Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
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Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
Volume 15 Number 08 | August 2023
Quotable .....
“I believe that everyone chooses how to approach life. If you're proactive, you focus on preparing. If you're reactive, you end up focusing on repairing.”

-- John C. Maxwell

Fall semester is the time of year where both hope and excitement reign on college campuses. For students, few if any grades have been posted so the possibility of a great semester is still alive. For sports teams, the season is beginning and hopes for a successful season are high. Campus communities have awakened from the summer doldrums and are now vibrant and full of life. The fall is an incredibly exciting time for college campuses.

As we begin another academic year, I thought it would be a great time to remind our readers why we publish Case in Point and how we suggest you use this publication. Here is what I wrote many years ago, and these words continue to hold true today:

Our goal has always been very simple: we believe it's cheaper to proactively manage risk than to react and remediate crises from risk management failures. We provide an overview that allows you to scan the news events occurring throughout our industry each month and ask yourself, 'How can I prevent this from happening here?' If you realize you have a similar high-risk exposure at your institution from this review, you can do something to proactively reduce the risk. What that ‘something' is will depend on the risk, your role, and many other factors; however, doing nothing is a dangerous thing in the world in which we now operate. Our larger goal is to help develop risk-intelligent institutions. We should note that we are not anti-risk. Risk is always going to be with us in life, but we can consider risk and be wise in the actions we take. This is important because any money we spend on remediation, settlements, and investigations is money we aren't spending on education, research, and outreach.

Each year I meet with deans, directors, department heads, and other various stakeholders to get their take on risks facing AU. This year I had an interesting conversation with one of our deans. The dean told me that they read an article about a problem at another institution and realized their unit operated the same way. So, the dean made operational changes to prevent similar issues from happening here. This is the way it's supposed to work. We encourage you to follow the dean's lead and help your institution continue to use its resources toward its mission rather than risk management failures.

We hope your 2023-2024 academic year is the best yet. We will keep you updated on current and emerging risks in our industry. As we do each month, we invite you to review the issues across higher education with a view toward proactive risk management.

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

Aug 30: Data Breach Lawsuit: A lawsuit filed in federal court alleges the University of Minnesota failed to "establish appropriate security safeguards" for sensitive personal data in university records. The U began investigating a potentially massive data breach in late July after the tech journal The Cyber Express reported claims that a hacker had potentially gained access to more than 7 million Social Security numbers. The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District of Minnesota on behalf of a former student and a former employee of the University, seeks class action status. If the court approves, others could join the suit. The legal filing claims the stolen information includes records as far back as 1989. (link)

Aug 29: Outage: The University of Michigan has been without full internet access for two days after staff shut the school's connections down in response to a "significant [cyber]security concern" on the eve of the new school year. The internet shutdown affected campus IT systems used for research and fundraising, and could delay financial aid reimbursements, the university said Monday. Campus computers are generally cut off from the public internet, but students were finding workarounds via their cell phones. An updated statement Tuesday afternoon said staff had made progress in helping students access resources from off-campus computer networks, but that the recovery was ongoing. (link)

Aug 24: Ransomware Report: Sophos' annual study of the real-world ransomware experiences of IT/cybersecurity leaders makes clear the realities facing educational organizations in 2023. It reveals the most common root causes of attacks and shines new light on how ransomware impacts the education sector. This year the education sector reported the highest rates of ransomware attacks of all industries surveyed, suggesting that the sector is particularly exposed to attacks. In higher education, exploited vulnerabilities (40%) were the most common root cause of ransomware attacks, with compromised credentials falling in second place at 37%. Together, they account for over three-quarters of ransomware attacks (77%) in higher education. Email-based attacks (malicious email or phishing) are a less common root cause but still drive almost one in five ransomware incidents (19%). (link)

Aug 23: Data Breach: The University of Minnesota confirmed this week that the sensitive personal information of students, faculty and employees was leaked in a data breach, following a report last month from security researchers. On July 15, a hacker on a dark web forum claimed to have access to 7 million Social Security numbers after breaking into a data warehouse the school used for record storage. The hacker claimed to have found "basically all records the university has since they began digitizing in 1989." The attack was purportedly in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down Affirmative Action, and the hacker asked others to organize the stolen data based on race and admission test scores. (link)

Aug 22: Outage: The University of Utah announced "widespread IT outages" due to high humidity levels at the Downtown Data Center. U of U authorities are working to restore multiple IT outages that were reportedly caused by Utah's high humidity levels. The outages were identified around 4 p.m. today, Aug. 22, and are affecting multiple systems and services. Microsoft Teams is the only service listed that is completely operational without decreased performance. "The room where our servers are located are sensitive to temperature and humidity. Our teams were adjusting the humidity levels in the server area to compensate for the outdoor humidity and in the process the room became too humid which triggered an automatic shutdown. Our teams are in the process of resetting and getting things operational again," Chief University Relations Officer Chris Nelson said. (link)

Aug 08: Data Breach Costs: The threat of a data breach is always imminent in higher education, and a new analysis by IBM illustrates just how expensive one can be. "The Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023" found that the average cost of a cybersecurity breach was $3.7 million at colleges or universities and related training and development companies between March 2022 and March 2023. While the average is about $200,000 less than last year, IBM's report illustrates how much more work needs to be done to protect postsecondary institutions. For example, only one-third of companies discovered the data breach internally. The other 67% of breaches were found by third-party entities, and, in some cases, the hackers themselves. It pays big to have a strong internal detection team: Organizations paid an average of $1 million more when attackers disclosed the breach. (link)

