CLARIFICATION: Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall has shared information on the investigation into the former Department of African and Afro-American Studies with Kenneth Wainstein, not the University.
The new administration is treading territory very familiar to its predecessors.
UNC Chancellor Carol Folt announced Friday that the University has retained an outside attorney who will conduct another investigation into academic misconduct in the former Department of African and Afro-American Studies.
After the scandals came to light, it was renamed the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies.
According to a press release from Folt and UNC-system President Tom Ross, the latest probe was jointly initiated in response to information shared with the Kenneth Wainstein, the attorney investigating the department, by Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall.
UNC spokeswoman Karen Moon said the administration is not ready to give details as to how the investigation will be conducted.
Woodall has been using the findings of the State Bureau of Investigation which looked into the department’s academic policies.
The University has not provided the information to the public.
“We — the UNC Board of Governors, UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, Chancellor Folt and I — have said all along that we would re-evaluate next steps once the SBI had completed its investigation,” Ross said in the release.
Scrutiny of the department began in May of 2012, when UNC released a report that detailed academic fraud and irregularities among several African and Afro-American courses primarily between 2007 and 2009.
Former Chancellor Holden Thorp responded to the scandal in a similar manner when it was revealed under his leadership. In August 2012, he tapped former Gov. Jim Martin to lead a similar review.
After his research, Martin concluded that the cases of fraud were isolated and primarily perpetrated by former department chairman Julius Nyang’oro and former department administrator Deborah Crowder.
According to the release, the University will cooperate with Wainstein to resolve any questions left unresolved by the previous scrutiny.
The press release went on to say that Wainstein had no timeline to finish his examination.
“We have directed Mr. Wainstein to ask the tough questions, follow the facts wherever they lead, and get the job done,” Folt said in the release.
Wainstein, who is a partner at a law firm in Washington, D.C., has extensive experience working with the federal government. He has worked with the Justice Department for 19 years, holding several different leadership positions including the Assistant Attorney General for National Security and Homeland Security Advisor.
Board of Trustees Chairman Lowry Caudill said in an email Folt and Ross have the support of the University’s leading body of policy-makers.
“The Board of Trustees supports the decision of Chancellor Folt and President Ross to have an independent party evaluate the materials that the DA is making available,” he said.
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