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Data breaches, Office of Research weaknesses discussed at Ohio State Board of Trustee’s meetings

April 3, 2014
and
dai.133@osu.edu and Hickman.201@osu.edu
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The OSU Brazil Gateway office is set to be located on the 8th floor of a building in São Paulo.
Credit: Christopher Carey

Data breaches, managing minors on campus and weaknesses affecting the Office of Research were among the topics of discussion at the Ohio State Board of Trustees’ committee meetings Thursday.

 

Audit and compliance committee

The audit and compliance committee met Thursday and discussed the Compliance and Integrity Program. Gates Garrity-Rokous, vice president and chief compliance officer of OSU Compliance and Integrity, gave an update on key compliance processes including issue response and reporting, risk identification and abatement and evaluation and communication.

Garrity-Rokous recommended discussing previous higher education data breaches in the executive session, which followed the public portion of the meeting.

On Oct. 22, 2010, OSU discovered that a server had been breached. OSU notified university affiliates on Dec. 15, 2012, that a hacker had accessed the server, which contained names, dates of birth, addresses and Social Security numbers.

Three data breaches at higher education institutions in 2014 were highlighted in the committee’s schedule: Indiana University, North Dakota University system and University of Maryland.

At Indiana, personal information of about 150,000 students and recent alumni was hacked in February, including names, addresses and social security numbers.

At North Dakota, personal information of 290,000 current and former students and 780 staff members was potentially accessed, including social security numbers.

At Maryland, personal information of 309,000 students, alumni and staff was stolen, including social security numbers, names and birthdays. Maryland offered five years of free credit protection to those affected.

Garrity-Rokous said the committee will discuss managing minors on campus in its next meeting.

“It’s just interesting that the University of Connecticut has been hit with a situation similar to Penn Sate, so minors on campus will be a topic we will address,” Garrity-Rokous said.

At the University of Connecticut, a law firm released a report about an independent investigation of alleged misconduct by a professor. The report, presented to the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees in February, found what the firm called “strong, credible evidence” of sexual misconduct with minors off campus and with University of Connecticut students.

In 2011, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was indicted of sexually assaulting eight minors over a period from 1994 to 2009. Later, charges of assaulting two more boys were added, and in 2012, Sandusky was found guilty of 45 of 48 counts.

The committee also discussed establishing the OSU Brazil Gateway as a university affiliate, in addition to discussing the Compliance and Integrity Program.

The gateway, which is set to be located in São Paulo, is set to launch sometime between July and September and will have an operating budget of about $159,110 for 2014-15.

According to the Board schedule, the goals of the gateway are to increase opportunities for collaboration with Brazilian institutions, bring more international students to OSU and broaden the networking platform for future and current alumni.

Internship opportunities and study abroad experiences in Brazil are also expected to be created.

Currently, OSU has gateway offices in Shanghai and Mumbai, India.

OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Joseph Steinmetz said at the meeting he predicts the Brazil Gateway will have just as good, if not better, returns than the other two OSU gateways.

“The metrics that we are setting up are, I think, expecting more than we’ve even seen in the past and from the academic side of the house in particular, I want to see many more partnerships established with our academic units, our faculty and our students,” Steinmetz said.

 

Academic affairs and student life committee

The academic affairs and student life committee met Thursday to discuss the weaknesses, challenges and opportunities in the OSU Office of Research.

Caroline Whitacre, vice president for research at OSU, said the office is facing a lack of investment in research facilities, space and infrastructure, as well as a lack of faculty with the leadership skills to lead large projects.

An increase in research regulations has been a challenge for the office as well.

“There appears to be a growth in research regulations providing an increase in the administrative load, not only to research staff, but also to the faculty,” Whitacre said.

Other universities’ actions are another challenge for the Office of Research.

“We have to be wary of other universities and be aware of what they are doing, in terms of just understanding our competition and the market,” Whitacre said.

Trustee Janet Reid said in the future, OSU should collaborate with more research programs in China.

 

The board’s governance committee is set to meet Friday before the board as a whole convenes to vote on all measures presented.


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