Local News

Martin: 'We will go where the evidence takes us'

Posted August 17, 2012

— Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Martin used the words “academic investigator” Friday when describing his role in digging deeper into the multitude of improprieties within the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill African and Afro-American Studies Department.

The mounting evidence of no-show classes, altered grades, forged signatures and transcripts made public prompted the university to ask the former governor to lead the review in coordination with an outside consulting group. North Carolina Logo Archive: UNC football investigations

“We need to have confidence that our higher education institutions are meeting their first obligation, which is to teach and to do research,” Martin said. “That, as part of the ancillary activities of what's so exciting (about) college level sports, (is) we want to see that is a legitimate part of the academic community.”

UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp announced Thursday that Martin will work with a consulting firm to see if academic irregularities began prior to 2007, and if so, how widespread the problem was.

So far, irregularities have been found in 54 African and Afro-American classes – where no-show or questionable courses appear to have benefited athletes, especially the UNC football team. After the initial UNC investigation, WRAL News found irregularities with independent study courses within the program, most of which were tied to former department chair Julius Nyang’oro.

Martin and his team plan to review more departments and all athletic programs at UNC-CH. He said that Thorp asked him to complete his work by mid-October and that he plans to get started early next week.

“And non-athletes, if you have a class that gives an easy grade to everybody, I think that needs to be identified as a corruption of the process,” Martin said.

Martin said Thorp told him everything is fair game in the investigation – no restrictions, no limitations. The report of Martin's findings will be made public once it is complete.

“(We will) go where the evidence takes us,” Martin said.

There's no dollar figure on the upcoming review. However, the school has paid nearly $600,000 for other scandal-related services. Outside legal bills are estimated at about $467,000 so far. Additionally, for the past 13 months, the school has paid a Raleigh-based communications firm $113,000.

A school spokesperson says that firm is providing services beyond this issue.

UNC confirmed Friday that communications consultant Doug Sosnick has been working for the school since Aug. 1. Details on his compensation have not been finalized.

The school says none of the bills are being paid with taxpayer dollars.

Michael McAdoo lawsuit

The North Carolina Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Michael McAdoo’s lawsuit against the school, Thorp and the NCAA on Sept. 13.

The former UNC football player, who was caught up in the academic scandal and lost a year on the field, filed a lawsuit last August seeking damages stemming from his being ruled ineligible. That lawsuit was dismissed in November and he filed an appeal in June.

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  • bdaughtry2 Aug 17, 7:56 p.m.

    > Since so many of you seem interested, you can rest assured UNC has programs in European studies, Asian studies,Slavic and Eurasian studies... - unc70

    Yep, but did any of the athletes take any of those courses?

    Look, don't get your panties in a wad. People are just getting a little tired of some pepple getting free rides at others expense.

  • budatduke Aug 17, 7:51 p.m.

    You'd have to see the cushy jobs these professors have and and wonder at how grossly over-paid they are. This is just the faculty. The sports departments are even worse.

  • unc70 Aug 17, 7:43 p.m.

    Since so many of you seem interested, you can rest assured UNC has programs in European studies, Asian studies,Slavic and Eurasian studies, and similar things for other regions, plus all those history, business, and language courses you need for each area. Not just AFAM.

  • bdaughtry2 Aug 17, 7:38 p.m.

    > Anyone honestly believe that when and if the evidence heads toward Roy Williams, the evidence won't either be squashed or the investigation ended? - yankee1

    An investigation just brought down the coach with the the most wins in college football....a man with a halo painted over his head on campus. If that can happen, anything can happen. It's not like we're talking about Dean Smith here.

  • bdaughtry2 Aug 17, 7:35 p.m.

    > We need to cut funding to universities and force them to teach real subjects, not this type garbage as long as taxpayers are footing a large part of the bill.... - jdupree

    This is just the tip of the iceberg....a needle in the haystack. Academia is as corrupt as bankers and politicians. Don't believe it, watch the documentary on the financial collapse called "Inside Job". Who would have thunk that Deans of colleges would be complicit in the financial collapse....but they sure were....guilty as sin. There is no integrity in government. And, there is no integrity in academia.

  • tsquaring Aug 17, 7:28 p.m.

    revoke their accreditation!

  • westernwake1 Aug 17, 7:05 p.m.

    Here is my prediction...

    If Martin does a complete and thorough investigation in the manner that Freeh did at Penn State.... then this case will blow up to be just as big as the Penn State situation except that it will involve academic integrity failures instead of child abuse.

  • yankee1 Aug 17, 7:01 p.m.

    Anyone honestly believe that when and if the evidence heads toward Roy Williams, the evidence won't either be squashed or the investigation ended?

  • jdupree Aug 17, 6:58 p.m.

    Just think, the greater University system actually paid someone $172,000 per year to teach this laughable subject. We need to cut funding to universities and force them to teach real subjects, not this type garbage as long as taxpayers are footing a large part of the bill. Heads should roll on this!

  • heelsforever Aug 17, 6:57 p.m.

    You mean to tell me that for the last 13 months they've been using a PR firm and still sticking their feet in their mouths every time someone from UNC speaks!

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