Panel investigating UNC academics to meet Thursday

Posted October 11, 2012

— A panel investigating possible academic fraud at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Thursday will meet Thursday and could hear from former North Carolina Gov. Jim Martin about his independent investigation into the university's African and Afro-American studies department. 

Appointed by Tom Ross, the academic review panel will make a full report of its findings to the North Carolina Board of Governors. Martin and a firm hired by the university and appointed by Chancellor Holden Thorp will report its findings to the academic review panel. 

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 UNC released a report on those classes, WRAL News found irregularities with independent study courses within the program, most of which were tied to former department chair Julius Nyang’oro.

In August, former UNC football star Julius Peppers' college transcript appeared online. It showed grades from the African and Afro-American studies department, which appear to have kept Peppers eligible as a student. He has denied any academic wrong-doing.

Martin and his team set out to review more departments and all athletic programs at UNC and submit a full report by the middle of the month, but new details about the panel's findings weren't expected at Thursday's meeting. 

Martin said in August that Chancellor Holden Thorp, who announced his resignation last month, told him everything is fair game in the investigation -- no restrictions, no limits.

When he announced his resignation Sept. 17, Thorp said he was doing what he felt was best for the university.

"This wasn't an easy decision personally, but when I thought about the university and how important it's been to me, to North Carolinians and to hundreds of thousands of alumni, my answers became clear."

UNC President Tom Ross said in September that the resignation announcement will allow Thorp to devote his attention to making sure that the problems identified on campus have been corrected and that the new policies, procedures and safeguards that have been implemented to prevent similar issues in the future are adequate and represent best practices. 

The school has paid nearly $600,000 for legal and public relations advice since the NCAA initiated an investigation tied to the Tar Heel football team more than two years ago.

Because of misdeeds tied to academic fraud and players accepting impermissible benefits, 14 UNC football players missed some or all of the 2010 season. The violations ultimately cost head coach Butch Davis his job and led Dick Baddour to step away from his athletic director’s position.

The football team was forced to forfeit all wins from the 2008 and 2009 seasons, is serving three years on probation, is banned from postseason play in 2012 and saw a reduction of 15 scholarships over three seasons.


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  • bluegrass Oct 11, 2012

    The high and mighty UNC with their claim of "our athletes return to complete their degrees" are now exposed. Yes they may attain degrees but in a now exposed useless field of study where you don't even have to attend class. This program exists for one reason only, to keep athletes eligible.

  • Naysayer Oct 11, 2012

    I can't believe our tax dollars pay for nonsense like an "African and Afro-American studies" If this were a private institution fine, but I should not have to support this sort of waste.

  • 426X3 Oct 11, 2012

    I still want to know what you can do with a degree in Afro- American Studies?

  • outhousecat Oct 11, 2012

    Did WRAL find this or did N&O Dane Kane??

    I think WRAL found it in the N&O.

  • NCSU84 Oct 11, 2012

    "WRAL News found irregularities with independent study courses within the program, most of which were tied to former department chair Julius Nyang’oro." Did WRAL find this or did N&O Dane Kane??

    I was not aware WRAL is hitting this story with the degree the N&O is?

  • JDAmbrosio Oct 11, 2012

    There's no reason to cheat that makes it okay. Ever.

  • NCSU84 Oct 11, 2012

    should be good reading.... I doubt any earth shattering suff comes out of this. An investigation would take numerous months of just digging through file to even begin investigating leads. And this commission has been at it for maybe 2 months and will be done??

  • bdaughtry2 Oct 11, 2012

    Why is that liberals feel they have to cheat? Why the win at all cost? As long as our basketball and football teams, they will turn a blind eye to athletes who take phantom classes and let others write their papers. Why do they want the illegals not to vote so badly? Can their teams....can their candidates not win on their own merits? Guess we all know the answers to that.

  • InTheNo Oct 11, 2012

    "Lets just have American Studies and all Americans take pride in the history we share."

    Easier to be proud if you weren't in chains for 200 years and then beaten, lynched and prevented from advancing after "being set free".

  • InTheNo Oct 11, 2012

    "The president has sold our country out and no one cares!"

    If you think President Obama is the one who sold out the working people instead of mega, mega rich "businessmen" like Romney, then you should just stick to the story... the unabashed, unpunished cheating carried out at UNC by Bill Friday, John Swofford, Dick Baddour, Dean Smith, Roy Williams etc etc. And all at the expense of a professor who could only dream of the amount of money being made by the UNC Athletic department. It sounds just like what the folks like Romney have done to working people. Win and make money regardless of the effect on the ones doing all the work. When you no longer have a mortgage interest deduction, tax credits for your children and assisted living for your mother, come back and tell me who sold the country out (while the millionaires enjoy their 12% tax rate compared to my 30% rate while I work everyday.