There is a classic quote from the movie The Usual Suspects:
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.
Now UNC-CH has to prove to the world that they do indeed exist.
(Don’t know if I still need to do this for an 18 year old movie, but spoiler alert for the video at the bottom if you haven’t seen The Usual Suspects)
This story was mentioned in 1.21 Jigawatt’s always excellent and informative daily news update but I thought it deserved its own entry.
Because, from this N&O story:
Surprise inspections have been taking place across the UNC-Chapel Hill campus in recent days as administrators seek to prove that students and faculty are, indeed, meeting for their scheduled classes.
Stop and think about that for a second.
Inspections to make sure classes exist.
That would be just sad and embarrassing for a community college, a junior high, a pre-school, a cooking class or dog obedience school. So what does that say for a major university that loves to consider themselves a public Ivy?
You can read the N&O article for details on the inspections and reactions from the faculty. I especially enjoyed this quote from Lew Margolis, a professor in UNC-CH’s public health department:
“I do not believe that any of these credit-hour monitoring proposals would have seen the light of day had there not been exasperation about the disconnect between big time college sports and the mission of universities,” he wrote. “There may be more than one reason to create a fake class, but at the very top of the list, with a large gap between number one and number two, is the need to keep revenue-generating athletes eligible. I don’t think that we fake classes in musicology or modern European history or molecular chemistry, because faculty across the galaxy of universities hold one another accountable.”
So far there is at least one class that is still M.I.A.
In the College of Arts and Sciences, there were too many classes to visit one by one, so administrators checked a random sample of 187 courses out of 2,300 lectures, labs and discussion sections offered this semester. A few were meeting in alternate locations, but only one could not be accounted for. That one will be re-checked this week, spokeswoman Dee Reid said.
Similar to UNC-CH’s guesstimation and artificial inflation of the spring football game attendance, sometimes the inspection consists of looking in the window and pulling a number out of thin air.
“I tried to do it in a very nondisruptive way,” Eaker-Rich said of her checks. “Our building has windows on the doors, so if the doors were closed, I could just look in and say, ‘OK, there’s Dr. So-and-So, and there are approximately 25 students in there and obviously they’re doing something.’ ”
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