A superior court judge denied the University's request to toss out its lawsuit with 10 media organizations, instead ordering the two sides to go to mediation over the University's refusal to release the names of employees facing disciplinary action for their involvement in the academic fraud outlined in the Wainstein report.
Donald Stephens, chief superior judge in Wake County, said he wanted to see the case resolved in the next couple of weeks during a hearing in Raleigh on Friday.
"It needs to be done soon ... this is an important conversation to have," Stephens said.
Ten media organizations, including The Daily Tar Heel, filed the lawsuit at the end of November after the University refused to identify the nine individuals Chancellor Carol Folt said were facing disciplinary action during a press conference announcing the release of the Wainstein report in October.
At the Oct. 22 press conference, Folt said four employees had already been terminated because of their involvement in the decades-long scandal, during which 3100 students received credit for a bogus paper classes. The day after the report was released, a source familiar with the situation confirmed the names of eight of the nine employees facing disciplinary action at UNC for The Daily Tar Heel.
A murky response
The University's lawyers from the North Carolina Attorney General's office, filed a motion to dismiss the case before the hearing, which Judge Stephens denied.
Kimberly Potter, a lawyer representing UNC, said the University has complied with state public record and human resources laws by supplying the documents it is allowed to give to the media.
But Hugh Stevens, the media organizations' attorney, said the University is interpreting the public records law in an inappropriate fashion.