Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
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Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
Volume 15 Number 06 | June 2023
Quotable .....
“New technology is not good or evil in and of itself. It's all about how people choose to use it.”

-- David Wong

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend a few days with several counterparts from major institutions across the country as we gathered at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. The purpose of our gathering was to discuss emerging issues, risks, and hot topics relevant to higher education. It was an excellent few days with some very bright professionals.

One topic that I found very interesting, exciting—and also scary—is the emergence of artificial intelligence. Because of the importance of this topic, I asked Scott Forehand, AU's Assistant Director of Compliance and HIPAA Privacy Officer, to share what universities should be thinking about as AI becomes more common. Here are Scott's thoughts:

As the prevalence and capabilities of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools (such as ChatGPT, Bard, DALL-E, etc.) continue to grow, higher education institutions are finding themselves at the forefront of grappling with governance issues regarding the use of such tools. Whether it be in the context of student academic use, research, admissions, recruitment, etc., AI has the ability to enhance – and also to cause harm. Risks associated with the use of generative AI tools broadly fall into five categories:

Privacy: It is highly risky to input confidential, proprietary, or otherwise sensitive information (such as PII or PHI) into publicly available generative AI tools, because such tools are not designed to protect the privacy of your data. Furthermore, your institution's data protection policy likely does not authorize sensitive data to be submitted to public AI tools. On the output side, you may not own intellectual property rights to the tool's results, and it would be risky to use these tools to produce non-public or proprietary results. Terms of usage often include language that the tool retains the right to use any output for the tool's own purposes. Finally, depending on the dataset used by the tool, your results may include unauthorized derivative works of others' copyrighted material, and you may find yourself at risk if you publish such work as your own.

Security: Publicly available generative AI tools generally are not acting pursuant to a data security protection agreement with your institution. You should check to see if your institution has specific contracts or agreements in place with any AI tool providers that provide data security protections. Additionally, the tool itself may serve as a vector for malware or other cybersecurity threats to your systems, and standard risk mitigation practices should always be observed by users when using these tools on institutional systems.

Accuracy: Output can be based on an almost endless array of tools, datasets, learning algorithms, and user inputs. Therefore, AI tools may not in all cases produce accurate (or fully accurate) results within the context of your particular task. Caution should be exercised when relying on generative AI output, and a good practice is to treat AI tools as sources of ideas, rather than facts.

Bias: Output may unintentionally produce biased, discriminatory, offensive, or otherwise undesirable results, especially if used in the context of admissions, recruitment, or disciplinary decision making. Again, use of these tools should be carefully reviewed before relying on results.

Academic Honesty: Use of generative AI tools to assist in completion of academic work is a subject of debate. Some feel use of AI conflicts with the educator's goal of training students to think critically and problem solve. Others argue that use of these tools is a critical skillset for the future workforce, and students should be allowed to use them within reasonable constraints. Whatever your institution's position on this, it is advisable to give students: (1) clear and unambiguous expectations for use of AI tools; and (2) awareness of disciplinary consequences of misuse.

Thanks Scott, for this food for thought. If you've not yet begun to think about this topic at your institution, I'd highly suggest you begin. However, as you see here each month, there are numerous issues worthy of consideration in our industry. We invite you to review the articles from the prior month with a view toward proactive risk management.

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

Jun 28: Ransomware: A ransomware attack discovered at Chattanooga State Community College in May compromised the personal information of 1,244 people, according to the college. The majority of the people affected had taken the GED test at the college's testing center in 2012 and 2013, the college said in a news release Tuesday. Ransomware gang Snatch posted a listing for data from Chattanooga State on its website May 23 and updated the page June 22. The college chose not to engage with the attackers, Patterson said, on advice from the FBI, Tennessee Board of Regents and cybersecurity experts. After the college discovered the breach May 6, it took its computer systems offline while the attack was investigated. The attack canceled classes at Chattanooga State for about two weeks in May, affecting 17 students, and delayed the start of summer classes, affecting about 500 students, according to the college. (link)

Jun 24: Cyberattack: The Southern Illinois University system has launched an investigation related to a global cyberattack, officials acknowledged in an email last week. The university said it was looking into "recent suspicious network activity" related to MOVEit, an online file transfer system that was recently attacked by a Russian hacking group. "We are currently conducting a detailed analysis to determine if any SIU personal information may have been acquired as a result of this incident," Wil Clark, chief information officer at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, said in an email on Wednesday. "We will notify affected individuals as soon as we know the full scope and breadth of the incident and provide additional information and resources to help protect their personal information." (link)

