Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
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Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager
Volume 15 Number 12 | December 2023
Quotable .....
“ Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning ”

-- Benjamin Franklin

As we close 2023 and our 15th year of publication, it is our sincere hope that you've found value in our publication again this year. We continue to be amazed at how Case in Point (CIP) keeps growing and reaching more people, not only here in the USA but now globally. Our goal remains the same: to help you evaluate risk intelligently at your institution so that you can focus resources on the primary goals of education, research, and outreach, instead of remediation, settlements, and investigations.

As we approach the end of the year, many of us begin to both reflect on the past year and set goals for the next year. Last week I had the opportunity to do that with the departments that fall under my oversight during our fall assembly. We spent time discussing our core values: Excellence, Integrity, Proactive Action, and Growth. These values are the lens through which we conduct all our activities. As we closed our day together, I challenged every member of our team to come up with at least one thing they want to focus on for personal or professional growth in 2024. I'd like to offer that same challenge to our CIP readers. Spend some time these last two weeks of 2023 thinking about what or where you can improve in 2024. It will benefit you; I guarantee it.

So, for the final time in 2023, we invite you to review the events of the prior month with a view toward proactive risk management. We hope you have a great holiday season, and we look forward to connecting again in January.

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

Dec 12: Data Breach: Taylor University has notified students and staff of a data security breach in which an unauthorized party accessed its computer systems. The Upland university, which years ago had a Fort Wayne campus, said it began on Dec. 4 notifying individuals whose information may have been in files accessed. A notice was posted on the university website Nov. 27 after an extensive investigation by cybersecurity experts. The data breach occurred between Feb. 26 and May 18 this year. The systems accessed contained personal information of certain individuals, such as full names, Social Security numbers and driver's license or state identification numbers. The elements of personal information varied by individual, the website said. (link)

Dec 12: Threats Following Data Breach: Some current and former patients who were treated at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and the University of Washington (UW) have started to receive threatening emails from hackers following the November 19 data breach against the UW healthcare facilities. Last month, hackers hit a portion of the Seattle healthcare facility's network. The center said the breach may have led to the leakage of some patient data, reports the Seattle Times. This week, some former and current patients started receiving email messages directly from the hackers, threatening to leak their personal information if they don't pay up, reports MyNorthwest. The message received by one victim said, "Your private date and medical history is being sold on dark net markets." (link)

Dec 07: AI: ChatGPT recently turned one and what a wild, first year it has been. Over the last twelve months, institutions have scrambled to not only better understand generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on teaching and learning, but also to determine the best ways to provide guardrails and guidance for faculty, staff, and students. Many institutions have struggled to develop institutional-level policies. In a spring survey administered by WCET, only eight percent of respondents reported that their institution had developed and/or implemented at least one AI-related policy. (link)

Dec 04: Data Breach: DePauw University warned students this week that their personal information may have been accessed by hackers who attacked the school. The school newspaper reported that on November 27, current and prospective students were sent letters notifying them of a data leak and providing them with one year of free identity protection services. The liberal arts school -- which is in Greencastle, Indiana and services about 1,700 students -- published its own advisory about the incident. IT officials said they detected the cyberattack on October 31 and worked with federal law enforcement agencies as well as cybersecurity experts to investigate the incident. (link)

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Fraud & Ethics Related Events

Dec 11: Occupational Fraud: A grand jury indicted a former Arizona State University employee on 14 felonies after the Arizona Auditor General found evidence he embezzled nearly $125,000. The report alleged a former manager of information technology at ASU used his university-issued credit card to make personal purchases between April 2017 and December 2021, including two Christmas trees, 12 gaming consoles, 10 smartwatches and 11 Costco gift cards worth $1,000 apiece. The employee provided technology support to executive administration at ASU, including university President Michael Crow's office. According to the Auditor General, he forged receipts and lied on expense reports to conceal the scheme. The report said he admitted to making the personal purchases and claimed he was trying to support his family. (link)

Dec 06: Ethics: A former LSU professor has been accused of allegedly using a graduate assistant with whom he was reportedly having an affair to lobby the Louisiana Legislature to approve legislation targeting critical race theory. The professor denies the accusation, one that a university investigation has cleared him of wrongdoing. Charges from the Louisiana Ethics Administration allege a former political science professor instructed a graduate assistant to investigate material in courses his "estranged wife" taught. The graduate assistant was allegedly told to look for anything that touches on critical race theory (CRT) and to distribute that information to legislators who might favor anti-CRT legislation. (link)