Aug 04: Data Breach: The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) reported a massive data breach Friday impacting a large group of students and educators dating back to 2004. CDHE said it became aware of the cybersecurity ransomware incident on June 19 that impacted network systems. The investigation is ongoing, but CDHE said it determine an unauthorized person or people accessed its systems between June 11 and June 19. The investigation revealed that some records were accessed that include names, Social Security numbers, student identification numbers, and/or other education records. (link)

Aug 01: Ransom Paid: Hawaii Community College came to an agreement with online hackers: giving a ransom to keep criminals from leaking personal information of students and faculty members at the school, including social security numbers and bank information. According to a recent report, online ransomware attacks are up by more than 80% and are targeting university systems the most. The University knows the entity involved and worked with national security experts before they decided to pay up. Based on their research, they said this organization has the reputation of dumping private information into the world if ransom is not paid. However, it also has a history of keeping its word not to if they do get their money. (link)

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Fraud & Ethics Related Events

Aug 30: Theft: Two men are facing charges after 4,000 pounds of peaches were stolen from a farm owned by Clemson University. The Oconee County Sheriff's Office was called to the theft at Musser Fruit Research Farm on South Friendship Road on Aug. 22. A manager at the farm told deputies he estimated the market value of the peaches to be between $3,000 and $5,000. Deputies said the suspects, both from Piedmont, were staying at Oconee Point Campground, which borders the orchard. Farmhands said they found locks on their gates cut.The university farm told investigators they keep meticulous records about each tree in their orchard and the fruit they bear. In addition to the money lost, the theft also cost them a year of research. (link)

Aug 30: Student Loan Fraud: The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that a former university financial advisor was sentenced to four years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud -- a scheme to obtain more than $5 million in student loans. From about 2006 to 2021, the man, 44, of Lexington Park, Md., was the ringleader of a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Education. He was employed at a university in Adelphi, Md. The advisor and his co-conspirators recruited over 60 "student participants" to apply for and enroll in postgraduate programs at more than eight academic institutions. (link)

Aug 28: Identity Fraud: An ethnic studies professor who was accused of claiming to be Native American has agreed to part ways next year with the University of California Riverside following a complaint filed by colleagues, documents show. The separation agreement between the university and a tenured professor cites "a complaint signed by 13 faculty members alleging that Professor [...] has made fraudulent claims to Native American identity in violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct provisions concerning academic integrity." Despite acknowledging the complaint, which was filed last year, the university did not launch a formal investigation and no findings were made regarding the allegations, according to the document obtained by CNN. (link)

Aug 23: Fraud: Three men associated with the Middle Tennessee State University's Campus Outreach ministry organization have been indicted on charges for allegedly trying to defraud the university. According to the Tennessee Comptroller's Office, there were multiple occasions on which the campus director, campus minister, and MTSU's former student chapter president provided false financial information to the university in an attempt to steal money. The Comptroller's Office began investigating after MTSU's Internal Audit staff discovered the three men had reportedly collaborated to submit a false reimbursement request to the university in an attempt to steal $4,700 in student activity fees. (link)

Aug 23: Occupational Fraud: A former Penn State employee who defrauded the university of more than $267,000 over the course of more than a decade was sentenced Wednesday to one year and one day in prison. The former networks and systems manager in the university's Office of Development and Alumni Relations agreed to pay more than $267,000 in restitution. He's set to pay at least $200 per month once released from prison, if he has not yet repaid the university. He used his former position to buy equipment he falsely claimed was necessary to upgrade, replace or maintain servers. He purchased about $1.3 million of equipment during his tenure, a federal prosecutor wrote. (link)

Aug 15: Occupational Fraud: A former Lethbridge College employee was ordered to pay back nearly $60,000 in restitution and serve a two-year conditional sentence order. The case of the employee, who was charged with fraud and related offences for stealing nearly $60,000 was in Lethbridge court of justice Wednesday. The judge said the employee worked in the office of the bookstore and as such she needed to be very familiar with the nature of the transactions, inventory control, with products as they came in and went out, with the various financial transactions that would be conducted in that office, and it was as a result of her familiarity with the work that her employer expected of her, that she was ultimately able to commit these frauds. (link)

Aug 10: Wire Fraud: Southeast Missouri State University's Department of Public Safety is investigating a case of wire fraud against the university. According to a release from the university, the investigation is in the early stages. They say the incident involves theft of money and not data. No personal records of students, faculty or staff were compromised. As the investigation continues, they say they will coordinate with local and federal authorities. (link)

Aug 10: Occupational Fraud: A Jefferson County grand jury returned indictments Wednesday against the former Eastern Gateway Community College President and former Vice President and Chief of Staff, charges stemming from allegations they used college credit cards for purchases not related to the operations of the school. Grand jurors ordered the men to each stand trial on six felony charges -- grand theft, theft in office, telecommunications fraud, misuse of credit cards and having an unlawful interest in a public contract -- plus two additional misdemeanor counts each of misuse of credit cards and having an unlawful interest in a public contract. The alleged inappropriate expenditures came to light during a routine internal audit of the college's financial activities for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 that "flagged alleged irregularities involving purchasing cards," EGCC officials had said at the time. (link)