Jun 23: Data Breach: Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System suffered a cyberattack in late May. The initial investigation suggests that the data breach may have impacted sensitive personal and financial information including names, contact information and health billing records. John Hopkins will continue to investigate and contact affected individuals. John Hopkins recommends all students, faculty and staff -- as well as dependents -- to take immediate steps to protect their personal information as a precautionary measure. (link)

Jun 23: Ransomware: Hawaii Community College this week announced it's the latest higher education institution to fall victim to a ransomware attack. The two-year community college said it's working with federal authorities to investigate the incident. The college temporarily shut down its network after being notified of the attack on June 13. In a blog post dated June 19, ransomware group NOESCAPE claimed to have stolen 65GB of data from the institution. This claim has not been verified publicly by university officials. (link)

Jun 21: Data Breach: On June 19, 2023, the University of Toledo Medical Center confirmed that the organization was one of many affected by a data breach at IntelliHartx, LLC, a healthcare debt collection company. While UTMC is still in the process of investigating the breach and doesn't yet know what data types were leaked as a result of the IntelliHartx breach, UTMC will be required to send data breach letters once it confirms that consumer data was leaked. News of the University of Toledo Medical Center data breach is still fresh; however, what we know at this point comes from various news reports who spoke with UTMC representatives. According to these sources, on February 2, 2023, ITx learned that Fortra had experienced a data security incident stemming from a zero-day vulnerability in its GoAnywhere managed file transfer product. (link)

Jun 21: Cyberattack: More than a week after Stephen F. Austin State University was hit with a cyberattack, leaders at the public university in the East Texas Pineywoods are still working to fully restore email and other online services for the 11,600-student campus. University spokesperson Graham Garner confirmed Tuesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident, which occurred about 10 days ago, but did not provide any additional details. In a statement, a spokesperson for the FBI Dallas field office confirmed the investigation but declined to provide more information about the investigation. While the university has restored access to the internet and the university's online teaching portal, students and faculty say the hack has caused serious disruptions, especially for students taking summer courses. (link)

Jun 16: Cyberattack: A Russian hacking group on Friday said the University of Missouri System was among dozens of its victims in a global cyberattack. It's the latest development since the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, warned earlier this month that the "CL0P" ransomware gang had begun exploiting a vulnerability in online file-transfer software that is widely used by businesses. "We are aware of the announcement from CL0P," Christian Basi, a spokesman for the UM System, said in an email. Basi said the university became aware of the issue in early June. Because the software is used on multiple campuses, but not by all departments, the investigation will encompass the entire UM System, he said. (link)

Jun 15: Data Breach: The University System of Georgia announced Thursday that software it purchased for storing and transferring sensitive data may have been breached by a cybercriminal group. The software, MOVEit Secure File Transfer and Automation from Progress Software, apparently had a "vulnerability that likely allowed cybercriminals unauthorized access to information stored in the MOVEit secure repositories operating at numerous customer sites, including USG and the University of Georgia," according to a statement from USG. (link)

Jun 13: Data Breach: Some 25,000 UPMC patients are being contacted by a Tennessee billing contractor following a data breach caused by a software bug that may have exposed names, addresses, social security numbers and other personal information. Kingsport-based Intellihartx LLC, which provides UPMC with billing and collection services, is contacting UPMC patients by mail, offering complimentary credit monitoring and identity restoration services to anyone whose records have been used illegally. (link)

Jun 08: Data Breach: On May 24, 2023, Stanly Community College filed a notice of data breach with the Attorney General of Massachusetts after the school learned that confidential information in its possession was subject to unauthorized access. Based on the company's official filing, the incident resulted in an unauthorized party gaining access to consumers' names, Social Security numbers, student ID numbers, and driver's license numbers. After confirming that consumer data was leaked, SCC began sending out data breach notification letters to all individuals who were impacted by the recent data security incident. (link)

Jun 04: Data Breach: The FBI is working closely with the University of Rochester to investigate a data breach affecting its students, faculty and staff and more than 2,500 organizations across the world. According to a statement issued by the University on Friday, the data breach resulted from a software vulnerability in a product provided by a third-party file transfer company. While the name of the software and the details of just how people could be affected are still unknown, the University stated that they believe all students, faculty, and staff could be impacted. (link)

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Fraud & Ethics Related Events

Jun 21: Research Misconduct: Data sleuths say they have found evidence of possible research fraud in several papers by a behavioral scientist at Harvard Business School. The publications under scrutiny include a 2012 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) paper on dishonesty that has already been retracted for apparent data fabrication by a different researcher. "That's right: Two different people independently faked data for two different studies in a paper about dishonesty," write behavioral scientists Uri Simonsohn, Joseph Simmons, and Leif Nelson on their blog, Data Colada, where they published the new evidence supporting their allegations. (link)

