tuscaloosa Police Department has confirmed that the University of Alabama's Deputy Director of Athletics, Compliance and Support Services was arrested Sunday morning and charged with domestic violence. Once on scene and following a brief investigation, the man, 45, was charged with third-degree domestic violence and transported to the Tuscaloosa County Jail. In his role at the University of Alabama, he is tasked with leading the athletics compliance office and is responsible for all areas of compliance with NCAA, SEC and UA rules and regulations, monitoring efforts and investigations. (link)

May 01: Art Sale Lawsuit: Former professors at the Valparaiso University in Indiana filed suit against the school and its president, Jose Padilla, in a move to halt the sale of artwork from the university's Brauer Museum of Art. According to documents filed on Monday at the Porter County Superior Court in Indiana, the retired professors argue that the planned sale violates the museum's agreement with Percy H. Sloan, who donated them to the school. The two plaintiffs in the case are Richard Brauer, the museum's first director and its namesake, and Philipp Brockington, a former professor at Valparaiso's law school who has an endowment in his name at the museum. (link)

May 01: Homicide: A twenty-two-year-old preschool teacher and a 27-year-old man are both behind bars and charged with murdering a San Jose man. Investigators said the two friends murdered Oliver Waterfall. Santa Cruz County sheriff's detectives are spearheading this case. They said the woman was arrested last April 26 at her job on the Stanford University campus. She had worked as a preschool teacher at the Children's Center of the Stanford Community. "The arrest happened at naptime, outside of the perimeter of the CCSC campus. Children were not present when this occurred, and it did not disrupt operations," the university said in a statement. (link)

May 01: Child Pornography: An IT professional employed by the University of Maryland was arrested Thursday for an array of child pornography-related charges, Maryland State Police said. Troopers arrested the man, 41, of Elkridge, Md. He is listed on the university's website as the acting director, enterprise software engineering. He is charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography, 3 counts of distribution of child pornography and one count creating a computer image of an apparent child engaged in sexual conduct. University of Maryland officials say the man has worked at the university since 2004. He is currently on administrative leave pending further investigation and has no access to University technology, networks, or accounts. (link)

May 01: Sexual Assault Lawsuit: The coach of the elite competitive cheerleading team at Navarro College, featured in the hit Netflix show Cheer, dissuaded one of her athletes from reporting an alleged sexual assault and promised to help advance her cheerleading career if she kept quiet, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Dallas, names the Corsicana-based college's coach, the athletic director and the Title IX coordinator. It accuses the college, coach and administrators of fostering "a campus condition rife with sexual assault and lacking the basic standards of support for victims as required by state and federal law." (link)

Section Divider Image

Campus Life & Safety Events

May 30: Threat: A former graduate student at Southern Methodist University is facing felony charges for threatening to kill the university's president and more. SMU officials said the 39-year-old man was arrested last week at his home in Duncanville. Police said they got a tip from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that the man made serious, credible threats while he was a patient at a VA hospital in Bonham. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, he watched the television coverage of the Allen Premium Outlets mass shooting and then said he wanted to kill SMU's president and faculty members. (link)

May 25: Vandalism/Race Issues: A hate crime investigation is underway after University of California officials say vandals painted racial slurs on the home of the UC president. The hate-filled graffiti has left a Berkeley neighborhood outraged and on edge. Bruce O'Neill showed NBC Bay Area where somebody spray painted the date of the insurrection on his neighbor's property. While the graffiti's has now been removed, Berkeley police said vandals painted racial slurs, profanity and symbols on the home of UC President Michael Drake last week. (link)

May 18: AI: Texas A&M University-Commerce said it is investigating after a screenshot of an instructor's email -- in which he accused students of having used artificial intelligence on their final assignments -- went viral on Reddit. An instructor in the agricultural sciences and natural resources department reportedly told students that they would be receiving an "X" in the course after he used "Chat GTP" (referring to the AI chatbot actually known as ChatGPT) to determine whether they'd used the software to write their final assignments. He said that he tested each paper twice and that the bot claimed to have written every single final assignment. After its viral launch in December, ChatGPT was lauded online by some as a dramatic step forward for artificial intelligence and the potential future of web search. But with such praise also came concern about its potential use in academic settings. (link)

May 14: Sexual Assault: A man was arrested after allegedly breaking into two different dorm rooms and groping women on the campus of Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland, Washington, police said Sunday. The university told students that Campus Safety had received "two separate calls from two students who reported having been sexually assaulted in South Hall by the same unknown assailant," according to CBS affiliate KIRO-TV. (link)

