Coming on the ‘heels’ of this fantastic must-read article, the New York Times jumps in. There is nothing majorly new here…except this is national attention. You need to read the entire column; snippets below (The NY Times):
In the summer of 2011, 19 undergraduates at the University of North Carolina signed up for a lecture course called AFAM 280: Blacks in North Carolina. The professor was Julius Nyang’oro, an internationally respected scholar and longtime chairman of the African and Afro-American studies department.
It is doubtful the students learned much about blacks, North Carolina or anything else, though they received grades for papers they supposedly turned in and Mr. Nyang’oro, the instructor, was paid $12,000. University and law-enforcement officials say AFAM 280 never met. One of dozens of courses in the department that officials say were taught incompletely or not at all, AFAM 280 is the focus of a criminal indictment against Mr. Nyang’oro that was issued last month.
Eighteen of the 19 students enrolled in the class were members of the North Carolina football team (the other was a former member), reportedly steered there by academic advisers who saw their roles as helping athletes maintain high enough grades to remain eligible to play.
Handed up by an Orange County, N.C., grand jury, the indictment charged Nyang’oro with “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously” accepting payment “with the intent to cheat and defraud” the university in connection with the AFAM course — a virtually unheard-of legal accusation against a professor.
The indictment, critics say, covers just a small piece of one of the biggest cases of academic fraud in North Carolina history. That it has taken place at Chapel Hill, known for its rigorous academic standards as well as an athletic program revered across the country, has only made it more shocking.
Athletes, including many from the popular and revenue-producing football and basketball teams, made up nearly half of the students enrolled in the dubious courses.
The university says the blame rests firmly and exclusively with two people: Mr. Nyang’oro and Deborah Crowder, the department manager, who retired in 2009 after 30 years there.
Some on campus and elsewhere are skeptical that just two people could carry out the questionable activities on their own. “How in the world could a scam like this go on for so long, and no one knew about it?” asked Mr. Smith, the professor.
Michael O. West, a friend and onetime North Carolina colleague of Mr. Nyang’oro, believes the university has made him a scapegoat. “My view is that the university is portraying these two people, Nyang’oro and Crowder, as a couple of rogue employees,” Mr. West said.
“But I am sure there were many people in the athletic department and elsewhere who were aware of it,” he added. “These two people are being made to take the blame and put out to dry, when the problem was institutional.”
[Emphasis above by SFN]