Panel investigating UNC academics meets this week
Posted August 29, 2012
Chapel Hill, N.C. — A panel investigating possible academic fraud at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will meet Wednesday and Thursday of this week, and for the first time since UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp announced that former North Carolina Gov. Jim Martin will lead an inquiry into academic irregularities within the university's African and Afro-American studies department.
The panel is a sub-committee of the UNC System's Board of Governors. They met Wednesday in closed session.
So far, irregularities have been found in 54 African and Afro-American classes – where no-show or questionable courses appear to have benefited athletes, especially the UNC football team. After UNC released a report on those classes, WRAL News found irregularities with independent study courses within the program, most of which were tied to former department chair Julius Nyang’oro.
Earlier this month, former UNC football star Julius Peppers' college transcript appeared online. It showed grades from the African and Afro-American studies department, which appear to have kept Peppers eligible as a student. He has denied any academic wrong-doing.
Martin and his team plan to review more departments and all athletic programs at UNC and will submit a full report by mid-October, which will be made public once it is complete. Martin said Thorp told him everything is fair game in the investigation – no restrictions, no limitations.
The school has paid nearly $600,000 for legal and public relations advice since the NCAA initiated an investigation tied to the Tar Heel football team more than two years ago. Martin's work could incur additional costs. UNC recently hired communications consultant Doug Sosnick. The school says none of the bills are being paid with taxpayer dollars.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Michael McAdoo’s lawsuit against the school, Thorp and the NCAA on Sept. 13.
The former UNC football player, who was caught up in the academic scandal and lost a year on the field, filed a lawsuit last August seeking damages stemming from his being ruled ineligible. That lawsuit was dismissed in November and he filed an appeal in June.