There is a lot of news breaking from the slow-motion train wreck in Chapel Hill. Tonight the News and Observer ran this article explaining how the BOG has now all of a sudden decided that maybe UNC-CH wasn’t exactly going the extra mile to get to the bottom of their raging academic scandal. Some good quotes:
UNC system President Tom Ross, responding to complaints about a lack of oversight for UNC-Chapel Hill, called Thursday for a four-member panel of the Board of Governors to review the university’s investigation of its African and Afro-American Studies Department.
Ross said that if the panel or the rest of the board isn’t satisfied with the university’s work, or is unsatisfied with the outcome of the probe of the State Bureau of Investigation, they can launch a full review.
The Board of Governors placed the academic fraud case on its governance committee’s agenda this week after rival N.C. State fans and officials raised the issue of disparate treatment. They pointed out that 23 years ago, the board launched an investigation into improprieties within the Wolfpack basketball program and the subsequent findings helped lead to the exits of coach Jim Valvano and Chancellor Bruce Poulton.
Another surprise came at the meeting, when Ross confirmed that Deborah Crowder, the administrative assistant at the center of the case, has been in a long-standing relationship with a former UNC basketball player, Warren Martin. Crowder, who retired in 2009, has declined to talk to university officials about the suspect classes.
Chancellor Holden Thorp, who gave a long report about the investigation, said that class helped prompt the university to notify the NCAA on Sept. 1 because it was full of football players. But he said the speed with which the class was created and filled didn’t become apparent until much later.
Board member David Powers said of that class: “It seems to me very obvious that it was set up to help the athletes.”
In the past month, a university investigation launched amid the football probe into improper benefits and academic misconduct revealed embarrassing irregularities and suspect classes in an academic department, with football players making up more than a third of enrollments in those classes. It’s an example of how school administrators are still sifting through what happened at a time when they had hoped it would all be behind them.
The school investigation found fraud and poor oversight in 54 classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) between summer 2007 and summer 2011. That included unauthorized grade changes, reports of possibly forged faculty signatures on grade rolls, lack of appropriate supervision and infrequent classes.
”These are outrageous circumstances that we have discovered,” Thorp told the board. ”We are upset and disappointed. This is not what we expect from our university.”
The board of governors has appointed a four-member panel to review the school’s investigation.
Speaking of “the flagship,” the Rocky Mount Telegram threw some pretty good zingers at Thorp in this piece that was posted Wednesday. Some of the better lines:
As interim football coach last fall at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Everett Withers sparked a spirited pre-game exchange with rival N.C. State by referring to UNC as North Carolina’s “flagship university.”
Today, as UNC continues to deal with still more embarrassing revelations about summer school classes and football players, we might all be grateful if Chancellor Holden Thorp pushed the school a little harder to live up to Withers’ description.
Thorp has wrestled with this deep-rooted problem for two years now. If he is unable or unwilling to uncover and fix the kinds of allegations that continue to appear on the front pages of state newspapers, it is time for him to step aside and make way for someone who will.
Also, I meant to link this excellent entry from the Duke Basketball Report in my last entry. It gives an interesting perspective that is well worth reading.
That wraps it up for tonight. Stay tuned. For those wondering, here are the individuals on the four-member BOG oversight panel:
|Hari H. Nath Board of Governors, Term 2011 – 2015
Occupation: Retired businessman
Major Educational/Elective Offices: Chairman, Board of Advisors, The Carying Place-N.C. Profit Organization; member Planning Zoning Board, Town of Cary; member, Board of Advisors North Carolina Indian American Political Action Committee; former member Cary Central Rotary Club; former regional president Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation USA Inc.; former member Town of Cary Board of Adjustments; and former member Town of Cary Economic Development Commission.
|Ann B. Goodnight Board of Governors, Term 2011 – 2015
Occupation: Community volunteer and businesswoman
Major Education/Elective Offices: former trustee of North Carolina State University; co-founder/board member of Cary Academy; board member of N.C. Public School Forum, N.C. New Schools Project and The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce; Chair of YMCA We Build People Campaign; trustee of N.C. Museum of Art; Advisory Member of William & Ida Friday Institute, North Carolina State University; trustee of Wake Education Partnership; former Chair of John Rex Endowment.
|W. Louis Bissette, Jr. Board of Governors, Term 2011 – 2015
Major Educational/Elective Offices: former Mayor of Asheville; former President Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce; former Chairman WNC Development Association; former Secretary Mission-St. Josephs Health System; former Vice Chairman Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation; former Chairman Western Carolina Industries; former President N.C. Arboretum Society; former Vice Chairman Buncombe County Economic Development Commission; former Chairman Asheville Merchant’s Corp; former Chairman Forest Commercial Bank.
|Walter C. Davenport Board of Governors, Term 2009 – 2013
Occupation: Certified Public Accountant