Have you read about this astounding scandal at the University of North Carolina?
From the Times story:
Wednesday’s report, prepared by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a former general counsel at the F.B.I. and now a partner at the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, found that between 1993 and 2011, two employees in the university’s African and Afro-American studies department presided over what was essentially a “shadow curriculum” designed to help struggling students — many of them Tar Heels athletes — stay afloat…More than 3,100 students, 47.6 percent of them athletes, were enrolled in and received credit for the phantom classes, most of which were created and graded solely by a single employee, Deborah Crowder. Ms. Crowder was a nonacademic who worked as the African studies department’s administrator and who told Mr. Wainstein that she had been motivated by a desire to help struggling athletes.Some of the classes took the form of independent study courses in which the students never met the professor; others took the form of lecture courses in which the classes were supposed to meet at specific times and places but never did. Over time, Ms. Crowder was joined in the scheme by the chairman of the department, Julius Nyang’oro, who became the professor of record for many of the fake classes. Mr. Nyang’oro retired in 2012, after news of the scheme came to light.
The report said that football academic counselors were “painfully aware” that Crowder’s retirement in 2009 “would require the whole football program to adjust to a new reality of having to meet academic requirements with real academic work.” There was even a PowerPoint presentation in November 2009 by two academic counselors to explain to North Carolina’s football staff that Crowder’s retirement meant no more paper classes. One slide read:
“What was part of the solution in the past?
* We put them in classes that met degree requirements in which
— They didn’t go to class
— They didn’t take notes, have to stay awake
— They didn’t have to meet with professors
— They didn’t have to pay attention or necessarily engage with the material
* AFAM/AFRI SEMINAR COURSES
— 20-25 page papers on course topics
— THESE NO LONGER EXIST!”
Most, if not all, of North Carolina’s coaching staff was present at the meeting, including then-coach Butch Davis. The academic counselor later sent the PowerPoint to Robert Mercer, the director of North Carolina’s academic support unit for athletes, and senior associate athletic director John Blanchard, according to the report.
And from CNN, we learn that no action is likely to be taken against the 3,100 students whose degrees are fraudulent.
A few questions, since I am too stunned to offer answers…
1. How could this happen?
2. How hopelessly corrupt must the culture at U.N.C. be that no one blew a whistle on this conspiracy for 18 years?
3. Why is anyone believing the university’s leadership’s claims that they were unaware of this?
4. If people are believing this unbelievable denial of complicity, why haven’t all of the university’s administration offices been emptied and all the former occupants of them been sent to Incompetents Anonymous?
5. Why would anyone pay a cent of tuition to an institution capable of this?
6. What are the chances that U.N.C. is the only university engaged in this kind of deception? (Hint: think snow balls in Hell…)
7. Just how corrupt is big time college football and basketball in the U.S.?
8. What good is the NCAA if something like this could happen?
9. Same question, but substitute “Department of Education” for “NCAA”…
10. How widespread is corruption in higher education, how long has it been this way, and will the government take sufficient steps to address it?