College Fix Staff

More details have emerged about one of the largest cheating scandals involving collegiate athletes is U.S. history thanks to a new investigative report released Wednesday.

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill had concocted a massive system to keep student athletes eligible to play, a set-up described by the News & Observer as an 18-year scheme that included bogus classes, inflated grades and a “shadow curriculum” advanced by those in charge.

Everyone from coaches to academic counselors to a top official at the African and Afro-American Studies department were complicit in the scheme.

The N&O reports:

The system of no-show classes at UNC-Chapel Hill was pushed by academic counselors for athletes, hatched and enabled by two sympathetic officials in a key department and employed by coaches eager to keep players eligible, a new report into the long-running scandal has found.

The 18-year scheme generated inflated grades through lecture-style classes that had been quietly converted into bogus independent studies. The report, released Wednesday afternoon, found a new culprit: the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes.

[The report] found that the academic counselors had pushed for the easy classes and embraced those started by Deborah Crowder, a longtime manager for the Department of African and Afro-American Studies. The report describes a fairly broad group of academic and athletic officials who knew about athletes getting better grades in classes that only required papers, yet taking little or no action.

As The College Fix has previously reported, UNC Chapel Hill students have known for quite some time that athletes were pointed to easy-A classes. Also, details on just how bad the set-up really was has come out in recent years.

In 2012, The College Fix reported on the appalling lack of academic standards that had been revealed within the University of North Carolina’s African and Afro-American Studies department. There was a rampant use of so-called “no-show” classes, where professors weren’t even showing up for classes, and were simply giving students phony grades. There was almost no accountability, despite widespread neglect and corruption. No one, it seems, wanted to question what was going on within the department.

Wednesday’s report suggests many employees knew about the situation, as the News and Observer reports:

It was common knowledge within the support program that the classes didn’t meet, were easy and offered high grades, the report says. They became such a crutch that when Crowder retired in 2009, football team counselors were desperate for the classes to continue, warning coaches the team’s overall GPA would plummet, which it did.

But some in the program knew that the classes, which typically required a term paper at the end, lacked a professor. Crowder played that role, even though she only had a bachelor’s degree from UNC. She created the classes – often at the counselors’ requests – collected the papers and graded them, often without reading them, the report said.

What adminsitrators knew, and when they knew it, is a different story:

“We found no evidence that the higher levels of the University tried in any way to obscure the facts or the magnitude of this situation,” the report said. “To the extent there were times of delay or equivocation in their response to this controversy, we largely attribute that to insufficient appreciation of the scale of the problem, an understandable lack of experience with this sort of institutional crisis and some lingering disbelief that such misconduct could have occurred at Chapel Hill.”

Read the full article.

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A year after the anonymous messaging app Yik Yak debuted at Wake Forest University, students are giving it mixed reviews, the Old Gold & Black reports:

“Yik Yak is garbage,” said junior, Dakota Lee. “It rebuilds the walls that anti-bullying campaigns have spent years tearing down, and promotes general campus division.”

Still, some Wake students feel the app is harmless. “Yik Yak gives complete attention to the words being said without judging the person who says them,” said junior, Jack Hickman.

But according to many students, the bad outweighs the good.

“I had to delete Yik Yak,” said senior, Daniel Buchen. “I felt like for every insightful comment, I had to read through 12 personal attacks on people and organizations. And I hated thinking people I go to school with are that shallow and petty.”

The paper quotes an op-ed from The Collegian at Kenyon College, picked up by the Huffington Post, which used rape-culture language to describe Yik Yak. The author is speaking about a theft of “Take Back the Night” supplies from the campus women’s center following a “threat” on Yik Yak:

[I'm] Scared because for reasons I can’t explain, women are being targeted with a vulgarity and vigor that I can’t believe is happening on a campus that I thought was respectful, thoughtful, and safe. …

When you turn to a platform like Yik Yak, I don’t think you actually care about change. You care about making your victims feel as small and as unsafe as possible. And it’s working.

Read the Old Gold & Black article and Kenyon Collegian article.

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IMAGE: Yik Yak


“The number of federal investigations into how colleges handle sexual violence reports has jumped 50 percent in the past six months,” the Washington Post reports:

On May 1, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights released the first public list of colleges and universities under scrutiny for possible violations of federal law in their responses to sexual violence allegations.

At the time, 59 cases were pending at 55 schools. As of this week, 89 cases are pending at 85 schools.

