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North Carolina

Investigator to update UNC Board of Governors Friday

Posted June 19
Updated June 20

— 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.

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  • tbg0519 Jun 19, 1:04 p.m.

    How can this even be considered a valid 'investigation', when the contract and scope are private and not being released? This is just another PR move to 'show' that UNC is 'trying' to fix the problem, without ever being punished for the crimes that have come out so far, nor the ones that have yet to be uncovered.

  • RaleighPirate Jun 19, 1:07 p.m.

    How can this even be considered a valid 'investigation', when the contract and scope are private... View More

    — Posted by tbg0519

    I agree.

  • UpChuck Jun 19, 1:55 p.m.

    I think the flagship owes a big apology to Mary Willingham.

  • Garnerwolf1 Jun 19, 2:12 p.m.

    You can't be independent when you're hired by the entity you are supposed to investigate.

  • heelfan4life Jun 19, 2:31 p.m.

    This has certainly upset a lot of Wolfpack fans for some reason. It appears that they are already making up their excuses in case the result is not the one they hope for.

    It would seem to me that the most important thing is for a full investigation and let the facts lead where they may. It appears that many here just want an investigation to return the results they hope for and if it does not, then it can't be valid.

  • Alex25 Jun 19, 2:33 p.m.

    Colored me confused....

    1. How can UNC get an "update" on a supposed "independent investigation" ? That's a joke.

    2. Wainstein says he can not update the BOG or anyone else with any factual information pertaining to the "investigation". Ummmm, so what s the point of the meeting? (open/closed door?). Just to ask how's his day is going. If he can't talk about the investigation why have a meeting.

  • bechdel13 Jun 19, 2:35 p.m.

    You can't be independent when you're hired by the entity you are supposed to investigate.

    — Posted by Garnerwolf1

    I hear this all the time but it's completely unfair to the investigators and their professionalism. Just as an example, public accountants are hired by companies all the time to perform investigations/audits, and they are taught how to maintain an independent and skeptical mindset from the client company.

  • heelfan4life Jun 19, 2:35 p.m.

    You can't be independent when you're hired by the entity you are supposed to investigate.

    — Posted by Garnerwolf1

    I am curious, then, who you would suggest hire and pay for the investigator?

  • heelfan4life Jun 19, 2:37 p.m.

    Colored me confused....

    1. How can UNC get an "update" on a supposed "independent investigation"... View More

    — Posted by Alex25

    He is not updating UNC. He is updating the UNC BOG, which is not the same thing.

  • UpChuck Jun 19, 2:44 p.m.

    This has certainly upset a lot of Wolfpack fans for some reason. It appears that they are... View More

    — Posted by heelfan4life

    Should be upsetting a lot of Heel fans, but I guess that they consider this "business as usual".

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