DA asks SBI to look at UNC professor's classes

May 14, 2012 5:12:01 PM PDT
Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall has officially asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the UNC Department of African and Afro-American Studies.

On Friday, Woodall requested that the SBI investigate whether the Department of African and Afro-American Studies committed any academic fraud, financial fraud, computer fraud, any forgery, or conspiracy to conceal any crimes.

They are allegedly particularly interested in whether Professor Julius Nyang'oro was paid for classes he did not teach.

Nyang'oro was the department chairman and earned $159,249 a year. As chair, he also earned a $6,000 annual stipend, an amount that was doubled to $12,000 over the summer for all department chairs.

Woodall said there is not assumption of guilt. He said he wants a forensic review as UNC had only done an academic review. He did not know how long the investigation would take.

The African and Afro-American Studies program was at the center of an investigation into academic fraud involving Tar Heel football players.

A UNC review released this month found 54 department classes that had little or no indication of instruction along with at least 10 cases of unauthorized grade changes for students who did not do all the work.

Late Monday afternoon, Chancellor Holden Thorp issued this statement: "After consulting with President Ross on Friday, I directed our public safety department to contact the SBI again, this time to seek their help in reviewing potential criminal activity related to the way in which Professor Nyang'oro conducted and was paid for a 2011 summer school course. We also pledged to cooperate fully with the SBI."

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