Aug 03: Hiring Settlement: Texas A&M University reached a $1 million settlement Thursday with a Black journalism professor whose hiring was sabotaged by backlash over her past work promoting diversity. The nation's largest public school agreed to pay Kathleen McElroy and apologized to her while admitting "mistakes were made during the hiring process." Texas A&M, which is located in College Station, about 90 miles (144 kilometers) northwest of Houston, initially welcomed McElroy with great fanfare to revive its journalism department in June. But McElroy told the Texas Tribune last month that soon after her hiring, she learned of emerging internal pushback from then-unidentified individuals over her past work to improve diversity and inclusion in newsrooms. (link)

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Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events

Aug 30: Discrimination Lawsuit: A group of female Vassar College professors filed a proposed class action against the school in New York federal court on Wednesday, claiming it underpays women on its faculty, delays their promotions and unfairly evaluates their work. Wendy Graham, Maria Hohn, Mia Mask, Cindy Schwarz and Debra Zeifman, who are all former or current full professors at Vassar, claim in their lawsuit that the Poughkeepsie, New York, school has known for years that it was underpaying its female professors, but rather than fixing the problem, it worked to conceal it. (link)

Aug 29: Clery Act: After ongoing discussions with the Department of Education on security measures, the University of Texas at San Antonio is paying out a settlement of $670,000. The U.S. Department of Education Office of the Inspector General conducted an audit of crime statistics at UTSA between 2015 and 2017. During the three-year period, UTSA had 55 criminal incidents that were underreported. In a statement, UTSA says they've made improvements campus-wide to address the issues the department had. (link)

Aug 28: Discrimination Settlement: A Kansas community college that was accused of trying to reduce the number of Black student-athletes has agreed to a settlement, the Justice Department announced Monday. The department said in a news release that the agreement requires Highland Community College to make its disciplinary proceedings more fair, to provide more training and to improve its procedures for responding to student complaints. The agreement resolves the department's investigation into complaints that Black students were targeted for searches and disciplined more severely than their white peers, resulting in their unfair removal from campus housing, or even expulsion, the department said in the release. (link)

Aug 27: NCAA Compliance: Arizona State will not play in a bowl game in 2023 after self-imposing a one-year bowl ban Sunday morning, a decision that acknowledges the severity of the evidence in the ongoing NCAA case against the school's football program. Arizona State's decision comes amid an investigation that began during the tenure of a former coach, whose job with the Sun Devils ended three games into last season after an embarrassing loss to Eastern Michigan. The specter of the NCAA investigation into allegations of repeated and gratuitous recruiting violations has scattered many of the program's best players. (link)

Aug 24: Employee Conduct: The director of Illinois State University's School of Teaching and Learning has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor, authorities said Thursday. The director, 52, of Bloomington, was indicted Wednesday on four counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, authorities said. The allegations are related to the man's alleged conduct with one victim, under the age of 13, with incidents spread out during four time periods between 2007 and 2015, according to court documents and authorities. The allegations are not related to his work at ISU, a Bloomington Police spokesperson said. The indictment followed a "lengthy investigation" by BPD's Criminal Investigation Division, the police spokesperson said. (link)

Aug 22: Title IX Settlement: Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to reform its Title IX procedures following a two and a half-year investigation into how the school handled multiple complaints of sexual assault and harassment on campus. The DOJ's probe, which was conducted by its Civil Rights Division as well as the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio, focused on alleged instances of "student-on-student and employee-on-student" harassment. Officials concluded that "CWRU did not respond appropriately to a well-known climate of sexual harassment in its Greek life program" and that staff members "did not report sexual harassment complaints to the office tasked with responding to such Allegations and providing students with support and resources." (link)

Aug 22: Employee Conduct: An associate professor of psychology at Wilkes University was terminated Sunday amid allegations he met the self-proclaimed Luzerne County Predator Catcher over the weekend. In a statement to students, Wilkes University President Greg Cant did not name the associate professor who was terminated. The statement reads: "This weekend, very serious accusations have been made against a longtime member of our faculty. The University first became aware of these allegations on Saturday evening and immediately began a thorough review process. Effective this morning, the faculty member in question is no longer employed by the University, an outcome achieved in accordance with the steps outlined in the Faculty Handbook." (link)

Aug 21: NCAA Compliance: Michigan self-imposed a three-game suspension for football coach Jim Harbaugh to begin the 2023 season, stemming from alleged violations during the COVID-19 dead period, the university announced Monday. "While the ongoing NCAA matter continues through the NCAA process, today's announcement is our way of addressing mistakes that our department has agreed to in an attempt to further that process," athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. "We will continue to support coach Harbaugh, his staff, and our outstanding student-athletes. Per the NCAA's guidelines, we cannot comment further until the matter is resolved." Michigan's self-imposed suspension for Harbaugh is designed to soften the potential ruling from the NCAA, which likely won't come until 2024, a source said. Harbaugh faces a Level I violation, which would be for not cooperating with or misleading NCAA investigators about the alleged violations. (link)

