Caulton Tudor

Getting to crux of UNC case may be impossible

Posted May 12

Former UNC-Chapel Hill professor Julius Nyang'oro, center, surrenders to Orange County authorities on Dec. 3, 2013, after his indictment on a charge of obtaining property by false pretense. Nyang'oro is accused of taking money for a class that he never taught. He is accompanied by his wife and attorney Butch Williams.

— The next trial date for former University of North Carolina professor Julius Nyang’oro is June 24 in the Orange County Superior Court at Hillsborough.

Don’t bank on learning a great deal more about the Carolina African-American studies saga/scandal that day. Like the now infamous former educator’s last scheduled court appearance on April 29, another postponement is entirely possible.

In fact, the case against Nyang’oro for obtaining pay by false pretense for conducting no-show classes (largely for Tar Heel football players) may never go to trial. Like a lot of low-level felony cases, delays could be commonplace. Moreover, it’s just as likely that a plea bargain might be struck between Orange district attorney Jim Woodall and Nyang’oro’s lawyers.

At end-game, the school may wind up spending a fortune on new lead investigator Kenneth Wainstein ($990 hourly) and his three aides ($440-$775) without clearing the air.

Wainstein, a former U.S. Justice Department official, was hired by UNC System president Tom Ross and Carolina chancellor Carol Folt in February. This is the third high-level probe in three years but by far, the most expensive.

Wainstein’s team is in the process of seeking evidence.

But nothing truly meaningful can surface until someone can or is forced to answer the simple question of WHY the fraudulent classes were created in the first place.

If Nyang’oro instigated the activity, what was his motivation? More correctly, what was his incentive?

Did he simply dream up the idea out the clear blue? Was he just that much of a rabid athletic fan? Did he feel sorry for athletes? Was he conducting some sort of strange experiment in out-of-the-box curriculums?
Obviously none of those answers seem plausible.

But if Nyang’oro was responsible, he’s the only one who can say for sure what happened on Day-1 and how it expanded from there.

And short of signing a lucrative “tell-all” media/book contract of some sort, there’s no reason whatsoever to assume he would ever make such disclosures. Even if he’s eventually found guilty on the charges, even Woodall has said no jail time would likely be involved in a punishment.

Wainstein’s investigative skills may be as staggering as his billing rate, but no one can turn chicken feathers into chicken salad. Unless Nyang’oro and/or someone else involved in the origination of the endeavor chooses to cooperate by providing testimony and real evidence, the definitive answers won’t be found.

As the charges now stand, no one is going to have the power to force Nyang’oro to testify against himself or anyone else.

Folt, in a Feb. 21 news release by UNC sad, “We have directed Mr. Wainstein to ask the tough questions, follow the facts wherever they lead, and get the job done. I have quickly grown to admire the extent to which the Carolina community has encouraged me to look within the University, to identify challenges, and to take strong actions to address them. I believe these efforts will accelerate the University’s capacity to achieve the meaningful academic and athletic reform that our entire community expects.”

Wainstein, in the same release, said, “I look forward to working closely with the University community to develop a full understanding of the facts and to provide an independent and comprehensive assessment of those facts for the University and the public.”

Don’t bank on it.


This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • coachkayhasmrsa May 13, 12:50 p.m.

    Will have trouble with any MD with a UNC degree on his wall. Did he actually go to class... View More

    — Posted by Alex25

    you're safe, unc doesn't have a vet school.

  • Alex25 May 13, 11:51 a.m.

    Will have trouble with any MD with a UNC degree on his wall. Did he actually go to class ........... ?? We don't know ...

  • Alex25 May 13, 11:23 a.m.

  • keeter May 13, 10:12 a.m.

    Remember what you wrote the next time you go to a doctor or need a lawyer. Not excusing what... View More

    So quick to forget that there was a time at UNC not too long ago where they wouldn't give out anything less than a "C" at UNC. UNC GRADE INFLATION.

    "In 2008, a committee of faculty members at UNC-Chapel Hill discovered that the average grade of a Carolina student was 3.213 — well over a B average."

    "A recent UNC-CH faculty grade inflation report, which you can view by clicking the attachment below, suggests that so many students are doing so well that it is becoming difficult to distinguish between the best students and many of the rest.
    One compelling piece of data - 82 percent of the grades issued in fall 2007 to undergrads were As and Bs. That's up from 77 percent in 2000."

    So yeah, who's responsible for the "discrediting" of your degree again? THE CAROLINA WAY!

  • Alex25 May 13, 10:06 a.m.

    With shocking detail, "Tarnished Heels" scrutinizes the players, coaches, faculty and university leaders who all played roles in the outrage, and in many cases appear complicit. What Rob Anderson uncovers is no less than staggering! From the football coaches who were also deemed to be working with NFL agents; to players who received cash payments, travel expenses and impermissible academic help, "Tarnished Heels" leaves no stone unturned.

  • coachkayhasmrsa May 13, 9:45 a.m.

    for the abcer's, this is like when they found out about santa claus.

  • Alex25 May 13, 9:33 a.m.

    The systemic and expected cheating goes back to C Kuralt and L Taylor ...most likely well before them. Kuralt and his mistresses, Taylor and his class work -- which didn't happen.

  • rduguyhere May 13, 9:14 a.m.

    Poor poor wolpfies.

  • Alex25 May 13, 9:10 a.m.

    Wainstein is being paid BY UNC-CH. Conflict of interest much........??

    A-n-o-t-h-e-r whitewash in the making...duh.

  • immaannoid May 13, 8:59 a.m.

    It will never be possible to get to the "crux" because every phony baloney bureaucrat in the UNC system is stonewalling and blocking any real inquiry. Add to that, the politicians don't really want to know either.





  • Sun Bowl: Duke vs. Arizona State

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Teams TBD

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Falcons

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Oakland at Denver

    Sunday at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Louisiana Tech at NC State

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Devils

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Rice

    Wednesday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

NEV 30
10:30pm Tonight
11:00pm Tonight
11:00pm Tonight
11:00pm Tonight