Investigator to update UNC Board of Governors Friday
Posted June 19
Updated June 20
Chapel Hill, N.C. — The former federal prosecutor investigating the history of so-called "paper classes" and other academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is slated to provide an update Friday to the UNC Board of Governors.
Ken Wainstein's probe is the most recent in a series of university-sponsored looks at whether classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies delivered the promised education to enrolled students or catered to ill-prepared student-athletes.
A 2012 investigation led by former Gov. Jim Martin found problems in that department dating back to the mid-90s. The investigation revealed hundreds of bogus classes, altered and forged grades but concluded that the discrepancies did not only and directly benefit student-athletes. Non-athletes also took the classes.
Julius Nyang’oro, the former chairman of the Af-Am department, faces a criminal fraud charge. Prosecutors allege he took payment for classes that he never taught.
Earlier this year, academic adviser Mary Willingham told CNN that her work over the course of eight years demonstrated that 60 percent of the 183 athletes she studied read at a level more common in elementary school and up to 10 percent had the reading skills of a third-grader. UNC has disputed her findings and her research methods.
Investigations into academic misconduct at North Carolina began in 2009 after allegations of improper benefits within the football program. The NCAA sanctioned the football program for both improper benefits and academic misconduct involving a tutor, leading to a postseason ban and the loss of 16 scholarships.
Friday's meeting, at 9 a.m. in the board room at the Spangler Center, is open to the public.