Jun 16: False Grades Investigation: The accreditation board that monitors the University of Michigan is investigating allegations that the school's administration pressured department chairs to falsify grades while graduate student instructors were on strike over a labor dispute. In a letter last week, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) advised the graduate student instructors that it is reviewing complaints that false grades were submitted in classes taught by the striking workers. The Graduate Employees' Organization (GEO), which has been on strike since March 29 and withheld grades during the winter term, requested the investigation after emails showed that the university's administration directed academic departments to issue grades, even though those faculty members had little to no contact with the students. (link)

Jun 15: Research Security: On June 14, 2023, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Chairman of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party received notice from Alfred University that the school will close its CCP-affiliated Confucius Institute as a result of the Select Committee's investigation that began on May 31, 2023. When launching the investigation, Chairman Gallagher wrote to Alfred University's president, "To put it plainly, you are conducting advanced, hypersonic weapons-related research while actively partnering with a Chinese university that performs similar research for the PLA. We seek additional information regarding this alarming matter and Alfred's commitment to safeguard sensitive U.S. military research.' (link)

Jun 15: Theft: Dissected human body parts, including heads, brains, skin and bones, were allegedly stolen by the manager of a morgue at Harvard Medical School in Boston and taken to New Hampshire prior to being sold and, sometimes, shipped through the U.S. Postal Service, according to a federal indictment. Harvard Medical School leaders called the case "morally reprehensible" and an "abhorrent betrayal" in a written statement. The indictment, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, says the body parts came from cadavers that were donated to Harvard to be used for educational purposes. (link)

Jun 14: Cleared of Research Fraud: For three years, nine months, and one week, Ram Sasisekharan lived under a gag order. In 2019, some of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor's peers publicly accused his lab of falsifying research, setting in motion a lengthy internal investigation that sidelined his work, decimated his team, and barred him from speaking out in his own defense. The charge was that Sasisekharan and his colleagues committed the age-old academic sin of copying someone else's work and passing it off as their own. In March, some closure finally came in the form of an internal email, from MIT's vice president for research, declaring that the investigation had concluded "with no finding of research misconduct for any of the submitted allegations." (link)

Jun 12: Fraud Lawsuit: Four months after Liberty University filed a motion to dismiss a whistleblower's lawsuit, the former dean suing the school amended his complaint with more detail about the alleged fraud he reported to authorities. He alleges that the school offered payouts to third parties and concealed the use of university funding for business expenses. According to the suit, John Markley made "repeated good faith reports of disturbing violations" of state and federal law at Liberty, only to be terminated from his role as administrative dean for academic operations in June 2022. Markley's original suit lists 15 "improper activities" he said he raised concerns about, including potentially fraudulent management of Liberty charitable organizations and corporate subsidies, the intentional misrepresentation of acceptance rates and enrollment numbers for financial gain, and a compensation scheme for LU business executives. (link)

Jun 02: Financial Aid Scam: Months after a mysterious check for $1,400 landed in Richard Valicenti's mailbox last summer, the U.S. Department of Education notified him that the money was a mistake -- an overpayment of the $3,000 Pell grant he had used to attend Saddleback College in Orange County. "I told them I never applied for a Pell," said Valicenti, a 64-year-old radiation oncologist at UC Davis who had never even heard of Saddleback. Valicenti's name is among the stolen identities used in thousands of fraudulent attempts to enroll in community colleges in California and across the country since classes shifted online during the pandemic. The aim is to steal financial aid. Fake enrollments also crowd out legitimate students and create hours of work for colleges trying to eliminate "ghost students." Colleges that disburse grants to fraudsters are on the hook to repay the feds. (link)

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Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events

Jun 29: Affirmative Action: A divided Supreme Court on Thursday struck down affirmative action in college admissions, declaring race cannot be a factor and forcing institutions of higher education to look for new ways to achieve diverse student bodies. The court's conservative majority effectively overturned cases reaching back 45 years in invalidating admissions plans at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, the nation's oldest private and public colleges, respectively. The decision, like last year's momentous abortion ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, marked the realization of a long-sought conservative legal goal in finding that race-conscious admissions plans violate the Constitution and a law that applies to recipients of federal funding, as almost all colleges and universities are. (link)

