What We're Watching:

After the source of nearly half of the U.S. East Coast’s fuel supply was shut down due to a cyber-attack involving ransomware last Friday, there has been increased attention drawn to the vulnerabilities of various U.S. infrastructures to hackers. 

Higher education is not immune to these threats. On the same day that pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline was forced to shut its entire network, much of the computer network of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was temporarily suspended due to unauthorized access being detected. Student assessments, research, and other activities including final exams were unavoidably canceled as the institute dealt with the security incident. More resources on this topic are available in the Canary platform.
A Deeper Look (Past 6 Months):
Did You Know?
  • With cryptocurrencies trending daily online, we took a quick look at its impact in higher education. Did you know that King's College, a private liberal arts school in New York, has accepted Bitcoin cryptocurrency as a means of tuition payments since 2014? The college has stated that they see the use of Bitcoin as a part of freedom of speech and that their decision to allow their students to pay using the cryptocurrency was based on the Bill of Rights, aimed to "empower citizens"
    • While King's College is still the only U.S. higher education known to accept Bitcoin as tuition payment, the University of Puget Sound has accepted Bitcoin as an alumni donation, and Florida Gulf Coast University has a scholarship endowment that was deposited through the cryptocurrency

Trending topics by % increase

Student-Athlete Health & Safety: 
  • May 10 | CBSN Minnesota | 1.5K Engagements: "Pushed to be the very best or pushed way too far?

    Former Gopher athletes have come forward with allegations of tough football practices that ended their careers, and they’re not alone."
  • May 5 | The OC Register | 1.9K Engagements: "The faculty union at Cypress College has taken the administration to task for not defending the professor who repeatedly interrupted a student in an online speech class as he tried to argue that many police officers could be seen as heroes."
  • May 9 | KQED | 158 Engagements: "A majority of the threatened layoffs at City College of San Francisco may soon be rescinded, but the deal came with a financial cost since faculty face the prospect of pay cuts across the board.

    The agreement, announced early Saturday morning, comes after days of bargaining meetings between City College of San Francisco’s faculty union and administration."
  • May 10 | Twitter | Infosecurity Magazine | 24 Retweets: "Final examinations at the oldest technological research university in America have been canceled following a cyber-attack.

    Much of the computer network of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) was forced to shut down after unauthorized access was detected on Friday. Student assessments, research, and other academic activities have been impacted."

Trending topics by total volume

  • May 6 | Twitter | Ana Cabrera | 405 Retweets: "There are now more than 140 US colleges and universities requiring students to receive the Covid-19 vaccine before returning to campus in the fall, with the number growing each day. Harvard University became the last of the Ivy League schools to join the list Weds."
  • May 7 | Twitter | The College Fix | 177 Retweets: "@GovRonDeSantis recently signed legislation that prohibits universities from requiring students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Video credit: Fox 13 READ MORE:"
Cost of Attendance:  Discrimination: 
  • May 7 | Twitter | Andy Ngô | 1K Retweets: "Update: Viterbo University in Wisconsin has concluded its investigation into the shocking hate crime hoaxes & arson attack. It will be expelling the student. The university's statement strongly suggests Victoria Unanka is that student. #HateHoax"
Campus Safety:
  • May 12 |  ABC 7 | 277 Engagements: "A 25-year-old Elmhurst University student was charged Monday after falsely reporting a gunman was on campus last month, police said."
  • May 9 |  Click on Detroit | 180 Engagements: "Police are looking for a man in connection with a sexual assault that happened Saturday afternoon on campus at Lawrence Technological University.

    Police said he groped a woman who was walking down 10 Mile Road and exposed himself shortly after 1 p.m"

Trending universities/colleges by % increase

UC Davis: Diversity & Inclusion
  • May 5 | UC Davis News | 623 Engagements: "The University of California, Davis, has taken top spot among universities in the nation for its inclusiveness, diversity and internationalization in rankings released today (May 5).

    In the second annual QS USA University Rankings, UC Davis ranked ninth overall among public universities"
Loyola Marymount University: Athletics University of Texas at Austin: Free Speech
  • May 7 | New York Times | 2.7K Engagements: "University leaders had hoped to quell the uproar over “The Eyes of Texas” after a committee issued a report in March determining that the song had “no racist intent.” But after administrators doubled down on the position that it would remain a central feature of university life, tension has escalated, with student campus tour guides going on strike, pleas from Black legislators to lose the song and threats by wealthy alumni to cut off donations if that were to happen.” 
Caltech: Faculty Coverage 
  • May 5 | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists | 23.2K Engagements: “When I first saw the furin cleavage site in the viral sequence, with its arginine codons, I said to my wife it was the smoking gun for the origin of the virus,” said David Baltimore, an eminent virologist and former president of CalTech. “These features make a powerful challenge to the idea of a natural origin for SARS2,”

Trending universities/colleges by total volume

Harvard: ▲Prominent Alumni
  • May 6 | Twitter | Lindy Li | 2K Retweets: "Harvard, whatcha doing to our country?

    You churned out the likes of Elise Stefanik, Ron DeSantis, Ted Cruz, Jared Kushner, Tom Cotton, Alan Dershowitz

    Your people are launching insurrections and poisoning America"

  • May 11 | Twitter | Mark Jacob | 400 Retweets: "This is Elise Stefanik.
    She’s no fool.
    She’s a Harvard grad who knows exactly what she’s doing.
    She’s promoting the Big Lie to take down our democracy."
Louisiana State University: Athletics COVID-19 Events Leadership
Stanford:  Mental Health
  • May 10 | Twitter | Christopher DeWeese | 266 Retweets: "Stanford is giving faculty a course release in recognition of increased workload this past year. UMass is giving TT faculty extra credit towards sabbatical & NTT course releases. Virginia is giving 5% raises (supposedly). What else? - let’s celebrate those doing the right thing!"
Ohio State: Misconduct
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