UNC-CH’s promises still ring hollow

The local media outlets today are reporting at least part of what was forged from yesterday’s double secret behind closed door meeting of the UNC System BOG panel.  It’s hard to believe it took 5+ hours for this.

I’m going to paste some quotes below, but please click the links and read both in their entirety.

NewsObserver.com – UNC promises major changes in wake of academic scandal

Karen Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the university would intensify its review of department chairmen, who previously had little oversight.

“The college depended on our department chair and our manager to do their jobs and do them with integrity,” Gil said. “It didn’t happen.”

Other policy changes and reforms are meant to beef up oversight of independent study courses, teaching assignments, summer school courses and other areas.

For example, from now on in the African studies department, only majors with at least a 3.0 grade point average will be able to take independent study courses. All faculty syllabi will be reviewed by administrators to ensure appropriate rigor.

“Please know that faculty and staff members share your concerns about the unethical practices,” said the new department chairwoman, Eunice Sahle.

The department is changing its curriculum and its name, Sahle said. It will be called African, African American and Diaspora Studies, she said, which denotes its worldwide focus.

[snip]

Cunningham, the athletic director, said the university has 720 student-athletes in 28 sports. Among the upperclassmen, he said, 34 different academic majors were represented. Two majored in African and Afro-American studies. No matter their major, he said, all face major time pressure in balancing their classroom and athletic demands.

The athletic director said there is room for athletics and academics to thrive alongside each other if they are integrated and done “in the right way.” It’s not a tradeoff, he said.

“We’re going to educate and inspire through athletics,” Cunningham said. “That’s our fundamental mission.”

[snip]

Thorp reiterated his promise to clean up the situation once and for all. It’s a promise he’s made over and over.

“I am determined that we will fix this and that it will never happen again,” he said. “Nothing is more important than restoring confidence in this university that we all love.”

 

WRAL.com -UNC-CH outlines AFAM reform, explains transcript release

Chancellor Holden Thorp said that it has been an “extraordinarily difficult time” for the AFAM department, but the changes implemented by Sahle were created with “great vision.”Also Thursday, Thorp outlined steps that UNC-CH has taken at a university level to restore academic integrity and ensure transparency. He announced a new, public website which will track the continuing investigation (academicreview.unc.edu).

“Students drink from the well every year because it stands for something. We owe it to those students to get this right and be sure nothing like this ever happens again,” Thorp said. “My interest, and I’m sure your interest, is that all students get the high-quality of education we expect at Carolina.”

[snip]

Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said that he has made a commitment to put academics first and is in the middle of developing a plan which will be released publicly in October. The development for a strategic plan started in April, Cunningham said.

“Our responsibility in athletics is to give them some life-lessons on the field,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham added that UNC is one of the leading universities in the country academically, but also competes at top levels athletically and priorities are most important in how measuring success. He outlined those priorities as Aligning operations with the mission of the university, succeed in academic achievement, be top in athletic performance and have strong academic support for student-athletes.

“(I’ve looked at UNC) as kind of a beacon for doing things right and doing things well,” Cunningham said. “I think we have the opportunity right now to build something different, but we are going to have to do that with other institutions.”

[snip]

Thorp said the issue dates back to 2001 when a staff member created a test copy for the student information system on what was at the time a secure server. The test transcript was a copy of Peppers’ transcript, although his personal information was removed.

However, during a 2007 technology transition, a second staff member moved the transcript to an unsecured server. The first staffer was disciplined and the second is no longer employed at the university.

Vice Chancellor for Information Technology Services and Chief Information Officer Larry Conrad said that the transcript was never published on the university’s website and that it was discovered on the unsecured server “through a sequence of targeted searches that ultimately yielded the URL.”

“The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill takes very seriously the obligation to protect students’ academic records, which is why the recent exposure of a version of Julius Peppers’ transcript and its subsequent publication in media outlets was extremely troubling,” Thorp said. “We greatly regret this, and we have apologized to Mr. Peppers.”

Don’t worry Rubik’s boy.  There are about a quarter of a million and one reasons why I believe Dr. Peppers holds no grudges.