Jun 29: Employee Conduct: A former Allan Hancock College instructor is facing criminal charges of committing sexual assault. The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office accused an engineer and one-time instructor of industrial technology at the Santa Maria community college of rape by use of drugs. Filed by the DA's Office on May 20, 2022, the original complaint said that that man sexually assaulted a woman, identified as Jacqueline Doe, with the help of drugs on or around May 7 last year. She told the Sun that soon after her alleged assault, she contacted Hancock out of concern for public safety. "He was working at Hancock for six or seven months after the arrest," she said on April 27. "I made an anonymous tip to the school. I contacted them and let them know that those kids are in danger." (link)

Jun 29: Title IX: Female students were directed to take off their shirts and wear only bras, while their professor commented on their bodies at Montgomery College's Takoma/Silver Spring campus in Maryland, according to a federal sexual harassment investigation. The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OSR) said the school promptly started a Title IX investigation, which led to the professor being fired, but should have done more to notify other students that the investigation was completed, and what was being done to prevent future harassment. OCR announced its reached an agreement with Montgomery College to resolve its investigation, with the understanding the school will take steps to improve its notification procedures. (link)

Jun 28: Athletics Compliance: Georgia signed a 2023 defensive line prospect despite the fact that he broke curfew, drank alcohol with prospective teammates at an Athens bar and was taken to a police station under investigation for sexual assault while he was 16 years old, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required). The extensive reporting into allegations against the player is part of a larger look into the program's handling of sexual violence allegations. A previous case against a former Georgia linebacker is also mentioned. On Nov. 10, 2021, The linebacker turned himself into police and was charged with felony rape. During his bond hearing, eight players from Georgia's football team, including notable stars like defensive lineman Jalen Carter, running back James Cook and linebacker Quay Walker, advocated for his release and testified in favor of his character. (link)

Jun 28: Discrimination Allegations: Attorneys with a self-described Christian Conservative law firm said Alamo Colleges District has until July 5 to reinstate an adjunct instructor they allege was fired for his religious beliefs or face a wrongful termination suit. That instructor, Johnson Varkey, has been the subject of right-wing media headlines for stating that he was canned from his job teaching biology at St. Philips College for saying in class that a person's sex is determined by X and Y chromosomes. He's represented by First Liberty Institute, a Plano-based law firm with the slogan "We Won't Be Canceled" emblazoned across its homepage. However, Alamo Colleges' termination letter to Varkey, an adjunct instructor at St. Philips, states that he was let go over reports that he'd made anti-LGBTQ comments, engaged in "misogynistic banter" and engaged in other inappropriate classroom behavior. (link)

Jun 28: Sexual Assault Settlement: Deuce Benjamin and Shak Odunewu were awarded a total of $8 million to settle their lawsuit against New Mexico State's former head coach, former assistant coach, and former players, attorney Joleen Youngers said. Benjamin and his father, a co-plaintiff, were awarded $4.125 million and Odunewu receives $3.875 million and agree not to hold the university liable. Benjamin, former New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year at Las Cruces High School, and Odunewu were the subjects of what they said was more than a hazing incident that involved other players and was ignored or allowed by coaches. The suit alleged the university dismissed sexual assault allegations by labeling them "hazing." (link)

Jun 27: Employee Conduct: A hockey coach faces felony charges for child sex crimes reported in St. Louis County. The man, 41, a former Lindenwood University and youth hockey coach, is now facing serious charges. With the help of the Maryland Heights Police Department and the Lake St. Louis Police Department, it was discovered that he sexually assaulted a 6-year-old for over a year. "We've charged the defendant with statutory sodomy, two counts, and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor child," Bell said. A spokesperson from Lindenwood University tells FOX 2 that the coach has been terminated from his role. We asked how long his employment was and when exactly he was terminated, but no further answers have been granted. (link)

Jun 26: Discrimination Lawsuit: A white former assistant teaching professor has filed a lawsuit against Penn State, alleging the university racially discriminated and retaliated against him until his resignation in August 2022. Zack De Piero, 40, served as an assistant teaching professor of English and Composition at Penn State-Abington from 2018 to 2022. During that time, he said he felt pressured by the administration to grade certain minorities easier, and he also objected to meetings and exercises seemingly centered on critical race theory, where white faculty were made to feel "terrible." Once he reported what he perceived as discrimination, he believed university officials retaliated by filing a bullying and harassment complaint against him, in addition to handing him lower scores on his subsequent annual performance review. (link)

Jun 26: Recruitment/Marketing Investigation: Baker College is under federal investigation for its recruitment and marketing practices after a Detroit Free Press article spotlighted those same issues. "The U.S. Department of Education, through the Office of Federal Student Aid, has initiated a formal investigation of the institution related to its recruitment and marketing practices," The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) wrote in a June 20 public disclosure of its "Governmental Investigation" designation for Baker College based in Owosso. Based on public records, internal reports and more than 50 interviews, including with current and former students, faculty and employees, the joint Free Press and ProPublica article, published in January 2022, found less than one-quarter of its students graduate from Baker -- far below the national average for private four-year schools. (link)

