The N&O’s Dan Kane keeps the heat on, keeping the stench from southern Orange County in the public eye (or nose, as it were).Â Overnight he reported that UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp appeared before the university faculty at the first Faculty Council meeting of the new academic year.Â Despite the fresh start of a new school year however, sounds as if Holden is sticking to some stale material.Â Some choice excerpts…
CHAPEL HILL — It was a promise UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp has made over and over in the three months since announcing one of the worst academic scandals in the universityâ€™s history.
But this time it was before a standing-room-only crowd of faculty who came to hear him address the years of no-show classes that predominately benefited athletes.
â€œNo one is more upset about this than I am; no one is more determined than I am,â€ Thorp told the professors at the first Faculty Council meeting of the academic year. â€œWe are going to use this as a learning experience, and we are going to be a stronger university as a result.â€
Probably no further comment really needed here.Â Nope, changed my mind…
Anyone else think, if put through GAWolf’s patented UNC CHeatspeak 5000 Translator, that last paragraph would sound more like this:Â No one is more upset about this going public than I am; no one is more determined to keep the rest under wraps than I am.Â We are going to use this as a learning experience because you’re making us, and we are going to get better at hiding this crap in the future as a result.
Jan Boxill, the faculty chairwoman, introduced two resolutions to the council Friday that drew unanimous support. One affirmed the need for an African and Afro-American Studies Department, pointing out that the investigation has shown only two individuals within the department are responsible for the scandal: the former chairman, Julius Nyangâ€™oro, who was forced to retire July 1; and Deborah Crowder, the former department manager who retired in 2009.
Now, I know nothing about Ms. Boxill.Â I’m sure she’s a lovely woman and I don’t mean to demean her in any way.Â And I’m sure that the university does, in fact, need to keep an AFAM Dept.Â Probably not for the same reasons she believes, or at least would like to believe.Â But that’s a totally different discussion.
No, I’m singling Ms. Boxill out here because she’s arguing the point by using the reasoning of “all clear”.Â The perpetrators are gone, she says.Â One small problem.Â There are still “reviews” going on which very well might ruin her argument.Â It’s at least likely enough in my estimation that Ms. Boxill might want to cook up her next argument and have it at the ready just in case.
The second resolution endorsed a special faculty committee report that said the university was in effect a campus of two cultures in conflict â€“ academic and athletic. The most revealing detail from that report, released in July, was that some of the officials interviewed said athletes reported being steered by academic counselors to no-show classes.
Since then the director in charge of the academic support program for athletes has been reassigned to another job, though UNC officials said he did nothing wrong.
As has already been pointed out, for two cultures in conflict, the academic hand certainly seemed to wash the athletic hand without too much friction in this case.Â The fact that academic counselors steered athletes to no-show classes should be evidence enough of that.Â And nothing like this stays covered up this long if two parties are in conflict.
It does seem that some of the faculty members do have conflicts of conscience, however.Â History Professor Jay Smith, who previously has not been one to keep mum about his thoughts on the matter, took the opportunity to remind Thorp just how much odor is coming from what he’s been shoveling….
Thorp spent much of his address talking about the various investigations and reviews that have been completed or are still under way, and noted roughly 70 reform recommendations have been proposed or implemented.
But one professor, Jay Smith, challenged Thorp on the universityâ€™s contention that athletics did not drive the scandal. While he praised the university for the reforms, Smith said the university has not been as forthcoming as it should have been.
He cited the last no-show class Nyangâ€™oro taught, AFAM 280, which Nyangâ€™oro created two days before the start of a summer 2011 semester and quickly filled with football players. News & Observer records requests revealed the athletes-only class, which prompted an ongoing criminal investigation.
â€œThe existence of that course alone provides very powerful evidence that the Nyangâ€™oro scandal was all about athletics,â€ said Smith, a history professor.[snip]
Smith said the university â€œshould be doing all we can to get out in front of the press, and to pre-emptively air our dirty laundry, so that we can prove to the world â€“ because we now need to prove it â€“ that there are things more important to UNC than athletics success or the careers of individual faculty or administrators.â€
His remarks drew applause from roughly 20 professors.
I bet Rubik’s boy was so ticked off at that comment, and the applause it drew, that he could not have solved that little puzzle to save his life.Â Don’t worry Holden, I’ve only ever solved it once.Â Of course like most people I quit trying after that.Â You seem to like doing things over and over (promises, excuses, puzzles, denials).Â But at least you got to meet John Davidson.Â For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about and/or think I’ve lost my mind…Voila!Â (Of course, assuming I had lost my mind was the safe bet).
Back to Professor Jay Smith.Â Sounds like he and about 20 of his friends have had enough.Â It’s good to know that at least some of the folks over there still have some basic ethics.Â Not to mention common sense.Â Chancellor Thorp would do well to listen to him.
Be sure to hit the SFN Forums as there is a whole lot of stuff being talked about.