May 12: Free Speech: A California history professor said he was suspended by the school he's worked at for three decades after he brought "anti-woke" chocolates on campus. At a campus open house on April 29, Professor David Richardson of Madera Community College brought parody chocolate bars as snacks to share at his table display. The chocolate bars mock candy company Hershey's and are labeled with "she/her" pronouns for nutless and "he/him" for bars with nuts. Richardson said a staff member was offended by the bars and tried to engage him in a confrontation, but he didn't engage as he did not want to "make a scene" at the campus event. Nobody said anything to him afterward, the professor claimed, so he was surprised when a uniformed school police officer knocked on his residence to deliver a notice of administrative leave on Monday. (link)

May 11: Sexual Assault/Hazing: UCLA's Bruin Woods camp will be closed for the summer as the school faces allegations of hazing traditions and sexual assault from two students who worked at the Lake Arrowhead getaway, officials confirmed to The Times on Thursday. The 10-week camp, which hosts 85 alumni families each week, notified participants about the closure Friday. The temporary closure comes months after UCLA students Samea Derrick and Lydia Dixon, who worked at the camp last summer, filed a lawsuit against the University of California regents in October. In the lawsuit and in previous interviews with The Times, the pair alleged they were sexually assaulted and hazed by returning student counselors, including physical and verbal abuse, sensory deprivation, forced nudity and coercive drinking games. (link)

May 11: Rape: A University of Utah diver has been arrested and charged with raping a young woman in her dorm room during the first week of the school year last fall. Prosecutors have charged a Canadian diver in his second year at Utah with sodomy, sexual abuse and rape. In an indictment filed this week, detectives said the man went to a woman's dorm room after confirming she was alone last August. He asked her to play "truth or dare" and then allegedly raped her while she resisted physically, said she "did not want to do that," shook her head no and told him she was in pain. The indictment, which does not name the woman, also says that when detectives went to serve the man with a protective order to keep him away from the woman, a roommate said he had moved out. A private investigator later told detectives that the student had returned to Canada upon learning he was under investigation for rape. (link)

May 10: Campus Climate: West Virginia has suspended its Hall of Fame men's basketball coach for three games and amended his contract from a multi-year agreement to a year-by-year agreement, the university announced Wednesday. The new contract for the coach, who made homophobic remarks Monday aimed at Xavier's fanbase in a live appearance on a Cincinnati radio station, slashes $1 million from his salary and ends on April 30, 2024. The coach apologized just hours after his remarks in a statement, but the comments triggered an official review from the university that ultimately led to the suspension and a series of other stipulations for him to follow moving forward. (link)

May 09: Threat: A former Wheeling University employee is being charged with threatening to commit a terrorist act, with or without intent to commit the act, after he was fired for allegedly making racial slurs. Wheeling Police said they were notified on March 3 by President Ginny Favede, President of Wheeling University, about a terminated employee that allegedly made threats toward employees at the University. Employees at Wheeling University said a Wheeling man came into an office and turned his keys and uniforms in, and said that the University has a "rat" working for them. According to the police report, the man allegedly told Wheeling University employees that he spoke with God and that he knows he is going to hell and has nothing to lose. (link)

May 09: Burglary: Two unidentified suspects have been arrested after a weekend burglary at Enterprise State Community College. According to Enterprise State Community College Campus Police, on Saturday, May 6, two people burglarized Lolley Hall, taking property that belonged to students. On Sunday evening, campus police say they were able to identify one of the suspects, and on Monday, Campus Police, along with the Enterprise Police Department, were able to arrest both suspects at a home off campus. Campus Police say neither of the suspects have any ties to the college. (link)

May 08: Threat: A Mississippi university student has been arrested and charged with making terroristic threats against the faculty and staff of the school. Campus police were alerted about alleged threats that were made on April 27. Soon after receiving the report, police identified the student and took him into custody. (link)

May 08: Robbery: A driver for a Yale University shuttle bus was robbed at gunpoint in Hamden on Friday, according to police. Officers were dispatched to a parking lot at 1349 Dixwell Ave. at about 8:27 p.m. and were told by the shuttle bus driver that a man had approached him with a firearm and demanded his property, according to the Hamden Police Department. No injuries were reported. (link)

May 05: Campus Climate: While most people celebrate 420 with weed, Santa Cruz neo-Nazis chose to honor a fascist dictator. The University of California Santa Cruz is investigating a party held on campus on April 20, in which a group of students allegedly celebrated Adolf Hitler's birthday, complete with birthday tunes and a cake adorned with "hateful and horrific" symbols. A day later, a second incident was reported by a student who found an antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ+ flier on their car windshield. Just an hour away from Santa Cruz, Stanford University has documented no fewer than nine antisemitic incidents since the start of this academic year. (link)