Jun 26: Discrimination Lawsuit: A longtime University of Colorado law professor has sued the university and its law school dean, alleging pay discrimination and retaliation. Paul Campos filed a lawsuit on Friday in a Colorado federal court, claiming that he is paid less than his white colleagues. Campos is the only Latino on the faculty, according to his suit. Campos also alleges that law school dean Lolita Buckner Inniss retaliated against him for raising concerns about his compensation and for taking parental leave. According to his lawsuit, a 2021 pay study by the university found that Campos earned nearly $14,000 less per year than white law faculty. Campos is the most senior law faculty member without an endowed professorship, his suit claims. (link)

Jun 26: Sex Abuse Lawsuits: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected Ohio State University's bid to dismiss lawsuits brought by alleged sexual abuse victims of a now-deceased doctor who was employed by the school's athletic department and medical staff for nearly two decades. The justices turned away Ohio State's appeal of a lower court's ruling that allowed litigation to proceed despite having been brought decades after the abuse by Richard Strauss, which occurred from 1978 to 1998. At issue in the current litigation was whether the state of Ohio's two-year statute of limitations for such misconduct began to run at the time of the abuse or decades later when the alleged victims learned that Ohio State was investigating Strauss's misconduct. (link)

Jun 23: Sexual Assault Investigations: In a decision scrutinizing how colleges investigate sexual assault allegations, Connecticut's highest court ruled Friday that a former Yale student is not immune from a defamation lawsuit by a fellow student who was exonerated in criminal court after she accused him of rape. The Connecticut court ruled 7-0 that because he had fewer rights to defend himself in university proceedings than he would in criminal court, the rape accuser can't benefit fully from immunity granted to witnesses in criminal proceedings. It's one of the few state court rulings on the topic in any U.S. court and could be cited widely in future cases, legal experts said. The decision could add to the already vexing problem of sexual assaults going unreported, violence prevention groups said in a brief to the state Supreme Court. (link)

Jun 22: Athletics Compliance: The former LSU and current McNeese State men's basketball coach was given a two-year show-cause order and a 10-game suspension for three Level I violations, the Independent Accountability Resolution Process announced Thursday. The coach was found to have made impermissible payments to the former fiancée of a player, while also failing to cooperate in an investigation and failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance. LSU football was hit with one Level I violation for failing to monitor a representative of athletics interests, which resulted in impermissible benefits paid to the father of a former player. The football program and men's basketball program each received a Level II violation for failure to monitor. (link)

Jun 21: NCAA Compliance: Memphis men's basketball coaches committed recruiting violations when they participated in two impermissible in-home recruiting visits with a prospect during his junior year of high school, according to a decision released by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. Because of his personal involvement in the violations and failure to monitor his staff, the men's basketball head coach also violated head coach responsibility rules. In December, the school reached an agreement with the enforcement staff about the violations and penalties. The Division I Committee on Infractions publicly acknowledged the infractions case so the school could immediately begin serving penalties while awaiting the committee's final decision. (link)

Jun 20: Employee Conduct: Stephen F. Austin State University assistant bowling coach Steve Lemke chose to resign rather than be fired this spring after the university discovered that he had an affair with a student athlete. Lemke, 38, who is married to head coach Amber Lemke, resigned April 10 from the program that he helped coach to two national titles and two second-place finishes. The Daily Sentinel has chosen not to identify the athlete, who was a member of the bowling team. Steve Lemke defended his actions and said the relationship was consensual but might have been "amplified to the magnitude that it is now because of the national championship caliber that we've developed." "I think it's more of an ethics thing when it comes to the college as far as a coach/teacher being with a student-athlete," he said. (link)

Jun 20: Worker's Rights Settlement: Georgetown University will pay $550,000 to resolve allegations that it required staff working in research settings to work unpaid overtime, D.C. Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb announced Tuesday. The AG's office said Georgetown will establish a fund through which workers can claim the wages they are legally owed. The university will also pay the appropriate overtime to all non-exempt employees, according to Schwalb. According to the Attorney General's Office, in March 2022, they received a complaint about Georgetown's overtime practices through its workers' rights tipline. After an investigation, the AG's office said it determined that "from March 1, 2020, to the present, staff employees working at the Georgetown University Medical Center and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences were required to perform work off-the-clock, without compensation." (link)