Aug 21: Student Lawsuit: Pacific University may have to shell out nearly $4 million following a jury verdict last week. In 2020, Pacific University indefinitely suspended one of its students after he was accused of sexual and physical assault by another student. Now, years later, the university might have to pay the person who was accused, Peter Steele, for the decision to dismiss him. Jurors late last week agreed with some of Steele's claims, resulting in Pacific being on the line for roughly $3.9 million. The university does have some options ahead of it, including an appeal. Pacific University declined an interview request, but in a statement, Associate Director of Communications Blake Timm said the university is considering whether to appeal. (link)

Aug 21: Employee Conduct: A University of Iowa men's basketball manager has been charged with Tampering with Records relating to reported violations of gaming rules and gambling activities. According to the criminal complaint, the manager engaged in a scheme to disguise his identity and manipulate online transactions in order to create the appearance that the transactions were made by a family member and not him. The transactions were, however, routinely placed from his personal phone. A combined 15 athletes and staff at Iowa and Iowa State have been charged so far in the ongoing investigation. All of the players were also charged with Tampering with Records. (link)

Aug 17: Employee Conduct: A professor, 45, of Marlborough, is charged with one count of receipt of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, and possession of child pornography, the US Attorney for Massachusetts said on Thursday, Aug. 17. Police arrested him in June. Agents in Virginia began investigating the man in May after they found child porn being shared on an unnamed social media site, authorities said. He worked as an ASL professor at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. The school announced over the summer that it had placed him on administrative leave and removed him from all duties at the school. (link)

Aug 17: Sexual Assault Lawsuit: A student who says she was sexually assaulted while attending St. Francis Xavier University in 2022 has filed a lawsuit against the Nova Scotia school. The lawsuit, filed Monday with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, alleges the university in Antigonish, N.S., failed in its duty to protect sexual abuse survivors victimized by a student athlete despite repeated calls to do something since 2021. None of the allegations have been proven in court. A statement of claim alleges the former student -- whose identity is protected by a publication ban -- was living in a residence on campus when she was sexually assaulted on Sept. 25, 2022, by another student. (link)

Aug 16: Title IX: Last week I reported that a music professor at one of the country's most prestigious performing arts colleges was under investigation after allegations of grooming and sexual assault were brought forward by one of his former students. I have since learned that the music professor has resigned. Just over a week ago, I published a report that a former student, Emily Zwijack, had posted allegations on Instagram of grooming and sexual abuse at the hands of [the professor]. The account, "sashassastory", includes detailed and disturbing allegations of abuse that lasted over multiple years and took many forms, from psychological, spiritual, and physical. (link)

Aug 16: Human Rights Complaint: A former student of Humber College has filed a human rights complaint after he claims the school failed to meet accommodations necessary for him to succeed at the post-secondary school, an allegation the college denies. Jake filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on Nov. 21, 2021 alleging he was not provided with an Accommodations Letter until Oct. 28, 2021, the accommodations were not followed and finally, the college harassed and reprised against him for raising concerns about his accommodations by locking him out of the online course management platform. (link)

Aug 16: Title IX Award Reversal: In what was called a rare finding, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court jury verdict that Chadron State College committed a Title IX violation in the handling of a 2016 on-campus sexual assault case. In a two-to-one opinion in Jane Doe vs. the Nebraska State College Board of Trustees, the panel sided with the trustees, who appealed the jury finding that CSC officials acted with deliberate indifference in their handling of the assault, and awarded the now-former student $300,000 plus attorney fees. The appeals court panel said viewing the appeal in a light most favorable to the jury verdict, uncontradicted evidence demonstrated CSC officials acted promptly and immediately upon learning of the assault, and there was no evidence showing the college's actions had a causal impact with the sexual assaults or related harassment. (link)

Aug 15: Expulsion Lawsuit: A former nursing student whom Columbia Basin College expelled after learning that he had been hospitalized for homicidal thoughts about three professors can sue the institution and several of its officials, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court's ruling that the former student, known as R.W., was not barred by the Eleventh Amendment's shield of immunity from suing Columbia Basin for terminating him from the program and failing him in his courses. The former student was one term away from finishing the academic program at the community college in Washington State when a social worker, to whom he had reported that he had visions of killing his instructors, told police officers, who then informed college officials. (link)

Aug 15: Employee Conduct: A former San Jose State University (SJSU) director of sports medicine pleaded guilty today in the Northern District of California for unlawfully touching female student-athletes under the guise of providing medical treatment. As part of the plea agreement, the director admitted that, between 2017 and 2020, he violated the civil rights of four students who played on women's athletics teams by touching their breasts and buttocks without their consent and without a legitimate medical purpose. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 14. He faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison for each count, a maximum of one year of supervised release for each count and a fine of up to $100,000 on each count. (link)

Aug 15: Negligence Settlement: Almost two years to the day that her son died after a grueling pre-season football workout at Fort Scott Community College, Natasha Washington made the trip from suburban New Orleans to a federal courtroom in Kansas City, Kansas, to settle her negligence and civil rights case against the school. Tirrell Williams collapsed in August 2021 after the team was forced to run sprints and do hundreds of up-downs, where players drop to the ground and then pop back up. The exercises were not part of a planned workout -- players say coach Carson Hunter was punishing the team after he found a piece of trash on the practice field. Players also alleged the team was denied water. (link)

