Accrediting agency lifts probation for UNC

Posted June 16, 2016 2:28 p.m. EDT
Updated June 16, 2016 10:50 p.m. EDT

One of the lingering shadows from the academic scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill lifted Thursday when Chancellor Carol Folt notified the campus community that UNC had fulfilled the terms of a one-year probation imposed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

SACS, UNC's regional accrediting body, asked university leaders to demonstrate over the past 12 months that changes implemented as a result of that scandal were working.

SACS' review came after a report that found that UNC student-athletes were steered towards no-show classes by academic counselors for a period of 18 years from 1993 to 2011. Investigators found 169 student-athletes whose grades in such classes kept them eligible to play. Of the 169, 123 were football players, 15 were men's basketball players, eight were women's basketball players and 26 played in one of the Olympic sports.

Nine people, including Jan Boxill, a former chairwoman of the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, lost their jobs, and the university has seen turnover in the chancellor's office, athletics leadership and in the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies, formerly the Department of African and Afro-American Studies where the no-show classes were concentrated.

"I am pleased to let you know that The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges informed me today that the board is maintaining our accreditation and removing our University from probation," Folt wrote in an email.

In March, UNC sent a 144-page report to SACS in response to SACS questions.

The organization put the school on a 12-month probation on June 11, 2015, after finding that UNC had violated seven principles, including integrity, program content, control of intercollegiate athletics, academic support services, academic freedom, faculty role in governance and Title IV program responsibilities.