Jun 19: State Law: All Louisiana K-12 public schools and colleges or universities are required to display "In God We Trust" in every classroom. Previously, the state law required that educational institutions display the national motto somewhere in the building. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 8, which requires at minimum a paper sign that can be donated to the school. (link)

Jun 17: Employee Conduct: Bob Huggins has resigned as the men's basketball coach at West Virginia in the wake of his arrest Friday night for allegedly driving under the influence. Huggins announced he was stepping down in a statement Saturday night in which he said, "My recent actions do not represent the values of the University or the leadership expected in this role. ... I have let all of you -- and myself -- down." The resignation of Huggins, 69, could mark the end of a Hall of Fame career for one of the sport's most successful and divisive coaches. Huggins won 935 games and coached in 26 NCAA tournaments and two Final Fours. In 16 seasons at West Virginia, he went 345-203. (link)

Jun 15: Discrimination Lawsuit: Two University of Houston--Downtown preliminary investigation reports "substantiated" that a now former dean "said on multiple occasions that it would make him look good that he hired a Black, gay man," according to documents provided anonymously to Inside Higher Ed. A Black, gay man is now suing the university and the University of Houston system, alleging the dean of the Marilyn Davies College of Business discriminated against him based on his race and sexual orientation. (link)

Jun 14: COVID Lawsuit Settlement: The University of Delaware has agreed to pay $6.3 million to settle a lawsuit over its campus shutdown in 2020 and the halting of in-person classes because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to court papers that were filed this month and signed by the plaintiffs and university president Dennis Assanis, some 21,000 current and former students could receive cash reimbursements. While agreeing to settle the case, the university continues to deny all allegations of wrongdoing. According to the ruling, more than 17,000 undergraduates were enrolled at the University of Delaware in spring 2020, and the university collected more than $160 million in tuition that semester. (link)

Jun 14: Employee Conduct: A longtime and award-winning Penn State professor allegedly performed sexual acts with his dog in sickening displays that were captured on a state forest trail camera. The professor, 64, was charged Tuesday after he was allegedly caught earlier this year naked from the waist down -- except for socks and shoes -- committing the perverted sex acts with his collie near bathrooms at Rothrock State Forest in Pennsylvania, according to reports. The professor, who is on leave from the university, was identified through a North Face backpack he was carrying from an incident in April and also May, according to a criminal complaint cited by the Centre Daily Times. (link)

Jun 12: Injury Lawsuits: Two survivors of the Feb. 13 mass shooting at Michigan State University have filed lawsuits against the college. The lawsuits were filed by Troy Forbush and the legal guardians of Nathan Statly. The claim was filed against Michigan State University, MSU Police, and any person involved in the "ownership, operation, and/or control of Berkey Hall." According to documents filed by their attorneys, the lawsuits claim the injuries sustained at the school were due to dangerous conditions at Berkey Hall. The documents claim the school had received complaints regarding safety measures and lack of restrictions across the campus, including Berkey Hall, prior to the shooting. (link)

Jun 08: Sexual Misconduct: The Juilliard School has fired a professor who had been accused of sexually harassing students after an independent investigation found "credible evidence" that he had "engaged in conduct which interfered with individuals' academic work," the school said in a letter to students, staff, faculty and alumni on Thursday. The inquiry was ordered after an investigation in December 2022 by VAN, a classical music magazine, that detailed accusations against the professor and other Juilliard composition teachers. VAN, citing interviews with unnamed former students, said that the man had made unwanted advances toward students and engaged in sexual relationships with them. (link)

Jun 08: Title VI Investigation: The US Department of Education is investigating allegations of antisemitism made by two Jewish students at the State University of New York at New Paltz, who say they were booted from an on-campus sexual abuse survivors group over their support of Israel and Zionism. The DOE's Office for Civil Rights has opened a probe into a complaint filed by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights on behalf of the students, Cassandra Blotner and Ofek Preis, claiming that the college failed to address the alleged discrimination and harassment the coeds were subjected to. The department will determine if the antisemitism and anti-Zionism the students say they faced violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin at institutions that receive federal funding. (link)

Jun 07: Employee Conduct: On May 11, Patricia Hurn, Dean of the School of Nursing, announced that a professor had been placed on paid administrative leave. In an email to Nursing School faculty and staff, Hurn wrote that the professor was removed from his position as director of the Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities and was barred from any contact with students or faculty. For over a year, the professor has been the subject of an ongoing sexual misconduct complaint through the University of Michigan's Equity, Civil Rights & Title IX Office. The case began in February 2022 when two former students came forward and alleged he sexually harassed them. In interviews with The Michigan Daily, these students described their experiences with the professor. Their allegations range from inappropriate comments in the workplace and by text to sexual abuse. They also allege he fabricated evidence and provided false testimony during ECRT hearings. (link)

