UPDATE: UNC chancellor admits 200 Afro-American Studies classes were academically deficient

Sterling Beard
News Editor

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  • Nearly half of students in 200 Afro-American Studies classes since the mid-1990s were athletes.
  • Classes were barely taught, if at all.
  • University blames former department chair.
  • The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) has taken full responsibility for 200 African and Afro-American Studies classes since the mid-1990s that were barely taught and saw many athletes enroll.

    Chancellor Carol Folt spoke Thursday with UNC’s Board of Trustees and, though she said there was no sign that the classes had been created specifically to benefit athletes, nearly half of those who had taken the courses played sports.

    “I think we all know that to move forward we have to make sure that everyone understands that we absolutely feel accountable and we’re going to learn from that painful history."   

    “Although we don’t have evidence that the anomalous courses were initiated in order to benefit athletes, close to half who did enroll were student-athletes,” Folt said, according to the News & Observer.

    A university investigation also discovered that there had been about 500 grade changes thought or known to be unauthorized.

    UNC has blamed the department’s former chairman, Julius Nyang’oro, and a secretary; both are no longer at UNC. Nyang’oro was indicted late last year on felony charges for allegedly receiving $12,000 in payment for a class he did not teach in the summer of 2011.

    Folt, who has only held her position for six months, declared that students who took the courses “deserved better from us” and admitted that the university had a “failure in academic oversight for years that permitted this to continue.”

    “I think we all know that to move forward we have to make sure that everyone understands that we absolutely feel accountable and we’re going to learn from that painful history,” she said.

    Folt’s admissions come just a few days after UNC suspended the research of athletic tutor Mary Willingham, who discovered that a sampling of athletes at the school from 2004-2012 had deficient reading abilities. Nearly a quarter of the group lacked the requisite skills to take community college courses.

    The university has disputed Willingham’s findings and Provost Jim Dean pronounced her research “a travesty.”

    UNC-Chapel Hill did not respond to a request for comment by Campus Reform in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @SterlingCBeard

    Sterling Beard

    Sterling Beard

    News Editor

    Sterling Beard is Campus Reform's News Editor. Previously, he worked as an Editorial Associate at National Review Online and a Staff Writer at The Hill.

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