The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday June 3rd

New fraud inquiry will cost UNC high hourly fees

UNC will pay Kenneth Wainstein $990 per hour to complete another investigation into academic misconduct in the former Department of African and Afro-American Studies.

According to the contract between UNC and the law firm, three members of Wainstein’s staff will also be working on the case with hourly rates ranging from $450 to $775.

The contract does not set a limit to the number of hours they will have to do their work.

Chancellor Carol Folt announced the decision to launch another inquiry into academic irregularities in the department Friday, saying she and UNC-system President Tom Ross decided to retain the attorney together.

The press release states Wainstein, who worked in the U.S. Justice Department for 19 years, will be using additional information that has come out of Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall’s criminal investigation.

Woodall said in an interview that the SBI’s probe could provide additional information that might be beneficial for an academic investigation.

“There’s some things during the SBI investigation that would probably give him a good starting point,” Woodall said.

“A place to start looking into certain things that didn’t really have anything to do with the criminal investigation.”

While Wainstein’s investigation will use the information from Wooddall’s case, University administrators have said they will not review that information until Wainstein presents his findings.

Former Gov. Jim Martin was asked to conduct a similar investigation into academic fraud within the Department of African and Afro-American Studies in 2012 along with consulting firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLC. He found that incidents of academic improprieties were limited and primarily occurred under former department chairman Julius Nyang’oro and former department administrator Deborah Crowder.

Nyang’oro resigned in July 2012. He was indicted in December for obtaining property under false prentenses after he was paid approximately $12,000 for teaching a class that never met.

Last month, Woodall’s office handed over 40,000 pages of discovery to the lawyers involved in the case.

At the Faculty Executive Committee meeting Tuesday, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean responded to questions about the new probe, saying as of now the University has limited information as to how it will work.

He said the review was another opportunity to learn.

“If they were to uncover something that was a problem then that’s a problem now, we would address it,” he said.

He went on to say there was no definitive timeline for Wainstein’s work, but he envisions it taking months.

One council member asked if the the attorney would have the power to subpoena documents from University employees. Dean said that was a legal question, which he said was outside of his expertise, but he did not believe that would be the case.

He added that the administration is not in the position to provide any additional information outside of the initial press release until Wainstein has finished his review.

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