University of North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorp clearly wants to do something about the academic scandal that has continued to haunt his university and its athletic department over the past few years. The school has now enlisted former North Carolina governor James G. Martin to lead an independent review of the school’s Afro and African American Studies department and the athletic department.
Martin is also a former congressman who serves on the Board of Directors of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. He will be assisted by Virchow, Krause & Company, a national management consulting firm that is “experienced in academic performance procedures and controls.”
UNC admitted publicly in May that an internal probe found that 54 Afro and African American Studies classes were either “aberrant” or “irregularly” taught from 2007 to 2011. There were unauthorized grad changes, forged faculty signatures on grade rolls and either limited or no class time.
The school claims that no students received grades without submitting any work, but more than half the students in those classes were athletes. The Raleigh News & Observer reported that one class last summer had an enrollment of 19, 18 football players and one former football player.
Last month a faculty committee investigating the scandal claimed that academic counselors assigned to athletes may have pushed them into those classes. Then last weekend a transcript that looked to be that of former UNC football and basketball player Julius Peppers was uncovered and it appeared that Peppers had taken multiple classes that were suspect at best.
That revelation made it necessary for Thorp to investigate further.
Hopefully North Carolina will get to the bottom of this and root out all the problems in the system, and also be completely open with the process and make it public.