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Phony Classes Scandal Worsens at UNC’s Afro-American Studies Dept.

Earlier this year, 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.

This week, Inside Higher Ed, is reporting that the academic corruption was not limited to student-athletes, as some observers first suspected. Furthermore, the corruption at UNC’s Afro-American Studies dept is more widespread, and has been going on for much longer than first reported:

Athletics-related motivations are not to blame for the breakdowns within the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies, in which hundreds of students — half of whom were athletes — received credit for no-show classes and benefited from unauthorized grade changes.

That was what one might call the positive takeaway from the latest investigation into the scandal, this one comprising two new reviews by former North Carolina Gov. James Martin and the management consulting firm Baker Tilly (both tapped by UNC). In laying all the blame on the department’s former chair and his then-assistant, the reports also cleared faculty in the department of any wrongdoing, and found that the bogus classes and grades do not appear to have extended to other departments.

But the news was far from all good for the university: evidence of erroneous classes and grades extends all the way back to 1997 — a decade earlier than UNC had previously documented — and it indicates that the number of courses that were not managed or graded properly is quadruple what UNC had previously reported.

The question remains: Why was this kind of flagrant academic negligence allowed to persist for so many years without anyone calling UNC’s Afr0-American Studies program to account, and without any of the hundreds of students and staff who must have had knowledge of the corrupt practices blowing the whistle?

With so much corruption going on for so long, this scandal strikes a serious blow to UNC’s credibility.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed.

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