The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 20th

Review of fraudulent courses still ongoing

In May, University administrators dropped a bombshell that shook the academic core of the University — and the UNC community is still feeling the aftershocks.

When a University report released in May revealed a slew of academic irregularities in the University’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies, one of the largest academic scandals in UNC’s history began to unfold.

Story SO FAR
  • May 2012: University report revealed fraud in Department of African and Afro-American Studies
  • May 2012: SBI launched probe
  • June 2012: UNC-system Board of Governors formed a review panel
  • Aug. 16, 2012: University-wide outside review announced
  • Sept. 18, 2012: Chancellor Holden Thorp announced he will resign at the end of the year
  • Oct. 11, 2012: Goal for review results, but report is delayed.

UNC began its investigation into the department in September 2011, following the discovery that a paper by former defensive end Michael McAdoo had been plagiarized, and the plagiarism had not been detected by the honor system.

The report showed evidence of fraudulent classes that were taught irregularly, evidence of forgery and unauthorized grade changes.

The improper teaching practices occurred primarily between the summers of 2007 and 2009. UNC laid blame on then-department chairman Julius Nyang’oro and administrator Deborah Crowder.
A few weeks after the report’s release, the State Bureau of Investigation was asked to conduct its own probe by Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall.

Suspicion about when the fraud began and who was responsible has been swirling around UNC community members ever since.

Jay Smith, a history professor at the forefront of the faculty effort to reform athletics, said in August that it was dividing the faculty.

“How in the world did such a system fly under the radar?” he said.

Months after the report circulated, the University announced a comprehensive effort to answer the questions in August, announcing an outside review led by former Gov. Jim Martin and consulting firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLC.

At the time, the firm’s contract stated it would cost between $70,000 and $90,000 to dig into records and conduct the interviews.

About a month later, Chancellor Holden Thorp announced he would step down after five years as chancellor, citing the stress of the scandal as a reason.

When the review was launched, UNC-system President Thomas Ross said Thorp had done all he could so far to hash out the scandal.

“(Thorp) has taken many, many steps to get to the bottom of what happened, find out who the culprits are and get them away from the University,” Ross said in September.

Now, after two months of delays to the original Oct. 11 deadline to release findings, the results of the review are still pending.

But Thorp said in a faculty athletics committee meeting Tuesday that Martin might be presenting his results at a possible Dec. 20 Board of Trustees meeting.

“If there’s a tumor there, you gotta do a resection, as the doctors would say,” Martin said.
“You’ve got to remove it and make it clear that’s not going to be tolerated.”

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