While I won’t go into individual detail on the various talking points here, this overall line of feel good crap is getting on my nerves.  What we’re seeing here is nothing but PR.  Procedures and oversight methods were never the problems here folks.  It was the people in the positions of responsibility, the ones who were supposed to be doing the overseeing in the first place, who dropped the ball here.

Karen Gil, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, gets it…even if she doesn’t realize it or won’t admit it.  Read this short quote again please:

“The college depended on our department chair and our manager to do their jobs and do them with integrity,” Gil said. “It didn’t happen.”

Nailed it! (other than spouting the party line of Julius and Deborah acting alone, of course)

Since I firmly believe many of those ethics-challenged folks are still haunting the hallowed corridors of that awesome public ivy to the west, all of the well-intentioned oversight procedures, sign out sheets and departmental name changes in the world won’t fix the problems.  Instead of harping on how it happened and what BS changes will look good, they’d be well served to start looking at who and why (and when, for that matter).

 

About Wufpacker

A 2nd generation alumnus and raised since birth to be irrationally dedicated to all things NC State. Class of '88 and '92.

UNC Scandal

34 Responses to UNC-CH’s promises still ring hollow

  1. NCSU88 08/30/2012 at 8:29 PM #

    Can honestly say I have never used the term Diaspora. Had to look it up.

    Still no who, what, why, when and how? They are simply moving forward, putting band-aids on their festering gangrenous wound.

  2. Old MacDonald 08/30/2012 at 8:31 PM #

    I wish I had written that.

  3. gumby 08/30/2012 at 8:48 PM #

    Currliner’s whole plan to deal with their academic atrocities can be summed up in a few famous words I’m sure you’ll recognize:

    “This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let’s not bicker and argue over who killed who…”

  4. GAWolf 08/30/2012 at 8:54 PM #

    University of
    Nothing’s
    Changed

    That’s like one of my clients lying to the court about quitting drugs when they’re being placed on probation which includes drug testing. The probation violation is inevitable.

    If they make only AFAM majors have a 3.0 to take independent studies, they’ll just slide all the athletes over to communications where nobody is looking. Oh. Wait. They already did that.

    This is just stupid. When is someone with the appropriate combination of authority, morality, and gonads going to smack some of these dolts in the face and start screaming for them to wake up?

  5. packhammer 08/30/2012 at 9:03 PM #

    Dear Mr. Thorpe, should anyone care how difficult this has been for you or anyone else at the University? It is past time to clean up your mess and stop with all the meaningless talk. The academic program at your school has been totally exposed and more and yet more process and talk is doing nothing to correct the situation. How much longer are you going to let this go on? Is the Carolina Way fruit juice really that good?

  6. Wufpacker 08/30/2012 at 9:12 PM #

    Thank you OldMac. Having read your stuff I take that as a huge compliment.

    EDIT – Unless of course you meant you wish you had written it so as to have kept me from screwing it up! ;)

  7. Wufpacker 08/30/2012 at 9:14 PM #

    “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill takes very seriously the obligation to protect students’ academic records, which is why the recent exposure of a version of Julius Peppers’ transcript and its subsequent publication in media outlets was extremely troubling,”

    Yeah. That’s why it was troubling.

  8. Packstrength90 08/30/2012 at 9:30 PM #

    I’m suprised no one else picked up on thorps comment “the new director will report only to the academic side of the business’. Wonder who the previous stooges were reporting to?

  9. runwiththepack 08/30/2012 at 9:30 PM #

    Nothing short of UNC admitting that this mess was part of their SYSTEM, and not just a few dozen rogues, will be adequate. Fixing it is nice. Apologizing is appropriate.

    But paying, (and paying a REAL meaningful penalty) for the wrongs they committed is the most important part.

    That admission should also bring in the reluctant NCAA.

    Unbelievable – the lack of anyone (edit: anyone in a position of authority) willing to really, truly fix what is wrong over there.

  10. Wufpacker 08/30/2012 at 9:50 PM #

    Nice catch. I read right past that without seeing its significance.

    Not surprising considering the amount of verbal diarrhea being spewed forth. That’s also the main reason I didn’t address it all point by point. I would have been typing until kickoff tomorrow night.

