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North Carolina

UNC Honor Court system to be reviewed in light of player's plagiarized paper

Posted August 2, 2011
Updated August 4, 2011

— Chancellor Holden Thorp has talked to some faculty members about forming a committee to review the student-run Honor Court system, which had its credibility damaged in a recent hearing with former University of North Carolina football player Michael McAdoo and the NCAA.

Many of those who teach at UNC were embarrassed by the initial accusations of cheating by football players who were subsequently suspended from the team. Then, recent media reports uncovered facts that McAdoo had plagiarized parts of a paper and it wasn't caught by the university.

Plagiarism accusations lead to Honor Court changes Plagiarism accusations lead to Honor Court changes

“It became more clear over the course of the last two or three months that the academic mission of the university was not being fully respected in all corners,” said UNC professor of history Jay Smith. “If you discover something by accident, that means there is reason to suspect that, at least, there are other instances out there."

Smith said he thinks a review of the Honor Court system makes sense right now. So does Lloyd Kramer, the chairman of the History Department.

“I think it’s an interesting and important long tradition that goes back to the 19th century here at UNC, but I think that times have changed and it’s probably important to review again how it operates,” Kramer said. “It used to be you’d have a little cheat sheet or something, but now you just get on your phone and these kinds of things are facing technological challenges that the 19th century Honor Court never faced.”

In the week leading up to the firing of former head football coach Butch Davis, Thorp received tremendous support from faculty members. Out of about 90 emails obtained by WRAL News through a public records request, at least 10 came directly from faculty, and all were in support of the chancellor’s decision.

“You took an extremely important stand yesterday, acting in the very best interest of the University,” wrote law professor John Boger following the decision to make a coaching move. “You have my admiration and full support.”

“I just wanted to check to see that you are okay after this whole Butch Davis thing,” wrote Tara Carbonetti, who works at the Morehead Planetarium & Science Center. “Hang in there! You are doing a GREAT job and I stand by you and your decisions 100%!!!!!”

Thorp has come under harsh criticism since making a decision to dismiss Davis – a decision that Thorp said was entirely his. There are forum threads calling for UNC boycotts and Facebook pages calling for Thorp’s resignation. Faculty, however, are firmly standing by Thorp.

“Better late than never,” wrote Lawrence Gilbert, a professor in the Biology Department. “I am relieved and appreciative of this final act.”

McAdoo was denied an injunction last month that would have allowed him to play his senior season while a lawsuit seeking reinstatement of his eligibility and damages proceeds in court. In that hearing, Mcadoo's lawyer, Noah Hoffstetler, argued that his client was being deprived of the opportunity to succeed and that the NCAA violated its own procedures in ruling McAdoo ineligible.

The NCAA was more in line with Thorp’s supporters, saying that academic credibility is more important than playing a sport.

“Mr. McAdoo committed academic fraud. He is a cheater. That is what happened here,” said Raleigh-based lawyer Paul Sun, who represented the NCAA. "The NCAA takes academic fraud very seriously. The university’s facts presented to NCAA show academic fraud. Presumption is (that) there should be ineligibility."

153 Comments

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  • BogeyBoy Aug 4, 5:09 p.m.

    Sorry if this has already been posted, but ReeseNews has the same story up at:

    http://reesenews.org/2011/08/03/honor-court-to-be-reviewed/17737/

    Interestingly, their story includes these tidbits which the WRAL did not include:

    But in anonymous comments, other instructors expressed concern over the special treatment the... View More

  • BogeyBoy Aug 4, 9:05 a.m.

    The point most people are making (and tarheel fans aren't listening to) is that Carolina prides... View More

    — Posted by needspaintgt

    Except that the Honor Code requires all students to report suspected cheating and you would expect the people who are on the Honor Court, like those in the student DA's office, to be the most diligent in those efforts. In this case they failed to notice the painfully obvious signs of plagiarism.

