UNC’s suspect courses date to 1997
In a much anticipated report covering the academic troubles at UNC, former governor Jim Martin told members of the university’s Board of Trustees today that the problems within the African and Afro American Studies Department stretched back to 1997.
Martin’s review of the department identified 216 courses with “proven or potential anomalies” and 454 suspected unauthorized grade changes in the department.
He found no indication of academic courses or other anomalies in departments outside of AFROAM, as the department is commonly called.
Martin’s report, as did the university’s internal review, laid the blame for the scandal on former department chairman Julius Nyang’oro and former department assistant Debbie Crowder.
“This was not an athletic scandal,” Martin said. “It was an academic scandal, which is worse, but an isolated one.”
In addition to questionable grade changes, Martin said lecture courses with no meeting times was “the bigger problem by far.”
UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp asked Martin to lead an independent review of any additional academic irregularities that might have occurred before 2007.
The request came after critics complained the university’s internal investigation of academic irregularities in the African and Afro-American Studies Department covering the period from summer session 2007 to summer session 2011 didn’t go back far enough.
The internal review found evidence of classes in which professors engaged in limited or no instructional contact, grade rosters with forged signatures, and unauthorized grade changes for students, many of whom were on the football team.
Martin’s review was conducted with the help of Baker Tilly, a national management consulting firm with experience in academic procedures and controls.
The firm reviewed UNC’s new academic performance policies, procedures and controls.
Thorp said in August that the university is determined to make sure the current internal controls would prevent any recurrence of the irregularities.