University of North Carolina Apologizes for Fake Classes, Promises Real Change

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from Bloomberg Businessweek,

James Dean, the executive vice chancellor and provost of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, flew to New York, arriving at Bloomberg headquarters on Saturday to deliver a heartening message. He wanted to do it in person. “We made mistakes. Horrible things happened that I’m ashamed of,” he said over coffee in our newsroom, sparsely populated on a weekend. “Student-athletes and other students, too, were hurt” as a result of hundreds of phony classes offered beginning sometime in the 1990s. “The integrity of our university was badly damaged.”

consists of the transformation of UNC’s former African and Afro-American Studies Department into a factory churning out fake grades from phony classes disproportionately attended by varsity athletes. No one is disputing that anymore. What’s still unclear is the degree to which Chapel Hill’s powerful Athletic Department initiated and/or exploited the fraudulent Afro-Am department. (It has since been reformed and “rebranded,” Dean pointed out, as African, African-American, and Diaspora Studies.)

In the most important piece of actual news he delivered during his visit to New York—news that as far as I can tell has not been reported anywhere else—Dean said he had commissioned an internal study on the entire history of African and African-American studies at UNC. He said he’s determined to get to the bottom of what forces and personalities caused the program’s ugly corruption. He also vowed to “look at” whether athletes were “clustering” in other departments and classes reputed to be the source of easy grades. If these inquiries are thorough and followed by changes, UNC could go from outlaw to leader in cleaning up the relationship between Division 1 “revenue sports,” as they’re known, and the provision of real undergraduate education.

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