The investigation by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein and his team of Washington, D.C., lawyers took eight months and $3.1 million to complete and uncovered what happened in the former Department of African and Afro-American Studies between 1993 and 2011.
Former secretary Deborah Crowder and former African and Afro-American studies department chairman Julius Nyang’oro created thousands of paper classes that more than 3,100 students enrolled in.
The classes did not require students to attend class or complete any assignments, except one — a paper due at the end of the semester that Crowder, a nonfaculty member, would grade extremely leniently.
Wainstein, who was retained by the University in February for an hourly rate of $990, found that student-athletes accounted for nearly half of the enrollments in these fake classes for the nearly two decades in which they existed.
“Was this an academic or an athletic issue? Clearly it was an issue in both areas. It was a University issue,” Chancellor Carol Folt said at the Oct. 22 report release press conference.
At the press conference, Folt announced that nine University employees would face disciplinary action, including four who were already terminated. UNC-system President Tom Ross also said an employee at another university in the system would face disciplinary action — an employee who was later identified by a source close to the situation as Beth Bridger, a former associate director of the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes who was working at UNC-Wilmington.
“We’re being described by a set of actions that took place in our history, but I’m not going to accept that,” Folt said in an October interview.
But the University has not released any official word on the nine employees or named them publically. In November, 10 media organizations, including The Daily Tar Heel, filed a suit against the University for the information.