Special panel investigating UNC scandal meets

October 11, 2012 3:31:52 PM PDT
The investigation into the UNC academic fraud scandal was the focus of a special meeting on campus Thursday.

The Board of Governors' review panel met for about three hours, some of it behind closed doors. The panel is going over UNC's internal academic fraud investigation with a fine tooth comb. That includes hearing from the very people who've already looked into glaring irregularities in classes within the university's African and Afro-American studies program.

"These are complicated issues," said UNC faculty member Michael Gerhardt. "So, they're not easily cut and dry. They're very nuanced, subtle, and indifferent. There are unpredictable consequences that we don't understand yet."

Not only did the panel hear from the faculty subcommittee first assigned to the investigation, they also heard about recruiting and admission.

"We don't know finally what they'll do," said UNC Admissions Director Stephen Farmer. "We do the best we can to consider them very carefully and to consider them one by one. In the end, the only person who can make the prediction come true is the student.

The panel also not only took aim at students but also academic advisors, counselors and tutors. In the wake of a student tutor who blurred the lines of academic integrity, UNC's academic advising department is making sweeping changes.

"There are a lot of guidelines for what is appropriate and inappropriate," said Harold Woodard, with UNC Academic Advising. "We also have a representative with the legal office to talk about the honor system and the honor code."

The review panel is waiting to hear from another outside commission led by former Gov. Jim Martin. He'll give his report at the next review panel meeting.

In the background of all these investigations is the possibility of criminal charges as the State Bureau of Investigation is poised to release its findings next month.

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