D.A. seeks more information for AFAM case

Feb. 28, 2013 @ 06:22 PM

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall, who previously said he would make a decision on the AFAM case by the end of February, said Thursday that he’s not ready.

“I don’t have it yet,” Woodall said referring to an investigative report that he asked the State Bureau of Investigations to prepare for him. Agents are collecting information about UNC’s African and Afro-American Studies Department to determine if professors were paid for courses they did not teach, whether anyone committed fraud, if anyone tried to cover up any crimes and whether anyone illegally changed grades in a computer.

Woodall met with agents Monday about the report and asked them to collect a few more items of information he needs before making a decision, he said.

Woodall asked the SBI to conduct a criminal investigation after it was revealed some UNC athletes were steered to take an upper-level, independent study classes in the African and Afro-American Studies Department that they normally wouldn’t have been qualified to take.

It was later discovered through non-criminal investigations at UNC that Professor Julius Nyang’oro was the instructor of record for courses but did not actually teach them, and

Debbie Crowder, an administrator in the department, accepted papers from the students, and entered and possibly changed grades in the computer.

In a non-criminal investigation conducted by former North Carolina Governor Jim Martin, he identified 216 courses with proven or potential anomalies and 454 suspected unauthorized grade changes in the department since 1997. Athletes and non-athletes took the courses.

The anomalies were categorized into two types. For some courses, the instructors of record claimed they had no responsibility for the courses, and for other courses, classes were listed as lecture courses, but students did not attend lectures. Instead they turned in a single term paper and received a course grade for the paper.