Jun 06: NCAA Compliance: Over four academic years, Manhattan College improperly certified eligibility for 26 student-athletes across six sports, according to an agreement released by the Division I Committee on Infractions. Additional violations occurred in the softball program when a former assistant coach recruited prospects without completing a mandatory recruiting exam and later refused to cooperate with an investigation. Finally, because the head coach learned of the improper recruiting but did not address it, the head coach was found to have failed to set a proper tone of compliance. (link)

Jun 06: Whistleblower Lawsuit: The N.C. Court of Appeals has dismissed the case of a former UNC Chapel Hill professor who has been challenging his dismissal since 2018. Professor Richard Semelka's latest legal action alleged that university officials violated the state Whistleblowers Act. "[P]laintiff cannot establish a prime facie case of whistleblower retaliation as his discharge was the result of legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons related to his misrepresentations in seeking reimbursement for $30,000 in personal legal fees," wrote Judge John Arrowood for the unanimous appellate panel. "Accordingly, plaintiff's arguments to the contrary are overruled." (link)

Jun 05: Employee Conduct: The Dean of Students at SUNY Broome has been arrested last week. A court calendar for the Town of Clay, NY listed the dean as being charged with grand larceny in the second degree and identity theft in the first degree. He was arrested on May 30. "The college is shocked and saddened to learn that a SUNY Broome employee has been charged with alleged criminal activity," a statement from a SUNY Broome spokesperson said. "These charges are for activities that occurred in the individual's personal life aside from any college responsibilities. Details surrounding the situation are still being gathered by the authorities." (link)

Jun 03: Employment Lawsuit: North Idaho College President Nick Swayne won permanent reinstatement Friday. Judge Cynthia Meyer granted a motion for summary judgment, which affirms that NIC cannot place Swayne on administrative leave under the terms of his employment agreement, which is valid and remains in effect. This could be the final turn in a legal battle that began in December, when the NIC board majority of Todd Banducci, Greg McKenzie and Mike Waggoner placed Swayne on leave for no disciplinary reason, prompting Swayne to sue for reinstatement. (link)

Jun 01: Wrongful Death Lawsuit: Canisius College has been named in a lawsuit filed by the family of a former student-athlete. In the lawsuit filed May 31, the family of Tiffany Shania McGhie says their daughter was harassed and bullied at the school and that it ultimately led to her death by suicide. The family says in the lawsuit, McGhie was harassed throughout the 2019-2020 school year and season, while on the women's basketball team. The suit claims McGhie was "subjected to relentless verbal abuse, bullying, hazing, unfair and disparate treatment, threats, retaliation, and economic exploitation by Scott Hemer, Jazz Weaver, and other student-athlete members of the women's varsity basketball team." The lawsuit claims McGhie was threatened to be kicked off the team, which would cause her to lose her athletic scholarship. (link)

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Campus Life & Safety Events

Jun 28: Campus Climate: The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has decided against hiring psychology professor Yoel Inbar after receiving a letter from 65 students (at the time of writing) at the institution, accusing him of taking “a strong stance against promoting DEI initiatives”. Dr Inbar, an academic at Toronto University, was set to be appointed as a tenured faculty member in the UCLA psychology department, before historic comments made on his podcast, Two Psychologists Four Beers, were highlighted by students as a reason not to hire him. Inbar's offending remarks were made in two episodes of his podcast, which covers topics such as free speech and anti-racism in academia. (link)

Jun 28: Assault: A professor and two students were stabbed Wednesday during a class on gender issues at a university in the Canadian city of Waterloo, and a suspect has been taken into custody, police said. The wounds were non-life threatening, police said, adding that the motive for the attack at the University of Waterloo was not immediately clear. The suspect was being questioned by investigators. Nick Manning, associate vice-president of communications for the University of Waterloo, identified the suspect as a member of "the university community" but declined to confirm the individual is a student. He said two students and a professor were stabbed (link)

Jun 22: Student Protest: UC San Diego graduate students are facing disciplinary hearings and possible expulsion after interrupting an alumni awards ceremony to accuse university administrators of failing to live up to the requirements of a union contract brokered in 2022. According to statements by United Auto Workers 2865, which represents more than 36,000 University of California student researchers, teaching assistants, tutors and readers statewide, a total of 67 students are facing academic discipline after staging a demonstration on May 5. Maya Gosztyla, a union organizer and doctoral candidate in biology, said she and many others received letters from UCSD's student affairs office in early June that allege violations of student conduct procedures, including prohibitions against physical assault and threatening conduct. (link)

