UNC panel meets to discuss academic fraud

July 20, 2012 2:42:15 PM PDT
A specially appointed panel at UNC Chapel Hill met for the first time Friday to discuss the academic scandal within the department of African and Afro-American Studies.

UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp is taking responsibility for how the university is handling the allegations of academic fraud.

"As Chancellor, I take responsibility for it and I also take responsibility for cleaning it up and making sure it never happens again" Thorp said.

Those remarks opened up an hours-long discussion about what went wrong and why the professor involved was given early retirement instead of being terminated.

Professor Julius Nyangoro, the department chairman and an administrative assistant, took the blame for the fraud.

"We don't know and we may never know with any certainty what motivated this faculty member and the administrative manager to do what they did," said Thorp.  

None of them are currently employed by the university.

Chancellor Thorp told the panel Friday that pushing Nyangoro into early retirement was the fastest way to sever his ties to UNC Chapel Hill.

"Please know that we gave very serious consideration to terminating him for cause but we had to consider that a long appeals process was likely," said Thorp.

The chancellor also addressed the need of examining the appropriate relationship between academics and athletics.

"A few people believe that there is not place at this university for intercollegiate athletics.  I don't believe that that's a viable option.  There is a place and at Carolina we have to find the right balance.  That's going to be hard," said Thorp.  

Thorp told panel members he would welcome any additional reviews that they recommend.

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