Aug 14: OCR Investigation: The Vanderbilt University Medical Center is under scrutiny in a federal civil rights investigation over the alleged unauthorized release of transgender patients' medical records to the Tennessee attorney general, the Nashville-based hospital system told CNN in a statement. Last month, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center was sued by two people who claim they were among more than 100 current and former patients whose records were turned over to the Tennessee attorney general earlier this year, according to a lawsuit filed in the Davidson County Chancery Court. The plaintiffs allege that Vanderbilt turned over non-anonymized medical records to the state without the patients' knowledge, and that the state's request for information was part of an effort "negatively targeting the transgender community," according to the complaint. (link)

Aug 14: Discrimination Lawsuits: Two former faculty members at Texas A&M University's campus in Qatar have filed federal lawsuits alleging sexual discrimination by the university, the latest controversy to hit the scandal-plagued institution. In one lawsuit, Sheela Athreya, a professor of anthropology and the only woman with tenure on the Qatar campus, said César O. Malavé, dean of the campus, decided not to renew her contract just eight days after she moved her family to the Middle East. The reasons Malavé gave were "conflicting and nonsensical," Athreya said in a court filing, and she was replaced by a man. In a second lawsuit, Joseph Daniel Ura accuses Malavé of removing him as chair of the liberal-arts program after he refused to take actions to dismiss Athreya and a second female professor, Brittany Bounds, an Air Force veteran and co-chair of a campus women's group. (link)

Aug 14: Affirmative Action Guidance: The Biden administration, in its first guidance on how to handle the Supreme Court's ban on affirmative action, offered colleges and universities on Monday something of a road map for how to achieve diverse classes while abiding by the court decision. The administration said schools still had broad latitude when it comes to expanding its pool of applicants, through recruitment, and retaining underrepresented students through diversity and inclusion programs, like affinity clubs. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, in a news briefing, made it clear that the administration faced the task of enforcing a court ruling that it strongly disagreed with. "This is a moment of great urgency in higher education," Dr. Cardona said. (link)

Aug 14: Antitrust Settlement: The University of Chicago has agreed to pay $13.5 million to resolve claims that it conspired with other elite schools to restrict financial aid, according to a U.S. court filing on Monday. Chicago is the first school to reach a proposed settlement in the antitrust price-fixing case brought by current and former students. The plaintiffs sued 17 elite U.S. colleges and universities in 2022 in Chicago federal court, alleging that hundreds of thousands of students paid artificially inflated tuition because the schools unlawfully colluded to restrict financial aid offers. The plaintiffs have claimed billions of dollars in damages. (link)

Aug 11: Remote Work Judgment: A Kutztown University professor who had a recent heart transplant and was denied his request to teach online during the pandemic has won a victory in court. A U.S. District Court judge ruled last month that Stephen Oross III, 63, an associate professor of psychology at the Berks County state university, should have been allowed to continue to teach online even after the school moved instruction back to in-person. But the judge did not grant summary judgment on damages, and Oross and his West Chester-based lawyer, Lorrie McKinley, said they are asking the court for reconsideration. At this point though, he is entitled to back pay, his lawyer said. (link)

Aug 10: Sports Wagering: Four individuals associated with the University of Iowa football program were charged in Johnson County on Thursday amid an ongoing state investigation into sports wagering. They are accused of tampering with records according to Iowa District Court filings. Charges against all four allege the defendants engaged in a scheme to conceal their identities. According to court filings, the defendants "deception" allowed the defendants to engage in underage gambling, breach university and NCAA policies and violate sportsbook user terms and conditions. Additionally, their actions included unfair wagering, conflict of interest and shielded the defendants from potential state and federal tax implications. (link)

Aug 10: Research Compliance: Federal regulators have suspended research on human subjects at the Columbia-affiliated New York State Psychiatric Institute, one of the country's oldest research centers, as they investigate safety protocols across the institute after the suicide of a research participant. It is unusual for the U.S. regulatory office to suspend research, and this suggests that investigators are concerned that potential violations of safety protocols occurred more broadly within the institute. Almost 500 studies, with combined budgets totaling $86 million, are underway at the institute, according to its website. The inquiry followed the death by suicide of a person enrolled in a study led by Dr. Bret R. Rutherford, an associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University who was testing a drug for Parkinson's disease, levodopa, as a treatment for depression and reduced mobility in older people. (link)

Aug 09: Accident Disclosure Bill: Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Wednesday introduced a bill he says will improve safety on college campuses nationwide. The bill is called the Corey Safety Act, named after Corey Hausman, from Westport. Hausman died in 2018 after a skateboarding accident on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder. The bill would require colleges and universities to report serious accidents. Right now, schools only have to disclose crime statistics. The American College Health Association says accidents are the leading cause of fatalities on college campuses. (link)

Aug 04: Arbitration Lawsuit: Faculty unions and a New College of Florida professor who was denied tenure have challenged the constitutionality of a new state law that did away with arbitration in university employment disputes. The United Faculty of Florida, its New College chapter and professor Hugo Viera-Vargas filed a lawsuit Thursday in Leon County circuit court alleging the law violates collective-bargaining rights and unconstitutionally "impairs" an existing union contract. The issue centers on a change, approved this spring by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled Legislature, that prevents arbitration of grievances filed by faculty members over issues such as tenure denials. The law (SB 266) says grievances "may not be appealed beyond the level of a university president" or a person designated by the president. (link)

