The raging academic scandal at UNC-CH keeps picking up momentum. An editorial in today’s News and Observer goes further than any such piece produced so far. An excerpt:
The university, which used to boast of its “clean” athletics program, the “Carolina way,” has always maintained that it does not treat athletes different from other students, that they are not guided to courses designed to keep them eligible because of easy material or agreeable professors.That sanctimony, especially, makes this latest development an outrage. And Chancellor Holden Thorp remains evidently reluctant to ask and answer the questions that linger, questions that must be answered before all those broken hearts Hargrove has been talking about can be mended.
How was it possible for this course to be added to the summer school list, for Nyang’oro to take it over from the professor who normally would have taught it and for it to include only football players (who knew to register for it within days of registration opening) without someone in the academic support staff or in the university’s middle-level administration not raising an eyebrow, and more?
What do students who were in the class say? Do Thorp and others want to find out?
The editorial goes on to raise the really big issue pending at the moment — questioning the investigative vigor UNC-CH has shown:
Thorp has tackled the issue at those points where The N&O has obtained records and reported on what happened, or didn’t happen, but he hasn’t seemed to push for a really aggressive investigation – even while the university’s academic standards have been corrupted and the “Carolina way” has become a joke.
This is not the only editorial making the rounds today. Scott Mooneyham wrote a piece that was published first by the NC Insider and subsequently is being picked up by some other outlets. Mooneyham does an amazing job pulling back the curtain on the so-called investigation undertaken by UNC-CH so far. An excerpt:
Last summer, after former UNC-Chapel Hill football player Michael McAdoo was shown to have plagiarized a paper, chancellor Holden Thorp said he didn’t intend to question the professor who accepted the paper.
“We’ve done a very thorough investigation on the academic side,” Thorp said at the time.
A month later, The News & Observer of Raleigh showed that the same professor taught an advanced course to a star football player just as he arrived on campus and before ever taking a basic writing course.
Thorp responded by ordering an internal review. Six months later, a 10-page report outlined 54 irregularly-taught courses in the department overseen by the professor, Julius Nyang’oro.
The report concluded that athletes received no favorable treatment relative to the rest of the student body, making no mention of the percentage of athletes enrolled in the courses.
Thorp called the review thorough and diligent.
Subsequent media requests led to revelations that a majority of those enrolled in the courses were athletes.
Now, News & Observer reporter Dan Kane has revealed that one of the suspect courses, which involved no instruction, was created by Nyang’oro just two days before the start of a summer school semester in 2011. Of the 19 students who enrolled, 18 were football players and one was a former football player.
Among the questions that need answering:
_ Who told football players to enroll in these classes? Why these classes and not others? Did the advisers assigned to athletes know about the academic fraud? Did they have any conversations with athletic department officials regarding this class or others taught by Nyang’oro?
_ Where was the oversight of Nyang’oro and his courses? Did his assignment to so many summer school courses violate university policy? If not, why not? If so, why was it allowed?
_ Finally, what role did Thorp himself play, in his previous job as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, in any lack of oversight of Nyang’oro’s department, his course assignments, and the athletic academic support staff, which also reports to the college?
It’s time for the truth.
Wow! I should also mention that this latest story is now being picked up nationally, with USA Today , The Sporting News, and yahoo basically running the N & O piece. Yahoo makes a point to quote this hilarious sentence from the N & O article:
Other records show that football and basketball players made up a majority of the enrollments of nine particularly suspect classes in which the professors listed as instructors have denied involvement, and have claimed that signatures were forged on records related to them.
That is some fantastic national press for the flagship! Also, Robbi Pickeral with ESPN is doing some preliminary exploration of this pdf provided by the N & O last Friday. In my opinion, that pdf, which breaks down the enrollments in the suspect classes, will turn out to be a gold mine once people really start sifting through it.