Former UNC-CH faculty leader resigns in wake of academic fraud scandal

Posted March 5, 2015
Updated June 4, 2015

Jan Boxill, a philosophy professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, has resigned after being implicated in an academic fraud scandal.
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— Jan Boxill, a former chairwoman of the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has resigned from the school after being implicated in an academic fraud scandal, officials said Thursday.

Boxill, a philosophy professor, resigned Feb. 28, according to Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Public Affairs Rick White.

UNC-Chapel Hill gave her a termination notice in October, but she had challenged it.

"Dr. Boxill has indicated her intent to seek retirement benefits based on her years of service as provided to state employees under North Carolina law," White said in a statement.

Former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein released a 131-page report on Oct. 22 that showed academic advisers steered student-athletes for 18 years toward classes that never met and required only a short paper to pass.

Wainstein's report found Boxill pushed student-athletes to the paper classes and in at least one case even suggested a certain grade for a member of the women's basketball team, for which she served as academic adviser.

UNC terminates Boxill

Three others fired

When the report was released, Chancellor Carol Folt called the no-show classes "an inexcusable betrayal," but she declined to respond to repeated inquiries about who was punished and how, saying it was a matter of "fairness and privacy."

Ten media organizations, including WRAL News parent Capitol Broadcasting Co., sued the university under North Carolina's public records law to identify those disciplined in the scandal. University officials argued that the disciplinary actions weren't final – and therefore weren't open to disclosure under the public records law – until the employees had grievance hearings and had exhausted any and all appeals, but they agreed to settle the case by releasing the names of those disciplined when their individual situations were finalized.

Boxill becomes the fourth person named in Wainstein's report who was either fired or resigned:

  • Timothy McMillan, a senior lecturer in the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies, resigned Dec. 31.
  • Jamie Lee, an academic counselor to football players, didn't contest her termination notice, which became effective Nov. 21.
  • Beth Bridger was terminated from her job at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington on Oct. 23 because of her role in the no-show classes while working as the associate director of academic support at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Six other UNC-Chapel Hill employees may face some disciplinary action, officials have said. Each is going through an individual review process led by Provost James Dean and Vice Chancellor Felicia Washington, and officials said they would release the names of anyone disciplined when such action is taken.


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  • Edward Levy Mar 5, 2015
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    Why is she retiring if NOT GUILTY . Of course you had a wonderful experience, but I ask would a non Guilty person retire. WOULD YOU? LOOK OVER SOME OF WHY YOU PROBABLY BE GUILTY AND RETHINK WHETHER OR NOT SHE IS GUILTY. I THINK THAT THE LAW SHOULD BE CHANGED ABOUT RETIREMENT PAY AND FUL BENEFITS. If you had an employee who was guilty of a crime, what would you do about those type of perks? I do hope that WRAL does follow-up

  • Carol Smith Mar 5, 2015
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    maybe they are paying for her silence.

  • Carol Smith Mar 5, 2015
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    James Dean was not complicit in providing information during the entire investigation and was a leader in trying to shoot the messenger.

  • Doug Grimes Mar 5, 2015
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    She was terminated , appealed, then resigned. Her attorney said "Dr. Boxill has indicated her intent to seek retirement benefits based on her years of service as provided to state employees under North Carolina law."
    Under NC law do terminated state employees still get retirement pay and full benefits? Will WRAL followup and report. Did UNC accept the resignation or still consider this as a termination? This story raises still more questions than answers. In the private sector a terminated employee forfeits many benefits.

  • Joel Sink Mar 5, 2015
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    While I can't comment on the allegations described in the article, I want to commend Dr. Boxill's excellent qualities as an instructor.

    I took one of her philosophy classes as a student at UNC. Regrettably I was not gifted enough to be a "student-athlete"! The class was on par, if not above, the academic standard of all the courses I took at UNC. Coursework involved extensive daily reading followed by in-class debates of topics as they related to the philosophy of sport. While it has been more than a decade since, I still recall spirited debates on subjects such as the ethics of performance-enhancing drugs and the ramifications of Title IX and college athletics.

    This was not a fluff class. On the contrary, extensive participation was required and enforced. Dr. Boxill's anecdotes and style of teaching made for a course which I haven't forgotten all these years later.

    Hoping she receives a fair resolution as opposed to guilt by association.
    -Joel Sink

  • Tim Blanchard Mar 5, 2015
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    Break the law and violate ethics and you get to retire with all of your money for the period of time that you were doing bad. So you get rewarded for bad behavior when you work for UNC and NC govt.

  • Mark Farmer Mar 5, 2015
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    if you worked at a bank that had a retirement, and you decided to rob that bank, would you get your retirement?