Aug 04: Employee Conduct: A former adjunct professor at Utah Valley University and retired police officer from California was arrested on multiple child pornography charges in American Fork on Thursday. The man, 68, was charged with ten counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, second-degree felonies, and one count of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, a first-degree felony. Also recovered in the investigation was a photo shot up a woman's dress or skirt in what appears to be a classroom at a local university, a probable cause statement reads. FOX 13 News reached out to Utah Valley University, which confirmed the man was formerly employed at their school. "We are aware of the charges against [the professor]," a statement from the university reads. "He was hired at UVU as a professor of Criminal Justice on August 17, 2015 and left employment on Aug. 31, 2021." (link)

Aug 03: Defamation Lawsuit: A Harvard Business School professor who built a reputation for studying dishonesty is now suing the university and some faculty members for defamation over allegations that she published research based on fraudulent data. Francesca Gino is currently on administrative leave, according to her Harvard biography. She is seeking damages of "at least $25 million" in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts on Tuesday. In her lawsuit, and a contemporaneous statement posted on LinkedIn, Gino adamantly disputes the allegations. (link)

Aug 02: Retaliation Suit Settlement: A San Diego jury on Wednesday awarded more than $39.5 million to an oncologist who accused UC San Diego of retaliation after a battle that started over where to steer a $10 million donation for cancer research. The University of California Regents, which oversees the UC system, sued Dr. Kevin Murphy, alleging fraud and breach of duty. The doctor, in turn, sued the UC Regents alleging retaliation and wrongful termination. A San Diego Superior Court jury juggled both civil lawsuits at once. The conflict traces back to a $10 million donation from one of Murphy's patients, and a dispute over how the donor had intended the money to be spent. The university planned to use it as a general gift for its Moores Cancer Center. Murphy said the donor had intended to fund Murphy's research into brain stimulation treatment. He complained the school was attempting to divert the funds. (link)

Aug 02: Hazing Lawsuit: Ramon Diaz says he was just 17 years old when Northwestern University upperclassmen shaved "Cinco de Mayo" onto the back of his head as the entire football team watched. Diaz said he was the only Latino offensive lineman at a time when the athletic department's culture allowed racism and sexual abuse to thrive and caused psychological and emotional damage to athletes of color. A lawsuit announced on Diaz' behalf Wednesday is the 10th against the prestigious private university since student journalists at The Daily Northwestern published an article on July 8 that suggested head coach Patrick Fitzgerald may have been aware of hazing, leading to his firing after 17 seasons. (link)

Aug 01: Discrimination Lawsuit: A San Francisco State University employee and former student is suing the school after an ex-administrator allegedly made racist comments and referred to the plaintiff, who is a Black man, as a "runaway slave." The lawsuit says an SFSU administrator, the university's former Advising Resource Center director, exhibited hostile and overtly racist behavior toward DeMauriae Vaughn. The claim also argues the university--represented by the Board of Trustees of the California State University system--failed to prevent the workplace harassment, racial discrimination and retaliation Vaughn experienced. "Mr. Vaughn and other non-white SFSU employees dealt with racism so severe that they spent their working days in fear," the lawsuit alleges. (link)

Aug 01: Lawsuit Settlement: Spring Hill College and two former students have reached a settlement of lawsuits arising from allegations over an alleged rape. Audrey Cox, who went public with her allegations in 2021, sued a fellow student last year. She accused him of raping her in her dorm room after both had been drinking in downtown Mobile. She also named the college and several administrators, alleging that the school failed to provide adequate security, which included inoperable locks on dormitories. She alleged that the administrators were "indifferent" to "numerous" past sexual assaults on campus. Lawyers for all of the parties filed the notice of settlement in Mobile's federal court. (link)

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Campus Life & Safety Events

Aug 29: Safety: Two tragedies just three days and several hundred miles apart from each other are drawing renewed attention to security on college campuses. Together, they raise questions, like: How great is the threat to university campuses? And what can be done to make them safer? Steven Healy, the CEO of the Healy+ Group -- a firm that specializes in campus security -- told Morning Edition that campus and security officials must have "active violence situations" on their radar. (link)

Aug 29: Homicide: The suspect in the fatal shooting of a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday has been identified as a doctoral student at the school, a state official briefed by local law enforcement told CNN. The student is in custody on charges of first-degree murder charge and having a gun on education property, according to an Orange County Sheriff's Office booking report. Police still are looking for the weapon and the motive behind the fatal shooting of the faculty member, who has not been publicly identified. The early afternoon shooting sent the university with more than 30,000 students into lockdown for hours. The suspect was detained about 90 minutes after the gunfire interrupted activities at the school's Caudill Laboratories, a chemistry studies building. (link)