May 04: Stabbings: Police on Thursday named a young man recently "separated" from UC Davis for academic reasons as the suspect in stabbings that left two men dead and one woman in critical condition in this bucolic college town just west of Sacramento. Two days after UC Davis ousted the student, on April 27, authorities found the body of 50-year-old David Henry Breaux, a Stanford University graduate who slept in Davis' Central Park. It was the first of three attacks authorities attribute to the student: (link)

May 03: Campus Climate: Thousands in the University of Wisconsin-Madison community are calling for the expulsion of a student who was recorded in a video using racist slurs and saying she wants Black people returned to slavery so she can abuse them. UW-Madison condemned the language Monday, calling it deeply harmful and offensive. The university explained on Tuesday that as a public institution, it is bound by the First Amendment, which protects a person's right to say hateful things on personal social media accounts. (link)

May 03: Threat: A man was arrested and charged this week in connection with a bomb threats and an extortion plot that targeted Harvard University in mid-April. The series of alleged events began on April 11 with an ad on Craigslist, according to an affidavit from a Harvard University police officer working with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Titled "I pay for a small side job. Will need items purchase and moved. (Cambridge)," Around 2:27 p.m. on April 13, a call was made to the Harvard University Police Department from the phone number listed on the Craigslist post, according to investigators. The caller told police that three bombs were planted around the Harvard campus, threatening to detonate the devices if a "large bitcoin transaction" was not received. (link)

May 02: Threat: A former Concord University employee charged with making terroristic threats after saying he would sneak on campus with his AK-47. Officials with Concord University told police that a former employee had told two employees that he could not wait to get his keys and sneak onto campus with an AK-47. The second employee told police that he man told them he couldn't wait to be issued his keys to the building so he could sneak into the dorms after 1:00 am with an AR-15. The Director of Custodial Services advised that she terminated him after hearing what he allegedly said. According to the Director of Custodial Services, the man was a new hire, was still in training, and had yet to be issued keys. Once his training was finished, he would have been given a set of keys to the entire University. (link)

May 01: Stalking: The University of Minnesota Student Senate voted to remove a former College of Liberal Arts (CLA) senator from the Senate in a closed meeting on April 14 after he was charged with two felony counts of stalking. The Senate voted 44-2 to remove the student because of doubt cast on the Student Senate's integrity and credibility resulting from the stalking allegations. The student, 26, first came under public scrutiny during campus elections in March because he was running to be the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) president. It was during this time alleged victims, including several University students, began circulating information about the charges and restraining orders against him on social media. (link)

May 01: Student Safety: At least fourteen people were injured and taken to nearby hospitals after a roof collapsed at a Columbus, Ohio, home near Ohio State University because too many people were standing atop the roof, according to officials. "It appears that the roof was overloaded with students, we've heard numbers between 15 and 45 students on a rooftop that was not designed to have anybody on it, and it gave way," Columbus Division of Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin said Saturday night. In a statement Sunday, Ohio State University said that they "have been monitoring this serious situation closely and assisting first responders in any way possible. Our thoughts are with the individuals who were present and their friends and family." (link)

May 01: Student Wounded: Authorities have one person in custody and an arrest warrant out for another person after the two allegedly shot a gun that fired a stray bullet that struck a college baseball player for Texas A&M-Texarkana in the middle of a game Saturday, according to local police and the university. The 18-year-old player was wounded at about 5:30 p.m. as he was standing in the bullpen area at the game against the University of Houston--Victoria at George Dobson Field at Spring Lake Park in Texarkana, on the border of Arkansas, Texarkana police said on Facebook. The bullet appeared to come from "some type of altercation in a nearby neighborhood to the west of the park," police said. (link)

May 01: Student deaths: Two students from North Carolina State University were found dead from apparent suicides within 24 hours. The first student was found late Wednesday night near Lake Raleigh on the university's Centennial Campus, according to university police. On Thursday afternoon, another death was reported at Sullivan Hall. In total, 14 NC State students have died this year, and seven of those deaths have come by suicide. Students at the university are busy preparing for finals, say it's been a tough year for the Wolf Pack Community. (link)

May 01: Distribution of Porn: Two former Utah Tech University students were arrested Tuesday and Wednesday for investigation of distribution of pornographic material on the campus. Utah Tech University Police Chief Ron Bridge said officers responded Tuesday to a report of individuals distributing "baseball card-sized" porn materials around hallways, stairs and other areas of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons and Library building. After an investigation involving video surveillance, which showed individuals between the ages of 18-20 distributing the materials, campus police were able to identify the two suspects. (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.