Apr 072014
 

newsobserver

April 5, 2014 (The Associated Press)

RALEIGH, N.C. — The investigator looking into academic fraud at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has interviewed a retired administrator from the department tied to the case.

Attorney Brian Vick said Friday his client, Deborah Crowder, met with Kenneth Wainstein on March 19 in a daylong meeting at his firm’s Research Triangle Park office.

Crowder worked in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies department, which had problems such as lecture classes with significant athlete enrollments that didn’t meet and were treated as independent studies requiring only a research paper.

“I thought it was a productive talk,” Vick said. “They came in well-prepared and Debbie answered all their questions.”

Vick wouldn’t discuss specifics of the meeting with Wainstein, a 19-year veteran of the U.S. Justice Department hired by UNC in February.

A previous inquiry conducted by former Gov. Jim Martin in 2012 found problems in more than 200 courses dating to at least 1997, including forged signatures on grade rolls, unauthorized grade changes and poor oversight.

Previous investigations blamed Crowder and retired chairman Julius Nyang’oro, who was indicted in December. Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said last month that Crowder will not face criminal charges.

Wainstein said last week he plans to meet with reading specialist Mary Willingham, who has questioned the literacy level of school athletes. Willingham has said the no-show classes helped keep athletes eligible despite many reading at below-grade levels.

Also this week, 32 retired UNC faculty members issued a statement saying current faculty has been “missing in action” in addressing causes of the academic problems.

“The failure to confront these questions suggests a faculty that has abdicated its responsibilities,” said the retirees, adding that they hoped their concern “will encourage our former colleagues to make their voices heard.”

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