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The Daily Tar Heel

The 'Academic-Athletic' scandal leaves academic reforms in its wake

UNC's academic scandal recently came to a close, but its effects are ongoing. In response to the formal academic irregularities brought to light in 2011, the University instituted several policy reforms.

The reforms are organized under six categories: Admissions and Preparedness, Advising and Support, Athletics Excellence and Accountability, Athletics Integrity, Course Integrity and Academic Excellence and Accountability. They include promoting academic integrity, faculty accountability and process transparency.

Associate professor of geography Altha Cravey said there are now people who ensure that she is in her classroom, and she must use her university email for all official communication. 

“Those two examples highlight the fact that, for teachers, it has been more reporting, hassle and overall bureaucracy,” Cravey said.

Paul O’Connor, a news reporting lecturer in the School of Media and Journalism, expressed discontent with the reforms. Those within the journalism school have been particularly affected because their courses typically do not have a conventional final exam.

“Most of us who teach skills courses do not give tests. We still will not have a final, but we now have to meet for a two hour period during the examination period,” O’Connor said. “I found out the day before the semester started — after I wrote my syllabus. It clearly disrupts my schedule and the others who did not plan for it."

In the correspondence sent out by Chancellor Carol Folt on Oct. 13 regarding the NCAA ruling, she addressed the changes. 

“Strong collaboration with our faculty was critical to developing the more than 70 groundbreaking reforms and initiatives, including in the areas of academic advising and academic oversight,” she said.

Cravey, a member of the faculty, felt that Folt’s statement was completely contrary to the truth. She said the response seemed like the University was covering for itself. 

“The idea of faculty having any input has really been neglected. It was definitely not a part of the 70 reforms,” she said.

Though O’Connor didn’t entirely agree with Folt's claim, he attributed the disparity to his lower rank among the University’s large staff. 

“It didn’t really seem like anyone asked me, but, in all fairness, this could have very well been discussed by full-time faculty,” O'Connor said. 

Cravey describes herself as being outspoken on this and other matters concerning the University's public relations. 

"I am, and always have been, very vocal about the University," she said. "I got to tweeting and started commiserating with grad students about it. They told me that I had no idea of the amount of extra work (the reforms) has caused for them."

Though she has been vocal about her concerns, she believes she is going unheard because of the image the University wants the reforms to have. She said her complaints about the system have often been pushed to the side for a better public image. 

“I’ve been pretty public about it but it hasn’t made much of a difference," she said. "In the UNC public relations arena, the reforms are promoted as a positive thing. My critiques don’t really fit in with that narrative.”

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