DA may drop fraud charge against ex-UNC professor
District Attorney Jim Woodall said Tuesday he’s considering dropping a fraud charge against Julius Nyang’oro, the embattled former head of the UNC Department of African and Afro-American Studies.
Woodall said Nyang’oro is cooperating with an investigation involving allegations he collected payment for a UNC class that never met.
Nyang’oro, 59, of Durham, was indicted by an Orange County grand jury in December on a felony charge of obtaining property by false pretense. Investigators claim he accepted $12,000 for a summer school lecture course in 2011 he didn’t teach.
He resigned in August as chairman of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, which is the focus of an investigation into academic fraud involving UNC football players.
Woodall said Nyang’oro has provided helpful information to Ken Wainstein, a former federal prosecutor hired in February to conduct an inquiry into the relationship between the African-American department and student-athletes.
Durham attorney Bill Thomas, who represents Nyang’oro, has said his client is innocent of the charge. Thomas declined Tuesday to comment on the case except to say he hopes Woodall will drop the charges against his client.
Deborah Crowder, Nyang’oro’s department manager, had also been a target of the investigation for her role in handling academic records tied to the classes. But Woodall agreed in March not to seek an indictment against her, and she agreed to cooperate with Wainstein’s investigation.
Woodall said a hearing for Nyang’oro originally set for today has been canceled.