The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday September 21st

Accrediting agency to monitor UNC, not sanction it

UNC faces a year of monitoring from its accrediting agency as it continues to move past a series of academic scandals in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.

The agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, told the University Thursday that it will not receive a sanction for past academic irregularities.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said UNC will have to submit another report in June 2014 detailing its continued progress with academic procedures in the department.

“We are very pleased with this decision,” Thorp said in a campuswide email.

“We are confident the sweeping changes we have made, based on the results of seven internal and independent, outside reviews or investigations, will prevent any recurrence of these irregularities.”

Pamela Cravey, a spokeswoman with the agency, said no action will be taken now, but the 12-month monitoring report likely means the agency will make another visit to UNC sometime during the year.

The decision comes five months after Belle Wheelan, the president of the agency, wrote to the University asking for evidence that sufficient action had been taken to address breaches in academic integrity that had been exposed.

“We want to see that the University is now in compliance with all the things that we identified in that letter,” Wheelan said at the time. “That they have fixed it.”

According to the letter, the University was not meeting agency standards in four areas — academic policies, support services, student records and definition of credit hours. It asked the University to rectify the academic integrity of degrees issued involving courses that had been exposed as fraudulent or irregular.

The agency sent a special committee in April to ensure that necessary reparations had been made.

At the time, Thorp said the University was open to a number of ways to address and solve the issue, including inviting students back to take additional courses to repair their degrees.

He said Thursday that the University was committed to the accreditation process.

“Under Chancellor (Carol) Folt’s leadership, I’m confident that Carolina will bring our response to (the agency) to a successful conclusion,” he said.

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