Jun 21: Campus Police: Following a day of criticism over the arrest of a Newark High School student, the University of Delaware broke its silence Wednesday evening, accusing the teen of driving through a parking lot in a manner that endangered officers and bystanders. "The University of Delaware rejects any and all allegations that the UD Police Department officers acted with racial or religious bias," UD said in a written statement sent first to Christina School District officials and later forwarded to the Newark Post. "The subject was apprehended for behavior posing risk and harm to himself and others due to reckless operation of a vehicle." (link)

Jun 19: Graduation Requirements Mistake: More than a dozen University of Pittsburgh students walked across the stage this spring only to learn they didn't meet graduation requirements months later. Jennifer Espinoza is one of 17 students in Pitt's Combined Accelerated Studies in Education program, or CASE, who walked across the stage at graduation to find out two months later that was incorrect. "I felt a lot of betrayal in that moment thinking I put my trust in the School of Education," Espinoza said. The students were notified by email that the university was withholding their diplomas because they didn't meet graduation requirements. The students say a university advisor mistakenly told them they could waive or substitute numerous prerequisite general education courses to enter the CASE program. CASE is a teacher preparation program that allows students to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in education in five years. (link)

Jun 14: Threats: A Fresno City College instructor has been detained after allegedly making threats to the dean and students. In an email from Fresno City College, the State Center Community College District (SCCCD) Police Department sent an emergency notice on Tuesday to Fresno City College students and staff that the campus was on lockdown due to a potential threat on campus. They say the lockdown was a necessary precaution but added the person making the threat was not on campus. The Fresno Police Department began an investigation and a suspect was taken into custody shortly after. SCCCD Police identified the person making the threat as a 36-year-old instructor. (link)

Jun 08: Free Speech: Earlier this week, New College of Florida trustee Christopher Rufo bragged about violating the First Amendment, tweeting that the college would not renew visiting history professor Erik Wallenberg's contract, citing his "left-wing" teaching, views, and past criticism of university leadership. As we explained to New College in a letter today, this is a clear violation of the public college's First Amendment obligations to respect faculty expression, with ramifications far beyond one non-renewed professor. All New College faculty will be chilled from expressing themselves, teaching as they see fit, or speaking out on matters of public concern, if they know their jobs are at the mercy of a select few administrators. (link)

Jun 06: Security/Free Speech: Students from two University of Pittsburgh student organizations claim their First Amendment rights were violated after the university billed them more than $18,000 in security fees following protests in April. On Tuesday, the Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to the university on behalf of students from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and College Republicans. The letter claims that the ISI and College Republicans were charged an $18,734 security fee following an April event hosted by the organizations. The fees stem from the event that focused on transgender rights. The event caused massive protests on campus, with university police warning of a "public safety emergency" that night. (link)

Jun 05: Student Groups Lawsuit: The Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) claimed that the University of Buffalo suppressed its student chapter in a new lawsuit filed on Thursday. According to the lawsuit by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Student Association at the university voted to revise policies regarding club recognition back in March. The policies now include the following requirement: "Except for clubs in the Academic, Engineering, or Sports Councils, and clubs whose sole purpose is to engage in inter-collegiate competition, no SA club may be a chapter of or otherwise part of any outside organization." The lawsuit claims that this is in violation of many conservative students' rights to assembly. (link)

Jun 01: Theft & Vandalism: The man accused of stealing a bulldozer and wreaking havoc on the Virginia State University campus has a history of issues with the university, but until now, none of them have resulted in a conviction. Online records from the Chesterfield General District Court show that of 30 charges the man has been arrested for since 2021, more than 20 of them involve dealings with the Ettrick school. Twelve of them, all misdemeanors, went to court but were not prosecuted. The man was arrested in the early morning hours of May 27 after state police reportedly caught him driving a stolen bulldozer previously used to trash a VSU Police vehicle, and damage property at and around the VSU Multi-Purpose Center. He also is accused of doing damage with the bulldozer at Ettrick Elementary School and a church across Chesterfield Avenue from the VSU campus. (link)

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Jun 27: Loss of Research: A university janitor accidentally turned off a super cold laboratory freezer after repeated "annoying alarms," resulting in the destruction of $1 million worth of scientific research, according to a lawsuit filed in the New York. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a private research university in Troy, New York, is suing Daigle Cleaning Systems after one of its contracted workers wiped out over 20 years of research, according to the suit, which was filed in Rensselaer County Supreme Court. (link)

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