    Your court analogy would be like a District Attorney who in the course of preparing to try a criminal uncovers additional evidence that indicated another crime had taken place and opting to do nothing about it.

  • FAN72 Aug 3, 5:57 p.m.

    Talk about crickets chirping...almost as loud as the mosquitos buzzing! Some of the trolls on here are more of a pest than are the mosquitos.

  • sanman Aug 3, 4:50 p.m.

    At least State is beating UNC at something :) Sorry Wolfpups!
    View More

    — Posted by sanman

    Thanks for the website that reads bad request..

    I am sure some LSU forum is a great place to get... View More

    — Posted by bryan12

    http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/p/22635486/NCAA-Violations---Who-Has-the-Most-Ever.aspx

    Here it is Wolfpup :)

  • FAN72 Aug 3, 4:37 p.m.

    Didn't you ask who this player was? Now you are getting on tennis for providing more info on... View More

    — Posted by bglove1202

    First of all-who the hell is "tennis"? Why would we believe anything from an anonymous person... View More

    — Posted by Elvisisdead

    yeah these forums aren't unc friendly, and I need proof that you graduated from unc in '89...

    — Posted by shakennotstirred

    I tell you what, if every UNC hater that has posted will agree to show up at a designated time... View More

    — Posted by Elvisisdead

    I will show up with my "particular" degree in hand, even though I am not a hater.

  • FAN72 Aug 3, 4:34 p.m.

    UNC Police/Authorities have released very little information concerning the Honor Court files theft. We do know that the offices were broken into through a window and wall damage took place. Also known is that the school is in the process or perhaps by now has completed the notification of students whose files are missing. (This would indicate a back up system of some type.) I do not expect those names to be released, as that would be a violation of confidentiality. However, I have already posed questions that could be answered if they want to end speculation that this crime involves anyone associated with the athletic teams.

  • Elvisisdead Aug 3, 4:29 p.m.

    Elvis - step back from the ledge - tennis gave two pieces of info. One - honor court is a joke.... View More

    — Posted by m24s

    cr*p

  • Elvisisdead Aug 3, 4:26 p.m.

    What's 'sad' is you even posting that comment. You should have kept that story to yourself. ... View More

    — Posted by CAROLINA43

    Didn't you ask who this player was? Now you are getting on tennis for providing more info on... View More

    — Posted by bglove1202

    First of all-who the hell is "tennis"? Why would we believe anything from an anonymous person... View More

    — Posted by Elvisisdead

    yeah these forums aren't unc friendly, and I need proof that you graduated from unc in '89...

    — Posted by shakennotstirred

    I tell you what, if every UNC hater that has posted will agree to show up at a designated time and place with their paricular degree in hand, maybe we can work that out... Trust me, I wouldn't care as deeply as I do about UNC if I hadn't both attended and graduated from the institution.

  • Boogalooboy Aug 3, 4:22 p.m.

    I don't believe they have identified the folks whose records were stolen, athletes or non athletes, and they shouldn't , but I hope they were not all athletes, I wouldn't even wish that on the worst Tarhole. I would rather it be a random crime of a few non athletes. Don't think they could withstand this situation being centered around student athletes only..

  • FAN72 Aug 3, 4:17 p.m.

    as expected...crickets.

    Just a lot of hot air, Truth...just a lot of hot air.

    — Posted by forautumn

    So sorry to leave you hanging...well maybe not hanging, but some of us do have a life other than these forums. Pretty hot out on the beach today, but my visitors wanted to go swimming. It is getting close to shark feeding time, so we are back inside. Thank goodness for sunscreen and beach umbrellas or I would be fried by now.

    Your logic is even below the level of the 2nd grade. You believe that anything negative concerning UNC must be false. You demand names and proof even though it would be a violation of FERPA and perhaps even the WRAL posting rules. I think if this individual has proof, the only entities that should see it would be the UNC Chancellor's Office and the NCAA. The player himself/herself could admit it and you would declare they were lying.

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