Since the release of the Wainstein report, professor Tim McMillan’s students have said they’re disappointed with the findings and that he had to leave because of his involvement.
When junior Dasha Shaw first read that McMillan, a senior lecturer in the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies, would not return, she lamented that future students would miss out on a great opportunity.
“I felt kind of sad,” Shaw said. “I don’t know everything about what happened but I do know he helped me a lot.”
McMillan resigned after Wainstein reported that his signature was on grade sheets for several of the known paper classes that former department chairman Julius Nyang’oro and former secretary Deborah Crowder created to keep student-athletes eligible.
“I don’t know why (my signature) is there,” the report said McMillan told Wainstein. “But it is there.”
Junior Brittany Desgages took “Blacks in North Carolina” and “Remembering Race and Slavery” with McMillan in the fall semester. When Desgages heard about McMillan’s resignation, she said she was upset and angry.
“It wasn’t surprising (AAAD) took the brunt of the hit because the department has always been belittled,” she said. “It just exemplifies how devalued black studies is at the University.”
McMillan also helped to grade papers for Crowder’s paper classes and worked closely with Crowder throughout the period of academic fraud, according to the Wainstein report. The report said he had “the clearest opportunity to learn about these classes.”
McMillan could not be reached for comment for this story.
McMillan’s former students were disappointed when they found out he would be leaving the University, taking to Twitter to express their dismay to the news.
“I think UNC is losing a valuable (person),” said senior Emily Jones, who took a course on slavery with McMillan. “I hate it for future students who don’t get to take a class with him.”
Jones said she had an interest in AAAD studies and her friends recommended she take a class with McMillan.
“He was good at presenting all the facts but was always questioning us as well,” she said. “He did a lot to dig deeper.”
Professor Kenneth Janken worked with McMillan for nearly 20 years. He said McMillan was committed to teaching and his students.
“He was determined to study the history of African Americans in Chapel Hill and at the University ... and to make that knowledge available to the public. In these regards, he earned my respect,” Janken wrote in an email.
“I cannot explain Dr. McMillan’s errant actions,” Janken said of McMillan’s involvement in the scandal.
Desgages said McMillan was an approachable teacher that students could talk to about anything.
“He cared about his students not only in the classroom but cared about their well-being outside of the classroom,” she said.
Shaw took two classes with McMillan during her academic career at UNC. She said her first class with him was a first year seminar, “Defining Blackness.”
“Everyone talks about that class. People who were in his previous classes came back to say how awesome it was,” she said.
Senior Gabriel Gadsden took a class with McMillan in spring 2014.
He was surprised when a class about African American studies was taught by a white man but said McMillan offered an interesting point-of-view.
“It’s unfair because the University is going after departmental faculty instead of the more lucrative athletics,” Gadsden said.