Highlights of Martin Report on UNC academics
by Rachel George, USA TODAY Sports
Among the highlights of the UNC report compiled by former Gov. Jim Martin and the national consulting firm Baker Tilly:
– While an initial internal study by UNC found 54 aberrant classes in the Department of Afro and African-American Studies (AFAM) from 2007-11, Martin’s review expanded that to 216 course sections “with proven or potential anomalies” in the department dating back to 1997. According to the report, the percentage of student-athletes in those classes was consistent with the percentage of student-athletes in all classes in the AFAM department.
– A total of 454 suspected unauthorized grade changes were found in the department during that time frame. Fewer than 10 were made per academic year until 2000-01, and they spiked from 2003-2007, when the majority were discovered.
– The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA), which was the subject of study in Sept. 2011, was not found to have colluded with instructors or administrators to steer athletes to no-show classes. But ASPSA employees were aware of certain AFAM courses called “term paper courses” in which there was little to no instruction and only a requirement of writing a 20-25 page paper at the end of the term.
– The academic irregularities were not shown to extend beyond the AFAM department, and the report largely places blame on two people: Julius Nyang’oro, who was a tenured professor and chair of the department, and Deborah Crowder, a longtime administrator in the department. The school’s previous review also pointed to those two as the ones responsible.
The report noted Crowder’s relationships with members of the athletic department and ASPSA.
“Ms. Crowder’s span of influence was much broader than what we would expect of someone in her position in a different department. Ms. Crowder’s role and responsibilities within the Department afforded her with broad access to records, systems and other information,” it states.
Neither Crowder nor Nyang’oro responded to requests to be interviewed for the report.
– Athletic department administrators twice raised concerned about the “prevalence of independent study courses and about lecture courses that were being taught in an independent study format.” ASPSA employees alerted department officials to those courses, and … [For more on Highlights of the Martin Report on UNC academics, click here.]