The first time Willingham sent Dean the data, she sent it redacted — without athletes’ names — and the second time she included the names of athletes. She said she has not heard from Chancellor Carol Folt about her study.
During the Faculty Athletics Committee meeting Tuesday, Dean said it is too soon to tell whether the data, primarily vocabulary tests, can accurately come to the conclusions detailed in the CNN article.
“Can the combination of the data get us to the point of acceptance to what we need?” he said.
“It’s reasonably complicated. If it was clear to us that the allegations were true, we would have been embarrassed and we would have accepted it.”
Dean said he will likely ask a third party to look at the data sets as well.
Folt, who spoke at the committee meeting about UNC’s response, said that current efforts to improve athletics, such as the Student-Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group, would push the University forward.
“We’re talking about things that may not have happened with any of us in this role,” she said.
But clear results from these changes would take time, she said.
“We need to accept the work that that takes. It might not be the most beautiful story … it’s an underlying part of that story,” Folt said. “I’m going to talk about that, because to leave that out, is to leave out hundreds of thousands of hours of work.”
Folt said she appreciates the curiousity surrounding the athletics program.
“Light is the best disinfectant,” she said. “Well, we have lots of light. We continue to be open to people’s questions.”
Faculty Athletics Committee Chairwoman Joy Renner said she has invited Willingham to meet with the group so they can discuss the data, which could raise more issues and be a constructive conversation, she said.
Willingham said she doesn’t plan to return to future meetings and senses hostility directed at her.
She said she stands by the accuracy of her studies.
“From 2004 to 2010, I know all their faces,” she said. “I can see all of them. I worked with them, and those are their scores.”
Senior writer Daniel Schere contributed reporting.