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Compliance/Regulatory & Legal Events

Dec 09: Title VI: Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a letter Saturday to the presidents of colleges and universities across the state of New York saying calls for genocide made on college campuses are a violation of New York State Human Rights Law as well as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This letter follows the Congressional Hearing on Antisemitism where several university presidents failed to clearly and unequivocally denounce antisemitism and calls for genocide on college campuses. The governor assured New York State will enforce violations of the State Human Rights Law and will refer violations of Title VI to federal officials. Calling for genocide would be considered a direct violation of the State University of New York and the City University of New York's Code of Conduct, and Hochul made clear that all colleges and universities in the state are expected to apply the same standard, and to have a clearly defined and well publicized mechanism for individuals to report complaints. (link)

Dec 07: Protest Arrest: A Pomona College professor's November 29 arrest while participating in a "die-in" protest on the Pomona campus has triggered a wave of concern from colleagues, activists, and administration, ultimately leading to the withdrawal of charges. The Claremont Colleges' The Student Life newspaper did not name the professor in its reporting, but Claremont Police Department Lieutenant Robert Ewing told the Courier the professor is Arón Macal Montenegro, a lecturer in Chicana/o and Latina/o studies at Pomona College. The Student Life reported the faculty member was arrested Wednesday while "demonstrating in solidarity with Palestinians in front of Smiley Hall, playing music from a speaker." (link)

Dec 07: Title IX Updates: The Biden administration will finalize its proposed updates to Title IX, the federal civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination at federally funded schools, by March, nearly a year after the administration missed its first deadline. The Education Department unveiled its initial proposal to strengthen protections for student survivors of sexual assault, as well as LGBTQ students, in July 2022, on the 50th anniversary of the landmark law. The administration had originally intended to issue its final rule change by May of this year, but extended the deadline to October after receiving thousands of public comments. (link)

Dec 07: Foreign Funding Disclosure: A bill introducing new reporting requirements for universities and academics receiving foreign financial support passed the House yesterday by a vote of 246-170. Though some Democrats raised concerns the bill would have a chilling effect on international collaboration, 31 Democrats ultimately joined Republicans to approve the measure. The Defending Education Transparency and Ending Rogue Regimes Engaging in Nefarious Transactions (DETERRENT) Act would lower the current reporting threshold from $250,000 to $50,000 for funding from most countries, with a $0 threshold for "countries of concern" such as China and Iran. The legislation would also introduce new disclosure requirements for foreign gifts to individual researchers working at universities that receive more than $50 million annually in federal R&D funds. (link)

Dec 07: Title VI: On December 5, the US Department of Education revealed that five more schools were under investigation for alleged violations of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The schools are under investigation for reported incidents of "discrimination involving shared ancestry," including allegations of antisemitism. The five institutions or school districts named in the most recent announcement include the Cobb County School District in Marietta, Georgia; Montana State University, in Bozeman, Montana; Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana; Union College in Schenectady, New York and the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. (link)

Dec 04: Title IX: Spelman College student, Abebitu "Abbie" Fields, has filed a lawsuit against Morehouse College, accusing the institution of dismissing her Title IX complaint against a Morehouse student who she alleges sexually assaulted her. The case brings to light broader concerns about campus safety, Title IX enforcement, and the shared responsibility within the Atlanta University Center Consortium. Spelman College and Morehouse College, both historically Black institutions, are integral members of the Atlanta University Center Consortium. This coalition of historically Black colleges and universities in Atlanta facilitates regular interaction among students through joint programs and events, creating a shared educational environment. (link)

Dec 04: Whistleblower Complaint: Joan Donovan, a prominent online disinformation specialist, is seeking "an urgent and impartial investigation" into allegations of improper donor influence at Harvard University's Kennedy School, which she claims fired her after she began analyzing a trove of documents pointing to "significant public harm" caused by Facebook parent Meta. Donovan alleges in a whistle-blower complaint filed on Monday that she met resistance from her superiors, culminating in her termination, as the university was discussing a $500 million gift from a foundation run by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, in December 2021. An expert on disinformation and a vocal critic of Meta, Donovan joined the Kennedy School in 2018 and served as director of the Harvard Technology and Social Change Research Project. (link)