Aug 28: Hazing: Nearly half of the University of San Diego football team is facing disciplinary action for allegedly participating in hazing, according to university president Dr. James Harris. Discipline includes indefinite game suspension, Dr. Harris said in a letter sent to school staff which NBC 7 obtained Monday. The university shared the results of its investigation with the San Diego Police Department and has also invited a third party to review the alleged incident, according to the letter. No players were believed to be injured. Reports of hazing were brought to first-year head coach Brandon Moore on Aug. 18. Moore immediately notified Executive Director of Athletics, Bill McGillis leading to a suspension of team activities, Harris' letter said. (link)

Aug 27: Athletics Culture: The University of Utah has engaged an outside agency to review its nationally acclaimed gymnastics program after former gymnasts and parents allege the head coach verbally and emotionally abused and physically intimidated members of the team. The university has turned to the Kansas City-based law firm Husch Blackwell to conduct the review, and several athletes, their parents and Utah gymnastics staffers -- current and former -- have been interviewed as part of the investigation, the Deseret News has learned. Gymnasts and parents reported the alleged abuse to university administrators and campus victim advocates. The former gymnasts are not alleging sexual abuse of any kind, but maintain that the coach verbally and emotionally demeaned them. (link)

Aug 25: Lab Security: The Florida chemistry whiz charged with injecting opioids underneath his neighbor's front door -- because of a noisy toilet seat -- used the laboratory at his university to carefully mix the dangerous toxins, according to court papers obtained by The Post. The man, 36, used a "laboratory on the University of South Florida campus to mix and load liquid syringes on multiple occasions with the intent to harm residents of the condominium," the breach of contract filing by the building's owners association states. The man was a Ph.D. chemistry student at the university until summer 2023, USF confirmed to WFLA. (link)

Aug 25: Sexual Assault: Cincinnati police have arrested a man who allegedly posed as a resident adviser and sexually assaulted a person inside a University of Cincinnati residence hall. According to the Cincinnati Police Department, a 24-year-old man was arrested on charges of rape, aggravated robbery and kidnapping. UC Police said Friday morning the assault happened around 3 a.m. Aug. 24 in The Deacon, an apartment-style dorm near campus, the university wrote in a public safety alert email to students and staff. Police said the man identified himself to the person as an RA and that a "weapon was implied but not seen." (link)

Aug 25: Campus Police: George Washington University is set to move forward with a plan to arm campus police officers for the fall semester despite protests from students and faculty who claim the move will "harm" the college community. In an August 21 news release, the Washington D.C. university announced it would implement the phase of the "George Washington Police Department Arming Plan" and continue to seek feedback on the measure. Administrators said that arming police officers with firearms is the only effective way to protect the campus from "rising gun violence" and to help respond to life-threatening emergencies. The news was met with intense backlash from some students and faculty, who participated in a protest later that month that drew hundreds. (link)

Aug 25: Threat: A 24-year-old man was arrested in connection with a bomb threat targeting Sussex County Community College Tuesday, authorities said. The man was arrested at his Newton home Wednesday and charged with making terroristic threats and eliciting false public alarm, Newton police said. The man, a former Sussex County Community College student, was processed and lodged in the Morris County Jail. The college was evacuated Tuesday night and remained closed Wednesday. There is no threat to the public, police added. (link)

Aug 23: Indecent Exposure: A man charged with exposing his genitals on campus at North Carolina State University has been arrested for indecent exposure at least eight times, according to arrest reports. A spokesperson from N.C. State confirmed a man, 34, was charged Tuesday with indecent exposure and resisting a public officer. According to N.C. State, a female student told police a man exposed his genitals to her inside DH Hill Library. The incident happened one day after classes started at N.C. State. Olivia McDonald, a student at N.C. State, said she's taking extra precautions following the indecent exposure. Students like McDonald say they worry repeat offenders, like Mitchell, making an unwanted presence in universities like N.C. State. She said she wants more regulation on the campus in a way that protects students and keeps accessibility available. (link)

Aug 22: Threat: According to the Lincoln Parish Journal, on Wednesday, police stopped a potential shooting from happening after arresting a man carrying a firearm on the Grambling State University campus. Grambling State University police arrested a 30-year-old man of Leesville shortly after 11:30 AM. Officers arrested the suspect after receiving a tip that a shooting was allegedly going to take place. Police were notified that someone was planning to go to Martha Adams Hall, residential housing, with the intention of shooting a student. Officers made contact with the man outside an entrance to the building. (link)

Aug 18: Campus Mural Ruling: The Vermont Law School can cover up murals that it believes are racially insensitive even though the artist objects, the Second Circuit held Friday in a case that pitted artistic freedom against the post-George Floyd effort to rectify images of the past that no longer reflect contemporary social attitudes. Although a 1990 federal law protects artists against having their works modified or destroyed, the law "does not mandate the preservation of art at all costs and without due regard for the rights of others," U.S. Circuit Chief Judge Debra Livingston wrote in a unanimous 39-page opinion. At issue are two 8-by-24-foot murals painted in 1993 by artist Samuel Kerson, who is white, depicting the history of slavery and of the Underground Railroad in Vermont. Although the murals were initially praised, by 2001 they began drawing criticism for their images of black people. (link)

Aug 15: Violence: Howard University officials said Tuesday they are committed to increased security on campus after two reported incidents happened last weekend that were instigated by young people not affiliated with the college. In a virtual town hall for students and their parents, top brass from Howard said that there was a crowd of unruly youth who were dispersed by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) from Banneker Park across from the campus. Then a short time later, there was a melee at a Subway sandwich shop on Georgia Avenue that was taped by several people and spread on social media platforms, officials said. They also said that Howard University students were not the ones that started the melee. (link)

