Local News

No decision Monday on UNC academic scandal

Posted May 14, 2012
Updated February 25, 2013

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Monday that a meeting with investigators from the State Bureau of Investigation ended without a decision on whether to file criminal charges against former University of North Carolina employees named as the culprits in a long-running academic scandal at the Chapel Hill campus.

Woodall has said he'd have that decision by the end of the month, but Monday's meeting was inconclusive. An follow-up meeting is scheduled in about two weeks. 

Multiple investigations, both internal and external, have identified Professor Julius Nyang’oro, who served as chairman of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, and his administrator Debbie Crowder, as the source of a pattern of abuses including unauthorized grades, forged signatures and courses where work was assigned and grades issued with little contact between professor and student.

In asking the SBI to look into the case, Woodall granted that it is unlikely that anything criminal was going on, but said the pair could have committed academic, computer or financial fraud.

UNC System President Tom Ross said campus leaders consulted with Woodall as the scandal emerged only to be told that forged records did not constitute a criminal offense.

The Af-Am Department has been under scrutiny since published reports showed apparent plagiarism and other discrepancies on a course paper written by former Tar Heels football player Michael McAdoo.

McAdoo was one of seven players forced to sit out the 2010 football season while the NCAA investigated the Tar Heel football program. The NCAA ruled McAdoo ineligible for receiving improper assistance from tutor Jennifer Wiley on multiple assignments across several academic terms. When McAdoo filed a suit against both UNC and the NCAA seeking reinstatement, his course work came to light.

UNC has repeatedly asserted that any wrong-doing was limited to the Af-Am Department, and that Nyang’oro and Crowder are the only two individuals who are directly linked to the irregular courses and grades. 

Both have since resigned from UNC and remained silent.

Woodall said the SBI has free rein to look into any possible crimes, including conspiracy to conceal criminal activity.

121 Comments

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  • Sherlock Feb 26, 6:24 p.m.

    What is new about this, the school will not do anything, but raise the cost and point fingers the other way.

  • weasel2 Feb 26, 3:39 p.m.

    Do you really think they will do anything. You noticed Holden Thorpe to the fastest stagecoach out of town. its all a front for sports. Time to get rid of the teams and make them get an education.

  • pressingncaa Feb 26, 12:04 p.m.

    Forgery of official academic records does not constitute a criminal offense? On what planet?

  • halstevens12 Feb 26, 10:57 a.m.

    What about the love birds. Matt and Tammi taking over $13,000.00 dollars and then paying it back after they got caught and no jail time. Any one else would have been handcuffed and carried to jail where they would have been tried and till have to pay the money back. How is it they get a free ride?

  • lmarks Feb 26, 9:51 a.m.

    Where's Carl Fox when you need him?

  • NCSUEngineerFC Feb 25, 7:40 p.m.

    "@ turtledove: Before you criticize "Turf Management," maybe you should review the program a little further. Soil fertility, pesticide application, turfgrass pathology, soils taxonomy, etc. The graduates of that program make major bucks managing the turfs at major league baseball parks, golf courses, etc." -mustangnut

    You can say that again. I have a friend who graduated in turfgrass management and is the superintendent for a course in Winston-Salem and is making around $70k/year. Just shows you how ill-informed some of the UNXers are regarding the programs at NCSU that they like throw hate at.

  • jdupree Feb 25, 7:24 p.m.

    Why would any University pay someone $172,000 per year to direct a curriculum where the only place you could get a job would be in the University! Bet they do no have a single degree issued or if they did, the person is not working in their subject area! WHAT A WASTE OF TAX DOLLARS!

  • jdupree Feb 25, 7:21 p.m.

    He does not have the spine to try anyone on this! Too much dirt would come out!

  • ccsmith1902 Feb 25, 6:14 p.m.

    Sorry, but this involved more than 2 people! There was fault at many levels.

  • Naysayer Feb 25, 4:33 p.m.

    I wish they would just shut down the entire The Af-Am Department. What a complete waste of tax payers money and limited resources.

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