Education

UNC-CH not punished for academic irregularities

Posted June 20, 2013

— An accrediting agency said Thursday that it will not sanction the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for academic irregularities in one department linked to student-athletes.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges could have handed UNC-Chapel Hill a warning or put it on probation, but its board opted to monitor the school, saying university leaders are working towards making things right.

Various reviews determined there were about 200 courses in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies involving no-show classes, altered grades, plagiarism and other improprieties dating back to the late 1990s.

The university has determined there are 46 current students who received a passing grade from those courses. They are being given three options: hand in past course work for review, take a challenge exam, or take another course. Former students will also be given an opportunity to take a make-up course.

UNC insists that no degrees were awarded students who didn't earn them.

While athletes accounted for a large number of students taking those classes, a review conducted by former Gov. Jim Martin determined that it was an academic problem, not an athletic scandal.

UNC-Chapel Hill must submit a monitoring report to the accreditation board by next June to demonstrate that its plan to prevent future problems is working.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said in an email to students and faculty that the university has cooperated with SACSCOC throughout its review, and he is pleased with the agency's decision not to impose any penalties.

"We are confident the sweeping changes we have made, based on the results of seven internal and independent, outside reviews or investigations, will prevent any recurrence of these irregularities,” Thorp said.

The State Bureau of Investigation continues to look into the case to determine whether any criminal charges are warranted.

11 Comments

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  • jdupree Jun 21, 7:23 p.m.

    Rubber stamp. Wonder if someone was bought off. Can't believe this!

  • krimson Jun 21, 10:57 a.m.

    $$$ Gotta keep that TV contract money flowing...

  • publicassistance Jun 21, 9:59 a.m.

    "Various reviews determined there were about 200 courses in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies involving no-show classes, altered grades, plagiarism and other improprieties dating back to the late 1990s."

    What would you expect from an academically worthless course of study set-up purely for PC reasons? The fact that they allow such nonsense to continue under different titles is what is most disturbing...

  • superman Jun 21, 8:51 a.m.

    There were 200 classes and just how many students. Couple thousand? The sooner Thorp leaves the better. And the new chancellor has no experience just like Thorp. It would seem that a univeristy could hire someone with experience but then I can understand why no one who values their reputation would want to work for a school that is on a downhill slide. UNC has disgraced all the tax payers of this state.

  • Native_NCer Jun 20, 7:22 p.m.

    My problem in this story is not with UNC. They did what all universities do if they can - paid their way out. However, who could possibly ever take SACSCOC seriously again? If they couldn't find anything to reprimand UNC for then what is the point in having them as an agency anywhere?

    Oh wait, I get it, they are a accrediting agency without credibility!!!

  • ccsmith1902 Jun 20, 6:28 p.m.

    This did not involve only one department. It involved administrators and academic counselors.

  • Terkel Jun 20, 6:02 p.m.

    "We all know" why there is no punishment.

  • boylan99 Jun 20, 5:37 p.m.

    If I was an AD in major college athletics I would use the unc model to keep my players eligible to play. The precedent has been set that this is a way to cheat and get away with it with a very minor slap on the wrist.

  • jbboone Jun 20, 5:14 p.m.

    So I guess with this decision by SACS-COC the NCAA will also decide not to re-visit UNC because they can not make decisions for themselves. The bottom line in this situation is money - the NCAA does not want to know if basketball players (Julius Peppers) were also benefiting from the fake classes because it could lead to voiding wins, banners, and a ban from the NCAA tournament. Do not kid yourself - there is a reason why Roy Williams told players after 2006 not to major in AA studies (but go ahead and take a Naval Weapons Class).

  • tagncsu Jun 20, 5:13 p.m.

    UNC is apparently made of Teflon, because it's not possible to find an allegation that will stick. No penalty for *TWO HUNDRED* classes "involving no-show classes, altered grades, plagiarism and other improprieties dating back to the late 1990s?" It's incredibly disappointing to hear about these concerns with what most people consider the FLAGSHIP school in the UNC system, and it's incredibly disappointing that apparently there will be no repercussions.

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