UNC-CH staffer won't be charged in academic fraud investigation
Posted March 4, 2014
Hillsborough, N.C. — Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Tuesday that he won't pursue criminal charges against a former administrative assistant in a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill department at the center of an academic fraud investigation involving student-athletes.
Deborah Crowder, who has been linked to academic improprieties in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, has been cooperating with prosecutors in the criminal investigation of the case, Woodall said.
The allegations focused on no-show classes, altered grades and other improprieties revealed during an NCAA investigation into the football program that began in the summer of 2010.
An independent investigation led by former Gov. Jim Martin into academic irregularities at UNC-Chapel Hill revealed that problems were concentrated in the department and dated to about 1994. Martin found no anomalies outside of that department and no specific link between the scandal and student-athletes.
Former department chairman Julius Nyang’oro was indicted in December on a charge of obtaining property by false pretense. Authorities allege that he was paid $12,000 to teach for a summer class that never met.
Crowder, who has retired from the university, also has agreed to cooperate with a new outside investigation being launched by UNC-Chapel Hill administrators, Woodall said.
The university last month hired former U.S. Justice Department attorney Kenneth Wainstein to review information uncovered during the State Bureau of Investigation probe of the department, which led to Nyang'oro's indictment.