Aug 15: Academic Freedom: Alleging that numerous courses and topics will be prohibited or "severely curtailed" by a new state law, a group that opposes Gov. Ron DeSantis' efforts to remake New College of Florida filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging the measure. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the group NCF Freedom, Inc. and New College professors and students. The legal challenge asked a judge to block the state from enforcing the 2023 law and to declare that the measure is unconstitutional. The legal challenge argued that DeSantis and Republican state lawmakers, who control the House and Senate, have "adopted as state policy the goal of prohibiting the dissemination of certain ideas," through a series of measures over the past few years. (link)

Aug 15: Manslaughter: Central Connecticut State University police have arrested a person in connection with the death of a student in February. The student, 21-year-old Saradina Redman, was found unresponsive in her residence hall on campus on Feb. 26 and she later died at the hospital. Redman was a bio-molecular science major from Indonesia. CCSU said a man, 22, of Danbury, has been charged with manslaughter in the second degree and sale of narcotics. (link)

Aug 12: Sexual Assault: A man was arrested earlier this month on charges of criminal sexual misconduct in the first degree and kidnapping stemming from allegations he raped a woman in his college dorm room at the College of Charleston in January 2020. The woman involved in the case came forward in June and provided a victim statement and evidence that while at the College of Charleston, the man raped her, according to the incident report provided to News 4. At the time of the alleged assault, the man was a student at the College of Charleston. (link)

Aug 11: DEI/Free Speech: Arizona's public universities are discontinuing diversity, equity and inclusion statements in job applications for faculty and staff. Representatives for the Arizona Board of Regents and the universities say they have never required DEI statements but rather requested them for some job applications. But the Goldwater Institute, the conservative organization that originally flagged the practice, noted a swath of prior job postings with DEI statements listed under required materials. The shift comes after January report from the Goldwater Institute decried the "political litmus test," or "loyalty oaths." The Goldwater Institute found in fall 2022, diversity statements were required in 81% of job postings at Arizona State University, 73% of job postings at Northern Arizona University and 28% of job postings at the University of Arizona. (link)

Aug 09: Housing Safety: Auburn University sent an email to students on Tuesday announcing that it is closing Cambridge Hall and moving its 305 residents temporarily into hotels. "In recent weeks, Auburn University discovered water intrusion issues at Cambridge Hall caused by severe rainstorms. When making repairs, additional moisture concerns developed and were further exacerbated by significant rainfall and severe heat and humidity throughout July and early August," the university said in a statement provided to Auburn will provide students with hotel accommodations until Aug. 30 and will give a $5,000 emergency allowance to assist with the costs associated with securing off-campus housing. (link)

Aug 08: Free Speech: Six university professors and two teachers' unions are suing Idaho over a law that they say violates their First Amendment rights by criminalizing teaching and classroom discussion about pro-abortion viewpoints. The 2021 No Public Funds for Abortion Act prohibits state contracts or transactions with abortion providers and also bans public employees from promoting abortion, counseling in favor of abortion or referring someone to abortion services. Public employees who violate the law can be charged with misuse of public funds, a felony, and be fired, fined and ordered to pay back the funds they are accused of misusing (link)

Aug 05: Robbery: A man was lured into an University of Memphis dorm room, only to find himself face-to-face with armed robbers, according to school officials. UofM students on Saturday reacted to receiving an email alert Friday night warning of the incident. The alert said that it happened about 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, at the school's Rawls Hall building. "A non-student" told the University of Memphis Police Services that he was allowed into the building by a woman who took him into an unoccupied room. There, school officials said, the woman let in three armed men into the room. The men assaulted and robbed him, officials said. (link)

Aug 03: Threats Report: Bomb threats against colleges jumped drastically in 2022, new federal data show. In 2021 institutions of higher education fielded 64 threats. The number spiked to 353 in 2022 -- a roughly 450-percent increase -- according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' annual "Explosives Incident Report," which was released this week. Educational facilities, which included elementary and secondary schools along with colleges, were by far the top targets of bomb threats in 2022, receiving 1,165. Offices and businesses were the second-most targeted, at 259. (link)

Aug 01: Free Speech: The California Department of Education has threatened to sue two prominent Stanford University education professors to prevent them from testifying in a lawsuit against the department -- actions the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California calls an attempt to muzzle them. The ACLU, in turn, is threatening a lawsuit of its own -- against CDE for infringing their and other researchers' First Amendment rights. Observers say the dispute has the potential to limit who conducts education research in California and what they are able to study because CDE controls the sharing of data that is not available to the public. (link)

Aug 01: Defamation/Freedom of the Press: A University of Notre Dame professor has filed a defamation lawsuit against a student-run publication over news coverage of her abortion-rights work. The case is raising questions about press freedom and academic freedom at one of the nation's preeminent Catholic universities. Tamara Kay's suit, filed in May, alleges falsehoods in two articles published by The Irish Rover in the past academic year. The Rover defended its reporting as true in a motion filed earlier this month to dismiss the case, under a law meant to protect people from frivolous lawsuits over matters of public concern. (link)

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