In other news, the number of lawsuits filed against universities in recent years alleging due process and other violations in adjudicating sexual assault has hit a new high as well, reaching 44 as of Oct. 8, according to a tally kept by A Voice for Male Students.

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h/t: Drudge Report

A steering committee at Dartmouth University is considering recommendations for the president and trustees, and one thing is certain: “the only action in line with our principles of community” is to “abolish the Greek system,” The Dartmouth editorial board wrote Friday:

[O]ur “Animal House” reputation is well-earned. For many, Greek life takes precedence over academics. It is an investment (perhaps a risky one), a path to acceptance, friends, sex, drugs, love and jobs.

The editorial recounts a parade of horribles that have given Dartmouth’s Greek system a black eye for 30 years:

It facilitates binge drinking and sexual assault. It perpetuates unequal, gendered power dynamics and institutionalizes arbitrary exclusivity. It divides students — the system as a whole separates freshmen from upperclassmen, men from women. Membership draws lines among friends.

Given that half the school is Greek, abolishing the system won’t be easy, but it “would offer Dartmouth a chance to rebuild its social life from the ground up”:

Hundreds of leaders have tried to reform and change Greek life to be more inclusive, safe and fun for more people. But consider the implications of this — each year, hundreds of student leaders pour their energy and time into what boils down to social life. Imagine what we could accomplish as a student body if these student leaders cared so deeply about something else.

Read the Dartmouth editorial.

h/t greg

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A student at a junior college in San Diego prompted massive alarm after claiming she had flu-like systems and rode on the same plane with the Dallas nurse whose Ebola diagnosis was confirmed.

The student’s claim shut down one building at Southwestern College and prompted evacuations and student quarantines. Ultimately, however, it was determined to be a false alarm, NBS San Diego reports:

The student was not exhibiting any flu-like symptoms, school officials said. “Our campus nurse has thoroughly examined the student and there is no expectation of Ebola,” [campus spokeswoman Lillian] Leopold said. After the student was found to have no infectious disease, she recanted her story.

The student told officials she made up the story so she wouldn’t be dropped for missing class, Leopold told The Desert Sun, which added that “officials were still investigating who mentioned Ebola, and it was unclear if any disciplinary action would be taken.”

Although campus officials denied they quarantined any students, a teacher told NBC some of her students had been quarantined, and some students also told the San Diego Union-Tribune they were told they could not leave campus.

“We are detained,” Vinnie Avia-Walker, 25, told the U-T. “We are within a 20-feet area between the person who is sick and then an officer who is telling us not to leave.”

This type of story is probably going to get more and more common as people grapple with whether they think they might have Ebola, and others grapple with how to handle people who think they might have Ebola, and still others joke they have Ebola and prompt massive panic.

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Professor Steven Salaita, whose job offer from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was rescinded after the revelation that the educator had made numerous — and venomous — anti-Israel and anti-Jewish tweets, has been given a $5,000 grant from the American Association of University Professors.

“The governing board of the AAUP Foundation’s Academic Freedom Fund has approved a grant of $5,000 to Professor Steven Salaita, who is without salary while he contests his dismissal from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on academic freedom grounds,” the group announced Tuesday. “Under Academic Freedom Fund guidelines, temporary financial aid may be provided to faculty members whose means of support are reduced or cut off because of their involvement in academic freedom controversies.”

Salaita quit his post at Virginia Tech after being recruited by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which abruptly rescinded the offer after Salaita’s “loathsome and foul-mouthed presence in social media” (a potential colleague’s words) became well known. But he’s  drawn support from the American Association of University Professors, among others.

Salaita recently capped off a four-stop Chicago-area campus speaking tour on academic censorship and U.S. policy in the Middle East, and “his attorney said he is preparing a lawsuit against the U. of I. for violating Salaita’s constitutional rights of free speech and due process, as well as breach of contract,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

The newspaper adds a separate donation effort culled $17,000 for Salaita, and other groups continue to fund raise for him.

At one of his campus appearances last week, he suggested pressure from “Zionist donors” was partly to blame for his situation. He also denounced the notion of “civility.”

“Valuable ideas disrupt, reorder, undermine, confront, subvert, unsettle, upset, menace, admonish, forebode. Critical thinking is fundamentally incompatible with conformity, which is collegiality’s primary desire,” he said, according to a transcription of his speech.

RELATED: Virginia Tech Professor Argues Against ‘Support Our Troops’

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