Dec 01: Title IX: At 23, Feifei Fan was one of the youngest research assistants in the mechanical-engineering lab of a professor who'd recruited her from China in 2005 to join him at the University of Nevada at Reno. She recalls feeling "nervous and anxious" because of what she described as her boss's harsh demeanor with students, which softened with her around August 2006. It was confusing, though. The hand brushing against her leg when he was peering through a microscope at her experiment. The tight hug, the invitations to go outside and watch the moon with him. She would later tell investigators that she thought the professor's changed behavior meant he'd come around to realizing she was smart and capable of succeeding in his lab. But she also wondered if her 42-year-old master's-thesis adviser was developing a "crush on her." (link)

Dec 01: Employee Conduct: A University of Alabama associate professor was arrested Tuesday on child pornography charges. The man, 45, is charged with two counts of possession of obscene material containing visual depictions of persons under the age of 17 involved in obscene acts. University officials released this statement: "The accused individual was immediately removed from campus and all facilities. We will continue to support law enforcement's investigations." The arrest was made by the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force. (link)

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Campus Life & Safety Events

Dec 13: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: A student at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, is dead and three people are injured after a suspected carbon monoxide poisoning Monday night, according to officials. A student residence manager called campus police after being unable to contact students, the college said in a news release Tuesday. Police then broke down the door and performed emergency CPR around 8:30 p.m., Evergreen Police Chief David Brunckhurst said in the release. Two students and the officer who performed CPR were hospitalized, and the officer was released Tuesday morning. Earlier in the day, a contractor working on campus responded to carbon monoxide alarms, according to campus officials. (link)

Dec 11: Campus Protest: Forty-one Brown University students were arrested and charged with trespassing during a Monday night sit-in at University Hall where they demanded the school divest from weapons manufacturers amid the Israel-Hamas war. It is the same place that 20 students were arrested last month while delivering the same call. This time, more than 200 people converged on the campus green outside the building. "The disruption to secure buildings is not acceptable, and the University is prepared to escalate the level of criminal charges for future incidents of students occupying secure buildings," said university spokesman Brian Clark. (link)

Dec 09: Leadership & Antisemitism: University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned on Saturday after receiving criticism for her testimony at a congressional hearing on campus antisemitism where she struggled to answer a question about whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated the college's rules. UPenn Board of Trustees Chairman Scott Bok also said he would step down following the announcement of Magill's resignation. Magill decided to "voluntarily" tender her resignation but will remain a tenured faculty member at the university's law school, according to a UPenn statement. Magill has faced mounting pressure to resign over the past few days after she wavered on whether calls for the genocide of Jews would violate Penn's code of conduct at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing. (link)

Dec 06: Campus Shooting: The man suspected of fatally shooting three people and wounding another at a Las Vegas university Wednesday was a professor who unsuccessfully sought a job at the school, a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press. The gunman was killed in a shootout with law enforcement, police said. The attack at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas sent shock waves through a city still scarred by the deaths of 60 people in a 2017 mass shooting. The suspect previously worked at East Carolina University in North Carolina, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information publicly. (link)

Dec 05: Athlete Death: A 22-year-old football player at the University of Minnesota Duluth died after going into cardiac arrest last month following a football team workout. Reed Ryan, a senior at UMD, went into cardiac arrest Nov. 21 after a team workout in the weight room, according to his obituary. He died Nov. 28, according to a statement from the school. The cardiac arrest was determined to be a result of an undetected genetic heart condition, the obituary said, adding that he had "a large, loving heart." (link)

Dec 04: Disorderly Conduct: Members of a University of Utah student group have been criminally charged after police say they stormed an event critical of the transgender community being held by a conservative club on campus. So far seven members of MECHA -- a group largely led by and for students of color at the U. -- face counts including both Class B misdemeanors and infractions. The charges are for disrupting the operation of a school, disorderly conduct and interference with a police officer. They were filed in Salt Lake City Justice Court over the weekend. (link)

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If you have any suggestions, questions or feedback, please e-mail Kevin Robinson at or Robert Gottesman at We hope you find this information useful and would appreciate hearing your thoughts. Feel free to forward this email to your direct reports, colleagues, employees or others who might find it of value. Back issues of this newsletter are available on our web site.

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