Board of Governors to review UNC academic investigation

Posted June 14, 2012 5:52 p.m. EDT

— Four members of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors will review UNC-Chapel Hill's investigation into academic irregularities involving a former faculty member, officials said Thursday.

The board expressed frustration that they have learned many details of the case through the media and that the university's academic reputation remains under fire more than two years after the NCAA began investigating improprieties by UNC football players.

UNC-Chapel Hill has found 54 classes in the African and Afro-American Studies program had little or no indication of instruction and at least 10 cases of unauthorized grade changes for students who didn't do all the work.

Julius Nyang'oro resigned last August as chairman of the department amid the investigation into academic fraud involving Tar Heel football players. He finished his work at UNC in May, and his retirement takes effect July 1.

"This situation is nothing short of deplorable and is contrary to everything this university stands for,” UNC President Tom Ross told the board.

In addition to Nyang'oro, retired assistant Debbie Crowder has been implicated in the academic irregularities. Ross said she had a long-term relationship with a former UNC basketball player, but there was no evidence that the relationship was involved with the irregularities.

"What we have found is completely at odds with what we expect from our university,” Chancellor Holden Thorp told the board.

Ross and Thorp said no similar situation has been found in any other department at the university, and they have asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into whether there were any criminal violations.

"They have the ability to do things we can't do," Ross said, noting that the SBI could subpoena Crowder, who has refused to cooperate with the university investigation.

Both men also said they are confident the university is doing all it can and everything that needs to be done to resolve the matter.