  11. Wufpacker 08/30/2012 at 9:58 PM #

  12. state73 08/30/2012 at 10:15 PM #

    Same old same old! A lot of words saying nothing. If unx was sincere they would admit just how much cheating was going on and for how long. They have not admitted a single wrong doing until it was discovered by us or the N&O. They have no intention of competing with other schools on an equal basis. Screw the self-righteous bast##ds!

  13. wilmwolf80 08/30/2012 at 10:53 PM #

    To sum it up, they came out of the meeting and said “So, um, how bout this weather we’re having?”

  14. OldWuf 08/30/2012 at 11:21 PM #

    A big ol’pile of B.S.

  15. wpakgirl 08/31/2012 at 12:07 AM #

    Statements in the article sound pretty shallow to me. Got a nice giggle from it though. What a joke.

  16. BureauOfMines 08/31/2012 at 5:20 AM #

    Translation: We’re hoping all this will blow over soon so we can get back to business as usual.

  17. howlie 08/31/2012 at 6:59 AM #

    According to the article, “the university” will monitor the department heads.
    WHO, particularly, is “the university?”

    Isn’t this Thorp’s responsibility, or at least to make sure someone is doing this on his behalf?

    How is widescale, systemic academic fraud blamed so naively on “things falling through the cracks” so that no one has responsibility? How is it that all those cute little colleges over there [Southern Culture, African American Diaspora, Communicating!1!!]–none of whom have any leadership or morals–can gain accreditation someday so that the entire entity might be able to call themselves an actual university?

    WHEN will they get to that level? What accreditation body will let them know when they have the policies and oversight required so that they can become an actual “university?”

    Someone really needs to help them.

  18. 1.21 Jigawatts 08/31/2012 at 7:23 AM #

    You guys are all over looking the real question here, “How is this effecting recruiting?”

  19. packplantpath 08/31/2012 at 7:29 AM #

    Changing the name of the offending department is a classic PR move. Should have seen that coming.

    The tail appears to be wagging the dog.

  20. JohnGalt78 08/31/2012 at 7:32 AM #

    I suppose we are all expected to drink the UNCheat KoolAid from that stinking well. No thanks. Again, we are asked to admire the extraordinarily courageous measures they have undertaken in the face of adversity. What a role model. What leadership. How proud we should feel that The University has overcome this threat to its superior perception of itself.

    The “panel” is so completely bogus. Nothing whatsoever will come from this.

    Perhaps they can hang a banner this year….actually, no, wait….maybe, at least a dozen banners….different years represented, but the same accomplishment:

    2011-1012 NCAA
    National Champions
    Men’s Damage Control*

    *life size replicas available at WalMart

  21. YogiNC 08/31/2012 at 8:24 AM #

    The bottom line is Holden and company expect to make changes and go forward forgetting all about the repercussions of past acts. Sorry Holden, until you face the music for what transpired you don’t get the pass to move forward. IOW, clean up the mess before you go out and party. What I want to see is charges for fraud AND heads to roll AND slamming the whole department for transgressions all the way up to Johnny boy’s office in Greensboro.

  22. triadwolf 08/31/2012 at 9:16 AM #

    “Karen Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the university would intensify its review of department chairmen, who previously had little oversight”.

    Swahili translation: ” Make sure our dept. heads don’t do anything stupid and get caught again…”

    “The college depended on our department chair and our manager to do their jobs and do them with integrity,” Gil said. “It didn’t happen.”

    …As a result we will allow them to retire, pay them to keep their mouths shut and give them their full pension. That’ll show’m…

  23. Wufpacker 08/31/2012 at 10:43 AM #

    Sure wish someone with a press pass would point that out.

  24. UpstateSCWolfpack 08/31/2012 at 11:29 AM #

    What is this horse sh!t. Just saw this on SI, NCAA finds that UNC-CHeat did nothing wrong. Really? Really?!?!?!

    http://tracking.si.com/2012/08/31/unc-academic-scandal-ncaa/?sct=hp_t2_a3&eref=sihp

  25. wfpk99 08/31/2012 at 11:36 AM #

    Oh man! Maybe we could just make this banner ourselves. I’m sure there’s some frat who could make some pledges go hang it.

    Well played, JohnGalt78!

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