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Findings of Martin Report divide faculty

Administrators are moving forward after the release of results from a campus-wide academic review — but some aren’t satisfied with the Martin Report.

Faculty members expressed discontent with one area of the report concerning two meetings of the faculty athletics committee, in 2002 and 2006, at the Faculty Council meeting Friday.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said at the Friday meeting that the administration has embraced the report’s results and is moving forward.

“We’re well into the phase of dealing with the findings,” he said.

Former Gov. Jim Martin presented the 74-page report to the UNC Board of Trustees Dec. 20, which found irregularities in courses dating back to 1997.

The report concluded that the scandal was academic, not athletic, and was isolated to two former administrators in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.

Lloyd Kramer, chairman of the history department, took issue with page 52 of the report, which discusses the two meetings of the faculty athletics committee, which is charged with informing the faculty and advising the chancellor on athletic matters.

The report states that athletics administrators raised questions to the committee about the frequency of student athletes receiving credits through independent-study courses. Kramer, a member of the committee at the time, said at the council meeting Friday he did not recall that discussion. He was not interviewed by Martin for the report.

“It suggests that we as a faculty weren’t concerned with the integrity of our courses,” Kramer said.

He said the committee was not provided with a list of questionable courses. The report also states that no data was provided to the committee regarding the number of students or student athletes in lecture courses taught in an independent study format.

In a letter to the editor published by The (Raleigh) News and Observer, Martin responded to skepticism surrounding the 2002 meeting by stating that the minutes back up the report’s findings, as did four people who were there.

According to the report, the committee responded by stating that instructors have freedom in how they teach a course and all students may take any course they can register for.

The report calls these exchanges with the committee a “missed opportunity.”

Joy Renner, chairwoman of the faculty athletics committee, said the courses weren’t a big deal at the time, and that it’s hard to read the minutes in the appropriate context.

Kramer called for the faculty to formally respond to what he sees as an accusation of indifference.

Other professors suggested focusing on the future.

“How does what happened at a meeting in 2002 and 2006 affect moving forward?” said archaeology professor Vincas Steponaitis.

“In my mind, it doesn’t.”

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