The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday June 8th

Board announces AFAM review panel

The UNC system will review UNC-Chapel Hill’s investigation of academic fraud in the African and Afro-American Studies Department, System President Thomas Ross said Thursday.

In an attempt to reassure board members that the UNC system is committed to preventing any further reports of academic fraud, board Chairwoman Hannah Gage has asked four board members to form a review panel.

Last week UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp sent a letter to the Board of Trustees announcing that the University will take back $12,000 from former chair of the African and Afro-American studies department, Julius Nyang’oro, who has been the center of the reports of academic misconduct.

Thorp’s announcement came a month after the University released report citing issues with record keeping and teaching practices within the department. Most of the issues have been linked to two faculty members — Nyang’oro, who will retire July 1, Deborah Crowder, who retired in 2009.

Ross said his major goals were to end any association with anyone involved in the misconduct, and to ensure this incident would not be repeated.

“This situation is nothing short of deplorable,” Ross said at the UNC-system Board of Governors meeting. “It is contrary to everything this University stands for.”

Gage said she hoped the panel — which consists of Louis Bissete, Hari Nath, Walter Davenport, and Ann Goodnight — would validate the conclusions determined by UNC-CH.

The panel’s review will be completely separate from the probe currently being conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation, which began in last month.

Thorp said Thursday he is appreciative of involvement by the UNC-system.

Gage said there was a sense of frustration among board members about the reports of academic fraud involving athletes.

Board member Fred Eshelman expressed concern that the reports concerning academic integrity should have been communicated earlier. He said the lack of information has prevented board committees from ensuring adherence to ethical standards.

“A lot of us have been surprised and clearly don’t understand what is going on,” he said.

Eshelman said the UNC-system must send a clear signal of transparency, and must take vigorous steps to show this.

“At some point this university system is going to have to draw a line in the sand and say ‘zero tolerance, we’re coming after you,’” he said.

Ross stood by Thorp and said he had taken clear steps to provide transparency in releasing information about the department.

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